Nov 15 2019

Basics on Utah’s Specific Personal Injury Laws, Part 1

When it comes to personal injury cases of a variety of types, rules and regulations vary fairly widely between states. Every state has its own set of laws and statutes that apply to personal injury cases, whether they’re in the form of vehicle accidents or numerous other injury types that could take place.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’re here to help with any and all Utah-specific statutes or laws for any personal injury case. Our personal injury attorneys will help you navigate any restrictions or roadblocks that come up along the way, all with a detailed knowledge of the applicable laws here and how they apply to your case. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over some of the specifics of Utah law as it relates to personal injury, auto accidents and other specific case types that might come up.

Utah’s specific personal injury laws

Shared Fault

For non-vehicle accident injury cases in Utah, it’s important to note that the state has what’s called a shared fault system in place. This means that injury cases can have more than one party that’s at fault, and liability cases may reflect partial fault from multiple parties.

In some cases, this rule – known as the comparative fault rule – may reduce the damages you can recover from another party. In these situations, the goal of a judge or jury will be to ascertain a percentage of fault for each party involved. If you are found to have at least 50% of the fault, you may not be allowed to collect damages at all.

Example of Shared Fault

Let’s go over a basic example of shared fault in an injury case. Let’s say you’re in a restaurant and you trip and fall on a broken floor tile, breaking your arm as you land. The restaurant did not properly mark the broken floor tile, but at the same time, multiple witnesses saw you distracted by your cell phone and not looking where you were going when you fell.

In this case, a court will factor both these considerations into a decision on fault. They may determine you were 20% at fault for not paying full attention, but the restaurant was 80% at fault for the dangerous conditions on their premises. If your total damages were set at $20,000, you would actually only receive $16,000 in this case under the comparative fault rule. As we noted, if you’re determined to have at least 50% of the fault, your damages will likely drop to zero and you cannot collect any compensation.

No-Fault Car Insurance

In car accident cases, on the other hand, things are very different. Utah is among many no-fault states, which means that after an accident, your insurance company will cover your medical expenses and lost income – even if you believe another party was at fault for the accident.

Only in cases where your case meets a “serious injury” threshold can you hold the other driver liable, meaning this is the primary area our attorneys will look to help you prove. In these cases, you can step outside the no-fault system and file a liability claim. Our auto accident injury attorneys will help explain what meets the criteria for “serious injury” in your case.

For more on Utah-specific personal injury regulations, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.