Aug 05 2022

How Much Will an Auto Accident Attorney in Utah Cost?

Refraining from talking to a Utah auto accident attorney might just be the biggest mistake an injured victim can make. Research shows that those who work with an attorney tend to obtain much more money than victims who try to recover damages on their own. Going without legal assistance can put a personal injury claim in jeopardy, keeping victims from receiving the compensation they deserve.

But what about the cost? Could you even afford legal representation?

Actually, a lack of funds doesn’t have to be a problem. Choose a Utah auto accident attorney who works on a contingency fee basis – like the legal team at William R. Rawlings & Associates – and you won’t have to pay any upfront fees. Here’s what you need to know about contingency fees.

auto accident attorney Utah

What is a Contingency Fee?

Basically, a contingency fee payment arrangement is one where an auto accident attorney represents a client for free until their claim is resolved. Payment of legal fees is contingent upon a successful case outcome – meaning that the client only has to pay the lawyer if they receive compensation.

What if no damages are awarded? In the event a case ends without a win, the client pays no legal fees. As such, experienced car accident attorneys make every effort to ensure that doesn’t happen.

What is the Customary Contingency Fee for an Auto Accident Attorney?

When it comes to personal injury claims involving car wrecks, there is no standard contingency fee. However, the payment is typically between 25 and 40 percent of the damages awarded. The average rate is 33 percent.

The amount a Utah auto accident attorney charges depends upon several factors, but as a general rule, the more complicated a case, the greater the contingency fee. As an example, let’s say a lawyer is able to reach a fair settlement for a client, and the total is $100,000. In this situation, the legal fees may amount to $33,000 (33 percent). But if the case proceeds to trial instead and $100,000 in damages are awarded, the attorney may charge $40,000 (40 percent) of the recovery.

Whether a settlement is reached or a case ends with a jury award, a car accident attorney doesn’t send the client a bill. Instead, the legal fees and case expenses are taken directly from the winnings.

How are the Costs Associated with a Car Accident Case Handled?

Car accident attorneys often offer a zero-fee guarantee or say that if they don’t win a case, the client doesn’t pay. This isn’t exactly accurate, however – what this really means is that the lawyer doesn’t collect any legal fees.

Other expenses associated with a personal injury claim – such as document fees, court filing fees and payment for expert witnesses — may be initially covered by an accident attorney, though many ask the client to handle expenses as they arise. Either way, the client remains responsible for these costs, as they aren’t contingent upon of the outcome of their case.

When a lawyer wins compensation for a client, any case expenses incurred are deducted from the settlement or jury award along with the agreed-upon contingency fee. If the case doesn’t settle or succeed in court, the client can expect to receive a bill. That said, reading the fine print of a contingency fee agreement is the only way to know exactly how case expenses will be handled.

Is Hiring a Utah Auto Accident Attorney Worth the Cost?

As we mentioned earlier, working with a car accident attorney tends to result in a higher payout. Having legal representation can make all the difference in whether or not an injured victim obtains a full financial recovery.

Some people say that with a minor car wreck that causes little or no injuries, hiring a lawyer isn’t necessary. That may be the case, but given that physical injuries and emotional trauma related to an accident may not be immediately apparent, scheduling a free attorney consultation is always worthwhile.

With a serious car wreck, one that results in injuries that require extensive medical treatment, the value of a claim is higher – and that makes hiring a Utah auto accident attorney well- worth the cost. The insurance adjusters involved will do everything they can to minimize the amount of compensation, and an experienced lawyer will know how to fight back and get every dollar an injured victim deserves.

Schedule a Free Consultation at William R. Rawlings & Associates Today

If you’re ever in a car wreck in Utah and need legal advice, give William R. Rawlings & Associates a call. Discussing your case won’t cost you a dime, and you can count on us stand up for your rights.

After negotiating settlements and taking cases to court for decades, we’ve become a trusted Utah law firm, and we’re proud of our many client referrals. For more details on our legal team, or to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a highly skilled and knowledgeable Utah auto accident attorney, contact William R. Rawlings & Associates today.

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Jul 26 2022

How a Utah Car Accident Lawyer Can Help With Your Injury Claim

After being seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash, hiring a Utah car accident lawyer may not be on your mind at all. The car wreck itself was likely quite startling, and since then, your life has likely turned upside down. You may be both in need of ongoing medical treatment and unable to work, and taking part in activities you once loved may no longer be possible.

However overwhelmed you’re feeling, you still need to pay the bills – but as you’ll soon learn, trying to put your life back together while recovering from your injuries isn’t easy.

