Do You Need To Call The Police Even For A Small Impact Crash?

Do You Need To Call The Police Even For A Small Impact Crash?

 

Short Answer: Yes.

 

Long Answer: Police officers are trained to respond to the scene of a crash and evaluate what happened. Police officers are responsible for speaking with the different parties involved in the crash and determining what really happened (the best he/she can). A police officer will not only discuss what happened with the parties involved, but they should also look at the skid marks on the ground and the angels of the cars to ensure that the story being told matches what they see and what makes sense. If needed, the police officer will issue a citation to the person or persons who violated a law and caused the crash. Crashes typically do not occur unless someone violated a rule of the road placing other people in danger.

 

The most important thing that a police officer does is to write the Police Report. A Police Report is essential to the legal process going forward (although the actual police report will likely not come into evidence should the case go to trial). The police report is important because insurance companies rely heavily on what is included in the police report to determine fault. Keep in mind that whenever you are in a car accident there are likely legal ramifications that you will have to deal with days, months, or even years later. Your memory will fade but the police report will preserve what was said and what was seen to help you remember the details of the crash when you need them later on down the road.

 

Also, it is important to note that the fault determination made in the Police Report, and subsequently relied upon by the insurance company, will likely determine whether or not your insurance premiums go up or if you no longer qualify for auto insurance with your current carrier.  

 

A brief story might illustrate the value of a Police Report. A man was driving out of a fast food restaurant when he stopped at a stop sign. A woman, speaking on her phone, impacted his vehicle from the rear while he was stopped at the stop sign. There was little damage to his vehicle so both agreed to part ways without calling a police officer to the scene. 6 months later the man received a call from his insurance company asking about the crash because the woman was making a claim against him for the injuries that her child sustained in the back of the car. She claimed that the crash was the man’s fault because the man stopped abruptly and then reversed his car into her car. Since there is no Police Report or officer’s testimony this becomes a classic “he said, she said” battle that could have been avoided had the man called a police officer to the scene of the crash.

 

Remember you do not necessarily call a police officer to the scene of a crash because you always need help at the scene, instead you need the Police Report that the officer will generate for the legal process that you will assuredly go through following the crash. If the crash is small you should still call an officer.

What if your friend crashes your car?

WHAT IF YOUR FRIEND CRASHES YOUR CAR?

 

How many times have you heard “hey man, can I borrow your car real quick?” Since you are a nice guy you probably allowed your friend to take your wheels to run errands or do whatever your buddy needs to do. But what happens if they cause a crash while driving your car? Whose insurance will pay for the damage caused? The answer depends greatly on the state in which you live and the specific language of your insurance policy as well as the policy language of your friends insurance policy (if applicable). This article explores just a few of the issues that surround this situation.

 

VEHICLE 1ST PERSON 2ND

 

The first thing that is important to understand is that insurance typically follows the vehicle first and the person driving it second. So if you loan your car to your buddy and he hits someone, his insurance is likely NOT on the hook for his actions, instead your insurance will have to step up. Now that doesn’t really seem fair does it? You did nothing wrong, but now you suffer increases in your rates for the next 5 years all because you were trying to be a good friend. But that is how it works so you need to be careful with whom you allow to use your car.

 

Is it important to note that your insurance might not be the only set of available coverage in this situation! Many states and many insurance policies allow for the driver’s insurance to come in as a backup or secondary insurance when the owner of the vehicle’s insurance policy is not enough to compensate for the harm done. For example, if your friend hit someone and caused them injury in the amount of $40,000, but your car was only insured for $25,000, then (assuming your friend had insurance) the injured party could pursue your friends insurance to pay the remaining balance (assuming that there is enough insurance between both policies to cover all of the harm).

 

Please Note: It is important that you look at and understand your insurance policy. Some insurance policies will exclude coverage for “permissive users” which essentially means that if you allow someone to use your vehicle they will not be covered under your insurance policy. These exclusions should be avoided if possible. Speak to your insurance agent and ask if your policy has “permissive user” exclusion.

 

WHAT IF THERE IS NOT ENOUGH INSURANCE MONEY?

 

The situation may arise where the primary coverage (the owner of the vehicle’s policy) and the secondary coverage (the driver’s insurance policy) combined are still not enough to compensate for the harm that has been done to the injured person. In this instance, the driver (your friend) who committed the negligent act will be personally responsible for any excess harm done. For example, you loan your car to your buddy and he hits a pedestrian on the street causing that person $100,000 in damages. Your insurance policy is only a $25,000 policy and your buddy’s policy is only $25,000 so there is $50,000 left that has not been paid. Your friend will be responsible to pay that additional $50,000 out of pocket. You, the person who loaned out the car will typically not have personal responsibility over and above your insurance policy unless you fall under certain exceptions that are unique to each state.

