What is the Reasonable Person Standard and How Does it Apply to Your Case?
The reasonable person standard is a legal concept used to determine whether an individual’s behavior was reasonable or not in a given situation. In Utah, this standard is applied in a variety of cases, from personal injury claims to criminal trials. Essentially, the standard asks whether an ordinary person with similar knowledge and experience as the defendant would have acted in the same way. If not, the defendant may be found liable for damages or guilty of a crime. In this blog post, we will explore how the reasonable person standard could apply to your case and what factors may be considered in determining whether your actions were reasonable or not.
If you live in Utah and need a lawyer for a personal injury case, we can help you. We have experienced lawyers who can help you with your case including dog bites, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, and more.
What is the Reasonable Person Standard?
The reasonable person standard is used in a variety of legal cases. To apply the reasonable person standard, a court will consider a variety of factors, including the circumstances surrounding the situation, the defendant’s knowledge and experience, and the potential risks and benefits of the defendant’s actions. For example, if a driver runs a red light and causes an accident, the court may consider the traffic conditions, weather, and other factors that may have contributed to the accident. Additionally, the court may consider whether a reasonable person with similar driving experience would have stopped at the red light or proceeded through it.
The reasonable person standard also takes into account the fact that people may have different knowledge and experience in different situations. For example, a surgeon may be held to a higher standard of care than a layperson when performing surgery. However, even a highly skilled professional may be found liable if they fail to meet reasonable person standards in a given situation.
In Utah, the reasonable person standard is an objective standard, meaning that it is based on the actions of a hypothetical person rather than the defendant’s subjective beliefs or intentions. For example, the standard for a person who is driving a car may be different from the standard for a person who is operating heavy machinery.
Does the Reasonable Person Standard Apply to Everyone?
Yes, the reasonable person standard in Utah applies to everyone. It does not take into account the defendant’s subjective beliefs or intentions, and it’s applied equally to all individuals, regardless of their background or profession.
How it Applies to Children
The reasonable person standard in Utah also applies to children, but it takes into account their age and experience. In general, children are held to a lower standard of care than adults because they may not have the same level of knowledge or experience. The standard for a child is what a reasonably careful child of the same age, experience, and intelligence would do in the same situation.
For example, if a child accidentally causes an injury while playing, the court will consider the child’s age, experience, and intelligence when determining whether their actions were reasonable. The court may also consider whether the child was acting in accordance with the normal behavior of children of that age. It’s important to note that parents and caregivers may still be held liable for the actions of their children if they fail to supervise them adequately or if they know or should have known that their child’s behavior was dangerous.
How it Applies to People with Mental Illness
The reasonable person standard in Utah may be applied differently for individuals with mental illness, as their condition may affect their ability to understand and respond to certain situations. Typically, the standard for a person with a mental illness is what a reasonable person with the same mental illness would do in the same situation.
The court may consider various factors when applying the standard to individuals with mental illness, including the severity of their condition, the treatment they are receiving, and their level of awareness of their condition. The court may also consider whether the person’s mental illness contributed to their actions and whether their behavior was consistent with the behavior of other individuals with the same mental illness.
How it Applies to People with Cognitive Disabilities
This standard may also be applied differently for individuals with cognitive disabilities, as their condition may affect their ability to understand and respond to specific situations. The court may consider various factors when applying the standard, such as the severity of the person’s disability, the accommodations that were available to them, and whether their behavior was consistent with the behavior of other individuals with the same disability.
How it Applies to Special Skills
In cases dealing with individuals who have special skills or knowledge, such as doctors or lawyers, the standard for the individual is what a reasonably skilled and competent professional in the same field would do in the same situation. This standard takes into account the individual’s training, education, and experience and ensures that they are held to a higher standard of care than a layperson in the same situation.
Do you have to prove negligence in an accident case and how?
Yes, in an accident case in Utah, you generally have to prove negligence to recover damages from the at-fault party. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care, which is the care that a reasonably prudent person would use in similar circumstances. To prove negligence, you must establish four elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
First, you must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care, such as driving safely on the road. Second, you must prove that the defendant breached that duty, such as by driving recklessly. Third, you must establish that the defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries or damages. Finally, you must demonstrate the actual harm or damages you suffered as a result of the accident. To establish these elements, you may use evidence such as witness testimony, police reports, and medical records.
Is the Reasonable Person Standard Relevant in Every Injury Lawsuit?
The reasonable person standard is not relevant in every injury lawsuit as it depends on the specifics of the case. The standard is typically used in cases where there is an allegation of negligence. For example, if someone is injured in a car accident, the court may consider whether the driver was driving reasonably under the circumstances. However, if the injury was caused by intentional harm, such as an assault or battery, the court may not consider the reasonable person standard. Similarly, in cases where strict liability applies, such as product liability cases, the standard may not be relevant. Therefore, whether the reasonable person standard applies in an injury lawsuit will depend on the specific facts and legal theories involved in the case.
How a Utah Injury Lawyer Can Help
Navigating a personal injury lawsuit involving the reasonable person standard in Utah can be complex and challenging. At Harris, Preston, and Chambers, our experienced attorneys can provide invaluable assistance by helping you understand the legal standard and gathering evidence to support your case. We can help you establish the necessary elements of negligence, including duty, breach, causation, and damages, and can help you determine the appropriate amount of damages to seek.
Additionally, if you are dealing with a defendant who is alleging that your own negligence contributed to your injuries, our attorneys can help you defend against those claims. Ultimately, we can provide the guidance and support you need to pursue a successful outcome in your case.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you. We serve all of Utah including Salt Lake, Logan, Provo, and St George.
The Guide to Utah Seat Belt Laws: Are You Required to Wear it?
Utah has strict seat belt laws in place, requiring all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts while operating or riding in a motor vehicle. These laws were put in place to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities resulting from motor vehicle accidents. Despite this, there are still some who question whether or not they are required to wear a seat belt while driving in Utah. In this blog post, we will explore the Utah seat belt laws and clarify any confusion surrounding them. We will also discuss the potential consequences of not wearing a seat belt in Utah and why it is crucial to buckle up every time you get behind the wheel.
Why You Should Legally Wear a Seat Belt in Utah
Wearing a seat belt is crucial for your safety while driving in Utah, or anywhere else for that matter. Seat belts are designed to keep drivers and passengers restrained in the event of an accident, and they are one of the most effective ways to prevent serious injury or death.
In Utah, seat belt use is mandatory for all drivers and passengers, and failure to wear a seat belt can result in a fine. In addition to the legal requirement, there are many reasons why wearing a seat belt is important for your safety.
- For one, seat belts can help prevent ejection from the vehicle in the event of a crash. Being ejected from a vehicle greatly increases the risk of serious injury or death, and wearing a seat belt can keep you safely inside the vehicle.
- Seat belts also help to distribute the force of impact in a crash, reducing the risk of injury to your head, neck, and other vital areas of the body. They can also help prevent whiplash, which is a common injury in rear-end collisions.
- Additionally, wearing a seat belt can help protect others in the vehicle. Unrestrained passengers can become projectiles in a crash, endangering themselves and others in the car. By wearing a seat belt, you can help prevent this from happening and reduce the risk of injury to everyone in the vehicle.
