Car accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. In Utah, cases involving car accidents are handled differently. You see, Utah is a no-fault state, just like 12 other countries in the USA.
Being a no-fault state means that unless you were seriously injured, no one is to be blamed for the car accident that occurred. Through mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, you will be the one to pay for your medical expenses and car repair.
However, if you were seriously injured, you can claim for damages and file a lawsuit. Car accidents fall under personal injury but are often settled out of court. A personal injury lawyer in West Jordan, Utah can help you move forward with your case.
A reasonable attorney will analyze your situation before suggesting what should be done next. There are three ways your case can be handled and settled:
Most car accident cases are settled out of court, which is referred to as an informal settlement. However, the fact that it’s outside the court doesn’t mean it’s not legal.
Informal settlements always involve the victim or plaintiff (the party that filed the claim), the at-fault driver or defendant (the recipient of the claim), the lawyers of both sides, and their insurance carriers. Both parties will undergo a form of legal negotiation regarding the amount to be paid for the damages you incurred. Once this is settled, you and the defendant will sign a written agreement that you accepted the settlement and that both of you will not resort to filing a lawsuit against each other.
However, if the at-fault driver’s legal team doesn’t agree with the settlement, especially with the amount to be paid to you, your lawyer will suggest to eventually filing a lawsuit against the offending party.
A formal lawsuit in a personal injury case means that you are filing a civil complaint against the at-fault driver for allegedly acting irresponsibly or carelessly resulting in the accident, giving you injuries.
There is a middle ground between an informal settlement and a formal lawsuit. They are referred to as alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures of which, arbitration is the most widely used.
ADR techniques are often used for a variety of reasons. They are used when the litigation process causes emotional and psychological issues for both parties. Plaintiffs and defendants resort to them when litigation costs are continuously increasing. And they are suggested when there are too many delays and congestions in court.
In an arbitration case, both parties request a neutral third party, called the arbitrator, to look at their case. The arbitrator, who is an expert on the matter of a specific case, will then render a decision.
Whether you’re settling out of court, filing a civil lawsuit, or resorting to an arbitration case, you only have a limited time to file your case in Utah courts. According to Utah law, you only have three years to file a claim or lawsuit starting from the day of your injury. This is called the Statute of Limitations. It differs from state to state and the type of damage incurred by a plaintiff.