 

EXCEPTIONS WHERE VEHICLE OWNER IS PERSONALLY LIABLE

 

Each state is different but many states will hold the vehicle owner personally responsible if the vehicle was loaned out to someone that they knew was intoxicated or on drugs at the time of the crash. Also, the vehicle owner may have personal responsibility if the vehicle is given to a child in their own home (16 year old son).

 

Regardless of the situation it is important that you understand your insurance policy and know what is allowed and what is not. Also, you need to be cautions with whom you loan your vehicle. Good News: if your vehicle does end up causing harm to someone (and there is no personal exposure from the exceptions listed above), your insurance company has a duty to defend you and you do not have to hire an attorney or pay the costs of an attorney. That is precisely what you pay insurance premiums for every month, to protect you.

 

PTSD in Personal Injury Cases

Few people are not aware that post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious condition. When the veterans who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq come home, their experiences in the field often results in this disorder. But aside from the veteran accounts, there are also other activities that can cause this type of injury. In personal injury cases, you can file a personal injury claim if you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”).
Just as with other injuries that can harm a person, the cause of PTSD is identifiable and it is can be presented in a court of law. Contrary to what most people think, post-traumatic stress disorder can come from natural disasters, discrimination, abuse, bullying, rape, and even car accidents. When a traumatic event occurs, a person may experience several symptoms of PTSD.
Often times a person suffering from PTSD can recognize the noticeable signs of their disorder which includes fear and anxiety. Other symptoms attributed to this disorder include depression, anger, flashbacks, hyperalertness, frightening behavior, lower libido and avoidance of the certain situations that would make you recall the event that transpired. If you notice that you are suffering from any of these symptoms following a traumatic event, you may be struggling with PTSD.
For post-traumatic stress disorder personal injury cases, here are the things that you need to know:

  1. In any PTSD personal injury case, one of the major things to consider is the extent of the injury. The severity of the case is taken into account. Victims suffering from PTSD have different experiences and suffer in different ways. Often a victim who has PTSD will incur medical costs, therapy and rehabilitation costs. The total costs of these treatments could cost thousands of dollars.
  2. Victims who are suffering from psychological trauma can be compensated for their suffering. In the state of California, the victim is entitled to compensation by calculating the number of days he/she suffers with the said injury. If for instance, the person suffered for 300 days and the jury determines a value of $400 per day, then the compensation award amounts to $120,000.
  3. There are cases where the victims would not be able to work. As such, the amount of lost wages and income that he/she is yet to earn in the future can be calculated. With the help of experts, they can identify if the person can no longer do the same job.

If you suffer from the signs and symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder because of the conduct of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation. You need an experienced personal injury attorney who can help with these types of cases.

What Happens When a Someone is Injured In Your House?

Whether it is a holiday or any special occasion, family and friends gather together to celebrate, spend time and have fun. From having enjoyable activities, preparing scrumptious meals to making new traditions, the last thing you would want to happen is to have someone get hurt. What happens if someone gets hurt at your home? Here are some details that will give you insights to holiday accidents that can happen at home.

Q: What happens if a person is injured in your home during holiday season?

Expected visitors who go to your house need to be protected from hazards. They should be aware of any hazard on your property. As the owner, it is your responsibility to inform guests about any hazards on your property. You are not obligated to repair those defects, but if you think it can cause harm or injury, you might as well do the necessary repairs. These hazards include flooring issues, iced entryway, not enough lighting, etc.
When a person gets injured on your property, they will file a claim with your home owner’s insurance provider. As for the liability, it would depend on the status of the injured person. To determine your status at the time of the fall you should consult a personal injury attorney.

Q. Will my insurance policy provide coverage?

Before anything else, liability has to be established. In the event that you are liable for any injury or damage incurred on your property, your insurance company can cover the damages to the aggrieved party. However, it is important to note that it would depend on your insurance coverage. Insurance companies typically do not cover damages for injuries resulting from intentional acts (i.e. assault). So, if you get mad at uncle Ted and you punch him in the face, your home owners insurance policy will likely not pick up the bill.

