Recovering monetary damages after a car accident in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah is not as easy and straightforward as in other cities and states in the U.S. Particularly, there are two car accident laws in Utah that could prevent you from seeking compensation for your injuries and damages after a motor vehicle accident.
Our Salt Lake City car accident attorney at the Jardine Law Offices, P.C., warns that if you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision in Utah, you should learn more about these two legal doctrines that exist in the state:
If you are not familiar with these two laws, there is a high risk that insurance companies will use your ignorance and lack of knowledge against you to either minimize the value of your personal injury claim or deny coverage.
In Utah, every auto insurance policy comes with personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. It is not optional. PIP coverage comes with the package. This type of coverage provides policyholders with at least $3,000 of benefits for medical bills associated with the car accident-related injury regardless of whether the policyholder was the victim or the at-fault party.
PIP coverage is made available to you right after you notify your insurance company about the motor vehicle crash. And while having a minimum of $3,000 immediately available to pay for medical bills is undoubtedly a great thing, there is one downside that is often overlooked by victims and their attorneys in Salt Lake City and all across Utah.
“The problem is that Utah laws require you to exhaust at least $3,000 of that PIP coverage on car accident-related medical expenses,” explains our car accident attorney in Salt Lake City. “Failure to do so bars you from filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver and his/her insurance company in order to recover additional damages, including but not limited to lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and others.”
The worst thing you can do is wait too long after the accident before seeking medical attention. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah, it is paramount that you receive medical care right away and keep track of your medical expenses. It is important that you exhaust your PIP coverage (at least $3,000 in medical expenses related to the car accident injury), or you will not be able to recover more damages.
However, as always, there are exceptions to the general rule. In the case with PIP coverage, you are not legally required to exhaust PIP coverage if you wish to file a claim against your insurance company or if your claim involves wrongful death, permanent disability, or disfigurement.
Be sure that failure meet the $3,000 PIP threshold will prompt your insurance adjuster to deny your personal injury claim, arguing that your car accident-related injury was not serious enough if you did not even spend $3,000 on medical treatments.
This one is less complex but may be confusing if you have never been in a car accident in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah. Our Salt Lake City car accident attorney at the Jardine Law Offices, P.C., explains that Utah lives by the legal doctrine of comparative negligence, which takes into account the level of negligence on the part of all parties involved.
Under the law of comparative negligence, even if you did not cause the car accident but were deemed partially at-fault for it, the amount of money you can recover will be reduced by the percentage of your own negligence in the accident. Therefore, if a jury determines that you were 30% at fault for the car accident, and your total personal injury damages equal $70,000, you would be left with only $49,000.
That is why it is vital to be legally represented by an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney in Utah in order to recover maximum damages and obtain the compensation that you truly deserve. Contact the Jardine Law Offices, P.C., to speak about your case. Call our offices at 801-451-9555 or fill out this contact form to get a free consultation.