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How UT No-Fault Insurance Works
Each state in the U.S. sets its own laws regarding the minimum vehicle insurance requirements, as well as how car accident claims and lawsuits should be handled. Some states have no-fault laws, while others follow fault-based laws. Utah is a no-fault state. This means that a driver who sustains an injury in a car accident will need to file a claim for their losses against their own car insurance policy. If the victim’s losses hit a certain threshold, then they can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s policy. This can get somewhat complicated which is why victims should reach out to an experienced accident attorney to understand how UT no-fault insurance works.
Utah Auto Insurance Requirements
Under Utah law, all vehicle owners must have the following minimum insurance coverage:
- A minimum of $3,000 personal injury protection coverage
- A minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person in an accident the policyholder is at fault for.
- A minimum of $65,000 in total liability coverage for an accident where one or more victims are injured that the policyholder is at fault for.
- A minimum of $15,000 in property damage liability for any property that is damaged in an accident the policyholder is at fault for.
Under these rules, most minor crashes where the victim’s injuries total less than $3,000 in medical expenses are filed against the victim’s own vehicle insurance policy. However, this only applies to bodily injury. If the victim’s vehicle or other property was damaged, they are allowed to file against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy to recoup those damages.
Once a driver has exhausted their own $3,000 in coverage under their own policy, or their injuries are considered severe, they can pursue legal action against the at-fault driver’s policy. Severe injuries include compound bone fractures, permanent disfigurement, dismemberment, or any injury that results in long-term or permanent disability. This is how UT no-fault insurance works.
Filing a Claim or Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Driver
Utah also follows a comparative negligence doctrine of a 50 percent victim liability limit. This means that a victim can still recover damages for any losses their injuries have caused even if they are found to be partially at fault for the crash. This fault, however, must not exceed 50 percent. If it does, then they cannot pursue any claim against the other driver. Whatever percentage the victims is deemed at fault, that amount of the award will be deducted. For example, if the victim is awarded $100,000 in damages, but they are found to be 20 percent at fault of the crash, then $20,000 would be deducted from the $100,000 and the victim would receive $80,000.
Fault Is Still Important in Your Accident Case
Utah is a no-fault state in regard to auto accidents. This doesn’t mean that fault is not important. It means that regardless of who was at fault, your own insurance will pay your first $3,000 in medical bills. That is a threshold amount. Until you meet this threshold (or have permanent impairment) you can’t bring a personal injury lawsuit against anyone.
At Rasmussen & Miner in Salt Lake City, we offer a free initial consultation to answer your questions about no-fault auto insurance or any other issue related to your accident. We will even fill out your no-fault auto insurance claim at no charge just to ensure that you receive all of the personal injury protection (PIP) benefits you are entitled to.
Why You Should Use Your No-Fault Benefits
The first and most important thing you should do after an accident is to receive medical treatment. If you don’t use your no-fault medical coverage, you are foregoing benefits that you paid for. Obtaining medical care from an appropriate provider (a doctor, orthopedic surgeon, or neurologist) will also help document your injuries if there is a dispute with the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
Many people are concerned that using their no-fault insurance will affect their insurance rates. It won’t, particularly when you are not at fault for the accident.
What Happens After No-Fault
After your no-fault benefits are exhausted, or if you have a permanent injury, our lawyers will file a personal injury claim against the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
Insurance Subrogation: Reimbursing Your Own Health Insurance Company
Once you collect damages in a personal injury case, your own health insurance company will expect reimbursement for any medical expenses it covered. Our lawyers will negotiate with your health insurance carrier to ensure that you end up with the most money in your pocket after your case is resolved.
Compensation for Lost Wages
In addition to medical expenses, no-fault auto insurance will pay a percentage of lost wages for up to 52 weeks after the injury. However, no-fault won’t pay unless a doctor assesses you and puts you on work restriction.
Free Attorney Consultation
If you have been injured in a car accident and are unsure how UT no-fault insurance works, contact Rasmussen & Miner to speak with a car accident attorney and find out what your legal options are. Call our office today or fill out the contact form on this website to schedule a free initial consultation with a lawyer at our Salt Lake City office.