Utah Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline
If you have had a car accident in "the crossroads of the West" you'll find yourself dealing with a series of questions. Do you need to inform an authority? How do you work out a settlement with the insurance company? How long do you have to file a lawsuit? The following article provides some guidance to help answer these and others related to the Utah car accident settlement process and timeline.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Utah?
Utah law requires a driver who has reason to believe they were involved in an accident resulting in property damage of $1,500 or more to notify the nearest law enforcement agency office immediately and by the quickest means of communication pursuant to code Utah Code, Section 41-6a-401.
A driver must also immediately notify the nearest law enforcement agency if they are involved in an accident that may involve the injury or death of another person. The occupant of a vehicle involved in such an accident must also give notice if the driver is physically incapable of giving the notice and the occupant is able. These requirements are found in Utah Code Section 41-6a-402.
Utah Car Insurance Laws
Drivers in Utah must maintain proof of the owner or operator's security. In most situations this refers to the presentation of an insurance certificate, as required under Utah Code Sections 41-12a-402 and 41-12a-403.
Alternatively, the owner or operator can produce evidence of an insurance substitute such as:
- A surety bond with the Department of Safety as an insurance substitute pursuant to Utah Code Section 41-12a-405;
- A state treasurer certificate stating that the owner or operator has deposited in trust an amount equal to twice the single insurance limit pursuant to Utah Code Section 41-12a-406;
- A certificate of self-funded coverage where the person has more than 24 vehicles and has deposits in the amount of $200,000 plus $100 for each vehicle up to 1,000 vehicles and $50 for every vehicle thereafter pursuant to Utah Code Section 41-12a-407.
Someone who lacked insurance prior to the accident can avoid penalties by depositing a post-accident security with the Department of Safety in an amount determined by the department under Utah Code Section 41-12a-501, though they may be exempt from doing so under conditions detailed in the same statute.
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Utah?
Utah is one of a small number of "no-fault" insurance states, meaning that the insurer for the individual parties carries the responsibility to pay for damages arising from an accident no matter who was at fault. In Utah you will deal with the other party's insurer if you suffered at least $3,000 in medical expenses or suffered a qualifying "serious injury."
In cases that are exempt from Utah's no-fault system a settlement may be reached at any point before the entry of a judgment within a court case. The parties must agree on the amount of compensation and the claimant is typically required to release the insurer from liability from subsequent lawsuits.
What is The Average Car Accident Settlement in Utah?
Car accident settlement amounts are extraordinarily difficult to produce and may be incredibly misleading. This is because the amount of a settlement can vary greatly depending on the kind and severity of damage that occurs, including:
- Physical injury;
- Property damage;
- Lost work; or
- Pain and suffering.
How Long Do I Have To File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Utah?
A lawsuit arising from a car accident must be filed within:
- Four years from an accident involving a personal injury under Utah Code Section 78B-2-307; or
- Three years from an accident involving property damage under Utah Code Section 78B-2-305.
Talk to a Utah Car Accident Attorney About the Settlement Process
Since Utah is a no-fault state, it can be a complicated matter sorting out whether you even have a claim arising from your accident. A local lawyer can help you determine your rights, negotiate, and litigate as necessary. Contact a Utah accident attorney today and get a handle on your claim.
Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney
Contact a qualified attorney.