St. George Auto Accidents

If you been in a St. George, Utah Car Accident, then you know it can be a scary and often times frustrating experience. There are issues that you need to work through and in most cases the decisions you make can have long reaching implications. If you have been in an accident, there are three issues that may need to be dealt with.

Property Damage
In the most recent traffic accident report prepared by the St. George Police Department, it was reported that in 2008 there were 1,858 traffic accidents. Although a majority of these accidents resulted in no reportable injury or minimal property damage, it is likely that those involved were left dealing with insurance companies in an effort to resolve issues with the damage done to their vehicles.

Many insurance companies, especially those representing the at-fault driver, can be difficult and downright frustrating to deal with. Knowing your rights and the regulations that have been put in place will help level the playing field when it comes to negotiating your motor vehicle property loss claims, vehicle repair, and total loss.

The following is a short synopsis of the detailed regulations that have been put in place by the Utah Insurance Department:

Vehicle Repair

Your insurance or the insurance company for the at-fault party cannot require you as the claimant to travel unreasonable distances in order to obtain a repair estimate or to have your vehicle repaired at a specific shop. In other words, generally speaking, you have the right to take your vehicle to the shop of your choice for repair. If the insurance company does, in fact, designate a specific shop and it is one in which you are ultimately comfortable with, the insurance company must restore the damaged vehicle to its prior condition at no additional cost to you and within a reasonable amount of time.

Total Loss

If your vehicle is deemed a total loss, the insurance company for the at-fault party may be on the hook to settle your claim. Any settlement made must be on the basis of the market value or actual cost of a comparable vehicle at the time of the accident. The insurance company may determine the value of your vehicle by using:

  1. They may obtain the cost of two or more comparable vehicles found in the local area. Note: If there are no comparable vehicles in the area, they may branch out to outlying areas.
  2. If no comparable vehicles are found, they may elect to use one of two or more quotes from qualified dealers in the local area.
  3. They may use any additional source that meets certain criteria as specified in the insurance regulations.  Note: This third option is rarely used.

Please know that the information above is given in generalities and that each case or claim is different. For that reason, if you have been in an accident, it is highly recommended that you speak with a qualified attorney.

Utah No-Fault (PIP) Insurance
In Utah, No Fault car insurance coverage is mandatory on every policy, yet most residents do not understand how this coverage benefits them in the event of an accident. At McMullin Legal Group, we believe education makes personal injury claims less intimidating for our clients. For that reason, we share these four benefits of Utah’s No Fault insurance—also known as Personal Injury Protection, or PIP.

To understand No Fault coverage, here’s a quick history. Back in the 1960s, two law professors—Robert Keeton and Jeffrey O’Connell—conducted collaborative research that revealed that victims of traffic accidents were unable to get their medical bills paid in a timely fashion. Further, they observed that sometimes people whose injuries were minor received more insurance compensation than those whose injuries were more severe. In their 1965 publication Basic Protection for the Traffic Victim—A Blueprint for Reforming Automobile Insurance, Keeton and O’Connell proposed an innovative structure for insurance companies to reimburse economic losses to traffic accident victims regardless of fault. Hence, the name “No Fault” emerged. The system they proposed became the framework of the current No Fault laws that some states require.

Utah law mandates No Fault coverage on all auto insurance policies issued in the state. Also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), No Fault insurance benefits you in four ways:

1. Medical Benefits
No Fault (PIP) coverage will pay the first $3,000 of accident-related medical bills for reasonable, necessary, and related medical services. Although $3,000 is the minimum coverage, it is possible to purchase additional medical payment coverage from your insurance company.

2. Disability Benefits
Lost Income: If you’re unable to work due to injuries from the accident, No Fault benefits pay the lesser of $250 per week or 85% of any loss of gross income and loss of earning capacity from inability to work for a maximum of 52 consecutive weeks after the loss. There is an initial waiting period of three days, but if your inability to work continues for a total of two consecutive weeks or more after you’re injured, then the benefits retroactively include those initial three days.

Household Services: No Fault insurance allows $20 per day for expenses reasonably incurred for household services that you normally would have been able to perform if not for your injury. This benefit has a maximum allowable timeframe of 365 days. Like the Lost Income benefit, it is not paid for the first three days after the injury unless your inability to perform household duties extends beyond two consecutive weeks.

3. Funeral Benefits
No Fault benefits will pay up to $1,500 for funeral, burial, or cremation expenses for a deceased person.

4. Survivor Benefits
No Fault insurance will compensate a person’s heirs in the total amount of $3,000 on account of the death of a person.

In the event of an automobile accident, these four benefits from your No Fault insurance will usually not cover all accident-related medical expenses, but are intended to give a measure of relief to injured persons regardless of who was at fault. Please contact our office to learn more about Utah No Fault coverage and how we can help you access those benefits should you need them.

The Liability Claim
As discussed above, in the event of a motor vehicle accident, your auto insurance will typically be the first to step up and pay regardless of who is at fault (No-Fault (PIP) claim). Unfortunately, most accidents result in damages in excess of the PIP or No-Fault medical benefits that are available. If that is the case, a claim or case can now be made against the driver who caused the crash. This is often referred to as a third party or liability claim.

In order to be successful in making a liability claim, it becomes necessary to prove four things. We must show:

  • Who caused the accident;
  • What your injuries are;
  • That the injuries we are claiming are in fact a result of the crash (causation); and
  • An amount of money that will fairly compensate you for your damages.

This is the most important aspect of your case. At McMullin Legal Group, our focus is personal injury law. We understand the law, will handle all the paperowork, answer all the phone calls and work hard to get you what you deserve. Ultimately, a skilled, committed, knowledgable attorney and staff will make a positive difference in your time of need.

Useful Tip In Case Your In An Accident:
If you’re not at fault and your car is damaged, the other driver may try to convince you to not call the police and not file a claim. While it’s not uncommon for parties to work something out without police and insurance getting involved, there are no guarantees. If the other person offers to pay for the damages out of pocket, they can just as easily claim the accident never happened, or that it was your fault. We recommend always calling the police and notifying them of the accident.