Are You a Motorist? Read the Basics of a Personal Injury Lawsuit

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In May 2020 in Utah, a man riding a motorcycle sustained severe injuries after a car made a U-turn in front of the vehicle. However, the rider also didn’t wear protective gear.

The question is, who is at fault of the man’s injury?

The answer isn’t simple. But for the hundreds of motorists that traverse the Beehive State, knowing how personal injury works in the state can help if they sue.

What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A personal injury lawsuit is a case filed by an aggrieved party if they believe that another entity, who can be a person or organization, is responsible for the injuries they sustained. It is not a criminal action but a civil liability. The court can award compensation as damages. However, filing a personal injury doesn’t prevent the same person from filing for criminal charges.

The plaintiff, or the person who sued, can then use the funds for many things—these range from healthcare or substitute to the loss of income. Sometimes a vehicle crash results in long-term care or even permanent disability. They can use the compensation to pay for lifelong medications and therapy.

personal injury claim form

It’s Not That Easy

One may think then that they can immediately sue as soon as they meet an accident or sustain an injury. In reality, it’s not that easy. That’s why one needs to work with a motorcycle injury lawyer.

The core principle of any personal injury case is negligence, and the plaintiff needs to prove that the other party did just that. Otherwise, there’s no case.

To establish negligence, the plaintiff and the lawyer focuses on the elements:

  • Duty
  • Breach of duty
  • Proximate cause
  • Damages
  • Cause in fact

All these elements must be present before a plaintiff can say the defendant is guilty of negligence.

But that’s not all. Most of the states now follow comparative negligence rule. It assumes that both parties are responsible for the injury. It’s just that one of them has a bigger liability. In Utah, it maintains a threshold of 50%. If the plaintiff’s participation in the injury is half or more, then they cannot sue for damages.

Some rules can also vary between states and even injury. Take, for example, the statute of limitations. Those injured in a motorcycle accident can sue within four years. However, if the damage is because of medical malpractice, it shortens to two years.

The age of the injured matters as well. If they are minors, they may postpone the lawsuit until the plaintiff reached 18 years old. But if the accident resulted in mental incapacity, the parents or guardians may sue on the injured person’s behalf.

What About Insurance?

Some people may ask, “Why should they sue when they have insurance coverage?” Utah is a no-fault state, which means the insurance pays regardless of who causes the injury or accident. It also requires drivers to have personal injury protection (PIP). This extension of auto insurance coverage pays for the injured individual’s healthcare.

The PIP can play a role in the plaintiff’s desire to sue. In general, if the medical expenses don’t exceed $3,000, they may not file for a personal injury claim. However, that is not set in stone. Some situations may still warrant a lawsuit, such as loss of income, which PIP doesn’t cover.

Sometimes a motorcycle accident is a complex issue. Anyone who experiences it needs professional legal help to ensure they’re not wasting time on a lawsuit.

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