In theory, anyone who is injured in an accident caused by someone else should get have a simple way to get compensated for their losses. In reality, Utah personal injury claims are surprisingly complicated, and you may need help from an experienced car accident lawyer to get every dollar you deserve. Here are a few of the ways the right car wreck attorney can guide your injury claim toward the most favorable outcome.

auto accident lawyer Utah

Conducting an Investigation of the Car Accident

Finding out exactly what happened, how it happened and who was at fault is crucial for any Utah injury claim.

Your recollection of the events matters, of course, but after being in a crash with another motor vehicle, your memory may be a little fuzzy. Many factors and multiple parties may be involved, and you’ll need to paint a full picture of what caused the car wreck and what losses have been incurred as a result of the incident.

To accomplish that, you need information. A knowledgeable and experienced car accident lawyer will launch a thorough investigation, leaving no stone unturned as they look to get to the bottom of what led to your motor vehicle crash.

Gathering Evidence to Support Your Injury Claim

Knowing what happened is one thing, but proof is essential for a favorable outcome to a Utah personal injury claim.

Collecting the necessary evidence is linked to the investigation process – and as with other legal matters, injury claims arising from car wrecks often involve many different types of evidence. Medical records, police reports, photographs and witness statements are among the forms of proof that can play a critical role in case outcome.

A seasoned personal injury lawyer can help you by gathering proof to support your injury claim – and by using the collected evidence to craft a sound legal strategy. As such, hiring an attorney means putting your best foot forward as you fight for compensation.

Negotiating On Your Behalf with Other Parties

Personal injury claims related to Utah car wrecks frequently involve pushy insurance adjusters and other difficult defendants.

Communicating and negotiating with all of the parties involved can be a major burden when you’re trying to recover from serious injuries. And, if you happen to say the wrong thing to the wrong person, you could inadvertently undermine the value of your claim. Worse, your claim for compensation could be completely denied.

With the right Utah car accident lawyer on your side, you won’t have to worry about any of that happening. If you get a call from an insurance adjuster or another defendant, you can simply tell them to contact your attorney.

Fighting for the Maximum in Monetary Compensation

Insurance adjusters have one goal — to minimize the amount of injury claim compensation or, better yet, eliminate it entirely.

For this reason, many insurance company representatives engage in underhanded tactics. When negotiating a fair settlement proves to be impossible, injured car wreck victims have one course of action – filing a lawsuit. Utah personal injury claims often settle after this, but there’s always the possibility of a case going to trial.

In any event, having a skilled and experienced Utah car accident lawyer can make a major difference in terms of case outcome. As research shows, car wreck victims who have attorneys receive much more money than those who represent themselves.

Get the Help You Need at William R. Rawlings & Associates

If someone’s reckless or careless behind-the-wheel conduct has caused you to be injured, the experienced car accident lawyers at William R. Rawlings & Associates in Draper, Utah, is ready to take the lead with your injury claim.

Our car accident lawyers have been helping others in your position for more than a decade, and you can rely on us to act as both your trusted legal advisor and a dedicated advocate — and we’ll make every effort to ensure you’re fairly compensated for your injuries and losses. Our legal team handles injury claims on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t have to pay us a fee unless and until we win your case.

At William R. Rawlings & Associates, we offer free, no-obligation consultations to injured car wreck victims throughout northern Utah. To meet with a highly skilled and experienced Utah car accident lawyer, contact our Draper office today.

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Jul 01 2022

How Auto Accident Lawyers Recommend Talking to Insurance Adjusters

If you’ve suffered significant injuries in a car wreck, hiring an experienced Utah auto accident lawyer is in your best interests. However, with everything on your plate at the moment, you may not have had a chance to contact a local law firm yet – and you could get a call from the insurance company of the driver at fault for the crash at any point.

So, what should you do if that happens? What do auto accident lawyers in Utah say is the right way to respond? Read on for advice on how to approach your first post-accident phone call from an insurance adjuster.

car accident lawyer

Proceed With Caution

The conversation might start off on a friendly note, and the adjuster you speak with may even seem empathetic. Don’t be fooled – this person is not on your side.

For the insurance company of the other driver involved in your car wreck, the number one goal is to figure out a way to pay you as little as possible or, better yet, nothing at all. Insurance adjusters will try to trick you, and anything you say could end up harming your case. Remember this, and refrain from getting chatty.

Stay Calm and Be Polite

Auto accident lawyers in Utah say that the best way to handle a call from an insurance adjuster is to be courteous and speak in a professional manner.