Legal and Non-Legal Consequences of Not Wearing a Seat Belt
The legal consequences of not wearing a seatbelt in Utah can be quite severe. Utah law enforcement officers are authorized to pull over and ticket drivers or passengers who are not wearing a seat belt. A driver can also be pulled over for having passengers in their vehicle who are not properly restrained. The fine for not wearing a seat belt in Utah can vary, but the minimum fine for a first offense is $45.00, and it can increase for subsequent offenses.
In addition to legal consequences, not wearing a seat belt can have severe non-legal consequences. The most significant non-legal consequence is an increased risk of injury or death in the event of a motor vehicle accident. The Utah Department of Public Safety reported that in 2020, nearly 50% of people killed in motor vehicle accidents were not wearing seat belts.
Wearing a seat belt significantly reduces the risk of serious injury or death in a car accident. Another non-legal consequence of not wearing a seat belt is the impact it can have on insurance claims. If a person is injured in a car accident, and it is found that they were not wearing a seat belt, it can significantly impact their ability to receive compensation for their injuries. Insurance companies can argue that the injuries sustained were the result of the person not wearing a seatbelt and therefore not the fault of the other driver or their insurance company. This can result in a reduced settlement or no settlement at all.
Can You Be Pulled Over For Not Wearing a Seat Belt in Utah?
Yes, you can be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt in Utah. Utah has strict seat belt laws in place that require all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts while operating or riding in a motor vehicle. Law enforcement officers are authorized to pull over and ticket drivers or passengers who are not wearing a seatbelt. A driver can also be pulled over for having passengers in their vehicle who are not properly restrained.
Utah’s seat belt laws apply to all drivers and passengers, regardless of age or seating position in the vehicle. It is also important to note that the laws apply to both front and back seats. This means that everyone in the vehicle must be properly restrained at all times, regardless of where they are sitting.
Utah Car Seat Laws and Penalties
Utah car seat laws are designed to protect children and ensure their safety. The laws set specific guidelines for the use of car seats and booster seats based on a child’s age, weight, and height. Parents and caregivers who fail to comply with these laws may face penalties and fines.
Here is a list of Utah car seat laws and penalties:
- Infants and toddlers up to age two must be secured in a rear-facing car seat. Failure to comply with this law can result in a fine of up to $45.00.
- Children ages two to four must be secured in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. Failure to comply with this law can result in a fine of up to $45.00.
- Children ages five to seven must be secured in a booster seat. Failure to comply with this law can result in a fine of up to $45.00.
- Children ages eight to 15 must wear a seat belt while riding in a motor vehicle. Failure to comply with this law can result in a fine of up to $45.00. 5. Children under 13 years of age must ride in the back seat of a vehicle if it is equipped with a back seat. Failure to comply with this law can result in a fine of up to $45.00.
It is important to note that these laws apply to all motor vehicles, including cars, trucks, and SUVs. Additionally, the laws require parents and caregivers to use car seats and booster seats that meet specific safety standards. Penalties for violating Utah’s car seat laws can range from fines to points on a person’s driver’s license. In addition to the financial and legal consequences, failing to properly secure a child in a car seat or booster seat can also result in serious injury or death in the event of a car accident.
When Can a Child Sit in the Front Seat in Utah?
In Utah, children under the age of 13 are generally required to ride in the back seat of a vehicle, if one is available. This is because the back seat is generally considered to be safer for children than the front seat. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
According to Utah law, a child may ride in the front seat of a vehicle if:
1. The child is at least nine years old; or
2. The child weighs at least 85 pounds; or
3. The child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall.
These requirements are based on the child’s size, rather than their age, which means that some children who are younger than nine years old may still be able to ride in the front seat if they meet the weight or height requirements. It is important to note that while these are the minimum requirements for a child to ride in the front seat, it is still recommended that children continue to ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.
Additionally, it is always important to use appropriate safety measures, such as seat belts and car seats, regardless of where a child is sitting in the vehicle. Parents and caregivers should also ensure that the airbag system in the vehicle is functioning properly and, if possible, turn off the passenger-side airbag if a child is riding in the front seat.
What to Do If You’ve Been in an Accident Without a Seat Belt
If you have been in a car accident in Utah and were not wearing a seat belt, there are a few important steps you should take. The first and most important step is to seek medical attention immediately. Even if you feel fine or only have minor injuries, it’s vital to get checked out by a medical professional to ensure that you do not have any internal injuries or other issues that may not be immediately apparent.
After seeking medical attention, you should also contact your insurance company and report the accident. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may also need to file a police report. If you were not at fault for the accident, it may be possible to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages from the other driver’s insurance company.
It is also important to be aware that if you were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, you may be considered partially at fault for your injuries. In Utah, if a person’s failure to wear a seat belt contributes to their injuries in a car accident, their compensation for damages may be reduced by up to 45%. This means that even if you were not primarily at fault for the accident, you may still receive less compensation for your injuries and damages if you were not wearing a seatbelt.
Finally, it is important to take steps to prevent future accidents by always wearing a seat belt while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of serious injury or death in a car accident, and it is required by law in Utah for a reason. By taking responsibility for your own safety and wearing a seat belt, you can help prevent future accidents and protect yourself in the event of a collision.
How a Utah Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
If you’ve been in a car accident without wearing a seatbelt in Utah, it’s important to seek the help of a qualified car accident attorney. An attorney can help you understand your legal options, gather evidence to support your case, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. With the guidance of a skilled attorney, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident.
Additionally, an attorney can help hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions, potentially preventing similar accidents from occurring in the future. Our attorneys are experts in car accident laws and can help you virtually anywhere in the state. We’re based in Logan but we also serve Ogden, Salt Lake City, Provo, and all the way down to St George.
Dog Attacks by Breed: Which Dogs Bite the Most
Dog attacks can be a traumatic and devastating experience for victims, and unfortunately, they are more common than one might think. In Utah, certain dog breeds have been known to be involved in more attacks than others. While many dogs are friendly and pose no threat, others can be dangerous and unpredictable. In such cases, it is crucial to seek the help of an experienced dog attack attorney who can guide victims through the legal process and help them obtain the compensation they deserve. This blog post will discuss the prevalence of dog attacks by breeds in Utah and how an attorney can assist victims in pursuing justice.
Statistics for Fatal Dog Breed Attacks by Breed in Utah
According to the National Canine Research Council, from 2005 to 2020, there were a total of 17 fatal dog attacks in Utah. Of these, pit bulls were involved in 10 attacks, accounting for approximately 59% of all fatalities. With that said, fatal dog attacks are relatively rare in the United States. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, and about 800,000 of those bites require medical attention. However, the number of fatal dog attacks is much smaller, with an average of 35 to 40 fatal dog attacks reported each year in the United States.
The second most common breed involved in fatal attacks in Utah during this time period were Rottweilers, which were involved in three fatal attacks. Other breeds involved in fatal attacks in Utah during this period include a Labrador Retriever, a Doberman Pinscher, a German Shepherd, and a Mastiff. Keep in mind that while certain breeds may be involved in more fatal attacks than others, this does not necessarily mean that all dogs of that breed are dangerous. Rather, it’s often the result of a combination of factors, such as owner negligence and lack of proper training and socialization.
