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What to Do After a Car Accident in Utah: A Step-by-Step Guide

Car accidents can be overwhelming and stressful experiences, but knowing what steps to take immediately following the incident can make a significant difference in protecting your rights and ensuring your safety. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to do after a car accident in Utah.

  1. Ensure Safety and Check for Injuries

Assess the Situation:

  1. Call the Police

Report the Accident:

  1. Gather Information

Collect Essential Details:

  1. Seek Medical Attention

Prioritize Health:

  1. Notify Your Insurance Company

Initiate the Claim Process:

  1. Understand Utah’s No-Fault Insurance Laws

Know Your Rights:

  1. Consult with an Attorney

Get Legal Advice:

  1. Repair Your Vehicle

Handle Property Damage:

By following these steps, you can navigate the aftermath of a car accident in Utah more effectively, ensuring your safety, protecting your rights, and facilitating a smoother recovery process. Stay calm, be proactive, and seek the necessary support to get through this challenging time. If you are this situation and need help, schedule your free consultation today with one of our Utah Personal Injury lawyers by calling 801-849-3664. We would love to be able to help you.

Why It's Worth Hiring a Utah Personal Injury Lawyer

When faced with the aftermath of an accident or injury, many people are uncertain about whether they should hire a personal injury lawyer. This decision can significantly impact the outcome of your case and the compensation you receive. Here are compelling reasons why hiring a personal injury lawyer is a smart move.

Expertise in Personal Injury Law

 

Knowledge of Legal Processes

Experience with Similar Cases

Maximizing Compensation

 

Accurate Valuation of Claims

Negotiation Skills

Handling Paperwork and Red Tape

 

Managing Documentation

Legal Jargon and Complexities

Reducing Stress and Focus on Recovery

 

Allowing You to Heal

Support and Guidance

Court Representation

 

Preparing for Trial

Professional Representation

No Upfront Costs

 

Contingency Fee Basis

Financial Relief

Conclusion

Hiring a personal injury lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Their expertise, ability to maximize compensation, manage complex paperwork, reduce stress, and provide professional court representation are invaluable. Plus, with no upfront costs, hiring a lawyer is a risk-free investment in your future. If you’re facing a personal injury case, consider consulting with the expert Utah Personal Injury Lawyers at True North Injury Law to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve. We offer a FREE no obligation consultation so that you can get all your questions answered. Schedule yours today by calling 801-849-3664.

Law Firm Value: We Practice Open and Transparent Communication

In the complex world of legal practice, where precision and trust are paramount, open and transparent communication is not just a value—it's a cornerstone of success. At True North Injury Law, we firmly believe that fostering an environment where communication flows freely and transparently is crucial for several reasons: building trust, enhancing client relationships, ensuring efficiency, and upholding ethical standards.

Building Trust

Trust is the bedrock of any successful relationship, especially in the legal field. Clients come to us with their most pressing and sensitive issues, expecting not only expert advice but also honesty and integrity. Open and transparent communication ensures that clients are fully informed about their case's progress, potential outcomes, and any challenges that may arise. This honesty helps build a strong, trust-based relationship where clients feel secure and confident in our representation.

Moreover, trust is not only vital with clients but also within the firm. Colleagues who communicate openly with each other create a supportive and collaborative work environment. This mutual trust fosters teamwork, innovation, and a sense of shared purpose, leading to better outcomes for our clients and greater job satisfaction for our team members.

Enhancing Client Relationships

Effective communication is the key to understanding our clients' needs and expectations. By maintaining open lines of communication, we ensure that we are always aligned with our clients' goals and can adapt our strategies accordingly. Transparent communication involves not just sharing information but also actively listening to our clients. It means being available to answer their questions, address their concerns, and provide them with the reassurance they need throughout the legal process.

Clients know they can rely on what their legal team says when they are straightforward about the strengths and weaknesses of their cases. This transparency helps set realistic expectations and prevents misunderstandings or disappointments down the line. By being forthright, we show our clients that we respect them and value their input, which strengthens our professional relationship.

Ensuring Efficiency

In the law, time is of the essence. Open and transparent communication helps streamline processes and ensures that everyone involved is on the same page. When information is shared freely, there is less room for errors, redundancies, and delays. This efficiency not only benefits the client by expediting case resolution but also enhances the firm's overall productivity and effectiveness.