Q. Are There Various Kinds of Coverages?

When it comes to insurance coverage that pertains to personal injury that took place in your home, there are two predominant types. The first is the Personal Liability and the other is the Medical Payments to Others.
The Medical Payments to Others provides coverage for medical costs of the injured person. This type of coverage would cover the costs regardless of who is at fault. How about the coverage limits? It typically ranges from $1000 to $5000 and this may vary among states and insurance providers.
The other type of coverage is Personal Liability coverage. This provides coverage for property damages and body injuries. Then again, the coverage would still depend on the insurance policy as it may include rehabilitation, hospital bills and loss of income among many others. Compared to the other type of insurance, it has high coverage ranging from $100K to $500k.

Q. What if the injury resulted from an intentional act?

If the injury incurred was brought about by an intentional act, the injured party should see a personal injury attorney. They specialize in handling such cases as they know the legal remedies to help you receive fair and adequate compensation.
Celebrating holidays and other special occasions in your house is definitely fun. If an accident takes place in your property, the very first thing is to ensure that the person injured gets the medical attention they need as soon as possible. Enjoy the season!

Personal Injury Laws in Utah

When filing for personal injury claims, if you happen to be the injured party, aside from providing evidence to prove your claim, you also need to file it within a specific period of time. The basics of personal injury laws include the rules on government injury claims, limits on compensation and the time limit to sue among many others.
Just like in other states, there is only a specific time frame where you can file a personal injury case. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” In Utah you have 4 years from the date of the accident/injury to file a case or you lose your legal right to bring the claim. Utah courts will refuse to hear your case if you fail to file within the proper time frame dictated by the statute of limitations.

Shared Fault in Personal Injury Cases

Sometimes fault is not clear. There are instances where one party files a personal injury claim and the other side contends that you are at fault for your own injuries. Does this mean that you cannot recover anything? Utah has a “comparative fault” rule which may affect the amount you can get. The court will basically determine the percentage of fault. If you are found to be more than 50% at fault, then you cannot recover anything. But if you are found to be only 30% at fault then you can collect the remaining 70%.
If you are found to share partly of the fault, the rule is to reduce the awarded damages based on the % of fault determined by the court. Hence, if you’re 20% at fault, your damages award can be reduced by 20%.

Limits on Injury Damages

Similar to other states, Utah has a cap on injury damages (depending on the circumstances). Caps typically apply to injuries arising from medical malpractice or workers compensation. In these injury cases the state limits noneconomic damages and an attorneys’ recovery. Utah Code Section 8B-3-410 limits these non-economic damages to $450,000 in the medical malpractice case. It is important to note that this does not apply to all injury cases, just to medical malpractice cases. So if a doctor makes a mistake and it kills a patient, the most the doctor’s insurance has to pay is $450,000. This does not seem like much of a punishment. Utah laws are typically very favorable to Doctors and other medical providers.

Government Injury Cases

If you’ve incurred injuries brought about by a government employee or government agency, the rules are different. The statute of limitations is 1 year, so you need to file a claim within 1 year or you lose your right to bring a claim at all. You also have 1 year to file an appeal in the event that the case is denied.
If you need to bring a claim against a governmental agency or the state you have to jump through some additional hoops. The Utah Governmental Immunity Act provides the rules for injury claims that involve the government employees and agencies. It is best to consult with a competent personal injury attorney before bringing a claim against the state.

Dog Bite Injury Laws and Pet Owner Liability in Nevada

In Nevada, injuries incurred by dogs are governed by local ordinances and case law. If you are the injured party, you need to at least know how the process works in order to receive proper compensation. As a pet owner, it is important to be knowledgeable about the laws as well as the other rules that pet owners are responsible to follow with regards to their pets.

Lawsuit Deadlines

When it comes to filing personal injury cases brought about by dog bites, Nevada has what is called a “statute of limitations.” This sets the deadline on filing any personal injury case. In this state, a person injured has 2 years to file a personal injury lawsuit. The time starts on the date that the person incurred the injury.
As with other personal injury cases, if you incurred injuries brought about by a dog bite, you should file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs. Once the statute of limitations expires, the court will not even hear the matter, which means that you will be deprived of seeking any compensation for your damages.

Dog Bite Law in Nevada

Dog bite cases in Nevada depend heavily on existing case law. This means that the courts will decide based upon prior dog bite cases and less on statutory law.
Dog bite cases are also known as negligence cases. A pet owner can be held liable if the victim can show that the pet owner failed to do their responsibility to avoid the injury. This could be attributed to lack of care or improper monitoring. Also, the past behavior of the dog may be a factor to consider.
The injured party can file a case on the basis of negligence. Like for instance in certain counties, there are local ordinances that would require pet owners to keep their dogs in a fenced yard or using a leash. In the event that a dog bites from a pet owner’s failure to comply with the said ordinances, the injured person can establish a strong argument in court focusing on the negligence of the owner to comply with the ordinances. As the pet owner, you are completely responsible for the behavior and actions of your dog. If a pet owner fails to restrain the animal and it caused injuries to another person, then that owner is considered to be negligent.

