Understanding Utah’s Liability Laws – Regarding Fault & No-Fault Auto Accidents

Most states are pure fault states when it comes to car accidents. That means that when an accident occurs, the insurance of the driver who is deemed to be at fault pays out everything for both parties. In Utah, though things may turn out the same way in the long run, claims function much differently in the short term. Twelve states in the U.S are considered No-Fault states. Those states are called no fault because a driver’s own insurance company will pick up the tab for the bodily injury claims of their own insured up until a certain statutory threshold, no matter who is at fault. In Utah, that statutory amount is $3,000. That means that if you are in a car accident in Utah, you will be precluded from bringing a bodily injury claim against the at fault party until your special damages (medical bills) exceed $3,000. This could be good and bad. This is also why having a personal injury attorney on your side in these cases is critical, but I digress. It makes insurance premiums slightly higher for responsible parties because even great drivers who do not cause accidents must have $3,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) on their policy because the at-fault driver will not pay until bills exceed that. But this system also carries many benefits. You are still protected to a certain degree when you are hit by a driver with no insurance. You do not have to wait for weeks until liability is determined to be able to pay any medical bills so you are able to focus on getting better right from the get-go. If you do end up bringing a claim, the court system will not be full of frivolous lawsuits because no claims with minor injuries will be litigated.

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You may be worried that your insurance company should not have to pay for medical bills that were not your fault, but do not worry, your premiums will not likely go up and your insurance company will actually be reimbursed down the road behind the scenes if you meet the threshold anyway. This system just puts less of a burden on you. It allows both parties to begin seeking medical care without waiting until the insurance companies quit bickering and settle on apportionments of fault. It is important to note that property damage is still handled through a fault system even in a no fault state. Insured parties can still choose to handle their property damage claims through their own insurance company if they prefer, but in that case, their insurance company will definitely be reimbursed.

If you are ever the victim of an accident that was not your fault, and your medical bills go over the $3,000, you will want to consult with the best personal injury lawyer you can find in Southern Utah. Once you cross $3,000, you would be incredibly foolish to not bring a bodily injury claim. Why leave your own insurance company paying the bill up to $3,000 and you footing the remainder? The law exists to place responsibility on the party who takes the unreasonable risk. That is what liability is: responsibility. To have a safe and functioning society, the cost of harm must rest on the party who negligently commits the wrong. Otherwise, people will not properly judge the value of their actions. The world would not be safe.  If you have questions about liability and how the law works, contact a St. George injury attorney.

This article is offered only for general information and educational purposes.  It is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion.  You should not act or rely on any information contained in this article without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

The Best Way to Work With Auto Insurance Claims Adjustors

Auto accidents are a common occurrence in St. George, Utah. Getting into a crash is not only painful, but stressful. Oftentimes, the stress will continue long after the physical pain has gone away. Much of this is due to the elongated process of dealing with the many insurance claims adjustors that will be assigned to your claim. Adjustors from both your own insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company will begin calling you as soon as you file your claim. Their job is to assign as low of a value as possible to both your property damage (the damage to your automobile) and your bodily injury (the damage to you, both physical and emotional). The insurance company will assign a different expert to each of those issues. That expert deals with people like you every single day. It is their job to low-ball you while keeping you happy. They are very good at it. Negotiating a fair amount is not likely because you have no experience. That is one of the many reasons car accident victims hire attorney’s. However, the following tips and tricks can at least give you a sling to use in your David vs. Goliath type battle.

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  1. Be kind. Do not be rude to your adjuster. All people respond better to positive reinforcement. We do not like being yelled at. You are one of hundreds of claimants that your adjustor will be dealing with at any given time. Do not be his or her least favorite claimant. It’s just common sense.

  2. Be careful. Your call is being recorded. Do not give information that is not necessary. They will want you to do silly things like admit fault, give them access to all your medical records, and sign releases. Do not do those things. Do not say that you were not hurt unless you know for 100% certain that you were not hurt. Hint: you will not know for sure until a week after the accident, neck and back injuries take days to set in.

  3. Be ready. It is hard to get the adjustor on the other end of the line. When they finally call you back, don’t blow it. By blow it, I mean don’t be unprepared. You need to have certain documents like police reports and medical records with you at all times so you can answer their questions. You also need to make sure to take down notes during and after each conversation. They are making records, you should be too.

  4. Be patient. Adjustors know that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. They will offer you extremely low amounts early on in the negotiation process to entice you to settle your property damage claim and bodily injury claim for far less than they are actually worth. Do not be fooled by this. It is in your best interest to keep a level head and make

  5. Every negotiation is about two parties who want different outcomes. The point is to meet in the middle so that both parties can be somewhat satisfied. Always keep in mind that the first number the insurance throws at you may be their low-ball offer. Feel free to counter.

  6. Get an auto-accident attorney involved. You don’t know what you don’t know. Car accidents can be a very significant time in your life, especially if you or a loved one is hurt. An experienced auto accident attorney will review your options with you for free.

This article is offered only for general information and educational purposes.  It is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion.  You should not act or rely on any information contained in this article without first seeking the advice of an attorney.