Utah No-Fault Car Insurance Rules Explained
When you get into a car accident and the shock has worn off, your first response is to make sure that everyone involved is okay. Check the occupants of your vehicle and yourself first, and then find out if anyone else has been injured. Once anyone in need of medical attention has received it you can worry about dealing with compensation for your injuries and damage.
Many states use the “fault” car insurance system. In such locations, you can file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. Utah is a “no-fault” state. This means you turn to your own insurance coverage for any compensation, regardless of who is at fault in the accident. Your insurer must pay you at least $3,000 in benefits from Personal Injury Protection. However, that may be as much as you get.
If you are hurt, you can can file a lawsuit against whoever is at fault under two conditions: if the accident left you with at least $3,000 in medical expenses, or if you’ve received certain kinds of injuries, such as dismemberment, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or permanent impairment. In addition, you must file this lawsuit within a certain deadline or it will be thrown out of court. Under this “statute of limitations,” you can file personal injury claims up to four years after an accident, and property damage claims up to three years after the accident.
Going Outside No-Fault
One advantage of going outside the no-fault system is that you can receive additional money for medical expenses or loss of income. For example, you may receive compensation for “pain and suffering,” a catch-all term that covers the physical and emotional stress and non-economic damages caused by the accident, including depression, scarring, aches, or being unable to perform daily activities. Car accident law firms may calculate this additional compensation by multiplying your medical expenses by an arbitrary number such as 3.
Because of the shock involved, you may not be able to think clearly about the consequences of your car accident, especially if you or someone you love is injured. That minor ache in your side may turn into a debilitating back injury several months down the road. So, it’s important to consult a car accident law firm to determine if you should pursue an exemption from Utah’s no-fault rule.