Utah Car Accident Laws

When you’ve been involved in a car accident in Utah, you’ll need to understand how car accident laws work so that you can easily file an insurance claim.
Written by Mary Cahill
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Whether you’ve been sideswiped by a texting driver or collided with another vehicle during rush hour traffic in
, it’s important for you to have a good understanding of how state law applies to car accidents—so that you can easily
file an insurance claim
or even a personal injury lawsuit to cover your damages. 

What to do after a crash: Utah car accident reporting laws

Try to stay calm—the first thing you should do
after a car accident
is to check that you and any passengers in your vehicle are safe and don’t need immediate medical attention. Call 911 if there are any serious injuries. 
As long as the roadway is clear and your car hasn’t been disabled upon impact, pull to the side of the road. The other vehicle(s) involved in the collision should do the same. Once your car is parked, you will need to exchange information with the other driver or drivers involved. You will need to provide:
  • Your full name
  • Current address
  • Insurance information
  • Vehicle owner information
It’s also very important to document the damage caused by the collision with photographic or video evidence. You should also gather statements from anyone who witnessed the car accident.

When to report an accident to the police

Needless to say, if the crash is serious, the police will be called to the scene of the accident. The law enforcement officer who arrives at the scene of the crash will file an accident report either on-scene or within 10 days if they feel further investigation of the incident is warranted. 
The officer will then submit the accident report to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). You are legally entitled to a copy of the police report, so be sure that you request one. 

When to report an accident to DPS

Law enforcement may request that the driver of the involved vehicle(s) submit an accident report form as well. Situations in which one or more drivers may be asked to fill out an accident report form include:
  • If the accident caused the injury or death of another person
  • If the accident caused damage totaling $1,500 or more
  • The police report on file is incomplete or insufficient
If you are asked to complete an accident report form, you must file it within 10 days of the request. Law enforcement also reserves the right to request any witnesses of the accident to also complete accident reports. This report can be completed
Failure to submit an accident report after being asked to do so may result in a suspension of your license lasting no more than 30 days. 
If the driver of the vehicle is not the vehicle owner and cannot make an accident report due to being incapacitated after the crash, the owner of the vehicle must report the accident within 15 days of the date on which they became aware of the traffic accident. 

Financial responsibility and coverage minimums: Utah’s insurance laws

Like most states, Utah requires all licensed drivers to carry minimum
liability insurance
Utah's car insurance law
follows a 25/65/15 ratio:
And because it’s a
no-fault state
, Utah also requires drivers to carry a minimum of $3,000 in
personal injury protection (PIP)
coverage. This type of policy is designed to specifically cover any medical bills you need to pay as a result of the crash, whether it was
If you
drive without insurance
in Utah, you could be charged with a class B misdemeanor. This conviction comes with a heavy fine ranging between $400 to $1,000 and a possible license suspension.  
Despite all the legal emphasis on carrying car insurance, an estimated 6.5% of licensed drivers in Utah are driving without it. If you get into an accident caused by an uninsured driver, you won't be able to file a claim with their liability insurance—and a personal injury lawsuit may be the only way to recover your damages.

Claiming damages after an accident: Utah’s personal injury laws

Utah views personal injury lawsuits a little differently than the majority of states. In Utah, drivers can only sue for personal injury if the financial loss of their pain and suffering claim meets a minimum dollar amount. The most common reasons for filing a personal injury lawsuit are:
  • Pain, suffering, or mental anguish as a result of the accident
  • Loss of wages or loss of business opportunities
  • An excess of medical bills as a result of the accident
An injured party has a maximum time limit of four years to file a personal injury lawsuit. If the injured party dies as a result of the car accident, their surviving family members will have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Exceptions to Utah’s personal injury laws

In some cases, if the bodily injury is severe—think permanent disfigurement or dismemberment—you could qualify for an exemption from the no-fault insurance rule and the other driver’s insurance company will compensate for the medical expenses. 
Keep in mind that even with severe injuries, you probably won’t be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver in the accident if you bear the majority of fault for the crash. 

Who’s to blame: Utah’s modified comparative negligence law

Utah applies the principles of
modified comparative negligence
according to the 50% rule—meaning that as long as you are determined to be 49% or less at fault for the collision, you can collect damages. 
In Utah accidents in which the fault is distributed 50/50 between the drivers involved, neither driver will have the right to collect damages.  
Let’s take look at an example: Kiki is rushing to get to work on the interstate and is going 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. She changes lanes erratically, sideswiping Luis—but he doesn't see her coming since he’s been trading glances between the highway and a text thread with his girlfriend. 
Both drivers have contributed to the negligence that caused this accident—however, comparative negligence puts one driver’s fault at a greater percentage than the other. Kiki was obviously speeding, so she is given 65% of the fault in this incident. Luis, on the other hand, was guilty of
distracted driving
and bears 35% of the responsibility for the collision.  
In this situation, Luis is the only driver who is entitled to compensation after the accident, as his percentage of responsibility totals less than half.  

How to save money on car insurance in Utah

A car accident could have a real negative impact on your
car insurance
premium, and finding an affordable rate afterward could seem like a lost cause. When finding an affordable car insurance policy feels hopeless, downloading
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