What is Utah’s Comparative Negligence Laws?
“If I am partly at fault for my car crash, can I recover any compensation from the other driver?”
The question of comparative negligence is coming up more often because insurance companies are trying to use the law to reduce the amount of money they must pay to accident victims. Each state has its own laws regarding negligence.
Utah adopted a modified comparative negligence statute. An accident victim can recover compensation for injuries even if he or she is partially at fault. However, the fault assigned to the victim must be 49 percent or lower. If the victim’s fault is assigned at 50 percent or more, he or she is barred from recovering any compensation for the accident from the other driver’s insurance company.
Our Utah car accident attorneys have experience fighting comparative negligence claims. Let us use our skills, experience, and knowledge to fight for your right to receive 100 percent compensation for your damages. Don’t let an insurance adjuster convince you that you don’t have a claim and that you don’t need an attorney. Call someone you can trust to protect your best interest — call our office now for a free consultation.
What Happens If I Am Under Forty-nine Percent at Fault?
Our goal is to argue that you are not at fault for the accident. We want to prove that the other driver is 100 percent at fault so you can receive full compensation. However, in a case where you may be partially at fault, our goal is to argue for the lowest percent possible to protect your compensation. Let’s look at an example. If you were speeding through an intersection when another vehicle turned left in front of you, a jury might find that you and the other driver are both at fault. You were speeding, and the other driver failed to yield the right of way. The jury returns a decision that assigns 20 percent of the fault to you and 80 percent of the fault to the other driver.
Based on the jury’s decision, if your damages are $100,000, you can only receive $80,000. Your total damages are reduced by your percentage of fault — 20 percent or $20,000. Even though the percentage of the fault may have been small (20 percent), it results in a considerable sum of money being subtracted from the amount you receive.
In some states, a pure comparative fault theory is used. Under a pure system, you can be 99 percent at fault and still recover one percent of your damages. Filing a lawsuit for one percent of damages is usually not cost-effective, but it does allow a person with substantial damages to receive some money even if the person is over 50 percent at fault for the crash.
What is Contributory Negligence?
In several states, the legislature has adopted a more restrictive negligence rule. Contributory negligence states that if you are even one percent at fault, you cannot recover any money for your damages. These states have very strict rules that often hinder an injury victim from receiving the compensation they deserve for their injuries.