Category Archives: Automobile Accidents

Wrongful Death in Utah: Justice for Survivors

UtahWrongfulDeathLaw

When the unthinkable happens, those left behind are sometimes left wondering if something could have been done to prevent the death of a loved one.  When the death of a spouse, parent or child results from the negligence of another, the surviving heirs may have a wrongful death claim.

What gives rise to a wrongful death claim in Utah?

A wrongful act or negligence causing a death can give rise to a wrongful death claim in Utah.  The claim is recognized by the Utah State Constitution as well as by statute.  See Utah Code Ann. Section 78B-3-106.  A wrongful death can occur due to medical malpractice, an automobile or truck accident, a slip and fall, or any other negligent act.

Who can bring the claim?

A Utah wrongful death lawsuit must be brought by the heirs, or personal representative on behalf of the heirs, of the deceased.  If an adult had a guardian at the time of the death, the guardian may bring the action on behalf of the heirs.  See Utah Code Ann. Section 78B-3-106(2).  The laws can be complex in this area and an attorney must evaluate your specific situation, but generally, the claim can be brought by a surviving spouse, adult children, or parents.

What damages can be recovered?

Utah law allows surviving heirs to recover economic damages such as money for the loss of financial support, the loss of inheritance, and other economic benefits that the heirs would have received had the decedent lived.

Money damages can also be recovered for general damages for the loss of things such as love, companionship, society, comfort, protection and affection which survivors have sustained and will sustain in the future.  See Utah Code Ann. Sections 78B-3-106 and 107 and Oxendine v. Overturf, 973 P.2d 417 (1999).

How can you tell if you have a valid wrongful death case in Utah? 

A strong wrongful death case depends on many factors that usually must be evaluated by an experienced Utah wrongful death lawyer.  As an attorney that has handled many of these cases, I look for strong liability first and foremost.  Strong liability means the death was clearly caused by some negligence or carelessness of another.  Sometimes, particularly in medical malpractice cases, an expert will need to be retained to evaluate the evidence and determine if negligence was involved.  In addition to strong liability, there must also be a source of funds to pay any damages that are awarded.  The source of these funds is nearly always insurance coverage.

If you suspect a loved-one died as a result of negligence, I would be happy to talk to you about your situation for free.  Contact Jared Faerber at The Faerber Law Firm, PC (801) 943-1005.

Utah Car Accident Lawyer: 5 Essential Tips to Maximize Your Utah Injury Case

Utah Car Accident Lawyer

You’ve been injured in a car accident on a Utah roadway and want to get the most money possible for your case.  As a Utah personal injury attorney, I’ve compiled a short list of things you need to do to get the best results possible for your situation.  Of course, this isn’t a complete list, and you should always contact a lawyer in your area to get specific advice for your unique case.

The following are practical ways you can help improve the chances of getting the money you deserve from your car, truck, bicycle, or pedestrian accident in Utah:

1. Do the the right things at the scene of the accident.   

First, stop your vehicle and pull off the road, if possible.  If there are injuries call “911” and get appropriate medical attention to everyone in need as soon as possible. If someone is injured, you must try to obtain help.  If the police are not already involved, they must  be contacted for accidents involving injury, death, or property damage in excess of $1,500.  The police will also help create a Utah accident report, a DI-9. This can be an important document in your case as it can help establish fault and identifies the other parties involved.

After everyone is stabilized, you should exchange information with the other drivers.  Not only is exchanging information the smart thing to do, Utah law requires it.  Make sure you get complete names, addresses, insurance policy information, vehicle registration number, and license plate numbers.  If a law enforcement officer is involved, you can provide the required information directly to the officer instead of sharing it with the others involved in the accident.  If you are injured and not able to complete these tasks, you can postpone them until you are able to do so.

2.  See appropriate health care providers and follow their advice.

If you are injured make sure you see a doctor as soon as possible.  Don’t wait and hope that you feel better.  Sometimes, due to shock, people are unaware of their injuries until hours or days later.  If you wait too long for treatment, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to use that against you.

Make sure you tell your physicians about all of your injuries.  Don’t exaggerate, but don’t downplay or minimize your injuries.  It’s important for your case that your doctor understands and documents all of your injuries and how they are related to your accident.

It is also important to follow the advice of your health care providers.  For example, if they refer you for 8 weeks of physical therapy, do it.  Make sure you follow-up with any specialist referrals or other instructions.  If you are uncomfortable with the advice you are getting from a particular doctor, feel free to seek a second opinion.  Insurance companies and their lawyers will sometimes try to punish you for failing to follow medical advice, so don’t give them that weapon.

3.   Find the right lawyer for your case and follow his or her advice.

It may seem like common sense, but not all Utah personal injury attorneys are the same.  We have varying degrees of experience, skill, time, and commitment to each case.  It’s important that you find the right lawyer for your case.

