auto accident attorney Taylorsville, Utah

Expert Taylorsville Auto Accident Attorney Explains Utah’s Laws

Anyone involved in a car crash in Taylorsville or elsewhere in Utah should stop and pull over – that’s common knowledge. However, as every auto accident attorney comes to realize, many people are unfamiliar with the other state laws concerning collisions.

Why is this important? According to the most recent report from the Utah Department of Public Safety, there were 61,406 motor vehicle accidents in 2021. Collisions caused a total of 26,437 injuries and 332 fatalities that year. And, Salt Lake County had the highest crash rate in the state.

Clearly, everyone who shares the roadways in Taylorsville is at risk of being in a collision. Gaining a basic understanding of Utah’s car accident laws can help you better protect your legal rights. Here, an experienced auto accident lawyer explains what you need to know.

Auto Accident Reports in Utah

After a car crash, Taylorsville motorists are legally obligated to report the incident to a local law enforcement agency if anyone was injured or if the amount of property damage appears to be $1,500 or more. Not doing so is a misdemeanor in Utah, resulting in a possible 90-day jail stay and a fine or compensatory service of up to $750.

Motorists are also typically required to inform their insurance providers when a collision occurs. However, if you’re ever in this situation, any experienced auto accident attorney would advise you to only offer the facts – the date, time and location of the crash and the identities of the other motorists involved and any witnesses of the incident. That’s it. You don’t have to provide any other information, and you don’t have to give a recorded statement. If asked to do so, politely decline.

Utah’s No-Fault Auto Accident Liability

Some states adopt a fault system, whereby car crash victims can pursue monetary compensation from the motorist to blame for a collision. Utah isn’t one of those states – here, we have a no-fault system, and damages resulting from an auto accident are often covered by each individual’s own insurance.

Utah requires all motorists to carry a minimum of $3,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, and to have grounds for a legal claim, that coverage needs to be exhausted. So, if you’re ever in a car crash and your medical bills, lost wages and other damages are of a greater amount than your PIP coverage, a Taylorsville auto accident attorney can only work to hold the at-fault party financially accountable for the remainder.

Utah’s Comparative Negligence Law

Utah takes a modified comparative fault approach to auto accidents. Under state law, victims can file a legal claim in pursuit of compensation for damages above the amount of their PIP insurance coverage even when they have some degree of responsibility for the incident.

However, the amount of fault matters – and accident victims must be less than 50 percent at fault for to take legal action. So, for example, if you happen to be speeding and crash into a motorist making a left-hand turn, both of you might be partially to blame. And if you’re, say, 40 percent at fault, you’re only going to be entitled to compensation for 60 percent of the damages incurred. Disagree with percentage of fault you’re assigned, and you may need an experienced auto accident attorney to protect your legal rights.

Utah’s Statute of Limitations

While many Taylorsville auto accident cases end with a settlement, sometimes the only way for an injured victim to get a fair payout is to file a lawsuit. Time is limited, though, and in Utah, the statute of limitations is three years for property damage lawsuits and four years for injury claims.

The date of a car crash is when the clock starts ticking, and failing to file a legal claim before the cutoff date generally makes it impossible to hold the at-fault party financially accountable. However, while a few years sounds like plenty of time, waiting until the last minute to contact an auto accident attorney is a mistake. Building a strong case for compensation takes time, and the sooner a legal professional comes on board, the better the chance of recovering the maximum from the party at fault.

Do You Need a Taylorsville Auto Accident Attorney?

Sometimes, accident claims are straightforward and don’t require the expertise of an attorney. If you’re involved in a minor fender-bender, but suffer no injuries and little damage to your vehicle, having your insurance company handle the repairs may be the best course of action.

That said, if you’re ever injured in a Taylorsville auto accident, you may need legal advice. Your insurance provider may be willing to pay your PIP benefits to the maximum, but the other motorist’s insurance company will almost certainly put up a fight when you try to collect the excess. With an experienced auto accident attorney in your corner, you’ll have an advocate who has what it takes to battle back – and who isn’t afraid to take the case to court.

The legal team at Cockayne Law can protect your rights and help you get every dollar you deserve after a car crash. For a free, no-obligation consultation with a trusted Taylorsville auto accident attorney, contact us anytime.