After a crash or an automobile accident, if my car is damaged am I entitled to a rental car while my car is being repaired?
In Utah, if the crash or accident was the fault of another, and that other person has insurance, that person’s insurance should pay for a rental car for you. If you caused the crash, you will have to look to your own insurance policy to see if you purchased rental car coverage. If you are having problems getting a rental car, and the crash was caused by someone else, we will gladly help you get a rental car and we will do so without charging you for our help.
If my car is totaled, which means it cost more to repair my car than to replace it, what amount does the insurance company for the at-fault driver have to pay me?
In Utah, the at-fault driver’s insurance company must pay you the “market value or actual cost of a comparable automobile at the time of the loss” along with all “applicable taxes, license fees and other fees incident to transfer of evidence of ownership of a comparable vehicle.” The insurer may determine the value of the totaled vehicle by using, among other things, the cost of 2 or more comparable automobiles in the local market area. Utah Administrative Rule 590-190-11 [Link] If you are having problems getting the fair value for your totaled vehicle, and the crash was caused by someone else, we will gladly help you resolve your property damage claim and we will do so without charging you for our help.
If I am hurt in a car crash or accident, who will pay my medical bills?
In Utah, if you have Utah automobile insurance on your car, your own insurance carrier should pay the first $3,000 of your reasonable and necessary medical expenses under your own “personal injury protection” coverage or “PIP.” Some folks refer to this as no-fault coverage because your own insurance company pays regardless of fault. $3,000 is the minimum amount. You may be entitled to more if you purchased more coverage from your insurance company. If you live in Nevada, PIP is not required and you will need to look to your own automobile or health insurance for payment of your medical bills until your claim is resolved with the at-fault driver.
What happens if I have Utah insurance and my medical bills exceed $3,000? Who will pay those bills?
If you only have the minimum of PIP, your automobile insurance company will stop paying your medical bills once it has paid the first $3,000. After this, you should ask your medical providers to start billing your health insurance company or other benefit providers, such as Medicare or Medicaid, for your treatment. If you don’t have health insurance benefits, you may have difficulty getting proper medical care because your providers may not want to treat you without prompt payment.
GETTING PROPER MEDICAL CARE AFTER A CRASH OFTEN IS ESSENTIAL TO A FULL RECOVERY AND YOUR LONG-TERM WELL BEING. You want to avoid gaps in your treatment because it may complicate your recovery and have long-term consequences.
If you don’t have insurance and you can’t afford to pay for on-going medical care, some doctors are willing to continue with your treatment if you give them a lien on your recovery from the at-fault driver.
If you have any questions about this, please contact me.
If you live in Nevada, which does not require PIP benefits, you will need to look at, among other things, your own insurance for coverage and/or receive medical treatment based on a lien.
If I wasn’t the cause of the crash or accident, should I report it to my insurance company?
Yes, you should report the crash or accident to your insurance company.
What should I do if the at-fault driver’s insurance company wants to take my recorded statement?
Before giving a statement, you may want to consult with a personal injury attorney to make certain you understand your rights and the purpose of the statement.
What are some things that I or my family should do after a car crash or accident to protect myself, my family and my wealth?
Here are a few things that should be done:
- If you are hurt, you should promptly seek appropriate medical treatment for your injuries.
- Take photographs of the damage to your vehicle and the at-fault driver’s vehicle. If possible, take photographs of the crash site.
- Take photographs of your injuries, including any cuts or bruises.
- Get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any and all witnesses.
- Report the accident or crash to your insurance company.
- Keep a journal of your medical visits and how you are feeling throughout the course of your medical treatment.
- Don’t post anything about the crash or your injures on social media, such as facebook, my space, etc.
- If you’ve been injured, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer to make certain you know your collision rights and that your legal interests are protected. If you contact an attorney right after the crash, you have a better chance of preserving evidence and understanding your rights. You can be certain that after a crash, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be investigating the crash and trying to minimize its exposure. So the sooner you talk to a lawyer, the better prepared you will be.