The “right” attorney for your case cares about your situation, understands it, and has the legal skills and knowledge to give you the best possible chance of a good outcome.  Don’t limit yourself to lawyers who advertise on television and billboards.  Find a Utah lawyer you trust and can communicate well with.  Make sure they have the proper education and experience to handle your case.

You should contact a Utah attorney who specializes in personal injury cases as soon as you can after your accident.  They can help guide you through the critical first stages of your case.

4.   Help document your injuries and damages.

Your attorney can help you do this, but generally you want to document any injuries or damages you have suffered.  Take photographs of your damaged vehicle and any physical injuries you have suffered.  You can retake these as you heal to show the changes.  Document your lost wages with pay-stubs, taxes, or letters from the HR or payroll department of your employer.

As discussed above, help your doctor understand all of your injuries and physical limitations.  This documentation is critical to your case.

5.   Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case, so you can make a smart decision about how to proceed.

Every case is different and they all have unique strengths and weaknesses.  Generally, very few cases are cut-and-dry.  For example, even if the “fault” part of your case is clear, there may be disagreements about the extent of your injuries, what caused them, and what type of treatment you will need in the future.

It can be helpful for you to try to understand some of the legal issues and the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  Your attorney should explain these issues to you so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed with your case.

So there it is, a Utah car accident lawyer’s tips on how to maximize your case.  Remember, this list isn’t exhaustive and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice.

If you, or a loved one, have been injured in Utah in a car, truck, bicycle, or pedestrian accident, feel free to contact The Faerber Law Firm, PC for a free consultation at (801) 943-1005.

What makes a good car accident injury case in Utah?

To prevail in any personal injury claim in Utah, the injured party must generally prove three things: 1) negligence; 2) causation; and 3) damages.  Each of these elements must be proven for an injured party to win their claim.  If any element is missing, the plaintiff will not recover.

What is negligence?

Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent harming others.  It is acting carelessly.  Excessive speed, failure to yield the right-of-way, and inattention are just some examples of negligence on the roadway.

What is causation? 

Causation in this context simply means the negligence (or carelessness) of the defendant caused the injury or injuries involved.  This sounds simple, but can become complicated when the injured party has prior injuries, or the accident was such that establishing a connection between the accident and the injury becomes difficult.  Generally, the treating physician is in the best position to document causation.  Experts, however, are sometimes employed to establish this critical element.

Damages

Finally, the Plaintiff must show damages.  Personal injury damages in Utah include both economic and non-economic (or general damages).  Economic damages are those that can be specifically measured such as past and future lost wages, past and future medical expenses, property damage, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Non-economic damages, or general damages, are harder to measure.  However, they are equally important and justified for Utah car accident victims.  They include monetary compensation for pain and suffering, and the loss of enjoyment and life.  These types of damages can be a very significant portion of any claim.

What is my car accident case worth? 

I’m often asked this question by clients.  It depends on several factors including the strength of the liability, the medical expenses involved, the degree of pain and suffering, insurance coverage, and many other factors.  Each case is different and values vary greatly from state to state and case to case.  It generally requires an experienced attorney to properly evaluate your claim.

Over the course of my legal career, I have evaluated hundreds of personal injury claims in Utah involving car accidents, bicycle accidents, large truck accidents, and other types of injuries.  If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, I would be happy to provide a no-obligation, free consultation regarding your case.  Please contact me at The Faerber Law Firm at (801) 943-1005.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources of Insurance Coverage for Injuries Involving Cars in Utah

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As you are probably aware, Utah law requires you to buy liability insurance on your vehicle.  What many people are not aware of, however, is that this auto insurance usually also includes uninsured and underinsured coverage.  These important coverages apply when you or another covered person (such as a household member) are injured by a vehicle with inadequate insurance coverage or no insurance coverage at all.

Uninsured and underinsured coverages often apply even if you, or a loved one, are not even in your vehicle.  The coverage may apply when you are bicycling, jogging, or walking.  The triggering event is being injured by another vehicle.  Utahns are often unaware of this important insurance.

There are important steps that must be taken to secure and obtain this coverage.  The specific steps necessary depend on your situation and are beyond the scope of this article.  In addition, there may be additional sources of insurance coverage for your Utah pedestrian/ automobile accident or bicycle/ automobile accident.  That’s why it’s important to consult with an experienced Utah automobile accident attorney as soon as possible.  At the Faerber Law Firm, PC, we have helped many people obtain appropriate recovery in these situations.  Feel free to call Utah car accident attorney Jared Faerber today at (801)943-1005 for a free consultation regarding your legal rights.

Please note that this article is intended only to be a brief introduction to the topic and is in no way exhaustive.  The actual statutes can be found here:

http://le.utah.gov/code/TITLE31A/htm/31A22_030500.htm