Does a Car Accident Appear on Your Record if You’re Determined Not at Fault in UT?
Car accidents are stressful, even if no one suffers injury. There are often insurance companies involved, reporting the accident to the police, and (in serious cases) medical bills to take care of. In nearly every case, one driver is the cause of the accident, and the rest are victims. However, under Utah’s “no-fault” insurance rules, you may still have to use your insurance, even if you were the innocent victim of the accident. Still more concerning, the record of the car accident may still follow you, even if you aren’t at fault. Salt Lake City car accident lawyer Darwin Overson explains:
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Utah?
The first thing you may be concerned with to avoid a record of an accident is whether you can avoid reporting the accident entirely. If you suffered any injuries in your accident, or think injuries like back pain or whiplash may appear in the next couple days, you should always report an accident. Utah law requires you to report any car accident involving death, personal injury, or over $1,500 worth of property damage. To report an accident, call the police. They should arrive with other emergency services, if needed. Police can take pictures of the scene, get everyone’s information, and file an official incident report. This can all be helpful later if you need to make a third-party insurance claim or take the at-fault driver to court for your injuries.
Does My Insurance Go Up if I’m the Victim of a Car Accident?
Utah is a “no-fault” insurance state. That means that after a car accident, the first insurance company you file a claim with is your own insurance. Your insurance policy is required to have “personal injury protection” (PIP) as part of the coverage. This is money set aside to cover your own injuries after a car crash, and can help with immediate medical expenses and needs regardless of who was at fault for the accident. If your injuries require medical care over $3,000 or qualify as “severe” under Utah’s definition, you may be able to make a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. This “third-party claim” requires showing some proof that the other driver was at-fault in the accident before their insurance will pay you any money. In some cases, this works smoothly. In others, the insurance company refuses to pay or the other driver refuses to admit fault, and you may need an attorney to step in. Any time your insurance company receives a claim for injuries or vehicle damage, they consider this an “incident.” Your insurance may not raise your premiums or take any action against you if you were the victim of the accident. However, the fact that you needed to use your insurance may make the carrier think you are a “higher risk,” even if you were never at fault for any accident on your record. This may cause your premiums to go up slightly, especially if you are repeatedly the victim of car accidents. However, you may be able to counteract these kinds of issues with other driving discounts, depending on your policy. If you try to change insurance companies, the record of accidents may not state who was at fault, and it might require jumping through hoops to get statements from your old insurance provider to convince the new provider that you were the victim.
Does the Government Keep a Record of My Car Accidents?
Any accident report usually becomes a part of your permanent driving record. This means that, even if you were the victim, the incident will often be noted on your full driver’s history. Because the police are there as neutral observers and reporters of accidents, this is merely a record and may not state who is at fault. If you received any traffic tickets for the accident, those would be listed on your record as well. However, if you were the victim of the car crash, the lack of any fines or tickets may help show it wasn’t your fault. If your driving record is important for your job or any other reason, you may want to consider pursuing legal action for the accident. If a court rules in your favor and awards you damages for an accident, that judgment in your favor may be a good record that you were not at fault in the accident. This could help show future insurance companies, employers, or anyone else that you didn’t cause the accident on your record.
Salt Lake City Car Accident Lawyer
If you were the victim of a car accident, you may have multiple routes to recovery. Any time you suffer serious injuries or medical bills worth over $3,000, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit for your car accident. For a free consultation on your car accident case and for help understanding your options and how the accident will affect your driving record, call Salt Lake City personal injury lawyer Darwin Overson of Overson Law, PLLC today at (801) 895-3143.