You may be pretty upset about the car wreck and your injuries, but snapping at the adjuster won’t do any good – and that approach could be detrimental to your case, as your words could end up being used against you. Keep a cool head, and you’ll be better able to keep control over the conversation.

Don’t Agree to Be Recorded

If the insurance adjuster asks whether it’s ok to record the conversation – and they very likely will — politely decline, saying that you aren’t comfortable being recorded.

They may make the request in a way that makes it seem like giving a recorded statement is the standard procedure. Or, the adjuster might use phrasing that makes you feel as if you’re obligated to comply. Neither is true, and auto accident lawyers caution that a recorded statement could be used to undermine your claim.

Take Notes During the Talk

The auto accident attorney you hire will want to know about your conversation with the insurance adjuster, so be sure to write down all of the key information as you talk.

Start by jotting down the name, address and phone number of the adjuster along with the name of the insurance company they’re with. As the conversation progresses, take notes on the information you provide and any you receive. Write down any requests that were made, too, and after the call ends, make sure your notes are complete.

Provide Only Basic Facts

The insurance adjuster will be trying to get you to talk about the auto accident, but attorneys say to politely refuse to provide anything but the most basic information.

Telling the adjuster your full name and address is fine, as is telling them the name of your employer. You can also disclose the vehicles involved and the identities of any witnesses. If pressed for details, auto accident lawyers suggest saying that your investigation is ongoing and you aren’t prepared to discuss more at this time.

Don’t Discuss Your Injuries

You can expect questions about your injuries, but you don’t need to provide any health information – not even the name of your doctor or where you’re getting medical care.

Keeping the nature and extent of your injuries to yourself is the best course of action. You might become aware of a new injury related to the car wreck, or your injuries could worsen as time goes on. Anything you say now might be inaccurate, so auto accident lawyers say to tell the adjuster you’re still in treatment and waiting for more information.

End the Conversation Firmly

When you don’t give the insurance adjuster much to work with, they’ll want to speak with you again, but ending the talk in a resolute manner can discourage repeat calls.

Auto accident lawyers in Utah recommend telling the adjuster that contacting you is unnecessary, as you have no other information to provide. Make it perfectly clear that you prefer limited contact in the future – and that you will never agree to settle without first discussing the matter with an experienced attorney.

Call an Auto Accident Attorney

Hiring a skilled auto accident lawyer is the best way to protect yourself after being seriously injured in a car wreck – and William R. Rawlings & Associates is here to meet your needs.

Insurance adjusters are tasked with the job of denying as many auto accident claims as they can. When they can’t deny a claim, their objective is to negotiate the lowest possible settlement. This is the type of work they do every day, and you need an attorney with just as much experience. You’ll find that at William R. Rawlings & Associates.

To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a highly qualified and experienced auto accident lawyer in Utah, contact us today.

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Jun 28 2022

Good Reasons to Call a Utah Car Accident Attorney

Most people in Utah never think about talking to a car accident attorney until they need one. What’s more, many accident victims don’t know if they even need a lawyer.

If you’ve been injured in a fender bender that wasn’t your fault, should you make a point of consulting with a local legal professional? What can a lawyer do to help with the situation?

The truth is, a car accident attorney can play a vital role in the fight for fair compensation, protecting your rights and ensuring you get every dollar you deserve. Here, we discuss the primary reasons to hire an experienced Utah lawyer after suffering injuries in a motor vehicle collision.

Utah car accident attorney

Dealing With the Insurance Company

Insurance adjusters aren’t on the side of car accident victims. The companies they represent want to make a profit, so adjusters are tasked with the goal of reducing the amount of money that must be paid out – and some even find ways to deny completely valid claims.

Turning to an experienced Utah car accident attorney can be to your benefit, as a lawyer will:

  • Take over all communications with the insurance company
  • Handle all of the details and legalities that apply to your case
  • Represent your interests and defend your right to compensation
  • Negotiate a fair settlement or, if need be, take the matter to court

Make sure that the legal professional you choose specializes in accident claims. Every case is different, but experience matters when it comes to insurance negotiation. With a seasoned car accident attorney on your side, you stand a much stronger chance of reaching a favorable case outcome.

Establishing Your Right to Compensation

Anyone who is injured as a result of another person’s actions has the right to seek compensation. But because the other parties involved in a motor vehicle collision may try to shift the blame, proving who is liable for your injuries and losses may be rather challenging.