For instance, regular updates and clear instructions help prevent miscommunication and ensure that all team members know their roles and responsibilities. This clarity reduces the likelihood of costly mistakes and allows for smoother case management. Transparent communication also facilitates better decision-making, as all relevant information is available to those who need it.

Upholding Ethical Standards

The legal profession is governed by strict ethical guidelines that emphasize the importance of honesty and integrity. Practicing open and transparent communication is a reflection of our commitment to these ethical standards. It ensures that we are always truthful with our clients, the courts, and our colleagues. This honesty helps maintain the integrity of the legal system and reinforces our reputation as law firm everyone can count on.

Furthermore, transparent communication helps us navigate complex dilemmas by fostering a culture of openness where concerns can be raised and addressed promptly. This proactive approach to ethics ensures that we uphold the highest standards of professional conduct in all our dealings.

Conclusion

At True North Injury Law, open and transparent communication is more than just a value; it is a guiding principle that shapes everything we do. It builds trust, enhances client relationships, ensures efficiency, and upholds ethical standards. By prioritizing clear and honest communication, our Utah personal injury lawyers not only provide better service to our clients but also create a positive and collaborative work environment. In an industry where trust and integrity are paramount, our commitment to open and transparent communication sets us apart and drives our success. If you would like to discuss  your injury case, please schedule your FREE consultation by calling 801-849-3664.

Beware the Case Value Calculator

Navigating the aftermath of an accident can be filled with uncertainty about physical recovery, financial security, and legal proceedings. One of the primary concerns injured individuals often have involves understanding the potential value of their personal injury case. Unfortunately, as Jake Lee, owner of True North Injury Law, highlights in his recent video titled “Value of a case,” many solutions presented to distressed individuals are overly simplistic and often misleading.

The allure of quick, substantial settlements can be tempting. Online calculators or law firms promising lofty payouts from the onset might seem appealing, but as Lee points out, these estimates rarely hold up when scrutinized more closely. These preliminary numbers are often marketing strategies designed to attract clients, not realistic assessments based on the specific details of a case.

Understanding Case Value Complexities

As Jake Lee reveals, the true value of a personal injury case is influenced by multiple factors, making it impossible to provide accurate estimates without a thorough understanding of the specifics of the case. Key aspects that need to be considered include:

  1. Medical Expenses: The costs incurred for medical treatment after the accident and potential future medical needs significantly affect case valuation.
  2. Nature and Extent of Injuries: The severity of the injuries, the kind of treatments required, and the duration of those treatments play a crucial role in shaping the case's worth.
  3. Property Damage: The extent of damage to personal or real property adds to the compensation amount.
  4. Wage Loss: This includes lost wages from being unable to work and potential loss of earning capacity in the future due to long-term effects of injuries.
  5. Life Impact: The more subjective, yet profound, effects of the accident on the victim’s life and well-being are also pivotal. This includes pain and suffering, and the emotional distress caused by disfigurement or disability.
  6. Jury Perspectives: Perhaps the most unpredictable factor is how a jury might react to the evidence presented. Historical data from verdicts and arbitration awards can offer insights, but they are not guarantees.

Evaluating With Integrity

For True North Injury Law, starting a discussion about the potential value of a case begins only with a complete picture of all these elements. This method ensures that any financial numbers discussed are grounded in reality and tailored to the nuances of the particular case, rather than fabricated to entice clients. Jake Lee stresses the importance of avoiding lawyers who quote specific amounts prematurely, as they might not be giving the full picture or might be setting unrealistic expectations.

Looking for the Right Lawyer

Choosing a lawyer who is forthright about the complexities of your case and refrains from making premature promises about settlement amounts is crucial. An honest lawyer will take the time to gather all necessary information, evaluate your case carefully, and keep you informed about all possible outcomes. This transparency not only helps build trust but also prepares clients for realistic resolutions, avoiding unnecessary frustration or false hopes.

Conclusion

While the idea of a quick and substantial payout following an accident can be comforting, it’s essential to approach such situations with a focus on thoroughness and accuracy rather than speed. True North Injury Law's commitment to honesty and detailed evaluation sets a standard that respects the intricacies of personal injury cases and the real lives affected by them. As Jake Lee suggests, “If you find yourself in a conversation with a lawyer making promises about specific dollar amounts, do yourself a favor and find a lawyer who's willing to tell you the truth.”