Below is a list of dog attack statistics showing breeds that were responsible for a dog bite-related fatality:
- Pit Bulls -284 deaths
- Rottweiler – 45 deaths
- German Shepherd – 20 deaths
- Mixed Breeds – 17 deaths
- American Bulldog – 15 deaths
- Mastiff – 14 deaths
- Siberian Husky – 13 deaths
Are Pitbulls the Most Dangerous Dog?
Pitbulls have a reputation for being a dangerous breed of dog, but whether or not they are the most dangerous breed in Utah is up for debate. While there is no doubt that pitbulls have been involved in a significant number of dog attacks in the United States, it is important to consider the context and other contributing factors.
According to data from the Utah Department of Health, from 2011-2020, pitbulls were involved in the highest number of fatal dog attacks in the state. However, it is important to note that this statistic does not necessarily mean that pitbulls are inherently more dangerous than other breeds. Pitbulls are a popular breed, and therefore more common than some other breeds, which could contribute to the higher number of attacks. Additionally, many experts agree that a dog’s behavior is primarily influenced by its environment and upbringing, rather than its breed. Factors such as lack of socialization, improper training, and neglect can all contribute to a dog becoming aggressive, regardless of its breed. It is also important to consider that not all pitbulls are aggressive or dangerous. Many pitbulls make loving and loyal companions when raised in a responsible and loving environment.
What are the Safest Dog Breeds
While we need to recognize the breeds that have been involved in fatal dog attacks in Utah, it is also important to note that many dogs of various breeds are gentle, friendly, and pose no threat to humans. In fact, there are several dog breeds that are generally considered to be among the safest and most trustworthy.
One such breed is the Golden Retriever
Known for their friendly and gentle nature, Golden Retrievers are typically great with children and are often used as therapy dogs due to their calm and patient demeanor. Similarly, the Labrador Retriever is another popular family pet known for its friendly and affectionate disposition.
The Bichon Frise
This is a small breed that is also known for its friendly and sociable personality. They are playful and make great companions for families, and their hypoallergenic coat makes them a good choice for people with allergies.
The Bernese Mountain Dog
This is a larger breed that is often described as gentle and loving. They are known for their loyalty and affection towards their owners, and can make great family pets if properly trained and socialized.
Keep in mind that while these breeds are generally considered to be safe and friendly, each individual dog’s behavior is ultimately determined by their upbringing, training, and socialization. Proper training and responsible ownership can go a long way in ensuring that any breed of dog can be a safe and loving companion.
Hot to Make Sure Your Dog Doesn’t Attack
Ensuring that your dog does not attack in Utah requires responsible ownership and proper training. Here are some steps you can take to prevent dog attacks:
- Socialize your dog: Socializing your dog from a young age is important in helping them feel comfortable around other people and animals. Expose them to a variety of situations, people, and animals, and reward them for good behavior.
- Train your dog: Basic obedience training can help your dog learn basic commands and improve their behavior. Consider enrolling your dog in a professional training program or working with a dog trainer to address any behavioral issues.
- Supervise your dog: Never leave your dog unsupervised around people or animals they don’t know. Keep your dog on a leash when in public areas and secure them in a fenced area when at home.
- Properly restrain your dog: If your dog has a history of aggression or shows signs of aggression, such as growling or snarling, consider using a muzzle or other restraint when around others.
- Spay or neuter your dog: Spaying or neutering your dog can help reduce aggressive behavior and make them less likely to roam or fight with other animals.
- Be a responsible owner: Keep up with your dog’s vaccinations and regular check-ups, provide them with adequate exercise and mental stimulation, and always clean up after them in public areas.
Do Dogs Bite Their Owners Often?
Dogs biting their owners is a relatively rare occurrence, but it can happen in certain situations. The majority of dogs are loyal, loving, and protective of their owners, and view them as members of their pack. However, there are instances where a dog may feel threatened, scared, or in pain, which can result in biting behavior.
One common reason for a dog biting their owner is due to fear or anxiety. If a dog feels scared or threatened, they may lash out as a means of self-defense. For example, if a dog is startled while sleeping and their owner reaches down to pet them, the dog may bite out of fear. Another reason for a dog biting their owner is due to pain or illness. Dogs may bite as a way of communicating that they are in pain, uncomfortable, or experiencing some other type of medical issue.
It is important to take your dog to the veterinarian if they exhibit any signs of pain or illness, and to be mindful of any areas on their body that may be sensitive to touch. Finally, dogs may bite their owners if they are not properly trained or socialized. This is often the result of a lack of boundaries, inconsistent training, or neglect. If a dog is not taught to recognize and respect their owner’s authority, they may develop aggressive tendencies towards them.
Here’s What to do if You See an Aggressive Dog in Your Area
Encountering an aggressive dog in your area of Utah can be a scary experience, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and others.
Firstly, it is important to avoid approaching the dog and to give it space. If the dog is on a leash or appears to be with its owner, ask the owner to restrain their dog and keep it away from you. If the dog is not with its owner or appears to be a stray, do not try to catch or approach it.
Secondly, try to create a barrier between yourself and the dog. If possible, put a barrier between you and the dog, such as a fence or a car. If you are on foot, try to find a safe place to retreat to, such as a nearby building or elevated area.
Thirdly, contact animal control or local law enforcement to report the aggressive dog. They will be able to take appropriate action, such as capturing the dog or issuing a citation to the owner if the dog is known to be aggressive.
Lastly, if you are bitten by an aggressive dog, seek medical attention immediately. Even a minor bite can become infected and lead to serious health complications. Be sure to report the bite to the appropriate authorities, such as animal control and your local health department.
Dog Attacks by Breed Conclusion
In conclusion, dog attacks can be a serious and devastating issue in Utah, and it’s vital for dog owners and community members alike to take responsibility for preventing them. While certain breeds may have a higher likelihood of being involved in dog attacks, remember to consider the individual behavior of each dog and the context in which the attack occurred.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a dog attack, hiring an experienced law firm such as Harris, Preston, and Chambers can help. Our team of knowledgeable attorneys can provide guidance and support throughout the legal process, working to ensure that you receive the compensation and justice that you deserve. We serve all of Utah from Logan to Salt Lake, Provo, and St George. Additionally, we can help raise awareness about the issue of dog attacks in Utah and promote responsible dog ownership to help prevent future incidents.
How Long Does It Take to Negotiate a Workers Comp Settlement?
If you’ve been injured at work and have filed a workers comp claim, you may be wondering how long it will take to negotiate your settlement. The process can be lengthy. In fact, the entire process takes an average of 12-18 months, depending on a number of factors.
If you don’t hire a lawyer and don’t negotiate, you should expect the settlement to take about 12-14 months, although you may receive an offer within days of submitting your claim. With a lawyer negotiating for you, the average time to settle is closer to 17-18 months. Although a workers comp settlement may take longer, hiring an experienced workers comp attorney is your best bet for receiving a fair settlement.
What Is the Workers Comp Negotiation Process?