Dog Bite Claims Defenses

As a pet owner when you face a lawsuit in court, you would want to come up with a defense. There are various possible defenses that your lawyers can use. One of which is the so-called comparative fault. This refers to a state where the injured person is also responsible for the injury he/she incurred.
An example of such scenario is when there is a person provoking your pet by poking with a stick or throwing things at it. The dog reacts by growling and the person still would not stop. As a result, the dog attacks and bites him. In this case, the pet owner can argue that the injured person is responsible for the injuries he incurred. He would not have been injured if he did not provoke the dog in the first place. Still other states, such as Utah, are called strict liability states. This means that the reason the dog bit is irrelevant. If a dog bites, the owner is responsible. Call us today to discuss your dog bite case and see if we can help (435) 986-2222.

Slip and Fall Accidents: Premises Liability

Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere. People can fall in a parking lot, a store, a friend’s house or even a hotel. A slip and fall can cause anything from a laugh to death. Some of the more devastating injuries can cost a great deal considering the medical costs, the loss of current and future income along with the other damages. Apart from that, these kinds of accidents can also lead to broken bones and even trauma. That is why property owners always need to be responsible to ensure that any person in their vicinity is safe by reminding or informing them of any safety precautions to avoid the likelihood of such accidents.

Proving Fault

When filing a lawsuit, if you are the injured party in the case you need to prove the fault of the defendant. Most people think that just because a person slips or falls down, it is the property owner’s liability and he should compensate the injured party. However, the owner may not have had a duty to protect against the person’s harm. These premises liability cases often produce a great deal of debate over who is responsible. If you have been injured while on someone’s property then you need an experienced personal injury attorney to help advise you with your case.
As the plaintiff, you need to prove that the cause of the slip is brought about a dangerous or hazardous condition. In such cases, the injured party needs to establish that there is negligence on the part of the property owner. For instance, if the property owner knows that there is a dangerous condition on his property, and he fails to inform people coming on to his property about the condition and someone gets hurt, then he may be responsible for the harm done. For example, if there are wet floors and these areas are unmarked, or if they are no safety rails, poor lighting, etc., these are some of the common scenarios that can cause slip and fall accident. Failure on the part of the property owner to inform visitors with the proper signage can be deemed negligence.
Premise liability occurs not only in commercial properties but even residential properties. Whether you are the business owner or a home owner, you owe it to the people visiting your property/household to ensure that they are safe.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, slip and fall accidents are the major causes of traumatic brain injuries.
Individuals who are suffering from brain injuries brought about by a slip and fall have to shoulder the hefty medical costs. It does not stop there, after treating the injury, the injured person has to undergo rehabilitation and continued care.

Utah’s Liability Laws

Among the states in our great nation, only a handful of states operate as “no-fault” insurance states. Utah is one of these no-fault states. This means that when there is an auto accident, someone is at fault and that person or company must pay.
In a fault state, no person or party can receive any compensation without first determining who is at fault (neither insurance company will step up and pay until fault has been determined). Ultimately, it will only be the insurance company of the person who is at fault who will pay for the damages, but it may take a while to determine fault and the injured person is in a state of lingo while waiting for the fault determination.
On the other hand, the no-fault accident is different. The one who incurred damages brought about by another party can be compensated by his own insurance company and then that insurance company will seek reimbursement from the other insurance company when fault is determined. This speeds up the process for the injured person and allows them to get immediate medical attention as well as peace of mind. Essentially, the injured person gets paid and then the insurance companies fight it out amongst themselves. In Utah, if you are in an accident, either insurance company can pay for the costs of the property loss or the injuries and then recover from the other insurance company once fault is determined (hence why Utah is a “no-fault” state).
Statutorily, Utah requires that every driver carry a minimum of $3,000 in personal injury protection insurance “PIP.” This $3,000 is basically just a pot of money sitting there waiting to be used. This money can be used regardless of fault. So if you crash your own car into a tree and it is your fault, you can use the $3,000. If you are injured by someone else’s carelessness, then you can use that $3,000 for your initial medical bills including transportation to the hospital, x-rays, etc…
Another interesting aspect of Utah injury law is what is referred to as “threshold law.” In Utah, if you fail to exceed $3,000 in medical expenses then you do not qualify for a personal injury claim (only when the harm arises from an automotive crash). Threshold law means that you are barred from filing a personal injury claim unless your medical bills amount to more than $3,000. On one hand PIP coverage is great because it is available immediately and helps people get the initial medical treatment that they need. On the other hand, PIP has to be reimbursed out of your settlement unless policy limits are obtained. So if you do not reach the policy limits you have to pay back the $3,000 making it of little value.
If you are in an accident give us a call. Each situation is unique and we can advise you (for free) how these laws apply to your particular case. PIP laws and threshold laws can be sticky, so contact an experienced personal injury attorney today so that you don’t make a costly mistake.