Reaching out to knowledgeable and straightforward personal injury lawyer can significantly alleviate the stress of post-accident proceedings and help ensure that you are justly compensated for an accident that wasn’t your fault. Call us today at 801-849-3664 to schedule a FREE consultation.

How Soon After a Car Accident Should I Call a Lawyer?

One of the most common questions that goes through people’s minds is at what point they should call a lawyer after a car accident. Ironically, clients consistently tell me they wish they would have called sooner. So, when is the right time to call?

In good Utah pioneer fashion, many people think they will just handle the claim themselves and save some money. How hard can it actually be? As phone calls start to come in regularly from PIP adjusters, property damage adjusters, and bodily injury adjusters it becomes difficult to remember who these people are and who you told what. As the adjusters start to ask the hard questions or push claimants into a corner, people quickly start to realize they are in over their heads.

Truthfully, the best time to call a Utah personal injury lawyer is as soon after the collision as possible. We offer a free consultation, so there is no loss to you by getting advice early on. Starting early allows us to avoid major pitfalls like the time gap in getting injuries and symptoms appropriately documented, starting treatment, finding out how much insurance there is to work with, stopping storage fees so that you don’t have to pay them, etc…

It also allows us to help you as you set up claims with various insurance companies. Many times in setting up the claims, the insurance will ask for a recorded statement. In giving the statement, claimant’s answer truthfully but don’t have all the information yet and so provide bad information. They also offer too much information that allows the insurance company to twist the statement in a bunch of different ways. By working together early, we can help prepare you to give these statements so that they are accurate and won’t hurt you.

Overall, there is a lot going on after a car accident. So knowing you have someone who can take the insurance stuff off your plate, and counsel you through the rest will take a lot off your mind and let you focus on getting better and back to regular life.

If you’ve been in a car accident, schedule your FREE consultation today by calling us at 801-849-3664 so that we can help you get on the right track and answer your questions.

Maybe you’ve been in the situation where you really needed some help and so you’ve reached out to a lawyer. As you try to explain your situation to the lawyer or intake person, they just keep talking at you. Somehow, despite all your effort, the phone call ends, and you don’t feel like you got to explain what’s going on, what you’re looking for, or get your questions answered. But somehow, they’ve maneuvered you into signing a document.

This situation is all too common in the legal field, especially with big law firms. Lawyers and legal staff have so many clients to get to, that the faster they can get you off the phone, the faster they can get back to the endless list of to-dos. While hiring a big-name firm might feel powerful, there will always be lingering suspicion in the back of your mind that no one will really grasp your situation and be able to meaningfully articulate it to the decision maker.

No one wants to add this additional stressor on top of what is already a stressful situation. At True North Injury Law, we handle things a little differently – we live by a set of values. One of those is that we listen first. It is impossible to tell someone’s story if you haven’t taken the time to hear it. Not only does it assure our clients that they’ve been heard, but it also helps them develop a relationship of trust with the person that is ultimately going to be telling this story when it matters most.

There is real confidence in knowing that your lawyer is interested enough to spend the time to understand you and your situation. Listening first helps our clients know that we really are in their corner. But more than that, knowing the whole picture makes a huge difference in what we are able to accomplish for them. The best settlements are the result of being able to paint the whole picture for the decision makers.

If you are looking for a Utah Personal Injury Attorney that will listen first, give us a call. We offer a FREE consultation so that you can get your questions answered. Schedule that today by calling 801-849-3664.

If you’ve been in the personal injury space for very long, you quickly come to find that every medical provider has their own HIPAA release. Shockingly, they all disagree on what HIPAA requires for the form to be compliant. So, none of them are the same or have any uniformity. Your law firm could even submit a general HIPAA release form, which complies with the law, and many times it is rejected in favor of their own form. Therefore, if you want to request records from Intermountain, you have to find their form and submit it to the right people to get your records. If you want to request records from the U of U, you have to find their form and submit it to the right people to get your records.

If you’ve been in a car accident and you’ve received treatment from 15 different medical providers, you have to track down the forms that each of those providers use in order to get your records. Such a task is time consuming and maddening. Afterall, if the law requires that medical releases be HIPAA compliant, why can’t the medical providers just use the same form?

Utah Standardized HIPAA Release

In 2022, the legislature finally instructed the Department of Health to create a HIPAA compliant form that every medical provider is required to accept. See UCA 26B-8-514, 78B-5-618(12). So now, instead of having to go from clinic to clinic you can use a single form everywhere you go.

