How Does Being a No Fault State Impact Car Accident Claims in Utah?
Utah is one of only twelve states that has a “no-fault” auto insurance regulation. This means that if you get into a car accident in that state, regardless of which driver was at fault, policyholders may recover financial losses from their own insurance companies. The purpose behind instating this sort of policy was to lower insurance premiums for consumers. This purpose was not fulfilled as many states soon observed that implementing a “no-fault” regulation only increased the profits of insurance companies. What do the nuances of this type of policy entail? Utah car accident attorneys at Overson Law, LLC explain.
Utah’s No-Fault Insurance Policy
A no fault insurance policy such as the one followed by the State of Utah provides that when individuals get into a car accident, they seek compensation from their own insurance companies first, and sometimes exclusively. Filing for this sort of compensation is known as a “first party claim.” When an auto insurance company receives this sort of claim, it is required to pay a minimum of $3,000 in Personal Injury Protection benefits (PIP). Fault is irrelevant. For an accident where parties suffered minor injuries, individuals may only have to collect from their own insurance company for damages. Under the no fault policy and PIP, motorists may only receive compensation for medical treatment and out of pocket costs. Compensation for pain and suffering and other non-monetary damages are not covered.
Sometimes, motorists are injured in car accidents and the costs of medical care exceed the $3,000 covered by PIP. It is important that when a driver is injured in an accident, he or she seeks treatment right away so that insurance adjusters will not deny a settlement claim should the PIP threshold be surpassed. To step outside the no-fault system and file an action for damages against the at-fault driver, Utah requires motorists to meet certain thresholds set by state law. In order to file a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver, the driver must have incurred medical costs that exceed $3,000 as a result of the crash or the driver must have suffered certain severe injuries. The injuries that meet Utah’s threshold are:
- Permanent impairment
- Permanent disability
- Permanent disfigurement
- Dismemberment; or
Individuals who meet one or both of these requirements are not limited to the no-fault policy. Motorists who have met this threshold may pursue third-party insurance claims against the at fault driver’s insurance company or they may file a personal injury lawsuit against the at fault driver.
Utah requires that all motorists must carry minimum auto insurance coverage in order to drive legally in the state. The purpose of this liability car insurance is to help compensate a victim’s injuries and property damage. The auto insurance policy must include the following minimums:
- $25,000 per person, per accident;
- $65,000 for bodily injury total per accident; and
- $15,000 for property damage per accident.
Alternatively, you may carry insurance that covers $80,000 total for bodily injury and property damage.
An injured party may make a claim against an at fault driver’s liability insurance once his or her PIP coverage has been exhausted. It is sometimes wise to add other types of coverage to an insurance policy to remain protected on the road. Examples of additional auto insurance protection include:
- Comprehensive coverage,
- Collision coverage, and
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Comprehensive coverage is used to repair cars and trucks that are damaged due to non-collision related incidents. Examples of this include theft, vandalism, and fire. Collision coverage is used to repair vehicles after accidents with other vehicles. Uninsured/underinsured coverage protects drivers in car accidents where another driver is at fault and that driver is either not covered by insurance or is underinsured.
Utah follows the Comparative Fault Rule when a court determines how much money, if any, an injured party can collect from an at fault driver. This rule states that if an injured driver was partially at fault in an accident, the court will reduce the amount of monetary damages that person can recover by the percentage he or she was at fault. To recover under this rule, an individual must less than 50% at fault. If a driver is more than 50% at fault, he or she will recover nothing. Here is an example of how this rule is implemented: a driver in a car accident has incurred $100,000 worth of damages. A jury in Utah finds that this driver is 30% at fault. The $100,000 damages that were incurred will be reduced by 30%, leaving you with $70,000.
Salt Lake City Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident in Utah, talk to a car accident attorney right way. The Utah personal injury attorneys at Overson Law, LLC represent injured car accident victims and help them receive compensation for their injuries and missed work. If you were injured, call Darwin Overson today at (801) 895-3143 to start your car accident injury claim.