Compensation For Personal Injury in Utah

Personal injury in Utah legal claims for monetary compensation must be based on specific theory, of compensation. These theories are known as "torts". Most personal injury cases are based on one of the following torts: "intentional" "negligence" "strict liability".

Personal Injury in Utah Intentional Torts

Intentional torts include "battery" and "assault". Battery is an action which is intended to, and does, cause harmful or offensive contact to another.

Years ago I represented a young woman who was beaten up in Utah county by another girl. The girl who did the beating suspected my client of going after the her boyfriend. (From what I knew of my client this was probably true.)

Still, it is against the law to beat people up. And this was a classic case of battery. The aggressor intended a harmful contact on my client, carried out that intent and my client had injuries and medical bills to show for it.

We sued and tried this personal injury in Utah accident legal claim in front of a prominent Utah county judge. He found in favor of my client and awarded money.

The problem with intentional torts is that most insurance policies carefully exclude them. So, although my client was awarded money by the court, she never saw a dime.

Moral: if insurance is involved you are better off alleging personal injury in Utah accident legal principles of "recklessness" or "negligence". Who knows, maybe the agressor only intended to scare my client and her fists "accidentally" struck my client's body (numerous times).

Personal Injury in Utah Negligence

Negligence is the more common legal theory on which valid personal injury in Utah legal claims are based. One reason, of course, is that insurance companies will pay for injuries caused by negligence. And, let's face it, personal injury attorneys like myself, are doing this to earn our daily bread.

Negligence is made up of four elements:

  • Duty
  • Breach of duty
  • Causation
  • Damages (injury).

The "duty" is to act with reasonable care or ordinary care. Duty can be established by statute: for example, Utah traffic laws require a driver to stop at red lights. Running a red light violates the law and therefore is considered to be a "breach of duty".

Causation, of course, under Utah injury accident legal principles means that the breach of duty caused your injuries. If you already had a stiff neck, well then the accident didn't cause the injuries.

Insurance companies hire lawyers known as "insurance defense attorneys". These lawyers are experts at making juries believe injured people are faking it. They will expend numerous hours and great effort to locate past medical records of claimants.

Then these records are reviewed by medical doctors who make a lot of money working for insurance companies. Lo and behold, these doctors always offer an opinion that 1) the claimant is not injured or 2) if he is injured, the injuries did not come from the accident in question.

Juries like insurance defense attorneys because they 1) dress well 2) come from large prominent law firms 3) give the jurors a reason to not award money. (After all, if money is awarded our rates will go up, right?)

Personal Injury in Utah Strict Liability

"Strict liability" shows up most often in product liability cases--dangerous products. Strict liability, under personal injury in Utah legal principles, means damages can be awarded without negligence (duty and breach of duty.) Utah laws says a manufacturer of a product can be liable if its product has defects in workmanship, parts or other problems which cause the product to be defective when it leaves the manufacturer's hands.

If the product is defective, then all others in the distribution chain (wholesaler, retailer) are also liable.


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