Utah consistently ranks in the top percentage of the most car-accident-prone states. In 2020, the Utah Highway Safety Office reported 53,166 auto accidents. These accidents caused 23,309 injuries and 276 fatalities. From poor weather to distracted driving, many factors played a part in these large numbers. In this article, we'll discuss the frequently asked questions associated with car accidents, including information about specific Utah car accident laws.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Utah?
There are several common causes of car accidents in Utah, including:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Inclement weather conditions
- Aggressive or reckless driving
- Fatigue or exhausted driving
- Road conditions
- Vehicle defects
While the above are some common reasons for car accidents, the Utah Department of Public Safety cites speeding as the leading cause of fatal car accidents. Overall, accidents that involve speeding are more likely to cause fatalities. There are a few reasons that speeding increases the severity of auto accidents:
- Magnifies driver errors
- Increases the distance needed to bring the vehicle to a stop
- Increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a situation
- Decreases a driver's ability to navigate safely around curves or objects
- Reduces the efficacy of vehicle safety features, such as seat belts
- Diminishes the stability of the vehicle structure
- Increases the likelihood of crashes
- Raises the severity of accidents – for every 10 mph over 50 mph, the risk of death in a car accident is doubled.
What Are Utah's Car Accident Laws?
If you've been in an accident in Utah, you may wonder what laws apply to your potential legal case. There are four specific laws you will want to note if you plan to take legal action to facilitate your legal recovery following a car accident:
- Utah's Statute of Limitations for Injury Lawsuits - This refers to the deadline by which you must file your car accident claim. Most car accident claims in Utah have a four-year deadline from the date of your accident, although shorter deadlines may apply if the other party is a public or government entity.
- Utah's Statute of Limitations for Property Damage - If you wish to seek compensation for your property damage sustained in an accident, you will typically have a three-year limit.
- Modified Comparative Fault - This refers to the theory Utah uses to establish liability in an accident. This rule permits financial recovery only when the claimant is less at fault for the incident than the other party.
- Utah is a No-Fault State - This means that claimants will typically rely on their own insurance policies to recover compensation for medical expenses and other associated financial damages, regardless of who was at fault.
If you have any specific questions about the laws that Utah adheres to in car accident cases, you should consult our car accident lawyer in Salt Lake City today.
What Steps Should I Take After a Car Accident?
You can do several things to protect yourself and your potential car accident claim directly following an accident.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident - You should always stay on the scene – even if the accident seems “minor” and the other party attempts to persuade you not to get the authorities involved. Injuries may arise later, and an official accident report will likely play a crucial role in getting you the compensation you need to recover. Similarly, it could help you avoid wrongful liability or being charged with a hit-and-run if the other driver tries to pin the fault on you.
- Ensure Everyone is Safe - Evaluate the well-being of yourself and others involved. If necessary, call for emergency medical services.
- Obtain information from the other driver - While Utah is a no-fault state, getting important information from others involved is essential. Ensure that you obtain the other driver's name, address, telephone number, driver's license number, and insurance information.
- Get information from eyewitnesses if available - In some circumstances, an eyewitness can play an important role in your personal injury case. If any bystanders witnessed the accident, be sure to get their contact information and request a statement from them. The responding officer may do this. If so, it will be a part of your accident report.
- Get photographic evidence - If you can do so safely, take pictures or videos of the accident scene. This could also be important evidence down the road. Get photos of the vehicles involved, any marks on the ground of nearby objects, etc.
- Don't post pictures on the internet - Many people like to share significant events on their social media accounts. You should never post about a car accident. It's easy for insurance adjusters to twist your words, which can severely impact your accident settlement.
- Don't directly or indirectly take the blame - Be careful about what you say after the accident. Even saying something as simple as “I should have looked left again” can have a serious impact on your car accident claim.
- Always get medically evaluated following an accident - No matter how you feel, it's important to get checked out by a medical professional. Sometimes symptoms of life-threatening injuries don't pop up until hours or even days following an accident due to adrenaline. Getting checked out by a doctor can save your life. It can also help you prove your case so that you can get the accident settlement you need to get your life back on track.
Call Our Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, having a Salt Lake City car accident lawyer on your side can greatly help you get the legal compensation you need to recover. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us at 801-535-4645 or fill out this online form, and we will reach out to you to set up an initial appointment.
Our online content is strictly for general information purposes only. This blog is not intended to serve as legal advice. If you have specific questions and concerns, we urge you to reach out to our attorney to discuss your case.
Andrus Law Firm is located in Salt Lake City at
299 S Main St
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
We serve Salt Lake City, Layton, Ogden, Orem, Provo, Sandy, St George, West Valley City, West Jordan, and the entire state of Utah.