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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Photo Credit: stupid.fotos

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.