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Utah Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury & accidents in Utah is four (4) years (Ref: Utah Section 78-12-25). 

What this means is that you (or your attorney) must file a lawsuit against a defendant within four years of the date of your accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within four years, generally you forfeit any potential claim against the defendant as a matter of law - meaning there will be no opportunity for a settlement, arbitration, or trial. 

Disclaimer: Although the information presented on this page is generally true there are some exceptions to this information, and the Utah Statute of Limitations (and the exceptions) may change over time. If you or a family member was involved in an accident and considering seeking compensation for your injuries it is crucial that you speak to a Utah personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and potential recovery.

Variations on Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in Utah

There are some variations & exceptions to the 4 years statute of limitations on personal injury cases in Utah. Because of this, it is critical you discuss your matter with a lawyer who is highly experienced in personal injury law. 

  • "Strict" Liability for Dog Bite/Attack Cases: In many states, dog owners are protected (to some degree) from injury liability the first time their dog injures someone if they had no reason to believe the dog was dangerous. This is often called a "one bite" rule. In Utah however, a specific statute (Utah Code Ann, § 18-1-1) makes the owner "strictly liable", meaning regardless of the animal's past behavior, the dog owner is responsible for a personal injury caused by his/her dog. Specifically, the statute reads:
    "Every person owning or keeping a dog is liable in damages for injury committed by the dog, and it is not necessary for the action brought, therefore, to allege or prove that the dog was of a vicious or mischievous disposition or that the owner or keeper of the dog knew that it was vicious or mischievous."
  • Caps on Injury Damages in Utah: Utah, like many states, caps or limits some kinds of damages in personal injury cases. Specifically, Utah caps non-economic or "pain and suffering" damages in medical malpractice cases. 
  • Injury Cases Involving the Utah Government: If you've been injured due to the negligence of a government employee or agency in Utah, a different set of rules apply to your case. For instance, you have one year to file a claim after an injury involving the Utah state government, and one year to file an appeal if your initial claim is denied. 
  • Utah is a No-Fault Car Insurance State: In car accident cases, Utah follows a no-fault system, which means that after most traffic accidents, an injured person's own insurance company will provide coverage for medical expenses and lost income, no matter who was at fault for the accident.
    You can't hold the other driver liable after a car accident in Utah unless your case meets a "serious injury" threshold. So most minor accidents will fall under the no-fault umbrella. But you may be able to step outside of the no-fault system and file a liability claim against the at-fault driver if you can demonstrate that your case involves "serious injuries." Obviously, that term is a little vague, so it will be a point of negotiation whether your injuries meet the threshold.

What if You Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?

If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit and the Utah statute of limitations passes (barring any exceptions), the opposing party will almost surely move for case dismissal and it will likely be granted. This also means that nearly any hope of a settlement will also be forfeited because there is no leverage to potentially pursue a trial (since it would immediately be dismissed). 

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