Your options are limited when you file a personal injury claim after a car accident in a no-fault state. States like Utah set conditions before determining the legitimacy of your claim. Under the no-fault law, you may sue the other driver (or the at-fault driver) only when you’ve exhausted your insurance and when you’ve sustained severe injuries.

The limitations of Utah's no-fault car insurance scheme

Because Utah follows a no-fault car insurance policy, you as the injured driver would have to rely on your insurance to cover medical bills, lost income, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Under Utah’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Threshold Law, this coverage is capped at $3,000.

Every driver in the state has to acquire automobile insurance policy, which should include a personal injury protection coverage of at least $3,000 for medical expenses. Depending on the extent of your injuries and the impact of the accident on your life, this amount may not be enough to cover pain and suffering. You may even have to deal with lost wages if you're unable to work for sometime after the incident.

A personal injury attorney with experience in car accidents will tell you that you may file a claim only after you’ve spent the entirety of your insurance. You can file a claim to get further financial, but your case will have to meet the state’s conditions, or threshold.

Getting additional compensation as settlement

A fender bender that leaves you with minor injuries may not be sufficient cause to file for a personal injury lawsuit. Under the no-fault system, your injuries may qualify as “severe” if you’ve experienced these:

Full disability for 90 days
Permanent limitation of use of your body
Significant limitation on the use of your body’s systems or function
Significant disfigurement
Bone fracture

When this is the case, you need to consult a lawyer and file a third-party liability claim against the at-fault driver. If your vehicle has been damaged substantially, you can also file a lawsuit against the driver because your insurance policy only covers injuries you’ve sustained. But you must act swiftly because there are filing deadlines.

Deadlines for filing your lawsuit

In Utah, you have four years to file from the time of the accident. For an accident involving property damage, you have three years. So your clock starts to run the moment the accident occurs. This statute of limitation applies to any kind of injury-related claim: cyclist, pedestrian, motorcycle rider, passenger, and the like.

The court will dismiss your claim if you’ve passed the deadline.

A car accident is daunting already without the need to cover medical bills and other expenses out-of-pocket. And yes, a personal injury claim and going to court can be tedious and intimidating. However, if you were injured and your case meets the state’s conditions, you have every right to pursue what’s due you as a victim. Because although your life may never be the same, the compensation will at least cushion the blow of the accident and allow you to move on.