In many cases after a workplace injury, your employer’s workers comp insurance will do whatever they can to pay as little as possible. Negotiating with the insurance–rather than accepting their first offer–is the best way to receive fair compensation for your injuries. Although you could negotiate with the insurance yourself, hiring a workers comp attorney will give you a higher chance of a successful negotiation.
Typically, workers comp negotiations follow this process:
- With your approval, your lawyer sends a demand letter to the workers comp insurance. The letter includes the amount you want to settle for.
- The insurance sends a counteroffer.
- Negotiations continue between your lawyer and the insurance company.
- Once both sides agree and negotiations are complete, the settlement goes to the State Board of Workers Compensation for review.
When Will Workers Comp Offer a Settlement?
A number of factors can affect when workers comp will offer a settlement for your injuries. If the extent of your injuries is clear, your employer’s workers comp insurance may send you an offer within a few days of filing your claim. At times, the reason for the early offer is to convince you to accept less than your claim is worth.
In other cases, it may take the workers comp insurance up to a year to send you an offer.
Why It Can Take So Long
If you’re still receiving medical care, this can be a major cause of a delayed offer. If you haven’t reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), the costs of your medical expenses are uncertain. Some insurance companies intentionally delay sending you an offer. They do this in the hopes that you will accept a low offer. When this tactic is used, it can significantly increase the amount of time it takes to negotiate your workers comp settlement.
If the workers comp insurance denies your claim, they won’t send an offer at all. This can happen when there is a dispute about whether or not workers comp should cover the expenses. When injuries are self-inflicted, caused by intoxication or horseplay, or sustained while committing a crime, workers comp insurance is not required to cover the claim. Additionally, when the insurance disputes the medical necessity of procedures, they may deny your claim.
Hiring an experienced workers comp lawyer can help you receive a fair settlement in your workers comp claim. Workers comp attorneys understand the unfair tactics some insurance companies use to get out of paying. Whether helping you appeal a denial or negotiate a settlement, an experienced workers comp lawyer is your best chance to be fairly compensated.
Can I Get Disability after a Workers Comp Settlement?
Yes, in certain circumstances, you may be able to get disability benefits after receiving a workers comp settlement. Settling your claim with a Stipulation and Award lets you continue collecting payments from the workers comp insurance. This type of settlement provides ongoing payments for your lost wages caused by the disability from your workplace injuries. In Utah, the amount of your disability benefits will typically be two-thirds of your previous weekly wages, plus $5 for your spouse and $5 per child.
In addition to your Stipulation and Award, you may also be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments. The amount you receive for your SSDI can be affected by the settlement. If you receive more than 80 percent of your average current earnings, your SSDI payments will be offset.
Most workers comp settlements are settled with a Compromise and Release rather than a Stipulation and Award. A Compromise and Release is an agreement to accept a lump sum. Once the lump sum is received, the claim is closed, and you cannot receive further payments, including disability benefits. However, even if you cannot collect disability benefits from your employer’s workers comp insurance, you may still be eligible for SSDI payments. In order to collect SSDI, you must have a sufficient work history as well as a qualifying disability.
Does Surgery Increase a Workers Comp Settlement?
Yes. Having surgery on your injuries can increase the amount of your workers comp settlement. However, depending on the type of surgery, the amount will vary. For minor surgeries, you might now notice much of a difference in your settlement. Major surgeries will increase your workers comp settlement by much more.
Workers comp settlements typically cover two areas: lost wages and medical benefits. Medical benefits cover the cost of doctor’s visits, surgeries, hospital stays, and rehabilitation, while lost wages cover the number of workdays missed. A major surgery that takes a long time to recover from will yield a higher workers comp settlement.
How Long After a Workers Comp Settlement Do I Get Paid?
After a settlement has been negotiated, it has to be finalized before you get paid. The settlement is sent to the State Board of Workers Compensation (SBWC), where it will be reviewed by a hearing officer or judge. Once approved by the SBWC, your settlement is finalized and usually cannot be changed.
By law, the workers comp insurance has thirty days after the SBWC approval to pay the settlement. If they are late, the insurance company has to pay certain fees and interest. To avoid paying added fees, most settlements are sent within a couple of weeks.
Get Your Workers Comp Settlement
At Harris, Preston, & Chambers, we have years of experience negotiating with workers comp insurance to get injured workers the compensation they deserve. Let us take on the insurance so you can focus on healing. Click the button below to schedule a free consultation.
How Much Can A Personal Injury Accident Claim Be?
Whether it’s a car accident on I-215 or a slip and fall in Downtown Salt Lake, accidents can happen just about anywhere in our beautiful state. You might be wondering if you need a Utah personal injury attorney and if there’s an amount a personal injury accident claim can’t exceed. Will all of your bills be taken care of?
When someone else’s negligence causes your injuries, you shouldn’t be made to pay the price. After an accident, you’ve got a lot on your mind, including doctor’s visits, repairs to personal property, and so much more. The personal injury attorneys at Harris, Preston, & Chambers have worked with clients across the state of Utah. They can help you keep track of medical bills, negotiate with the insurance, and more so you can focus on healing.
Read on to learn more about the amount a personal injury accident claim can’t exceed, damage caps, and whether or not you can claim excess damages.
What’s a Damage Cap?
A damage cap limits the amount of money that can be recovered in a personal injury accident claim. The amount a personal injury accident claim can’t exceed varies by state. Some states do not have a damage cap. For example, in Wyoming, there is no limit on the amount that can be compensated in a personal injury claim. In the state of Utah, the damage cap is $450,000. However, this is only for medical malpractice claims. For other types of personal injury claims, there is no damage cap.
How Insurance Policy Limits Work
Although damage caps only affect medical malpractice cases, a personal injury accident will also be affected by insurance policy limits. When someone purchases liability insurance of any kind, they will have a policy limit. In case of an accident, the insurance would be responsible to pay up to the policy limit. For example, if the policy limit is $50,000, the insurance company would pay up to $50,000 for the accident. If there were $75,000 worth of damages, the insurance company would not pay the remaining $25,000.
What Happens When a Car Accident Claim Exceeds Insurance Limits?
Utah is a no-fault state. This means that no matter the cause of the car accident, you will be compensated by your own car insurance for up to $3000 in medical expenses. If the car accident caused $3000 or more in medical expenses for you, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver. At that point, the at-fault driver’s insurance would be responsible for your compensation. But what happens if the car accident claim exceeds the at-fault driver’s insurance limits?
No matter what the judge rules, the insurance company won’t pay beyond the policy limit. If the damages in your car accident claim go beyond the insurance policy, you may be able to collect excess damages. This can be difficult to achieve, but it’s not impossible.
Can You Collect Excess Damages?
If the damages in your personal injury claim exceed the insurance policy limit, you can collect excess damages. It isn’t easy to accomplish, but in some cases, it’s worth the extra effort to be compensated for your losses.
There are three ways you might go about collecting excess damages once the insurance has paid out the policy limit:
- Suing multiple defendants
- Trying to collect from the defendant personally
- Recovering compensation from an umbrella policy
Suing Multiple Defendants
If more than one party is responsible for the accident, you may be able to sue multiple defendants. When this is the case, the defendants would be “jointly and severally” liable for the entire amount of damages. For example, if both responsible parties had a policy limit of $50,000, they would be able to fully pay $100,000 in damages.
