This page explores settlement amounts and jury payouts in personal injury and medical malpractice lawsuits in Utah. Our attorneys also provide an analysis of Utah personal injury law.
If you are a victim of personal injury initiating a compensation claim in Utah, you’ll want to know the potential range of settlement payouts for your case. Why? Because the ultimate aim of a personal injury or wrongful death claim is financial compensation. That is all the civil justice system can give you: money.
This page is designed to examine how personal injury and medical malpractice lawsuits in Utah have been resolved. You will be tempted to align your claim with Utah personal injury settlement statistics and example settlements and jury payouts. Caution is advised. You cannot compare two similar cases and anticipate similar results. No two cases are identical, and often what drives the settlement payout of a case isn’t apparent in a summary of the case. Yet, does examining comparable cases and statistics offer you more information about the potential value of your injury claim? Absolutely. That’s why we’ve presented this information, and why you’ve sought out this page, despite all the disclaimers about how statistics, sample settlements, and verdicts are of limited value.
Utah Personal Injury Verdicts and Settlements
- 2023, Utah: $88,842 Verdict. 39-year-old male plaintiff was rear-ended by the defendant in her SUV. He claimed to suffer herniated discs in her cervical and lumbar spine resulting in permanent damage and instability to his spinal joint at the C5 and 3 levels of the lumbar spine. He had not prior history of back problems. Trial was in Davis County.
- 2023, Utah: $150,747 Verdict. The plaintiff said he was stopped eastbound in traffic at a red light when the defendant rear-ended his vehicle. The defendant was allegedly issued a citation for following too close. The plaintiff reportedly suffered injuries to his cervical and thoracic spine and left shoulder. The verdict included $84k in past medical expenses.
- 2022, Utah: $44,002 Arbitration. Adult female plaintiff reportedly suffered concussive-type headaches when her vehicle was rear-ended at an intersection by a vehicle operated by defendant. The defendant was driving on suspended license at the time and admitted rear-ending the plaintiff. Artibtrator awarded $44k.
- 2022, Utah: $20,000 Verdict. The plaintiff claimed her vehicle was struck by a vehicle owned by the State of Utah and driven by a State of Utah employee. She brought her case under the Utah state tort claims action seeking damages for unspecified injuries which the defense disputed.
- 2021, Utah: $20,000 Verdict. A man was involved in a chain-reaction collision. He injured his legs, head, neck, and back. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed she ran a red light, failed to control her vehicle, and failed to maintain an appropriate lookout.
- 2020, Utah: $129,579 Verdict. A 17-year-old girl was rear-ended. She suffered whiplash, a thoracic fracture, an annular tear, lumbar radiculopathy, and thoracic and lumbar protrusions and herniations. The girl developed chronic migraines, anxiety, and depression. She alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The girl claimed he tailgated her, failed to follow traffic laws, and failed to maintain an appropriate lookout. A jury awarded $129,579.
- 2020, Utah: $750,000 Verdict. A passenger was involved in a single-vehicle collision on an interstate highway. She suffered open wounds, cuts, abrasions, neck pain, back pain, right knee pain, and abdominal pain. The woman developed post-traumatic stress disorder. She alleged negligence against her driver. The woman claimed he failed to control his vehicle, pay attention to the road, and maintain his lane of travel. A jury awarded $750,000.
- 2019, Utah: $152,207 Verdict. A woman was involved in a chain-reaction collision. She suffered severe injuries. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed she tailgated her, failed to pay attention to the road, and unsafely operate her vehicle. The jury awarded $152,207.
- 2019, Utah: $30,000 Verdict. A 34-year-old woman was rear-ended by a FedEx van. She suffered a cervical herniation, a cervical lordosis reversal, a lumbar bulge, foraminal stenosis, and spinal arthropathy. The woman received a spinal cord stimulator. She alleged negligence against the FedEx van driver. The woman claimed he failed to follow traffic laws, maintain an appropriate lookout, and keep an appropriate distance from other vehicles. She received a $30,000 verdict.
- 2019, Utah: $125,000 Verdict. A 52-year-old man was struck head-on in icy and snowy conditions. He suffered a cervical herniation with radiculopathy. The man underwent a cervical disc replacement. His whole person impairment rating was 28 percent. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed she failed to stay in her lane and safely operate her vehicle in unsafe conditions. The man received $125,000.
