Frequently Asked Personal Injury Questions
At Handy & Handy, P.C., in Salt Lake City, our attorneys have more than 35 years of experience handling personal injury claims for victims of accidents. We understand the challenges you face after an injury and are here to help you explore all your options to improve your life.
Below is a list of frequently asked questions we hear from our clients. Read our responses and call us if you would like to discuss your specific concern.
Do I have a case?
You may be able to pursue a legal claim if your injuries were a result of negligence or reckless actions. These may include being injured in car accidents, in truck accidents, by defective products or by other types of accidents caused by someone else.
How much is my case worth?
This depends on several factors, including the severity of your injuries and the impact your injuries have on your life. You may be able to receive compensation to help pay for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Do I need a lawyer?
You can try to handle your case on your own, but we would not recommend it. Personal injury laws are complex and require in-depth knowledge of the legal process to ensure your rights and future are protected. We have experience handling these claims and will work hard to find the best outcome to help you move forward with your life.
Do I have to settle my claim with the insurance company?
Do not sign any settlement with the insurance company until all of your options have been explored. We will protect your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve after an accident.
How should I respond to a low settlement offer?
This is one reason why working with an experienced attorney is so important. Your lawyer will have a good sense of how much your case is worth and whether the settlement offer is reasonable.
Defendants and their insurance companies will want to settle a case for as little money as possible. Therefore, you can likely expect at least one lowball offer. Thankfully, you don’t have to accept any offer if it fails to compensate for your losses or is otherwise unfair. And if you never receive a reasonable offer, you have the option of taking the case to trial.
What do you need to prove negligence?
In any personal injury lawsuit, you need to demonstrate that you were injured because of the negligence of another party (an individual, business or organization). In very simplified terms, this means that you need to show that another party acted in a manner that they shouldn’t have (by doing something or failing to do something), and that their actions resulted in your injuries or other losses.
A more detailed explanation is provided in the question below.
What are the five elements of negligence?
There are five elements you must prove when seeking to hold another party liable for negligence. They are listed and explained below, using a car accident scenario for reference:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care. This could mean they were required to drive in a manner that would reduce the likelihood of an accident, which is a duty each driver has to other road users.
- The defendant violated their duty of care, likely by driving in a manner they knew or should have known was unsafe.
- The defendant’s negligent actions caused your injuries. You must show a cause-and-effect relationship.
- The defendant’s negligent actions were the proximate (main) cause of your injuries.
- You suffered actual harm as a result of the defendant’s actions. Legally, these harms are known as “damages.” They include things like physical injuries, medical bills, lost wages and property damage.
Our experienced attorneys will help you build the strongest possible legal case available under the circumstances to help you maximize recovery.
Is Utah a no-fault state?
Yes, Utah uses a no-fault system when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. This means that, for car accidents which are relatively minor, each driver who suffers injuries will seek compensation through the claims process on their own insurance policy. The no-fault policy applies only to bodily injury claims, not property damage.
After more serious accidents – particularly those in which one driver was clearly at fault – the normal no-fault policy may be inadequate to compensate the victim. After using up your own personal injury protection benefits, you should seek the help of our firm to pursue additional compensation in a personal injury suit against the at-fault driver.
When do I need to file a claim?
You need to file your personal injury claim within the statute of limitations in Utah. This is usually within four years of the date of the injury. It is best to explore your legal options and pursue a claim as soon as possible after an injury to prevent any problems.
Does every claim go to court?
Not necessarily. We work hard to find the best outcome in your case. In some cases, this may mean going to trial, while in other cases, obtaining a full and fair settlement may be possible.
What happens if my license states that I need corrective lenses and I’m not wearing them when I get pulled over by a law enforcement officer?
In Utah, as in many other states, you can be ticketed or fined if you are not wearing corrective lenses when pulled over (if they are a noted requirement on your license). Some people only need corrective lenses part of the time (like driving at night, for instance), but the restriction technically applies any time you are behind the wheel.
Have you recently had surgery or a procedure to correct your vision? If so, please remember to contact the DMV to have the restriction removed from your license.
What is premises liability?
This is a type of personal injury law concerned with injuries that occur on someone else’s property, often resulting from dangerous conditions that the property owner should have known about and addressed. Some examples include a slip-and-fall accident at a grocery store, tripping and falling in a building’s stairwell due to poor lighting or suffering an electric shock in your apartment because the landlord failed to fix the faulty wiring. Dog bites and attacks also tend to be classified as premises liability cases even if they didn’t occur on the owner’s property.
What is the meaning of negligent?
We are all expected to act in ways that reasonably reduce the likelihood of harming others. Negligence is failing to act in those ways. More specifically, under Utah law, negligence is described as “the failure to exercise that degree of care that an ordinarily reasonable and prudent person exercises under like or similar circumstances.”
What is considered reasonable depends on the situation. As a driver, you exercise care by driving the speed limit, staying sober behind the wheel and not being distracted by your phone (among other things). To do the opposite would be to behave negligently, and you could be held legally liable if negligent behavior resulted in an injurious or fatal crash.
Contact Our Firm To Get Your Questions Answered
Our personal injury attorneys will put your needs first. We will guide you through this process and answer your questions so you can make an informed decision about your future. Schedule a free consultation by calling 801-790-4078 or by sending us an email. There is no risk to meet with us – we only get paid if we win your claim.