Some other examples of cases where it’s possible to sue multiple defendants include:
- Medical malpractice: If both the doctor and the hospital were responsible for your negligent treatment, you may be able to sue both.
- Product liability: In cases where a defective product caused you harm, you may be able to sue both the manufacturer and the distributor.
- Vicarious liability: In cases where the at-fault party was acting on behalf of someone else, such as an employer, you may be able to sue the employer in addition to the at-fault party.
Collecting from the Defendant
If the insurance policy limit has been reached, another option to recover your losses is to collect from the defendant personally. In this case, a judge may order wage garnishment or a lien on the defendant’s property. However, if the defendant doesn’t have any money or assets, it’s virtually impossible to collect.
An umbrella policy is secondary insurance that goes over other insurance policies. It’s very common for corporations and large businesses to have umbrella policies. Some individuals also carry umbrella policies. In cases where the damages exceed the policy limit of the first insurance, the umbrella policy will kick in.
For example, let’s say the damages in your accident equal $75,000. If the at-fault party’s liability policy limit was $50,000 and the umbrella policy limit was $25,000, the liability insurance would pay $50,000 and their umbrella policy would contribute the remaining $25,000.
How Long After a Car Accident Can You File an Injury Claim in Utah?
A statute of limitations is a time limit for starting legal proceedings. Every state has different statutes of limitations when it comes to personal injury and car accident claims.
In the state of Utah, you have up to four years after the date of the car accident to file a personal injury claim. However, if your loved one died as a result of the car accident and you’re filing a wrongful death suit, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the car accident.
Even though you have time to file a car accident injury claim, the best thing you can do is file your claim as early as possible. A personal injury attorney can help you keep track of deadlines and properly prepare and file your claim.
Can You Claim a Car Accident Without a Police Report?
Yes, you can file a car accident claim without a police report. However, this is generally for minor accidents where no one was hurt. In the state of Utah, if there are injuries, fatalities, or property damage over $1000, you are legally required to inform the police.
If the car accident is minor enough that police presence isn’t required, make sure to document the accident, keeping track of info such as the date, time, and location of the accident as well as all the contact info of each of the involved parties.
If anyone has been injured as a result of the car accident, you’ll want to call the police to the scene as soon as possible. You can obtain a copy of the police report afterward.
How an Accident Claim Attorney Can Help throughout the Process
Personal injury laws exist to protect you from the negligence of others. You may be tempted to handle all of the ins and outs of insurance on your own, but personal injury claims can get complicated. There are all the medical bills to keep track of, the police report to acquire, and the details of the accident to document. Not to mention, you’re still trying to heal from all of your injuries.
That’s where an experienced accident claim attorney like Harris, Preston, & Chambers can help. We’ll keep track of all records related to the accident, acquire evidence, and negotiate with the insurance so you don’t have to. We’ll help you present the strongest case possible and do our best to get you the compensation you deserve.
When the damages are high, you may be worried about being left to pay for a portion of your bills. In many cases, personal injury accident claims can’t exceed the policy limit of the at-fault party’s insurance. However, the lawyers of Harris, Preston, & Chambers will help you manage suing multiple defendants, suing the defendant personally, or ensuring that the umbrella policy kicks in. We’ll do our best to help you recover your losses so you can focus on healing. We serve all of Utah including Ogden, Salt Lake, and St George.
The Utah Birth Injury Law Guide: Steps to Follow
Mistakes can be made by medical professionals at the time of delivery which can lead to permanent and sometimes life-altering injuries. When this happens, you need a Utah birth injury lawyer to hold the doctors and insurance companies responsible for the errors that permanently affect your child’s life. In this article, we’ll go over the appropriate steps to take following the delivery that caused your child’s injury as well as the injuries and conditions most commonly caused by medical malpractice.
We’re experts in birth injury law and can help you get compensated. Our personal injury lawyers serve the entire state of Utah including Salt Lake City, Provo, Ogden, and St George. We’ll give you a free consultation on your birth injury law case.
Injuries and Conditions Resulting from Medical Malpractice
There are a wide range of short and long-term injuries that can be the result of negligent or sub-par medical treatment. We have listed some of the most common birth injuries below:
Cerebral Palsy is one of the permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. This chronic condition is caused by an injury to the brain shortly after or during birth. The signs and symptoms vary with different people over time but will likely include stiff muscles, poor coordination, weak muscles, and tremors. These symptoms contribute to your child’s motor development and speech. A child with this disorder may also experience sensory issues with vision, hearing, and speaking.
Erb’s Palsy is a nerve condition in the shoulder and arm that results in weakness or loss of muscle function. Palsy is another name for partial or complete loss of muscle function. Newborns sometimes develop Erb’s palsy during a difficult vaginal delivery or during a cesarean section.
Sometimes during the delivery, in order to make room for the baby’s shoulders, the healthcare provider must move the baby’s head. In certain cases, this act can stretch or even tear nerves, causing damage.
Spinal Cord Trauma
A spinal cord birth injury can happen when a doctor or nurse strains a child’s neck by twisting, pulling, or using tools to remove the baby from the birth canal. A spinal cord injury disrupts the connection of
nerves between the body and the brain. These injuries can range from mild to very severe. Babies with spinal cord injuries will show symptoms of paralysis or weakness. Injuries of this nature can occur at any location along the spine.
The most common type of brain damage in newborns happens when the baby’s brain doesn’t get enough oxygen or blood flow over a long amount of time. While a child may be able to completely recover from some mild forms of brain damage, severe cases will likely require lifelong medical treatment.
Can Medical Mistakes Lead to Cerebral Palsy?
When medical staff fail to follow the proper medical procedures during the delivery of a baby, the child could suffer a brain injury resulting in cerebral palsy. This condition will not only limit your child’s ability to function fully and independently throughout their life but will also incur substantial medical expenses over time.
If you believe your child or loved one may have been injured at birth by a medical mistake that could have been prevented, contacting a cerebral palsy lawyer can help you determine if you have legal grounds for compensation.
What to do After a Birth Injury
The birth of your child should be one of the most joyous and beautiful moments of your life. But when something goes wrong to permanently affect the health of that child and you feel it could have been avoided, what exactly do you do? We’ve compiled some guidelines to help protect your rights as well as ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
Contact an Attorney
Hiring an attorney right away is extremely important if you see your child showing signs of a birth injury such as cerebral palsy. The hospital and its insurance company are experienced in protecting themselves with no real interest for your child. However, an attorney will put their focus on protecting your family’s future.
Don’t Take a Settlement
Oftentimes, the hospital or their insurance company will offer you a settlement early on in the game. Don’t accept it. Their offer will likely be a low amount in an attempt to appease you and your family. Typically, their first offer won’t take into consideration the lifelong care your child will likely need. Don’t sign anything until you’ve met with an attorney.
Be sure to hold onto any information you receive in regard to the childbirth and any related medical bills. This includes receipts, medical bills, witness statements, and any other appropriate documentation. Your attorney will use this information to build a compelling case and prove the full extent of your child’s injuries.