Are there some things that I might do that could hurt my personal injury case?
Yes. Here a few things you need to be concerned about:
- If you settle with the at-fault driver’s insurance company before you know the extent of your injuries and damages, you may have sold yourself short. If, after settling, you discover that your injuries are worse than you anticipated (e.g., you now need a surgery, you no longer will be able to perform your required job duties, the pain just doesn’t go away, etc.), the insurance company will not offer you any more money even if you need an expensive surgery or you can’t return to work.
- Do not sign a settlement agreement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or sign a release without first making certain that you understand its significance.
- You must be completely honest. Honesty is the best policy. Your personal injury claim can be severely damaged if your credibility is lost. You must be completely truthful to your attorney and in any statements made regarding the crash and your injuries. If you’ve been involved in other automobile accidents, the insurance company will know about them. If you’ve had other injuries, the insurance company will find out about them. Please understand that if you are claiming serious injuries from the car crash the at-fault driver’s insurance company may hire a private investigator to secretly video tape you at home, work or play. If you claim you no longer can do certain things and you are taped doing those things, the insurance company and the jury most likely will discredit everything you say and punish you for what they believe was your deceit.
- Do not post anything about your crash, your injuries or your activities after the crash on any form of social media. You can be certain that the attorneys hired by the at-fault driver’s insurance company will find out what you have posted and try to use it against you. Even if your social media account is private, the insurance company’s attorney may obtain a subpoena or court order compelling you or your social media provider to turn over all of your postings.
How long do I have to file my personal injury lawsuit?
Because each state has different statute of limitations governing when a lawsuit must be filed, you should consult with an attorney shortly after the crash or accident to determine how much time you have to file your lawsuit. If a lawsuit against the party causing your injuries, harms or losses is not filed within a certain time period, your right to sue for damages will be barred by the applicable statute of limitations.
If I’ve been injured or harmed in a car crash or accident, what kind of damages am I entitled to recover?
You have a right to recover damages for, among other things, money for medical expenses, vehicle repair or replacement, rental vehicle costs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and disfigurement. You also have the right to be fairly and adequately compensated to the extent that the crash has prevented you from pursuing your ordinary affairs and to the extent that you have been limited in your enjoyment of life. For example, if, before the crash, you were an avid basketball player, pianist, dancer, hunter, golfer, etc. and you no longer can engage in these activities, or it is difficult to engage in these activities because of the crash, you are entitled to be fairly and adequately compensated for this loss. Oftentimes the diminution in the quality of one’s life is by far the greatest loss. This loss, like a rock thrown in a still pond, ripples through and affects all aspects of the injured person’s life. If your crash was caused by a drunk driver, you may even be entitled to punitive damages.
In Utah, however, unless your medical expenses exceed $3,000 you are NOT entitled to any compensation for your general damages which include pain and suffering unless you suffered other injuries in the crash such as dismemberment, permanent disfigurement, permanent disability or permanent impairment.
Will I have to go to trial to be fairly and adequately compensated for my harms and losses?
Not necessarily. A large majority of injury claims settle before trial. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached short of trial, I have the knowledge, expertise and willpower to fight for your in court.
How much insurance is the at-fault driver required to have?
In Utah, the at-fault driver is suppose to have a minimum of $25,000 in coverage for liability for bodily injury to or death of one person, arising out of the use of a motor vehicle in any one accident. In Nevada, the minimum required is $15,000.
What happens if the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage and/or personal assets to compensate me for my injuries?
You should look to your own automobile insurance coverage to see if you purchased underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage.
Will I have to pay you anything if I call you about my crash or injuries?
I handle personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis. This means that you pay me nothing unless you hire me and I recover money for you. My fee will be a percentage of your recovery. The percentage that I charge is based on the particular facts of your case. You pay me nothing until I recover money for you.
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