The legal system can be an amazing thing when life throws you a curveball. If you find yourself in an accident through no fault of your own, a situation that might force you to pay thousands of dollars or result in your own injury, you can get the assistance of trained legal professionals capable of claiming any finances you might be owed.
However, things might not be that easy for your personal injury cases in Salt Lake City, or elsewhere in Utah.
If you do find yourself in a personal injury case in Utah, you would be doing yourself a favor if you made yourself familiar with two laws in place that might make things complicated for yourself:
- Personal injury protection (PIP) threshold law
- Comparative negligence
If you don’t get to know these two legal concepts that exist in Utah, it’s very possible you could lose a lot of the money you might be owed from your personal injury claim, or be flat out denied any sort of claim.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Threshold Law
On paper, personal injury protection (PIP) seems like a wonderful thing. In the case of an accident, you are awarded at least $3,000, whether you are at fault in the accident or not.
Again, this seems like a fantastic policy. In fact, it is automatically included in every automobile insurance plan in Utah. The thought is that the $3,000 is supposed to be used to pay for any medical related bills you might be burdened with after an accident.
However, there is a heavy caveat to this policy. In Utah, you are required to use all $3,000 of the fund before you’re able to file a further personal injury claim and receive any other money you might be owed.
That’s why it’s important to use the money allocated to you from your PIP in Utah so that if you do need to seek additional money in damages, you won’t have any roadblocks.
It does seem like an odd problem to have, needing to spend $3,000, but it’s something you should put some thought into if you do find yourself in an accident and end up being given some personal injury protection money from your insurance.
What To Use Your PIP On
Accrued Medical Expenses
The most obvious place to put personal injury protection money in is any medical expenses you might accrue.
Since your PIP kicks in once you get into an automobile accident, regardless of who’s fault the accident was, seeing a doctor as soon as possible should be your first step. Injuries in automobile accidents can happen unnoticed sometimes, especially in the case of whiplash. Whiplash is a condition that occurs when the neck is jerked violently and is also something that worsens as time goes on. It doesn’t hurt to get yourself checked by a doctor after an automobile accident, to make sure there won’t be any lasting physical injuries that impact your life for months or years to come.
If you do end up hurt after an accident, your personal injury protection money can be used to cover various tests, procedures, medications, and hospital stays as well.
If, however, your medical wages exceed $3,000, or the incident left someone involved permanently injured, dismembered, or dead, you will unable to use your PIP.
Lost Work Wages
If you do end up injured enough that you can’t work, you might be able to use your personal injury protection to cover your lost wages, if you can demonstrate your injuries were bad enough. In that case, you will need a doctor’s note claiming you are unable to work.
There are a few specifications for using your personal injury protection for lost work wages. You can only receive compensation for up to 52 weeks of lost work. As well, coverage ends up being about $250 dollars per week, or 85% of your lost income.
Required Special Services
If you do sustain injuries in an accident that are so severe and extensive that they impede your ability to do daily tasks, you could use your personal injury protection to hire someone to do some of these tasks for you. Just like using your PIP for lost wages, you will most likely have to have a doctor’s confirmation that your injuries are severe enough that you are unable to maintain your daily tasks in order to qualify. This extends up to $20 per day and can cover people that can cook, clean, run errands, care for your children, and a myriad of other tasks you might require.
The other law that might give your personal injury case some holdups is comparative negligence. This law exists only in a few states throughout the country, Utah being one of them. It’s a much easier to understand the law, but one that can have a much more dramatic effect on your personal injury case and the money you might receive.
Essentially, if you are deemed partially at fault for an accident you were involved in, you are liable to lose a percentage of the money you might have been awarded, decided by the jury. If you are deemed 50% liable for the accident you were involved in, then 50% of your personal injury case’s reward is taken from you.
Let an Experienced Salt Lake City Lawyer Help You
An automobile accident can be traumatic enough to deal with. Unfortunately, the aftermath of these accidents can be just as harrowing to deal with, especially if you are from Utah, where some of the laws put in place might get in the way of you receiving the money you are owed.
That’s why you need to get in contact with Siegfried & Jensen, Salt Lake City lawyers with years of experience dealing with automobile accidents. Let us help you navigate the legal spiderwebs that might ensnare you along the way in getting the money you might be owed in a personal injury case.