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How Long Does a Car Accident Claim Take in Utah?

Posted May 26, 2020 | Personal Injury Blog

Filing an insurance claim is at the top of the list of things to do right after an accident. It’s usually right after getting medical help. Why? Because you’ll need the compensation claims to pay off medical bills for yourself and your loved ones.

You can either file for an accident claim directly with your insurance company, or with the other party’s policy provider. If you’re filing directly with your own policy provider, you’ll be filing what’s known as a first-party claim. If you’re filing with someone else’s insurance, then you have a third-party claim.

First-party car accident claims are usually easier to file, seeing as they’re with your own insurance provider and tend to be resolved pretty quickly. Third-party claims, on the other hand, might take a little longer because you typically have to establish that you were not at fault.

Ultimately, in some circumstances, insurance companies in Utah are compelled by law to make a determination of coverage related to a claim within 30 days of receiving them. If you want to speed up the process, you should get a car accident lawyer in Utah like Fielding Law to handle your claim.

Our firm believes insurance companies are also less likely to try to persuade you to accept settlement offers lower than what you ultimately should be entitled to if your lawyer files for the claims on your behalf.

Can You File an Accident Report Days After an Accident?

If you already called the police right after the accident, chances are you won’t have to worry about this. However, if you didn’t, because you felt it was just a minor accident, you must file an accident report with local law enforcement as soon as possible.

If you were incapacitated after the accident, Utah’s laws give a 15-day grace period to file the report. Otherwise, you must report the accident as soon as it’s safe to do so. Also, a report is mandatory if there’s accident-related damage, injury, or death valued at $1500 or more.

Reporting the accident is an essential step in the compensation claims process in Utah. This is because this gets the police to the scene, and they will, in turn, prepare a police report that will help your case later on.

A police report usually plays a key role in the insurance adjuster’s decision-making process. Most insurance companies will contact the police precinct handling the case to request the report before making you an offer.

So, if you’ve yet to file a report and are thinking of filing for compensation, you need to report the accident first.

How About Compensation?

So, how much can you get for the pain and suffering caused by the car accident? Well, that depends on a few factors:

  • Your policy coverage
  • The other party’s policy coverage
  • Current medical costs
  • Future medical costs
  • Property damages
  • Loss of consortium
  • Lost income and/or wages
  • Emotional strain
  • Pain and suffering
  • Severity of injury

As you can see, there’s no exact formula or figure to determine the amount you’ll be paid as settlement. No two accident cases are the same.

Likewise, a settlement amount for one will not be the same for another. You’ll need to discuss this with an experienced car accident attorney in Utah before they can even begin to come up with an estimate for you.

Factors Affecting How Fast Your Claim Can Be Settled

How quickly you’ll get your compensation after filing your claim depends on a few factors. These include: 

  • The extent of injuries–How significant your injuries are and how long you need to treat for such injuries
  • Disagreements between the victim and the insurance company, particularly about the settlement amount
  • How convinced the insurance adjuster is
  • The police report
  • Comparative negligence–Utah is a comparative negligence state, which means that both parties can be at fault; if you’re 30 percent at fault and the other party is 70 percent at fault, the insurance company will pay you, but if it’s vice-versa, they won’t
  • Willingness to accept the first offer made by the insurance company

While it’s understandable that you’d like to get your funds quickly, the truth is that the speed of settlement should never be prioritized over the amount. Most insurance companies are going to make you a very low first offer.

Don’t take it.

The Biggest Challenge With Car Accident Claims

It’s the time-versus-money challenge. Most claimants often must decide on whether to receive what’s offered them in the shortest possible time or to wait until they can actually get the compensation they are due.

So should you take the first offer an insurance company makes you? Absolutely not. The job of the company’s insurance adjuster is to give you as little money as possible very quickly.

This way, the insurance company can move on from the case and prevent parting with a lot more money. Whatever your first offer is, know that the insurance company is capable of paying at least 100 percent more.

Once you take the initial offer, you cannot go back to ask for more. This is why you need an experienced Utah car accident lawyer handling this for you at all times.

What Not to Tell an Insurance Adjuster

Once you file an insurance claim, the insurance adjuster will investigate it. This means that he or she might interview you to find out what happened.

This may seem innocuous, but it’s the insurance adjuster’s goal to find anything that can be used against you. Anything you say can be used to reduce your settlement amount or reject it completely.

It’s better never to talk to an insurance adjuster by yourself without a lawyer. But if you need the specifics, here are some guidelines for dealing with people at the insurance company:

  • Never apologize
  • Don’t say anything about the extent of your injuries–You may not have the full picture yet as some accident-related injuries take time before they manifest themselves
  • Never offer an opinion
  • Avoid accepting any initial settlement offers until you’ve spoken to a lawyer
  • Avoid providing contact information of family, friends, or medical practitioners who are treating you
  • Never let them know you don’t have a lawyer if you haven’t secured the services of one yet

Don’t say anything to them until you’ve spoken to the Utah car accident lawyers at Fielding Law. Our help can greatly increase your chances of getting higher compensation settlements.  

What are the Elements of a Successful Car Accident Claim?

Also known as the elements of negligence, these are the things you and your lawyer must prove before your compensation claims can be granted.

Your lawyer will walk you through this process to ensure that you weren’t at fault. More importantly, he or she will work to establish that the at-fault party was negligent and that his or her negligence resulted in the car accident. 

The elements of negligence include:

  • Duty–The party had a duty to responsible road usage
  • Breach of duty–The party’s actions showed that he or she was a careless road user
  • Causation–His or her negligence directly resulted in your injuries
  • Verifiable damages–You can claim both special and general damages

Once your car crash lawyer can prove all these elements, you’ll be able to get a pretty sizable settlement.

Get in Touch With Competent Car Accident Lawyers in Utah

If you have been injured in a car accident, you need competent advocates on your side. It’s better not to trust the insurance companies to give you what you need as soon as they can give it to you.

Contact Fielding Law’s Utah office at (877) 880-4090 to speak to our experienced auto accident lawyers in Utah today.

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Text edited by Mitchell Fielding, a personal injury lawyer and partner at Fielding Law. Mitchell is known for his hard work ethic, friendly personality and dedication to the law. You can find out personal injury law offices in Taylorsville, UT and Mesquite, TX.