- 2019, Utah: $331,402 Verdict. A man underwent a colonoscopy. During the procedure, the gastroenterologist perforated his colon. The man eventually developed an abscess. He underwent an emergency laparoscopy. The man alleged negligence against the gastroenterologist. He claimed he failed to timely diagnose and treat the perforation. The man received a $331,402 verdict.
- 2017, Utah: $1,833,000 Verdict. A 57-year-old man with multiple sclerosis was admitted to a nursing home. He had two small bedsores. The man’s condition worsened. He developed stage IV bedsores. The man died two years later from sepsis caused by an infected bedsore. His family alleged negligence against the nursing home. They claimed its staff provided substandard care, failed to prevent his bedsores from developing, and failed to timely treat his condition. The jury awarded $1,833,000.
- 2017, Utah: $186,845 Verdict. A woman underwent a sigmoid colectomy. During the procedure, the general surgeon severed her left ureter. The woman sustained several injuries, including urine extravasation and hydronephrosis. She required several repair procedures. The woman alleged negligence against the general surgeon. She claimed he failed to correctly identify her left ureter, exercise due caution, and address the injury before finishing the procedure. The woman received $186,845.
- 2017, Utah: $2,940,250 Verdict. A 55-year-old man suffered abdominal pain and fecal impaction. He presented to the hospital. The man was diagnosed with chronic constipation. He was prescribed laxatives. The man was discharged. He returned to the hospital nine days later. The man complained of severe heartburn and abdominal pain. He was diagnosed with hypertension and constipation. The man was instructed to reduce his sodium and caffeine intake and consume more fruits and vegetables. He died at home four days later. The man’s cause of death was an aortic dissection. His family alleged negligence against the hospital. They claimed its staff failed to properly treat the man’s abdominal and chest pain and timely diagnose and treat an aortic dissection. The jury awarded the family $2,940,250.
How Utah Personal Injury and Malpractice Settlements Are Calculated
The calculation of settlement amounts in personal injury and medical malpractice lawsuits in Utah, like in most jurisdictions, is based on several key factors. These include:
- The Defendant’s Liability: Everything starts here. You need to win the case to get damages. Without demonstrating the defendant’s liability, there would be no basis for a claim. So the starting point is how strong is the evidence to show the defendant is responsible for the injury or death.The clearer the defendant’s liability, the stronger the plaintiff’s position in settlement negotiations. If the plaintiff’s evidence strongly suggests the defendant’s fault, the defendant – or their insurance company – may be more willing to agree to a higher settlement amount to avoid going to trial, where they risk an even higher jury award.
- Insurance Policy Limits/Ability to Pay: This is another essential part of successful personal injury settlement in Utah. You can have the best case but no little or no insurance or assets of the defendant’s to collect a judgment. Insurance policies may have limits on the amount they will pay out. These limits can sometimes constrain settlement amounts, especially if the liable party doesn’t have the personal assets to pay beyond the policy limit. A settlement cannot, of course, exceed what the defendant is able to pay. Even if the damages are high, if the defendant has limited resources, the settlement may be less than expected.
- Economic Damages: These are calculable costs related to the injury or malpractice. They include medical bills (both past and projected future expenses), lost wages if you were unable to work or will be unable to work in the future, and any property damage that may have occurred.
- Non-economic Damages: These are more subjective and harder to quantify. They include compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. In Utah, there is, as we explain below, a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits that do not involve wrongful death.
- Punitive Damages: These are damages intended to punish the defendant for particularly reckless or egregious behavior. They are not common in personal injury or medical malpractice cases, but when they are in play, they can significantly increase the settlement amount offered.
Utah Personal Injury Law
Let’s take a look at Utah personal injury and medical malpractice law and the key things you need to know.
Utah Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Is Generally Four Years
In Utah, the Statute of Limitations for personal injury cases is typically four years from the date the injury occurred. This is your deadline to sue. You have a window of four years post-injury to commence a lawsuit. Any delay beyond this period could lead to your case being summarily dismissed, barring certain exceptions.
