Utah Car Accident Laws – A Complete Guide


Laura Schaefer

With over 3.4 million people, Utah shows the fastest population growth of any state in the nation since 2010. As a result, car accidents are on the rise in Salt Lake City and the rest of the state. Utah car accident laws were created to guide victims through the legal process after a crash, helping you to:

  • Determine liability
  • Figure out what damages you may qualify for
  • Learn how the state of Utah regulates car insurance

There were 61,046 car crashes in 2021 according to the Utah Department of Public Safety. These accidents caused 332 deaths and 26,437 injuries. Review Utah’s accident laws when talking to an auto accident lawyer about your case. Each crash is different and requires the expertise of an attorney to get the most out of your settlement.

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How to Report a Car Accident in Utah

Utah Code § 41-6a-401.7 requires drivers to report all car accidents to the police by the “quickest means of communication.” In other words, by calling the police at the scene. Also, the Department of Public Safety may contact you to file a report if the accident involves:

  • Injury or death
  • Total damage of $2,500 or more

If you receive this request, you must file the report within 10 days per Utah Code § 41-6a-402. All people involved in a car accident must remain at the collision scene till law enforcement arrives. Share your name, registration, and insurance information with the other parties and help the injured receive medical attention if they need it.

The exception to these rules is if you’re physically incapable of filing a report according to Utah Code § 41-6a-402. Only focus on your injuries if you’re seriously hurt, and that involves calling 911 and finding immediate medical attention.

If you’re involved in a Utah car accident and you’re not the owner of the vehicle, you have 15 days to create a car crash report. This is relevant if you’re driving a rental car when the crash occurred.

Comparative Negligence in Utah Car Accident Law

The reality is that life, and car accidents, can be messy. Thus, multiple parties can be responsible for the same accident. This system of law is called comparative negligence, and Utah follows a modified version of this system.

Utah Code § 78B-5-818 states that if you’re partially at-fault for the accident, the amount for damages you’re awarded is reduced by your percentage of fault. Additionally, if you are found to be 50% or more at-fault for the accident, you cannot collect damages.

For example, if deemed 30% at-fault for your crash, your settlement may be reduced by 30% of its original value. If you were deemed 51% liable, you won’t be able to receive damages from the crash.

An attorney can help argue your case to reduce the amount of liability you carry from a car accident. This may increase the amount you’ll earn from your settlement than if you represented yourself.

Is Utah a No-Fault State?

Yes, Utah is one of the twelve states that have no-fault insurance for auto accidents. This means if you’re in a car accident in Utah, the no-fault system requires your own auto insurance policy to cover all injury-related expenses from the crash.

However, there may be exceptions if your injuries were serious and no-fault insurance isn’t enough. That’s why it’s important to contact a Utah car accident attorney to know your options. Even if Utah is a no-fault state, you might qualify for additional compensation if the other driver was grossly negligent.

Utah Statute of Limitations

In most Utah car crash cases, individuals have four years per Utah Code § 78B-2-307(4)to file a lawsuit. The clock begins on the day of the accident and extends forward. There are, however, exceptions to this rule:

  1. If an individual dies as the result of the injury, the surviving family members have only two years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
  2. If your injury or death case is filed against a government agency, you only have one year from the date of the injury or death.

If you’re too late and file after the statute of limitations, your case may get barred from court. An attorney is invaluable when finding out if your case falls within these exceptions.

Minimum Insurance Requirements in Utah

All residents of Utah must maintain no-fault car insurance of at least:

  • $25,000 liability for injury or death of one person and $65,000 liability for bodily injury or death of two or more persons
  • $15,000 liability for injury to or destruction of property with a $80,000 liability total for one accident

Every auto insurance policy must also come with personal injury protection (PIP)coverage in the state of Utah. This coverage offers policyholders at least $3,000 in benefits for any medical costs from a car accident. It doesn’t matter if the policyholder was at-fault for the collision.

IMPORTANT: You must first use all your existing PIP coverage to pay medical bills — at least $3,000 in medical costs associated with the auto accident injury — or you be unable to regain compensation for other damages.

Additional Insurance Coverage Options

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage isn’t required in Utah, but you can buy it in addition to the policies that are mandated. This coverage pays your costs if the other driver carries no car insurance or doesn’t have enough to cover your damages.

Another option in Utah is collision and comprehensive coverage, which covers the cost of repairing or replacing your own vehicle in the event of a non-accident loss. Comprehensive coverage pays for damages caused outside of car accidents, like floods and theft.

Available Damages in Utah Car Accident Law

There are three types of damages a plaintiff may seek in Utah:

  • Economic
  • Non-economic
  • Punitive

Economic damages are the measurable monetary damages a person experiences as a result of a car accident. These may include:

  • Medical treatment (immediate and ongoing) 
  • Property damage (vehicular and otherwise) 
  • Wage loss (time off work and missing employment opportunities) 
  • Costs for assistive devices (like wheelchairs or prosthetics)

Non-economic damages — often called “general damages — are an attempt to compensate a victim for the non-monetary effects of the accident. These may be harder to prove since they’re less tangible, so keeping detailed records like eyewitness testimonies may help. These “injuries” may look like:

Punitive Damages

In any case where punitive damages are awarded in Utah, for the first $50,000, the injured party receives the full amount. Any amount beyond $50,000 is divided equally between the state and the injured party.

Damage Caps in Utah

Car accident injury cases in Utah have no damages cap. This means your compensation won’t be limited if you suffer severe injuries. However, your settlement payment depends on the skillful work of your lawyer.

How LegalASAP Connects You With a Skilled Auto Accident Attorney

Given the unique Utah car accident laws, it’s crucial you get a lawyer in this state. There are too many rules and regulations that can derail your claim if you don’t know what you’re doing.

If you are in a collision and need help navigating the system, let LegalASAP help. We can connect you with a car accident attorney in your area for a free consultation today.

Find out if you have a case, get assistance with your insurance negotiations, and receive the funds you deserve. With the right advocate, you can get back on the road to a better settlement in no time.

Laura Schaefer

Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.