An experienced car accident attorney can help. The right legal professional will build a solid case by:

  • Obtaining the accident report and interviewing witnesses
  • Going through the evidence to determine exactly what happened
  • Gathering your medical records from each of your health care providers
  • Consulting with specialized experts to prove the seriousness of your claim

Collecting all of the available evidence and working with the right specialists – which may include medical and mental health experts, financial specialists and experts in accident reconstruction – is advantageous as far as case outcome is concerned. An accomplished car accident attorney will know what’s needed to forge a strong claim.

Meeting All of the Legal Deadlines

When you’re injured in a fender bender, your priority should be on getting better. But the reality is, if you intend to seek compensation from the at-fault party, you don’t have all the time in the world to do so. The accident claim process may not move all that quickly, and there are several deadlines you’ll need to meet.

Reach out to a qualified Utah car accident lawyer, and you won’t have to worry about missing the following:

  • The deadline to notify your insurance provider about the collision
  • The statute of limitations for injury claims, which is four years in Utah
  • The three-year time limit for making a property damage claim

Failing to meet all of the legal deadlines can be a major problem, as it could mean you no longer have the right to pursue compensation. And while we wish you had the option of waiting until you’re ready to face the situation, you’re better off calling a car accident attorney as soon as possible.

Making Your Life Easier After the Accident

Recovering from a motor vehicle collision is physically, mentally and emotionally stressful. With all that’s going on in your life, you don’t need the added headaches and hassles that come with an accident claim. Your focus should be on getting well, gaining strength and figuring out how to move forward.

With an experienced car accident attorney, you’ll be in a better position to make progress on the road to recovery because:

  • You won’t have to worry about pressure from insurance adjusters
  • You can prioritize self-care and get as much rest as you need
  • You’ll have more time to get the necessary medical treatment
  • You’ll know that a legal expert is fighting to protect your rights

In the wake of a fender bender, you really don’t need to be dealing with the difficulties of an accident claim on your own. Turning the matter over to a skilled and knowledgeable legal professional is in your best interests – both in terms of your recovery and the compensation you receive for your injuries and losses.

If you were recently injured in a motor vehicle collision in Utah, contact William R. Rawlings and Associates. Our legal team has handled thousands of accident claims, and we know how to help our clients get the maximum amount of monetary compensation for their losses. Plus, we never charge legal fees unless we’re successful in negotiating or litigating a claim.

For a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Utah car accident attorney, call William R. Rawlings and Associates today.

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Apr 26 2022

What Utah Car Accident Attorneys Say About Using Social Media

For many people, daily use of social media has become routine. But for anyone who is seriously injured in a car accident, attorneys in Utah suggest thinking twice before posting anything on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or any other social platform.

The reason for this is simple – social media activity can have a negative impact on any Utah car accident case. Insurance providers look at everything injured victims share online, and they’re not above using an out-of-context photo or post to cast doubt on a personal injury claim and keep compensation to a minimum.

Here at William R. Rawlings & Associates, our car accident attorneys have seen too many cases get derailed by social media use. To prevent that from happening to you, consider the dos and don’ts of posting online after car crash.

car accident attorneys Utah

What to Do on Social Media After a Car Accident

You’ll need to be careful about how you approach social media until your personal injury claim reaches a resolution. Steering clear of social platforms would be ideal, but since more than a year may pass before a case settles, that may not be feasible. To that end, experienced car accident attorneys in Utah recommend doing the following:

DO change the privacy settings for your social media profiles.

Lock down all of your accounts, making sure that the general public doesn’t have access to your information. While setting your profiles to private doesn’t mean everything you put online is completely private, your posts will be more secure.

DO ask others to refrain from posting anything about you or the car wreck.

Your loved ones may be tempted to lament over your injuries or vent about the auto accident online to their own friends. Ask them not to mention your ordeal, explaining that insurance adjusters may use what they say as evidence against your claim.

DO request that others avoid tagging you in any online post or story.

Being tagged in a photo or post about an activity – like riding a bike or even going to the store – could be used against you, as adjusters may imply that you’re actually engaged in the activity. Ask everyone you know to keep from tagging you until the case ends.

DO watch the comments you make on social media posts.

On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms, people can see the comments others make on their friend’s posts and on public posts. It’s best to avoid commenting anything that relates to the car accident, your injuries or how you feel.

What NOT to Do on Social Media After a Car Accident

As we mentioned, anything you post online after a car crash can come back to bite you. Insurance providers will be scanning your social media accounts, and they’ll use whatever they can find to devalue or deny your personal injury claim. For that reason, Utah car accident attorneys say to keep the following don’ts in mind:

DON’T post any photos of yourself or your injuries.

Insurance adjusters will use any picture of you looking happy to argue that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim. Even photos that document your recovery could be used to diminish your credibility. As such, you’d be wise to hold off on posting pics for now.