While the creation of the form and the mandate for its acceptance are big wins for insurance claimants, the form won’t do you much good if you can’t find it. The Utah Department of Health has buried the form on their website and unless you know what you’re looking for, you won’t find it. So, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you find the Standardized Form.

Navigating the Utah Department of Health Website

To start off, you go to the Utah Department of Health and Human Services website.

Once here, you scroll down until you see “A to Z”

Click on “A to Z”, and you will be taken to this page:

Click on the letter “H”, and scroll down to “Health record access request form” and click on the link.

Once you’ve clicked the link, you will be taken to the fillable pdf you see below:

Conclusion

If you've been in a car accident and are drowning under all the minutiae necessary to successfully resolve your claim, give us a call. We offer a FREE consultation so that you can meet with one of your expert Utah Personal Injury Attorneys, get all your questions answered, and start down the right path. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 801-849-3664.

Getting medical records when you’ve been injured in a car accident can be tough. But, Utah Personal Injury Attorney, Jake Lee, has helped make that process a little easier. Jake sits on the legislative committee for the Utah Association for Justice and has written and worked to pass legislation for the past three years to improve consumer access to medical records.

Timely Production

Before these amendments were made, it took 90+ days to get medical records despite their being a statutory requirement to provide the records within 30 days. This became incredibly frustrating because no matter how hard we tried or how much we tried to communicate, getting records within the required time frame almost never occurred. The medical providers just had no incentive to comply. As a result, we amended UCA 78B-5-618 to put a 50% reduction on the cost of producing records for failure to produce records within 30. If the records are still not produced within 60 days, the medical provider is required to waive any fee associated with producing the records. This alone has made a real difference in the response time.

Third Party Fulfillment Database

One of the contributing causes to the delay was that many medical providers use a third-party service to fulfill medical record requests. Instead of sending the request directly to the fulfilment group, consumers and their attorneys were required to send the request to the medical provider to forward on to the fulfillment group. This created a middleman who often forgot to forward the request or did so in an untimely manner.

To solve this problem, we amended UCA § 78B-5-618 to require medical providers to disclose who their third party fulfillment group is and how to contact them directly. As a result, a database was created by the Utah Division of Professional Licensing so that anyone can access this information at any time.  This change has resulted in a much faster response to our requests because the people who do the work get the requests directly.

Too Many HIPAA Forms

Another problem we faced was the number of HIPAA forms that existed. Each medical provider had their own. As a result, if you received treatment from U of U, Intermountain, and Mountain Star clinics, you had to get 3 different HIPAA releases to obtain your records. You could not send a general release to all three providers. So, we amended UCA § 26B-8-514 to direct the Utah Department of Health to create a single HIPAA form and then amended UCA 78B-5-618 so that all medical providers were required to accept this form.

Cost of Medical Records

Finally, the cost of medical records in some cases was mind boggling. Jake recalls receiving a box of 10,000 pages of records and a bill for $2,000 just for the cost of printing and paper even though the records were requested to be produced in an electronic format. The first question was, why didn’t they just put this in a pdf and email it to us, and second, why should the medical provider or third-party fulfillment group be able to charge $2,000 if the records were produced electronically. The paper and ink alone would not cost half the charged amount.

In truth, the vast majority of medical providers keep their records electronically because it’s faster, cheaper, and more efficient for them to do it that way. The days of going to a storage bunker to sift through boxes of records to find a patient’s chart were long gone. Today, medical providers electronically search for patients and with the click of a button are able to pull up and produce a patient’s entire chart in just a few seconds. So, the fact that they were sending records in paper was a ploy to be able to charge more for producing records than it cost them. Even more troubling was that they were making a lot of money for something that took virtually no time to do and were doing so off records that were owned by their patients.

In response to this significant injustice, we amended UCA § 78B-5-618 to require medical providers and third-party fulfillment groups to provide records in an electronic format if that it how they were requested. In addition, we were successful in placing a cap of $150 for electronic records, regardless of the number of pages that were produced.

Conclusion

As a result of these legislative wins, it is much easier and much cheaper to obtain medical records for your personal injury case, than it was three years ago. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and you are feeling overwhelmed by the process, you don’t have to go through it alone. The Utah Personal Injury Attorneys at True North Injury Law have a wealth of experience and expertise that can help you chart your way out of the chaos. Give us a call at 801-849-3664 to schedule your free consultation.