Utah Malpractice Statute of Limitations Is Two Years
Medical malpractice claims have a more stringent timeframe. Under Utah law, medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date of the alleged act of negligence
Trying Statute of Limitations Cases Separately
Utah has an interesting quirk in malpractice and other professional negligence lawsuits. or a case involving unauthorized professional services, it can be separately tried. So the trial addressing the statute of limitations defense can be conducted prior to trials on any other issues within the case. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiff on the statute of limitations matter, the trial can then proceed to examine the remaining issues in the case.
Malpractice Discovery Rule
The state of Utah applies the “discovery rule,” allowing a plaintiff to file a lawsuit within two years from the time they discovered, or should have discovered through reasonable diligence, the injury and its negligent cause.
Statute of Repose for Malpractice
In Utah, the legal deadline for medical malpractice claims, also known as the “statute of repose,” establishes a broader overarching limit. According to this rule, a plaintiff cannot file a lawsuit once four years have passed from the date the medical error took place, not withstanding the disovery rule. But there are two exceptions:
- In cases where it’s alleged that a foreign object has been negligently left inside the patient’s body, the lawsuit must be filed within one year from when the patient discovers, or with reasonable diligence, should have discovered the existence of the said foreign object.
- In situations where it’s alleged that the patient has been hindered from discovering the misconduct of a healthcare provider due to the healthcare provider’s active efforts to fraudulently conceal the said misconduct, the lawsuit must be filed within one year from the time the patient discovers, or with reasonable diligence, should have discovered the fraudulent concealment.
The discovery rule is in place to prevent unfairness. But it is also confusing. Patients often disagree with courts about whether the discovery rule is implicated. So it is always best to assume the deadline to sue is two years and call a Utah malpractice lawyer early in the process.
Comparative Negligence in Utah
When determining liability and compensation in personal injury cases, including medical malpractice, Utah employs a “modified comparative negligence” system.
Under this system, if you are partially at fault for your injury, your total compensation could be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. For instance, if a court awards you $1,000,000 in damages, but you’re found to be 20% at fault, your damages will be reduced to $800,000.
But you cannot be primarily responsible. So if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for your injuries, you are barred from receiving any compensation for your injuries under Utah law.
Utah Collateral Source Rule in Malpractice Lawsuits
Utah Code 78B-3-405 provides specific rules for handling collateral sources in malpractice lawsuits against healthcare providers. Let’s break down the statute.
- The awarded damages must be reduced by the total of all payments made to the plaintiff from collateral sources. Collateral sources refer to other benefits or payments the plaintiff has received. However, no reduction is made for collateral sources that have a right of subrogation (recovery from a third party).
- Once liability and damages have been determined, the court must consider evidence about the total amount of collateral sources paid to the plaintiff. The court must offset any reduction in the award by any amount paid by the plaintiff or his immediate family to secure any collateral source benefit.
- The term “collateral source” refers to benefits including:
- Social Security and other public programs’ medical expenses and disability payments.
- Health, sickness, or income replacement insurance, as well as any similar insurance benefits.
- Contracts or agreements for providing, paying for, or reimbursing health care services costs.
- Contractual or voluntary wage continuation plan provided by employers.
- To preserve the subrogation rights of the provider of collateral sources, a written notice must be served to the healthcare provider at least 30 days before the settlement or trial.
- Like many statute today, evidence about the future benefits from government programs is admissible. The likelihood of these future benefits being available can also be taken into account when deciding the amount of damages for future expenses.
- Providers of collateral sources cannot seek reimbursement for benefits paid prior to settlement or judgment, except for subrogation rights.
- All insurance policies affected by these rules should be interpreted according to this section.
Expert Requirement in Malpractice Lawsuits in Utah
When pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Utah, you must present expert testimony to substantiate your claim (Utah Code Ann. § 78B-3-403). An expert witness can validate the assertion that the healthcare provider failed to adhere to the standard of care expected in the given circumstances. This is often pivotal, as medical malpractice claims hinge on whether the defendant’s actions were indeed negligent, or merely an unfortunate outcome of a risky procedure.
Utah Caps on Damages
In Utah, there is no overarching limit on compensatory damages that can be awarded. However, a specific cap of $450,000 exists on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, in cases of medical malpractice. This cap does not apply to wrongful death claims.
Regarding punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior, the distribution works a little differently. The injured party receives the first $50,000 of any punitive damages awarded. If the punitive damages awarded exceed $50,000, the amount over this threshold is divided equally between the injured party and the state.