DON’T share any information about the car crash or your personal injury claim.

After an auto accident, you may be eager to share your side of the story or provide updates on how your personal injury claim is progressing. Keep from doing so, as every time you put any information online you run the risk of having it used against you.

DON’T express how you’re feeling or talk about getting better.

While you may want to reassure loved ones that you’re on the mend and doing well in light of the circumstances, doing so isn’t a good idea. These sorts of statements could put your injury claim in jeopardy, leading to less compensation than you deserve.

DON’T accept any new online friends or followers.

One tactic insurance adjusters use is to follow injured victims on social media or add them as friends, as that allows for easy access to information. Knowing this, you may want to postpone accepting friend or follower requests until your injury claim is resolved.

Talk to an Experienced Utah Car Accident Attorney Today

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident and plan to file a personal injury claim, following the advice above is to your benefit – and so is talking to an experienced Utah car accident attorney. A legal professional can provide you with advice on how to proceed and, if you like, take over your case to ensure the best possible outcome.

In Utah, the car accident attorneys to trust are here at William R. Rawlings & Associates. Our law firm has been protecting the rights of injured car crash victims for over 35 years, and we’ll fight to get you every dollar you deserve.

For a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your personal injury claim with a seasoned car accident attorney in Utah, contact William R. Rawlings & Associates today.

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Mar 04 2022

How Long Do You Have to Call a Utah Car Accident Lawyer?

If you were recently injured in a car wreck, you’re likely feeling pretty stressed. With all that’s on your plate at the moment, calling a Utah car accident lawyer may be last thing on your mind – but you should consider doing so soon.

Right now, getting better should be your number one priority. However, medical treatment costs money, and eventually, it will be time to pay the bills. If you didn’t cause the car wreck, those bills shouldn’t be your concern. Yet you don’t have the freedom to wait until you’re ready to deal with the situation.

The Utah car accident claims process takes a while to navigate, and while many cases settle out of court, filing a lawsuit is sometimes the only way to get a fair payout. And if you don’t file within the time limit – known as the statute of limitations – you may lose your right to compensation. Here’s what you need to know to meet the legal deadline.

car accident lawyer Utah

Utah’s Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Claims

Statutes of limitations are laws that establish a cutoff point for taking legal action, and they exist in both criminal and civil law. In the context of car accident claims, the purpose of the deadline is twofold: to ensure that lawsuits are handled promptly and to ensure a sense of fairness, as building a solid case becomes more difficult as time goes on.

In Utah, the statute of limitations on car accident injury claims is four years, and the clock started ticking the day your car wreck occurred. The time limit for property damage claims is shorter, and you’ll have just three years to pursue compensation for your vehicle. If you don’t file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you may not be able to hold the at-fault party financially accountable for your losses.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

If your car wreck just happened, it may seem as if you have plenty of time to take legal action. Why call a Utah car accident lawyer now, when you need to be focused on recovering?

In a way, that’s the point – by turning your case over to an experienced attorney now, you can put your mind to healing and getting your life back to normal. With legal burden off of your shoulders, you’ll have an easier time on the road to recovery. However, waiting until the last minute to contact a Utah car accident lawyer could seriously undermine your claim.

To build a sound case for compensation, an accident lawyer will need time to conduct legal research, investigate the car wreck, prepare any necessary court filings and engage in settlement negotiations with the insurance company. Negotiations may go back and forth many times – and if an agreement cannot be reached, the claim must be taken to court.

The sooner you start working with a Utah car accident lawyer, the better chance you have at recovering the maximum in compensation. Wait too long, and you may weaken the persuasiveness of your legal claim.

What a Utah Car Accident Lawyer Can Do to Help

Having an experienced attorney on your side can dramatically decrease your stress, as you won’t have to worry about the steep costs of recovery. You can count on legal professional to protect your interests, and that may be reason enough to hire a Utah car accident lawyer.