Time Limit for Filing a Lawsuit in Utah
People often wonder if there’s a statute of limitations when it comes to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Utah. The answer is yes, you have 2 years after the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. If you feel negligence or malpractice caused injury to your child at birth, it’s best to take legal action as soon as possible. The more time you wait, the more difficult it will be to prove your case which will ultimately affect the outcome.
Birth Injury vs Birth Defects
It can be difficult and confusing for people to differentiate between what constitutes a birth defect as compared to a birth injury. To determine whether or not you have a case, it’s crucial that you understand the difference. Below is a list of detailed distinctions between the two:
- The result of medical malpractice
- Physical injury to an infant’s brain, organs, or bones
- Caused during the birthing process
- Result of natural causes
- The defect is caused by a congenital issue or is genetic
- Not caused during the birthing process
If you feel your child’s issue or injury could have been avoided with the proper medical care or was the result of negligence, contact a Utah birth injury lawyer right away.
Utah Birth Injury Law Guide Conclusion
If you feel your child has a birth injury that could have been prevented by the doctors and nurses, contacting an experienced Utah birth injury lawyer is the most important action you can take. The skilled legal team at Harris, Preston, and Chambers has years of experience counseling families and parents on whether legal action should be taken to seek monetary compensation. Our lawyers work to explain the process to you in a way that can be easily understood. We want you to feel comfortable making decisions you feel are best for your family.
We know that each case is unique and that the most positive outcomes stem from the individual attention we give each case. Our staff knows how difficult dealing with a birth injury of your child can be and we want to help. Don’t try to walk this path alone. Contact the attorneys at Harris, Preston, and Chambers today to get your free consultation.
Utah Helmet Laws & Penalties
Whether you’re riding a bicycle or a motorcycle, wearing a helmet can protect you from major injuries. However, Utah helmet laws don’t apply to every motorcyclist or bicyclist. Wondering whether or not you need to wear a helmet? Read our guide to learn who must wear a helmet as well as what the Utah helmet law penalties are.
If you live in Utah and need a Utah personal injury lawyer, we’ll give you a free consultation. We serve the entire state from Logan to Salt Lake to St George.
Helmet Laws in Utah
There is no federal law regarding helmet use. Because of this, each state has its own helmet laws. Some states, such as California, require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, regardless of age. Utah motorcycle helmet law states that if you are under the age of 21, you are required to wear a helmet. This law came into effect in 2017. Previously, helmet laws in Utah applied only to riders under the age of 18. However, because the brains of young adults are still developing, the law was updated to protect those under 21.
Utah motorcycle helmet law applies to more than just motorcycles. If you are under the age of 21 and driving on the highway on one of the following kinds of vehicles, you must wear a helmet:
- Motor-driven cycle
- Class 3 electric-assisted bicycle
- An autocycle that isn’t enclosed
In order to comply with Utah helmet laws, you’ll need to make sure you are wearing a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation, or DOT. DOT-approved helmets have undergone rigorous testing to ensure their efficacy in protecting you. When shopping for helmets, make sure to look for the DOT-approved stamp.
Bicycle Helmet Law in Utah
Utah helmet laws apply to motorcycles, scooters, and electric bicycles. However, there is no bicycle helmet law in Utah for typical bicycles. Still, wearing a helmet is the most effective thing you can do to protect yourself from a major injury. Bicycle accidents happen when you’re least expecting it, and a helmet will absorb much of the force of the crash.
Utah Helmet Law Penalties
Now that you know about helmet laws in Utah, you’re probably wondering what the penalty is for not complying with the law. If you’re riding a motorcycle, scooter, or electric bike on the highway without a helmet and you are under the age of 21, you could be fined up to $750. To put this into perspective, a speeding ticket for driving between 11 to 15 mph over the speed limit is $150. The penalty for not wearing a helmet may be hefty, but its purpose is to protect young adults from serious brain injury.
Utah Helmet Law Summary
In summary, if you are under the age of 21, you must wear a helmet on the highway when driving a motorcycle, scooter, or electric bicycle. If you are caught in violation of the law, you may be fined up to $750 in penalties.
If you’ve been penalized for riding without a helmet, you may want to hire a lawyer to fight or reduce the fine. Contact the lawyers at Harrison, Preston, & Chambers today to get started.
What is Loss of Consortium?
If your loved one has been injured or killed in a personal injury accident, you’ve likely suffered emotional damages and faced many challenges because of the accident. If these losses are severe and the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be considering a loss of consortium claim. But what exactly is loss of consortium? Who’s entitled to a loss of consortium claim? And how are damages calculated?
Read on to learn more about loss of consortium and how Harris, Preston, & Chambers can help you with your claim.
What is Loss of Consortium?
In the state of Utah, if your spouse or child has been injured or killed in an accident, you may be able to make a loss of consortium claim. Loss of consortium essentially means you have lost a significant part of your relationship with the victim of the accident. In most cases, the claim is only awarded if the injured party is significantly and permanently injured or has died as a result of the accident.
Some people think of loss of consortium only in the context of losing out on sexual intimacy with your spouse. And while this is one of the contexts of loss of consortium, it isn’t the only one. Marriage and family life is so much more than just physical intimacy. If your spouse or child has been severely injured so that they can no longer participate in family outings, bike riding, helping care for your children, etc., you may have a loss of consortium case.
Some examples of loss of consortium include:
- Financial issues because of the accident have caused strain on the relationship between spouses.
- Inability to participate in activities together, such as hiking, bike riding, traveling, etc.
- Loss of sexual relationship.
- Loss of companionship of the injured or killed spouse or child.
- Reproductive injuries that cause the inability to have children.
- The inability of a spouse to help with the care of children.
- Lost wages when missing work to care for the injured spouse or child.
Loss of Consortium Claim and How It’s Calculated
Loss of consortium is considered a non-economic damage. Quantifying the loss in terms of money is more of an art than a science. Oftentimes, it’s left up to the judge or jury to determine the specific amount. Every case is different, so there is no set amount you should expect to receive. The personal injury attorney you choose to represent you, however, can make a big difference in the amount you might receive.
In general, loss of consortium claims are calculated by considering:
- The age of the injured spouse or child
- The age of the non-injured spouse or parent
- The length of the relationship
- The quality of the relationship
A marriage/domestic partnership that is shorter will, in general, receive less compensation than a longer marriage. If the injured party and the person bringing forward the loss of consortium claim are estranged, the likelihood of receiving compensation is much less.
What It Means for You
Utah law specifies who can bring forward a loss of consortium claim. If you’re the spouse, parent, or domestic partner of the injured person, you may be entitled to compensation from the defendant.
One thing to note is that your loss of consortium claim will be linked to your spouse or child’s personal injury or wrongful death claim. If their case is successful, yours is too. And if their case fails, your claim will too.
Loss of Consortium Limits
As with all types of personal injury claims, there are limits to loss of consortium claims. The statute of limitations applies to loss of consortium claims as it does to all other personal injury cases. For most personal injury cases, you have four years from the day to the accident to file your claim.
