Modified Comparative Fault Laws for Car Accidents in Utah
As if it weren’t confusing enough to figure out Utah’s no-fault car insurance law, residents also have to wrestle with the concept of comparative fault when it comes to car accident liability.
While it is very clear in some car crashes who is at fault for the accident, other times it’s not so easy. If a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs or is texting while driving, the police will most likely place the blame squarely on his or her shoulders. However, in cases where direct fault is difficult to determine, the responding officer may assign partial blame to each party. It is the percentage of blame assigned that becomes an important factor in a modified comparative fault state such as Utah.
What Comparative Fault Means
In a state that uses the legal principle of comparative fault—also known as comparative negligence—the law says that the two parties involved in the crash can share the blame and that any damage award given to an injured party will be reduced by the percentage amount that he or she is at fault for the crash. For example, if Jane suffers injuries valued at $100,000, but is found to be 30 percent to blame for the crash, she will only be awarded $70,000—a reduction of 30 percent.
Utah, however, is among the majority of states that practice modified comparative fault. What this means is that if one of the parties in an accident is found to be 50 percent or more at fault, he or she will receive no compensation at all. If the two parties are found to share equal blame in an accident—50/50—neither party can win damages from the other’s insurance company. However, if one party is only 49 percent at fault, he or she is eligible for 49 percent of the damages he or she has suffered.
Get Help to Clear the Confusion
If you are in a car accident and have been assigned partial blame, you will need the help of an experienced Utah car accident attorney to get the most you can for your recovery. Utah’s laws are too complex to take on yourself. Call Injury Attorney William Enoch Andrews for a free review of your case. You have nothing to lose!