If you are considering bringing a personal injury suit in Utah, there are several laws and court rules that govern your claim. The same rules apply to filing claims with an insurance company. However, many companies have additional restrictions within their policies restricting when and how claims may be brought.
Any personal injury case brought must conform to these Utah personal injury laws. Failure to do so will likely result in the case being dismissed and the claim being lost. As always, a personal injury lawyer Salt Lake City can answer any questions you have if you have been injured through the fault of another.
Here are a few of the important considerations to keep in mind.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Utah?
A statute of limitations is a law requiring that lawsuits be brought within a certain period of time. In case of an accident or personal injury, Utah requires that the lawsuit be filed within 4 years of the event’s date. Meanwhile, in the case of wrongful death, the statute of limitations Utah is shorter, only 2 years.
There are a few exceptions that extend time, but these are technical, and a lawyer should be consulted if the victim has any questions or doubts on the matter.
Is There a Different Statute of Limitations for Personal Injuries Caused by Government Workers?
In the case of an injury caused by a governmental agency or by a government worker acting in an official capacity, a different rule applies. In order to sue the governmental agency or the worker, you must first file a notice of claim before filing the suit. The time limit for filing this notice is only one year, and if you fail to file it on time or before filing the suit, the case will very likely be dismissed.
Can I Still Recover if I Am Partly Responsible for the Accident?
Utah follows a rule of comparative fault. If several parties share responsibility for an accident and an injury, then the fault will be allocated to them in proportion to their responsibility. This is expressed as a percentage. If the victim is partly to blame for an accident, that will also be allocated as a percentage, and the victim’s award will be reduced by that fraction of damages.
So, to take a very simple example, if a victim is awarded $10,000 but found to be 10% at fault, the award is reduced to $9,000. If the victim is found to be more than 50% at fault, then the victim recovers nothing.
Utah courts apply the rule in court cases. Insurance companies are not required to apply the comparative fault rule in settling insurance claims, but adjusters often try to rely upon it during negotiations.
How are Automobile Accidents Handled in Utah?
Automobile accidents are dealt with through a “no-fault” system. For most minor accidents, each driver’s own auto insurance policy will cover the accident’s damages and medical expenses without looking at which driver was at fault.
In order to sue the other driver, a victim’s injuries must pass a certain amount, known as the serious injury threshold. The term is vague, and so if you have been severely injured in an accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer for help in determining whether your accident falls into this category.
Are There Any Other Limitations On Damages in Personal Injury Suits?
In addition to the statute of limitations, which sets time parameters for personal injury suits, there is a cap on damages in Utah, which limits the amount that can be recovered for certain types of damages in medical malpractice cases.
In Utah, damages for pain and suffering, and other non-economic damages, are limited to $450,000 in malpractice cases. This cap does not affect punitive damages or economic damages like lost wages. In addition, the rule only applies to medical malpractice suits, not other personal injury suits.
Are There Any Special Rules Relating to Injuries from Dog Bites?
In Utah, a dog owner is held strictly liable for any injury caused by their dog when it bites another. This differs from the so-called “one-bite” rule in many states, in which an owner can sometimes plead that they did not know the dog was vicious.
Where can I Turn for More Information About Utah Personal Injury Suits?
The Law Office of Chris W. Chong has helped many clients win personal injury awards and settlements in Utah. The firm has also successfully negotiated many settlements with insurance carriers without going to court. As one of the experienced Salt Lake City personal injury lawyers, Chris W. Chong will handle your case efficiently, diligently, and with the utmost compassion. If you or a loved one has been injured through the negligence of another, call us today for a free consultation.