Utah is a No-fault Auto Car Insurance State. What Does That Mean?

Utah is a no-fault auto car insurance state. What does that mean?

It seems outrageous that a drunk driver who runs a red light and slams into your car would not be considered “at fault” in the crash. But Utah is a no-fault state, so isn’t that what would happen?Not exactly. The meaning of no-fault car insurance is generally misunderstood and may actually prevent people from pursuing a claim in a car crash that was not their fault. As a car accident attorney in Salt Lake City, I believe it’s important to explain what the law means to residents of Utah.

Why No-Fault?

Twelve states, including Utah, have no-fault car insurance laws in place. Originally sold to legislatures as a way to lower insurance premiums for consumers, many states found that, in reality, it did nothing more than increase insurance companies’ profits. Around a dozen states have dropped no-fault laws, but we are not one of them.

How No-Fault Insurance Works

In general, no-fault coverage means that victims of minor accidents cannot file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover payment for medical bills and other associated costs. Instead, the victim’s own insurance will pay his medical bills and lost wages. No-fault coverage will not pay for any damage to the victim’s car, however.

In Utah, the victim’s insurance company is required to pay at least $3,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) benefits to the victim, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. For minor accidents, this may be the end of the process. A motorist is rear-ended at a stop light, his taillight is smashed, he incurs minor injuries, and his own insurance company pays the medical bills—end of story.

However, when crashes result in serious injury, the victim can take legal action against the at-fault driver. If the victim’s medical bills exceed $3,000 or he has suffered a particular kind of injury, he may file a lawsuit against the other driver. The following injuries qualify under Utah’s injury threshold:

  • Permanent disability
  • Permanent impairment
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Dismemberment

Damage to the vehicle is not considered under the no-fault system in Utah. In other words, recovering money for property damage is handled as it is in “fault” states—by suing the responsible party’s insurance company. In this situation, your compensation will most likely be limited by the amount of property damage insurance the other driver is carrying.

Insurance Coverage Requirements in Utah

As in every other state, Utah requires car owners to carry minimum amounts of insurance on every vehicle they own. Known as 25/65/15, the breakdown is as follows:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $65,000 per accident when more than one person suffers bodily injury
  • $15,000 per accident for property damage

While this is all the coverage you are required to purchase, it is highly recommended that you carry more insurance. If you cause an accident that seriously injures another person and his medical costs exceed $25,000, you could be held personally liable for additional costs.

No-Fault Laws Are Too Complex to Handle on Your Own

No-fault insurance laws are confusing by design. If you are injured in a serious accident, you need an experienced car accident attorney by your side. Call or email me now to schedule a free consultation.