In Utah, only spouses (including common law spouses), domestic partners, or parents can file a loss of consortium claim. The fiancé/fiancée or girlfriend/boyfriend of the injured party cannot file a claim for loss of consortium, even if their relationship is severely impacted by the accident.
The amount awarded may be limited by the insurance company. Most insurance liability policies limit claims to “single incidents,” meaning the insurance will only pay out up to a certain amount per incident. Because of this, some loss of consortium claims are treated as separate incidents.
Things to Consider
Before filing your claim, there are a few things you’ll want to consider. Because your relationship with your spouse or child is so central to the amount you’re awarded, be prepared to have all your dirty laundry aired. In fact, one of the things you’ll have to prove is that you have a valid marriage, common law marriage, or domestic partnership.
Another thing to remember is that when the case goes to trial, everything presented will become part of public record. You may be subject to grueling questioning in front of the judge and jury in regards to all aspects of the relationship, both in depositions and at the trial. You’ll need to decide if you can handle the rigorous and public nature of a loss of consortium claim.
If you’d like to know whether or not you have a loss of consortium claim, give Harris, Preston, & Chambers a call. We serve clients in the Salt Lake Valley and all throughout Utah. We’ll use our expertise to prove your loss of consortium claim and help you receive the max compensation. Call today for a free consultation!
What Happens When Your Car Gets Totaled After an Accident?
Being in a car accident can be a terrifying and traumatic experience. But what happens when your car gets totaled after an accident? If your car is damaged to the point it isn’t driveable, it will need to be towed from the scene of the accident. This can certainly add an extra level of stress to the situation. So let’s look at the details involved if your car is totaled and learn the most efficient steps to take that can eliminate some of your worry.
What Happens if Your Car is Totaled?
When your vehicle is damaged in an accident, it’s considered “totaled” if the cost to repair your vehicle is more than the actual value of the car. When your car is so badly damaged that it is an obvious total loss, a tow truck will take your vehicle to the tow yard. But it isn’t always an obvious total loss in which case your vehicle will be taken to a body shop for the repairs to be estimated. If the repairs are more than what the car is worth, it will be taken to the salvage yard. If you have insurance, they will pay you for what they believe the car is worth in exchange for the car title. The insurance company now owns your car and decides whether to sell it for parts as scrapped metal.
Car Towed After an Accident Without Permission
If your car was towed without your permission after an accident, odds are you were incapacitated when the tow truck arrived. When this happens, you aren’t able to give specific instructions to the tow driver and can be frustrating. In this case, the police at the scene will have your car towed to the nearest salvage yard by the towing company that is first on their list. However, if you are competent enough after your accident to communicate with the authorities and towing company, here are a few important things to remember:
Take pictures of the accident at the scene
Using your phone to document the inside and outside of your vehicle from multiple angles as well as taking pics of the other vehicles involved can be used as evidence for your insurance claim. Taking pictures of any damage to the road or skid marks may also prove useful.
Exchange insurance information
Don’t leave the scene of the accident before you’ve exchanged and gathered insurance information from the other drivers involved. Speaking to any witnesses and either recording their statements or taking notes may be very important down the road.
Find an auto body shop you trust
This isn’t always possible if your accident is in unfamiliar territory. But if possible, having the name and number of the repair shop you would like to receive your vehicle puts you in control and will give you peace of mind.
Remove valuables and personal belongings from your vehicle
Once your car is towed, you may not have access to it for quite some time. Take all your belongings with you. This includes any important documents and paperwork.
Get in touch with your insurance company
If you’ve been in an accident, you’ll have to contact your insurance company. The sooner you can get the ball rolling the better. If your insurance company requires you to use a specific towing company or has other detailed terms, you’ll benefit from knowing what your policy covers right out of the gate.
Get paperwork from the tow truck driver
Make sure you get some kind of documentation or receipt from the tow truck driver. Knowing how much you are being charged, what fees are involved, along with where they’re taking your vehicle, will be very important knowledge for you to have.
Who Pays for the Towing Costs After a Crash?
The answer to this question will largely depend on if you have insurance and the terms of your policy. If your insurance policy includes collision coverage, they will typically cover towing and storage fees. Pay attention to the terms defined in your insurance policy closely so you won’t be caught off guard and end up having to pay costs out of your own pocket. Often, insurance companies will cover “reasonable” towing fees. This implies that your insurance company will set the terms of how many storage days they will cover.
Where Do Tow Trucks Take Your Car After an Accident?
It can be extremely unnerving to not know where your car has been taken after an accident. If you were badly injured during the accident and are being treated by emergency medical responders or you aren’t capable of speaking with the tow truck driver, your car will be taken to the towing company’s tow yard or their repair shop. Your car will remain there until either you or your insurance company notifies the tow truck driver where to take it.
If you weren’t significantly injured at the scene of the accident, speak with the tow truck driver and let him know which auto body shop you would like your vehicle directly taken to. Having your vehicle towed directly to the repair shop will save you from spending money on storage and other fees associated with a trip to the towing yard before the repair shop. If you have a body shop you prefer, communicate that to them, if not, they will recommend one for you.
Cost to Have Your Car Towed After an Accident
Having your car towed can add up to be quite painful for your wallet. It takes roughly an hour for a tow truck to show up at the scene of your accident, load up your car, then tow it. This process can take much longer if your vehicle has rolled or is stuck. Towing companies charge around $150/hr to tow your car but that’s just the beginning. They will also charge around $30 for administrative fees and $50/day just to store your vehicle.
How Long is the Car at the Tow Yard?
Each towing company does things a little bit differently. However, most will allow your vehicle to sit in their tow yard for around 90 days before starting the process to impound your vehicle. Once the towing company receives the vehicle title from the city, the towing company can salvage your vehicle.
Is a Car Totaled if the Airbags Deploy?
Even though people often believe a crash that is severe enough to set off the airbags will typically cause enough damage to total your car, that isn’t always the case. Airbags are designed to go off only in moderate to severe collisions because they can cause injury when going off in a low-speed collision. But sometimes airbags are defective for a variety of reasons and don’t deploy even in the most severe instances. Bottom line is, airbags aren’t always the most definitive qualifier when determining if a car is totaled or not. A lot of other factors could be at play.
What Happens When Your Car Gets Totaled After an Accident Conclusion
Being involved in an accident can be devastating. Dealing with insurance and towing companies can be extremely daunting and difficult. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in Utah, the attorneys at Harris, Preston, and Chambers can help. We know what you’re going through. We have years of experience when it comes to handling traffic collision cases and can help you get reimbursed for medical bills, lost wages, property damages, pain and suffering, and more.
The Most Dangerous Animals in Utah
Utah is a beautiful state with diverse landscapes and climates. However, along with the unique beauty of the state, there are a variety of dangerous animals in Utah. From mountains perfect for hiking and camping to the majestic national parks near the southern portion of the state, there is endless territory to explore. While it’s tempting to snap a close-up pic of the many animals and reptiles found throughout the state, proceed with caution. If you plan on exploring the great outdoors of Utah, knowing the wild creatures you’re likely to encounter is a great place to start.