Utah State Capitol, Drew Tarvin

When you get in a car accident with a government entity in Utah, you should know that many things about the claims process will be different from a traditional insurance claim. For starters, the government has given itself immunity from suit for any injury that results from the exercise of a government function. UCA § 63G-7-201.

The good news is that a carve out was created where immunity was waived, “as to any injury proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of an employee committed within the scope of employment.” UCA § 63G-7-301(2)(i). In layman’s terms, that means that an employee who causes an injury to another person while in the activity of doing their job, can be held liable. However, even within this law there are exceptions where immunity is reinstated – fire fighting, emergency evacuations, emergency medical transport, activities of the Utah National Guard, etc… UCA § 63G-7-201(4)(r-v).

If you are able to make a claim, there are a few threshold issues you should know about.

  1. Notice of Claim

UCA § 63G-7-401 requires that where a person has a claim against a government entity, before filing the claim, the person has to file a notice of claim that meets specified criteria. The notice of claim must be served upon a very specific person determined by the statute based on what entity the negligent government employee was from. On top of this, there are specific procedures for when that served person has to respond and the time frames in which that has to be done. The catch is that if you do not serve a notice of claim upon the appropriate person within the prescribed time frame, your case is barred.

  1. Time Frames

There are two really important timeframes in cases against the government. (a) You have one year to file notice of claim on the correct person. (b) You have two years to resolve your claim through negotiations or file a lawsuit.  UCA 63G-7-401-403.

  1. Damage Caps

The government has created a legal cap on the amount of damages they can be held responsible for. For one person in any one occurrence, the cap is $583,900. The aggregate cap of individual awards for a single occurrence is $3,000,000. UCA 63G-7-604(1)(a), (d). These caps can change periodically based on the consumer price index. So, its worth checking with an attorney to find out what the current limit is if you are considering making a case.

Conclusion

As you can see, the government has not made it easy to make personal injury claims against them. But, the important point is that it can be done. With a knowledgeable and experienced attorney by your side, you will be able to navigate through the landmines to a successful claim. If you have been injured in a car accident by a government employee, give us a call. We offer a FREE consultation so that you can get your questions answered and figure out what your next steps needs to be. Scheule your consultation today by calling 801-849-3664.

The answer is definitely no. Many people have the experience after a car accident where they get a call from the at-fault insurance company and the adjuster tells them they are going to take good care of them. Despite their friendliness on the phone, little seems to happen. But after treatment starts, all the sudden the adjuster starts talking about taking care of your medical bills and getting you some money to help you out. All you have to do is sign a paper.

It sounds like the kind gesture of a company who knows their insured was in the wrong and has put you in a tough spot. Not a final resolution of the claim. What they don’t tell you is that in exchange for this money, you will release all rights to any payment for additional medical bills, wage loss, future care, or pain and suffering dollars.

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

I recently had a client go through this exact same experience. For privacy purposes, we’ll call this client Jenny. Prior to becoming my client, Jenny started treatment and the insurance company told her to submit their bills as they became available, that they wanted to help her out by giving her some money up front, and they would continue to take care of everything. She thought that sounded pretty good and agreed. They sent her a document to sign and she assumed that it said what had been discussed on the phone.

As her treatment wore on, it became evident to her that the situation was more complex than she originally thought and felt she was going to need some legal help. So, she called my office. As we went about getting the case set up, the adjuster called me and informed me that Jenny had signed a settlement release for the first few weeks of treatment and a $1,000 in her pocket.

I explained that she had much more treatment that needed to be covered and that $1,000 was not going to cover the pain and suffering she had and would endure into the future as a result of their insured’s negligence. I also explained that this arrangement was not her understanding of what she had been offered. The adjuster informed me that if it wasn’t clear in the conversation, it was all put in black and white for her to read. If she didn’t agree, she should not have signed the release.

Tragically, Jenny had in fact signed a release that cut off her claim. As wrong and deceptive as it had been, she had entered into a contractual agreement with the insurance company, and it was binding.

Utah Car Accident Tips

If you get into a car accident, be aware of the following:

  1. Never take the adjuster’s word for it.
  2. Verify everything the adjuster says against what is in writing.
  3. Unless it’s property damage, don’t sign anything without consulting a lawyer.

If you have questions about your specific claim, schedule a free consultation with us by calling 801-849-3664.

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