If you want to know how an attorney can help with your claim, you can always ask — many personal injury law firms in Utah, including William R. Rawlings & Associates, offer free legal consultations. Generally speaking, however, an accident lawyer will help you by doing the following:

  • Answering your questions about the Utah car accident claims process
  • Explaining your legal rights and how to pursue compensation for your losses
  • Investigating the car wreck and gathering proof to support your legal claim
  • Acting as your advocate in negotiating a settlement with the insurance company
  • Filing a lawsuit if a favorable financial settlement cannot be reached

In addition, a seasoned Utah car accident lawyer will know how to maximize the amount of money you receive. An attorney can pursue every possible avenue of compensation that applies to your case. You may have the legal right to recover both economic and non-economic damages, including compensation for:

  • Past, ongoing and future medical bills and treatment expenses
  • Lost income resulting from missing work after the car accident
  • Lost earning capacity if your injuries affect your employment opportunities
  • Repair costs or the fair market value of your vehicle and other damaged property
  • Household services that become necessary as a result of the car wreck
  • Pain and suffering, mental anguish and other forms of emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment in life if engaging in your regular pursuits is no longer possible
  • Loss of consortium for the impact your injuries have on family relationships
  • Disfigurement if the car wreck caused permanent injuries or impairments

At William R. Rawlings & Associates, we always fight for every dollar our clients deserve. We have decades of experience in personal injury law, and we never charge a fee unless we recover damages. Our legal team is ready to go to work for you – contact us online or call our office in Draper, Utah, for a free car accident lawyer consultation today.

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Feb 22 2022

When Do Auto Accident Attorneys Recommend Structured Settlements?

Most Utah car accident claims are settled out of court, and in some cases, the injured party receives compensation in the form of a single lump sum payment. In others, auto accident attorneys negotiate structured settlements.

What is a structured settlement? The arrangement allows for compensation to be paid out over a period of time, through a series of regular payments. Handled properly, a settlement with an extended payment schedule can be advantageous for an accident victim, particularly one with catastrophic injuries. But while a structured injury settlement is a good option for some, it isn’t necessarily right for everyone.

As a general rule, auto accident attorneys consider structured settlements in cases involving large sums of money. For more on how the arrangement works, take a look at the following.

auto accident attorneys Utah

Structured Settlement Arrangements

Let’s say that you’ve resolved your car accident claim and have agreed to a structured settlement. What can you expect?

You’ll have a steady stream of income, as you’ll be receiving periodic payments over the course of several years or, perhaps, for the rest of your life. The specific terms will be tailored to meet your needs. A skilled auto accident attorney can negotiate:

  • The length of the payment arrangement
  • A large initial payment or payments that increase over time
  • Periodic lump sum payments to cover expected expenses
  • A lump sum at the end or delayed payment until retirement

With a structured injury settlement, an auto accident attorney can design the payment plan to suit your personal preferences. All of the terms are negotiable, so you can get creative with the structuring – any arrangement may be possible as long as your settlement award is large enough.

Advantages of Structured Settlements

When you understand the benefits of a structured injury settlement, you may know whether it might be an option for you. Consulting an experienced auto accident attorney is a good idea, of course, but here are the upsides to accepting a structured settlement.

Financial Certainty

A lump sum payment may provide you with a fresh financial start, and getting a large amount of money can leave you thinking that you’ll always have enough cash to meet your needs. But if you opt to receive payments over time instead, you’ll be more likely to set a realistic budget based on your actual income.

Money Management

You’ve no doubt heard stories about lottery winners who lose it all in a very short period of time. That can happen to anyone who receives lump sum compensation in a Utah auto accident claim, too. Getting a structured injury settlement is a good safeguard against undue influence and poor investment decisions.

Reasonable Expectations

Receiving a large amount of money can result in pressure from family and friends who are facing financial difficulties – and turning everyone down isn’t easy. With a structured settlement, you can preemptively avoid this potential burden. If you want to help someone, you can, but the bulk of your funds will be protected.

Tax Benefits

Proceeds from structured injury settlements are considered tax-free, so deciding against lump sum compensation could mean paying a good deal less in taxes. Exceptions may apply, however, and some portions of your award could be taxable. An experienced auto accident attorney can explain your tax liability.

Drawbacks to Structured Settlements

As with most everything in life, structured injury settlements have both plusses and minuses. Some people who win Utah auto accident claims prefer lump sum payments,   so you should certainly consider the following downsides to structured settlements.

Less Control

After the terms of a structured settlement are finalized, little can be done to modify the arrangement. You won’t have the power to manage your money, the freedom to make investments or the ability to handle large unexpected expenses. If you want to be in command of your cash, you may be better off with lump sum compensation.

Vulnerability

A qualified auto accident attorney will structure the settlement arrangements to meet your financial needs, but economic conditions aren’t set in stone. Inflation, recession and changes to aggregate demand are constant threats – and your payments may end up being too small if there’s an unexpected fluctuation in the economy.

Loss of Public Benefits

If you accept a structured injury settlement, you could become ineligible for public benefits. That could be particularly problematic if you need ongoing medical care and don’t have private health insurance. Setting up a trust may allow you to avoid this issue, but you may need help from an experienced attorney to keep receiving benefits.

