405 South Main Street
suite 930
SLC, UT 84111

The Statute Of Limitations For Personal Injury Cases In Utah

Interviewer: What are the statutes of limitations? Does it differ between injuries or types of injuries?

Robert Cummings: Yes. A statute of limitation is a decision by the legislature on when a plaintiff must bring a case. If you have a breach of contract action, there’s 1 statute of limitation for oral contracts, and then you have a statute of limitation for written contracts. You’ll have the same for a car accident type case, or if you have an intentional tort, meaning somebody hit you, that will have a statute of limitations. In Utah, the statute of limitations on a negligent faction, meaning a defendant not intentionally, but with a lower standard, negligently caused injury to you, which would be like a car accident case, you have 4 years to bring the claim. That’s 4 years from when the plaintiff knew or reasonably should have known that they had a cause of action. That can kind of sometimes get into murky water; when did the plaintiff know that they had a cause of action

The Statute of Repose Differs Slightly From the Statute of Limitations

There’s also claims that are statute of repose, meaning that even if the plaintiff doesn’t know about their injury, the case must be brought within X amount of years from the date of incident, or the claim’s forever barred. It’s a little bit different than the statute of limitations, because statute of limitations is triggered off when the plaintiff knows of the claim. A statute of repose … R-E-P-O-S-E … is regardless of the plaintiff’s knowledge, we as a legislator, we as a society, say that there shouldn’t be absolute liability out there, hanging over somebody’s head. The statute of repose … There’s a statute of repose on product liability actions. If you’re harmed by a vehicle made in the 1970s, the legislature says, “That’s not … We can’t hold Volkswagen liable for a vehicle they made in 1970, in 2014 … 44 years later,” even though the plaintiff didn’t know of the defect, and was only injured in 2014.

Most Attorneys Like to Do Research and Investigate Matters Prior to Trial

They have the same thing with certain securities cases, which are above and beyond what a personal injury attorney would do. That’s why it’s important to contact an attorney as well. If you’re negotiating with an insurance company, if you contact a personal injury attorney 2 weeks before the 4-year deadline, they would like to potentially negotiate with the insurance company, but you kind of put them under a bind there, of getting the case resolved, or whether they just file the law suit immediately. Most attorneys would like to do a little bit of investigation, and do some research, before they just go out and file a law suit. If you only give them 2 weeks, that can be problematic.

The Qualities to look for When Retaining An Attorney For a Personal Injury Claim

Interviewer: What are some things I should look for in an attorney? What are some aspects and some factors, and at the same time, what could be some red flags?

Robert Cummings: Yeah, OK. In hiring an attorney, I think there’s a lot of things to consider. You need to take recommendations from other people who have worked with the attorney. If you get a referral from somebody, and that person had a good outcome, take that into consideration. A lot of it’s just a feel. If you sit down with the attorney, and you get a good feeling about the attorney, as I said, it could be a long road from initially hiring an attorney to getting the case resolved. You need to be comfortable with your attorney. You’d look at their on line profile, look at their education, look at the cases that they handle and what have you.

An Attorney Who Guarantees a Favorable Outcome Prior to Researching the Case Must be Avoided

The red flags that I think always, in my opinion, should be considered, If an attorney over-promises on a case. If an attorney says, “You’re going to make X amount of money on this case,” or “This is a slam dunk.” I myself like to take a cautious approach to cases. Even if the case seems like a slam dunk, when I take on a case, I expect I’m going to take the case to trial. I don’t want to take on a case and think, “I’m going to settle this really quickly and get the case resolved,” because you don’t know whether that’s going to happen. I think the red flag would be that if somebody says, “We’ll get this resolved, we’ll get you paid in 3 months, and we’re going to give you X amount of money,” that’s something that I would consider, if they’re over-playing that hand a little bit.