Pain and Suffering Damages in Utah

You used to spend every weekend hiking and climbing. Angel's Landing, Inspiration Point, and Kelly's Rock were your favorite places. Even on a bad day, you could climb a 5.13a. Then you slipped at the grocery store, of all places. If someone else is at fault for your injury and and it's keeping you from doing the things you love, you may be entitled to pain and suffering damages in Utah.

The chart and accompanying explanations below summarize answers to your biggest questions about pain and suffering damages in Utah.

Statute of Limitations

  • 1 year for suits against a county, city, or town (§78B-2-303)
  • 2 years for wrongful death or personal injury where the State is the defendant (§78B-2-304)
  • 3 years for personal property damage (§78B-2-305)
  • 4 years for other personal injuries (§78B-2-307)

Limits on Damages

Other Limits

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

In Utah, pain and suffering damages belong to a larger group of damages known as "noneconomic damages". Noneconomic damages are intended to be an amount of money that will fairly and adequately compensate an injured party for losses other than economic losses. In Utah, jurors are instructed to consider the following in computing a noneconomic damages award:

  1. The type of injury and how serious it is
  2. Pain and suffering, both mental and physical
  3. How much the injury has interfered with daily life
  4. Disfigurement
  5. Limitations on enjoyment of life
  6. How likely it is that the noneconomic losses will continue, and for how long

Who Can Recover Pain and Suffering Damages?

Anyone who has been hurt due to the fault of another person may recover pain and suffering damages in Utah. Someone else may be at fault for your injuries if your injuries were caused by a car accident, a slip and fall, medical malpractice, an animal bite, or the a wrongful death of a loved one. However, pain and suffering damages are never available in Utah for workers' compensation claims.

When Are Pain and Suffering Damages Recoverable?

If your injuries were suffered in a car accident, in order to recover pain and suffering damages from the driver responsible, you will first need to exceed certain minimum Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance minimums. Utah requires all injured parties to recover from their own PIP unless the injury resulted in:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Permanent disability or impairment
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • $3,000+ in medical expenses

Why Would My Pain and Suffering Damages Be Limited?

There are two kinds of limits on pain and suffering damages: time and amount. Additionally, fault laws could reduce or prevent your recovery.

Time Limits

First and foremost, you could be prevented from recovering any damages at all if you do not file your claim before the applicable statute of limitations runs out. If a school bus driver or a poorly maintained Library floor is responsible for your injuries, you may have a claim against a city, town, or county, but your claim must be filed within one year.

If your mental anguish is the result of a loved one's death, or if the state of Utah is at fault for your injuries—for instance, if a TRAX driver caused your car accident—you must file two years of the incident. if your claim for pain and suffering damages includes a claim for car repairs or other personal property, you must file your claim within three years. Finally, For injuries such as broken bones, you have four years to file.

Amount Limits

Even if the court finds Utah responsible for the injuries that a TRAX or public school bus driver caused you, Utah's liability is limited based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This means that, as of July 2016, if your pain and suffering damages claim stems from a personal injury, the most you will be able to recover is $717,100. If more than one person was injured in the same accident, the most Utah will pay per accident is a total of $2,455,900.

Contributory Fault

If the court finds that you were more than 49% at fault for your own injuries, the court will not award you any damages. This is because Utah employs a form of modified comparative fault. While more forgiving that traditional contributory fault systems, this form of modified comparative fault will only allow you to recover if you are found less than 50% at fault, and will reduce your recovery in proportion to your percentage of fault.

Where Can I Get a Free Review of My Injury Claim?

Whether your injury is keeping you from belaying down the Sky Towers or barreling down Keyhole, if your injury seriously interferes with your daily life, you may be entitled to pain and suffering damages. A Utah attorney is available to review your claim for free and give you a free estimate of how much pain and suffering damages you might recover.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.