Should You Choose a Structured Settlement?

The decision on whether to go with lump sum compensation or a structured injury settlement is yours to make. The right auto accident attorney will consider your needs and preferences, as you deserve a payment arrangement that works for you.

Regardless of which way you’re leaning, the experienced and knowledgeable legal team at William R. Rawlings & Associates can advise you on your settlement payment options. Our Utah law firm settles car accident claims on a regular basis, and with over 35 years of experience in the field of personal injury law, we know how to protect our clients’ interests.

To get more information on structured settlements, or to arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation with a highly skilled Utah auto accident attorney, contact William R. Rawlings & Associates today.

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Jan 07 2022

All About the Utah Car Accident Claims Process

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.

Utah car accident claim

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.

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Dec 10 2021

How Car Accident Injury Lawyers Prove the Merits of Your Case

How do you know if someone is legally responsible for the losses you sustained in a car accident? A lawyer can assess your claim to determine if you can pursue compensation – or, in other words, if negligence can be proven.

Negligence is the number one component in any personal injury claim. To recover damages after a car crash, you must be able to prove that another party’s actions are to blame for your injuries. If you fail to prove that negligence exists, your claim for compensation will be denied. Here, the experienced Salt Lake City car accident injury lawyers at William R. Rawlings & Associates explain what you need to know about legal liability.

car accident injury lawyer Salt Lake City

The Burden of Proof

If you bring a claim for compensation, you’re the plaintiff – and that means you have the burden of proof. It’s up to you (and your car accident lawyer, if you hire one) to prove that your version of events is accurate, demonstrating the elements of your case by a preponderance of the evidence. Or, to put it another way, you must show that it’s more likely than not that the other party’s actions are directly responsible for your injuries.

The Law of Negligence

To meet the burden of proof in a personal injury claim, you must show evidence that establishes the legal concept of negligence. That means proving your case involves each of the following elements:

Duty of Care

A person can be held accountable for their actions if they had an obligation to exercise reasonable care in regards to safety. When someone gets behind the wheel of a car, they have a duty to be careful. Proving this duty in a car accident case comes down to demonstrating that a reasonable person would have foreseen a risk of injury to others, given the turn of events.

Breach of Duty

Once you have established that the other party had a duty to act with reasonable care, you need to prove that they failed to do so. To prove a breach of duty involves showing that their conduct falls short of what a reasonable person would have done in the same situation. According to car accident lawyers, the standard can vary depending upon the circumstances of a personal injury case.

Causation

Breaching the duty of care isn’t sufficient to establish negligence in a car accident case. You must also link the breach to your injuries, proving that the other party caused both the car crash and your resulting injuries. In some cases, there is clear causation – but car accident lawyers caution that establishing causation can be difficult if you had any preexisting conditions.

Damages

Finally, the law of negligence requires that you have actual losses, or monetary expenses, to pursue compensation. The notion that someone could have been injured doesn’t create legal liability. So, if you were rear-ended, but your car wasn’t damaged and you weren’t harmed, you aren’t entitled to damages.

Evidence of Fault

In order to prove that another party was negligent, you need to provide clear evidence that shows how and why the crash occurred. The forms of proof you can use to demonstrate negligence include:

  • Police reports that detail the course of events and road conditions at the time
  • Photos showing the point of impact and the location of debris from the accident
  • Eyewitness reports from other motorists and bystanders who saw the crash
  • Testimony from accident reconstruction specialists and mechanical experts

These are just some of the many types of evidence that an experienced car accident lawyer can use in building your case. And since some evidence can be difficult to obtain, you’d be wise to have a legal professional on your side.

Evidence of Damages

When it comes to compensation in most personal injury claims, the primary considerations are medical expenses, missed income and the pain and suffering the victim experiences. To prove damages, you can use the following evidence:

  • Medical bills for all of the treatment you have received
  • Medical records, including test results and photos of your injuries
  • Reports from vocational rehabilitation specialists and life planners
  • Employment records to calculate the income you’ve lost
  • Testimony from economists regarding your future earning potential
  • A pain diary that tracks your treatments and whether or not they’re helping

Depending upon the circumstances surrounding your car crash, you may be entitled to other forms of compensation. But while you may be able to bring a claim for loss of enjoyment, loss of consortium or emotional distress, doing so without the help of a car accident lawyer won’t be easy.

Get Help from an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

Proving the merits of your personal injury claim to the at-fault party’s insurance company or in a court of law requires substantial evidence – and having an experienced car accident lawyer in your corner can have a major impact on the outcome of your case. Before you enter into negotiations with an insurance adjuster, contact William R. Rawlings & Associates.