Statute of Limitations for Auto Accidents in Utah

As with any lawsuit in any state, there is the statute of limitations. After an auto accident, there is a specific time period in which a person can file a lawsuit or waive the right to file one. For the state of Utah, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is 4 years, which means that you need to be able to file your case in the proper court within the prescribed time period. But this 4 year limitation only applies to negligence law suits involving private persons. If you have a claim against the state or a government business, the statute of limitations is 1 year. If the person is driving for a federal agency, the claim should be filed within 2 years from the date of the accident.

Time Limits

In Utah, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit after an auto accident might vary depending on the situation. This would depend on the party at fault and the type of claim. In general, the personal injury claim needs to be filed with 4 years. One exception to this rule is where a child is harmed. The statute of limitations typically begins when the injury occurs, but in the case of a minor, the clock does not start ticking until the child reached the age of 18. There is another exception when there is underinsured coverage available. In this instance the claim does not begin until the third party liability claim is resolved.
There are also other time limits for a certain claim. For instance, if it is a claim made for wrongful death then it must be filed 2 years from the date the accident happened. Attorneys can help their clients file the claims on time and to identify all proper damages.
If your vehicle or personal property incurred damages brought about by the accident, you need to file the claim within 3 years under the Utah Code Section 8B-2-305.
Given the legal complexities and technicalities in personal injury cases, it is highly advisable that you seek professional legal help. An experienced Utah auto attorney or personal injury attorney can help you in your case and to make sure that you file within the specified time frame.
From a strategic point of view, you would always want to have enough time to file a claim and to have a settlement without any delay. Being open to options, you can have more leeway for settlement talks especially if the other party is open for such settlement discussions. However, in cases where the claim will soon approach the deadline, the best way is to consult a car accident attorney and get a claim filed in a timely manner.
Aside from filing the lawsuit in a timely manner, keep in mind that in order to win the case, you need to prove the negligence of the defendant that lead to or caused the accident which then resulted in injuries and other damages.

Leading Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents in Utah

With the increasing number of semi-trucks on the roads, there is also a rise in the number of semi-truck related accidents. The increase in the number of these vehicles is attributed to the fact that Utah has become a commercial hub and these vehicles carry goods and other products all over our great country.
In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made a study pertaining to truck crashes. In that year alone, there were about 380,000 large trucks involved in traffic accidents. 4,066 of those were fatal and approximately 90,000 individuals incurred injuries.
This study also examined how the crashed often occurred. 50% of all fatal trucking crashes involved a head-on collision. 9% of fatal crashes were because of individuals turning suddenly in front of a semi. Of these fatal crashes, 64% occurred in rural areas. 67% occurred during daylight hours. 80% occurred during weekdays.
Trucking accidents bring up several interesting issues. One is insurance. Some trucking companies are self-insured. Others have an ordinary commercial policy. Still other companies hire out independent contractors who carry personal insurance on their truck. If you are injured it is important to discover which insurance arrangement is present because that may ultimately determine how much money is available to help you with your medical bills, lost wages, or death expenses (depending on the situation).
Another interesting issue that trucking accidents brings up is the way that the crash occurred. Big trucks have so many moving parts and so many things that can go wrong mechanically. Frequently, the cause of a semi-truck crash is a mechanical failure of some kind. These mechanical failures have to be investigated thoroughly in order to cause change as to prevent others from being injured. Also, some trucking companies require too many miles from their drivers which will encourage the drivers to work extended hours. Driving too long or too far only results in driver fatigue and ultimately harm to others. For the safety of all, these company policies cannot be excused and must be stopped.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a large truck, you need someone with experience in dealing with semi-truck cases. At Injury Defender we offer a free consultation and as always you don’t pay unless we win. Feel free to contact us today to discuss your case.