Were you involved in a Utah car accident? You may be wondering what you’re in for in terms of resolving the situation, and you probably have quite a few questions.
Meeting with an experienced personal injury lawyer – like the team at William R. Rawlings & Associates – is the easiest and best way to get the answers you need. However, the following article should provide you with some useful information on the Utah car accident claims process.
Do You Need to Report a Utah Car Accident?
Utah law mandates the filing of a vehicle accident report in the event anyone was injured or the property damage sustained totals over $1,500. Most car collisions fit one or both of those descriptions – and if that’s the case for your accident, you must notify the nearest law enforcement agency and remain at the scene until an officer responds.
If you suffered injuries and took an ambulance to the hospital before the police arrived, file a report as soon as possible, while your memory of the car accident is still fresh. Failing to report the collision is a misdemeanor in Utah, and the consequences could be up to 90 days in jail as well as a fine of up to $750 or the equivalent in compensatory service.
In addition, your insurance company likely requires that you inform them when a car accident occurs. When you make the call to report the collision, be brief — providing the date, time and location of the accident is fine, as is sharing the identities of any witnesses and the other motorists involved. You don’t have to tell the adjuster anything else, and you certainly don’t want to consent to give a recorded statement without first talking to a personal injury lawyer.
Understanding Utah’s No-Fault Liability System
Utah is a no-fault insurance state, which means that your own insurance policy will cover the damages arising from a car accident – up to a limit – regardless of who is to blame for the collision.
To pursue a personal injury claim against the motorist responsible for your car accident, you must have incurred more than $3,000 in medical bills, lost income and other economic damages. Or, you must have suffered dismemberment, disfigurement, permanent disability or another qualifying serious injury.
If your case meets either or both criteria, you’re not limited to filing a car accident claim under your own insurance policy – you’ll be able to hold the at-fault party accountable. The door will be open to seek out compensation for all of your losses, including emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment and other non-economic damages.
Should You Hire a Utah Personal Injury Lawyer?
Under Utah law, car accident victims are not required to have legal representation to pursue compensation. That said, many choose to hire a personal injury lawyer – and you may want to go that route, too, putting your focus on recovering and letting a legal expert handle your car accident claim.
Hiring an experienced Utah personal injury lawyer won’t guarantee a successful case outcome, but doing so greatly increases your chances of obtaining every dollar you deserve for your injuries and losses. An attorney can investigate the collision, collect evidence to prove the at-fault motorist’s negligence and handle negotiations with insurance adjusters on your behalf. All of this can go a long way toward ensuring the best possible result.
Consider, too, that comparative negligence laws apply — and if you are partially to blame for the collision, you’ll see your compensation reduced by your degree of fault. Worse, if another motorist succeeds in proving that you were more than halfway responsible for the car accident, you’ll be barred from recovering damages. A personal injury lawyer can use proven strategies to keep that from happening, fighting for the maximum in compensation.
How Does the Car Accident Claims Process Work?
In Utah, most car accident claims are settled out of court. Getting to that point can be a challenge, however, as the settlement process involves quite a bit of work – and you can expect the insurance adjusters involved to make every effort to devalue your claim or even find a basis for a denial.
As for how your claim will proceed, investigation is the first step. Both sides gather evidence to demonstrate what happened, and since the insurance company will have a team of experts in their corner, you may need the expertise of a personal injury lawyer to level the playing field.
Once you or your personal injury lawyer completes the investigation and the scope of treatment your injuries requires becomes known, it’s time to craft a demand letter to the insurance company. This letter is intended to share the facts and circumstances surrounding your car accident claim, including the costs you have incurred as a result of the collision.
Sending the demand letter is like sending a signal for negotiations to begin. You don’t want to settle for less than what you deserve, but the insurance company may put on the pressure. If they know you’re willing to take the matter to court, they’ll be more likely to offer a fair settlement – and if you have a personal injury lawyer, they’ll know you aren’t going to fold.
Talk to an Experienced Utah Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Moving through the Utah car accident claims process and securing the maximum in compensation is no easy task, particularly when you’re seriously injured. The legal team at William R. Rawlings & Associates can protect your rights, negotiating a favorable settlement or, if necessary, fighting it out in court.
For expert legal assistance with your Utah car accident claim, contact our office and schedule a personal injury lawyer consultation today.