Dangerous Wildlife in Utah
Utah is the thirteenth largest state in the country, covering 84, 914 square miles. The state comprises three major geographic regions: the Rocky Mountains, the Basin and Ridge Region, and the Colorado Plateau. These areas include animals such as the Rocky Mountain elk, Desert bighorn sheep, coyotes, and mountain lions just to name a few.
Some of the wildlife causing the most injuries and deaths in the state of Utah may very much surprise you. It isn’t always the lions, tigers, and bears that you need to be afraid of.
Poisonous Animals in Utah
When you think about what animals in Utah are poisonous, you would probably expect a fairly short list. However, taking into consideration the various snakes, lizards, spiders, and insects that have poisonous venom, the list is a hefty one. Scorpions, rattlesnakes, brown recluse spiders, blister beetles, and the hobo spider are just a few of the poisonous creatures found in the Beehive state.
10 Most Dangerous Animals in Utah
We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most dangerous animals you might encounter in Utah. Starting with the most dangerous and working the way down, these animals are the ones to be cautious of:
American Black Bear
You may be surprised to hear that there are over 4000 black bears living in the state of Utah. While these large predators won’t attack humans as food, they will charge the moment they feel threatened, especially if their cubs are involved. Bear attacks in Utah are rare but when they do happen, they cause severe injury and even death.
There can be quite a bit of confusion around what to do if you do encounter a black bear. We used to believe that playing dead or curling into the fetal position was the safest way to defend oneself. However, the best thing is to stand your ground. Don’t back away or lie down. Remain calm and see if the bear chooses to ignore your presence and move on.
Never run away or climb a tree because chances are the bear is a better climber and faster runner than you are. Always hike and camp with bear spray that is easily accessible.
Moose can seem harmless due to their wide bodies and large antlers, not to mention the way they are portrayed in cartoon form. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. They appear grand and serene when spotted in the
wild but should never be approached. Moose are extremely aggressive and move much faster than you might think. Too many people assume they are friendly and either want to get a closer look or try to pet them like a horse. If you happen to encounter a moose in the wild, keep your distance and look for signs of aggression. This would include lowering their head as if to charge, licking their snout, and noticing if their ears are pinned back. Moose attacks result in being stomped or sat on and being gored by their antlers. It never ends pretty. It’s also important to note that Moose are aggravated by dogs. So leave your furry friends at home when in Utah moose territory.
If you live in Utah, you know the dreaded sound of a rattle and a hiss along a hiking trail. Even though rattlesnakes try to remain illusive when it comes to humans, once you enter their habitat, all bets are off. They thrive in the dry, arid Utah climate and in seasons of drought are drawn to more residential areas to find water.
While rattlesnake bites are rare, it’s smart to know how to react if you come upon one in the wild. A snake will strike when it feels cornered or threatened. Keep your distance and give it its space. Poking or throwing things at it will provoke it and things might not end well. The venom rattlesnakes produce can cause long-term damage to your brain and nervous system. If you’re bitten, seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
Mountain lion sightings in Utah are rare. Lucky for us, they do their best to avoid humans. Still, when they feel we are a threat in any way, they can pose quite a threat. If you come upon a cougar in the wild, the best thing you can do is make yourself appear as large and intimidating as possible. This involves speaking in a firm and loud tone and raising your arms above your head. Do not run away. This triggers their instinctive response to prey and may cause them to chase and attack.
Black Widow Spider
There are few spiders that strike fear in humans as intensely as the black widow. Typically arachnids don’t become bothersome by entering your home until fall. However, they can still pose a threat during the summer months if encountered doing yardwork or during outdoor recreation. Children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to this spider’s venom. At least the black widow is fairly easy to recognize by the distinctive red hourglass marking on the bottom side of their abdomen and shiny black appearance. Only adult female widow spiders pose a threat. Males have smaller venom glands and fangs, making it more difficult to penetrate human skin. If you suspect you’ve been bitten, call the Utah Poison Control Center or see a doctor.
The Gila monster is a venomous lizard native to Southern Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and parts of California. It’s the only venomous lizard native to the United States. This lizard is easily recognized by its black and yellow or black and pink beaded skin pattern and is generally around 2 feet long. Because they spend 95% of their time underground or burrowing under rocks, spotting a Gila monster is a rare experience. They are most active during morning hours in the spring or towards the beginning of summer. While they are sluggish and not usually aggressive, you should avoid handling them. They have quick reflexes and can attack very suddenly. A Gila monster’s venom is extremely toxic, similar to that of a rattlesnake. If bitten, seek medical attention immediately.
Coyotes can be found throughout the United States and are quite commonly found in Utah. They adapt to a wide range of habitats, including suburban neighborhoods, urban cities, deserts, grasslands, and forests. They feed on small mammals, reptiles, birds, grasses, and fruit. Coyotes are seldomly a danger to humans but tend to seek out your trash and pet food supply. They may also think your pet is food.
To deter coyotes, fence your yard and supply a secure shelter for your pets or farm animals. Actively discourage coyotes from your property by installing strobe lights and sirens to scare them away. And keep in mind that if you encounter a coyote in the wild, make as much noise as possible, never approach them directly, stomp your feet, and throw rocks or sticks at them if necessary to scare them away.
The mosquito is certainly the most common creature on this list. Obviously, the thing that makes mosquitoes so dangerous is the variety of diseases they carry and transmit. Among the most serious are the West Nile Virus and two forms of encephalitis. Lucky for you, mosquitoes may be swarming in Utah in the summer but once the cooler weather rolls in, they aren’t an issue.
Raccoons are cute and cuddly and other than getting into your trash and making a mess can’t be dangerous, right? Well, these animals have extremely sharp teeth and claws and can become very aggressive. This is a problem because they carry rabies which can be fatal if you aren’t vaccinated for it. They have also been known to attack adults, children, and pets and inflict significant harm.
If you are approached by a raccoon or happen to encounter one, break eye contact and slowly walk away. If they continue to approach or become aggressive, make yourself appear as large as possible. Waver your arms in the air, stand tall, and yell loudly if necessary.
Scorpions may be small but their sting is certainly painful. One scorpion sting can cause excruciating pain, numbness of the body, swelling, and vomiting. Symptoms can last anywhere from 1-3 days. Most scorpions in
Utah are found in the deserts of Southern Utah. They are nocturnal creatures and hide out during the day. If you are bitten by a scorpion, stay
calm, clean the area, use a cold compress on the affected area, then call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Who is Liable for Wild Animal Attacks?
When a wild animal attacks, it can leave the person involved with serious injuries. Unlike domestic animal attacks, such as a dog bite, it can be complicated to determine who is liable, if anyone. If a wild animal was under someone’s care at the time of the attack, there may be a possibility of pursuing compensation for injuries or health concerns. There may have been negligence or lack of restraint when dealing with potentially dangerous animals.
The Most Dangerous Animals in Utah Conclusion
If you’ve been injured due to an interaction with a dangerous animal, the attorneys at Harris, Preston, and Chambers can help. They will review your situation and help you know if it’s worth pursuing your case or not. With all the various dangerous creatures living in the state of Utah, it’s certainly a good idea to be aware of the wildlife around you and how to protect yourself. We serve all of Utah including Salt Lake City, Logan, St George, and Ogden. Contact us to get your free consultation.