Utah Car Accident Compensation Laws
Utah, home to Park City, offers snow sport enthusiasts arguably the best conditions available. Whether you love to catch the most air off the half pipe or ski only on days where there is at least a foot of fresh powder, you will not want to miss out on this Midwestern party. But all that powder has to come from somewhere, and if you get stuck between a car and a hard place during a blizzard, you will want to add knowledge of Utah car accident compensation laws to your tool belt.
A “No-Fault” and “Modified Comparative Fault” Jurisdiction
If you tried to drive on ice without all-wheel drive, you will be thankful that Utah is a “no fault” jurisdiction. This means that before you can sue anyone else for damages, personal injury protection insurance must cover your injuries unless those injuries include death, dismemberment, permanent disability or impairment, permanent disfigurement, or your medical expenses exceed $3,000.
Under Utah's “modified comparative fault” rule, you can recover damages from any driver more at fault than you. Essentially, the court will decide how much fault to allocate to each driver, and then reduce the amount of damages owed accordingly. For example, if the court found you to be 30% at fault and the other driver 70% at fault, and you suffered $10,000 in damages, the court would award you $7,000 in damages.
To learn more about Utah Car Accident Compensation Laws, take a look at the chart below.
Statute of Limitations
• 1 year for suits against a county, city, or town (Utah Code §78B-2-303)
• 2 years for wrongful death or personal injury where the State is the defendant (Utah Code §78B-2-304)
• 3 years for personal property damage (Utah Code §78B-2-305)
• 4 years for other personal injuries (Utah Code §78B-2-307)
Limits on Damages
• $3,000 in medical expenses must first be covered by PIP (Utah Code §31A-22-309)
• Government liability limited based on the CPI (Utah Code §R37-4-1)
• Punitive damages in excess of $50,000 must be equally divided with the state (Utah Code §78B-8-201)
Modified Comparative Negligence (Utah Code §78B-5-818)
Types of Damages
If you have been injured in an accident, it can be tough to sort out what you might be able to recover from the party at fault. Generally, you will be able to recover compensatory damages, also known as "actual damages." Depending upon the circumstances, punitive damages may also be available in your case. While compensatory damages are intended to compensate you for injuries you actually suffered, courts award punitive damages in order to punish the defendant for wrongdoing. In Utah, punitive damages have been awarded to punish insurance companies for denying claims in bad faith and to punish drivers convicted of DUIs in connection with the car accident.
Typical compensatory damages include:
- Lost earning capacity
- Vehicle repairs
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
Limits on Damages
All actions must be brought within one year if the driver at fault was working for a county, city, or town government, or two years if the driver at fault was working for the state. Additionally, Utah imposes limitations on government liability based on the consumer price index. For incidents occurring on or after July 1, 2016, government liability is limited to $717,100 per person up to a total of $2,455,900 per accident for personal injury damages and $286,900 per accident for property damages.
Fortunately, you have up to three years to file suit to recover damages for injuries to personal property (such as your car) and four years for injuries to your person (such as a broken leg).
If punitive damages are available in your case, the State of Utah permits the court to order the first $50,000 paid to you, however any amount in excess of $50,000 must be divided equally between you and the state.
Get Legal Help to Better Understand Utah Car Accident Compensation Laws
In most cases, Utah gives injured parties plenty of time to take stock of any damage and recover from injuries before it's time to file a lawsuit. But if the government was responsible for your injuries, making sense of the complicated limits on government liability and sorting out which statute of limitations applies could add more stress to an already difficult time in your life. Contact an experienced car accident attorney in Utah to get help recovering the damages you're entitled to recover for your injuries.
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