Our car accident attorneys have decades of experience negotiating favorable settlements for injured victims, and we’re always prepared to take a case to court if the insurance company refuses to provide a fair amount of compensation. If you were hurt in a car crash in Utah, California or Idaho and want help from a highly skilled and experienced car accident lawyer, contact William R. Rawlings & Associates today.

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Dec 03 2021

What NOT to Do After a Car Accident in Utah

If you’re ever injured in a car accident in Utah or elsewhere in the country, you’ll find that dealing with the aftermath can be rather stressful. Feeling overwhelmed is normal given that crashes often cause both physical and emotional trauma, but managing the situation is crucial to the success of your personal injury claim.

Doing the wrong thing after a car accident could hinder your chances at obtaining compensation from the responsible party. To keep from making a bad situation worse, Utah car accident lawyers recommend that you don’t do any of the following.

car accident lawyer Utah

Don’t Leave the Scene

Leaving the spot where the car accident occurred could mean facing criminal charges. The incident may be viewed as a hit-and-run, and failing to stop makes you look guilty. The police might issue a warrant for your arrest – but whether or not that happens, by leaving the scene you will have compromised your personal injury claim.

Don’t Skip Calling 911

Some people in Utah mistakenly think that calling 911 after a car accident is unnecessary if no one is hurt. This isn’t the case – regardless of how serious, a crash must be reported to a local law enforcement agency. Besides, without a police report, you may have difficulty establishing fault for the incident in a personal injury claim.

Don’t Shrug Off Injuries

Whether or not you have serious injuries, consider visiting an urgent care center. You may be tempted to skip this step if you feel fine, but not all car accident injuries are immediately apparent – and left untreated, some injuries can worsen. With your health on the line, it’s a good idea to get a medical assessment as soon as possible.

Don’t Lose Your Cool

After a car accident, emotions tend to run high. You might be upset with the other parties involved, but refrain from expressing any anger toward anyone. Doing so could result in more trouble, as heated words often lead to physical altercations. And if you get into a fist fight, winning a personal injury case may prove to be more difficult.

Don’t Admit Fault

For many people, apologizing after a car accident is instinctual. Saying you’re sorry may be a knee-jerk reaction to the situation, not an admission of fault, but that’s not how your words will be interpreted. Anything you say can be used against you, affecting your ability to obtain compensation for your losses through a Utah personal injury claim.

Don’t Forget Evidence

Failing to gather as much information as you can while you’re still at the accident scene could affect the outcome of your personal injury case. Evidence will be crucial to getting the financial compensation you deserve, so take photos, get contact information for any witnesses and document the weather and traffic conditions at the time of the crash.

Don’t Post on Social Media

Lawyers and investigators who work for insurance companies look for ways to make accident victims seem less credible, including searching for incriminating social media posts. Personal injury attorneys say to steer clear of social media until a case is resolved, as even posts that are unrelated to a car accident could be used against you.

Don’t Discuss Your Case

You will need to call your insurance company to report the car accident, as failing to do so could give them grounds to deny your personal injury claim. But, don’t go into detail about the crash – just provide the necessary information. And to be on the safe side, don’t discuss the matter with anyone except your personal injury attorney.

Don’t Make a Recorded Statement

An adjuster from the other party’s insurance company may ask you to record a statement describing how the car accident occurred, then use whatever you say as a basis for devaluing or denying your personal injury claim. There’s no federal or Utah state law requiring you to give a statement, so don’t feel compelled to provide one.

Don’t Go Without Legal Guidance

Insurance companies employ teams of lawyers, which gives them a definite edge. Going without a personal injury lawyer is arguably one of the biggest mistakes you could make after a car accident, as it puts you at the mercy of people who are paid to make sure you obtain the minimum – or nothing at all – in compensation.

Schedule a Free Consultation with William R. Rawlings & Associates

The legal team at William R. Rawlings & Associates has specialized in protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 35 years. If a Utah car accident leaves you with serious injuries, we’ll be here to help you fight the insurance companies. You can count on our personal injury attorneys to make every effort to obtain every dollar you deserve.

William R. Rawlings & Associates offers full-service legal representation to those who have suffered harm as a result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Our attorneys have the skill, knowledge and expertise to maximize compensation — and if we don’t win your personal injury claim, you won’t have to pay us a dime in legal fees.

For more advice, or to schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney, contact a Utah auto accident injury lawyer William R. Rawlings & Associates today.

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