Utah Informed Consent Law
Another cornerstone of Utah’s medical malpractice law is the principle of “informed consent.” Under Utah Code Ann. § 78B-3-406, healthcare providers are obliged to disclose sufficient information about proposed medical treatments or procedures to allow patients to make an informed decision about their care. This should include the risks, benefits, and alternatives.
To successfully sue a health care provider for failing to get informed consent, a patient must demonstrate several factors. These include: the existence of a doctor-patient relationship; that the patient received treatment and was injured as a result; the treatment had a substantial risk of causing significant harm which the patient was not informed about; a reasonable person would not have agreed to the treatment with full knowledge of the risks; and that the non-consented part of the care was the direct cause of the patient’s injuries.
The perspective of the patient before treatment and any resulting injury must be taken into account when deciding what a reasonable person would do.
There are several defenses available to a healthcare provider accused of not obtaining informed consent. These include scenarios where the risk was minor, widely known, or accepted by the patient, where full disclosure may have adversely affected the patient’s condition, or if a written consent form accepting the risks was signed by the patient.
Written consent is a valid defense unless it is proven that the person was not capable of giving consent or that they were manipulated into signing it through fraud.
The law also provides guidelines for who can provide consent for healthcare. These include adults for their minor children, married individuals for their spouses, and individuals for their elderly parents, among others. Furthermore, it protects from civil liability anyone who in good faith provides consent for another person’s health care treatment.
The law also states that if a health care provider fails to comply with the requirements of Section 58-1-509, they are presumed to have lacked informed consent for the patient examination.
Utah Dog Bite Law
Utah’s dog bite laws are a complex mix of state statutes, local ordinances, and city laws. They operate under an assortment of legal doctrines, including negligence, scienter, negligence per se, and intentional tort. A specific statute, Utah Code Section 18-1-1, plays a crucial role by defining dog owners’ and keepers’ liability for injuries caused by their dogs, with an exception for law enforcement dogs.
The Scienter Doctrine and Utah’s One-Bite Rule
In Utah, under the “scienter” doctrine (from Latin, meaning “knowingly”), or as per common law strict liability, otherwise known as the one-bite rule, a victim can seek damages from the person responsible for the dog if two conditions are met. These include the dog’s previous tendency to bite or its apparent desire to do so, and the defendant’s awareness of this behavior. If these conditions aren’t fulfilled, the doctrine cannot be used for recovery. As per Utah’s one-bite rule, this forms the foundation of dog bite law and is universally applicable across states.
Utah Code Section 18-1-1
This code stipulates that a person who owns or keeps a dog is liable for any injury caused by the dog, regardless of whether the dog has previously demonstrated vicious or mischievous behavior or whether the owner was aware of such tendencies. The level of compensation for any such injury is determined according to Utah Code Section 78B-5-818. There are three sections to the code:
- Section 1 states that any person who owns or keeps a dog in Utah is liable for injuries caused by that dog, regardless of the dog’s known or unknown vicious or mischievous behavior.
- Section 2 provides an exception to this general rule for law enforcement personnel and the state. In these cases, they won’t be held liable for injuries caused by a dog if the dog and its handler have been properly trained and certified according to the standards set out in the Law Enforcement Canine Team Certification Act. Moreover, the dog’s handler must adhere to a written policy established by the governing agency concerning the appropriate use of dogs in law enforcement duties. Lastly, the injury must occur while the dog is being reasonably and carefully used for tasks like apprehension, arrest, or location of a suspected offender or in maintaining or controlling public order.
- Section 3 provides another exception for dog owners or keepers when it comes to injury or death of another animal. The owner or keeper will not be held accountable if the injury or death to another animal occurs on the owner’s private property while the dog is securely enclosed within a fence or similar enclosure, and the animal that was injured or killed entered the property without permission.
Negligence Per Se
Negligence per se, a crucial aspect of Utah’s dog bite law, occurs when there’s a violation of a statutory duty or regulation. A violation, regardless of the offender’s ownership of the dog, could establish a prima facie case of negligence unless a compelling reason for the violation exists.
Sex Abuse Civil Lawsuits in Utah
Sexual abuse and assault is a crime under Utah law. Utah also allows victims of sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits and recover money damages. The statute of limitations for sex abuse civil lawsuits in Utah varies depending on whether the victim was a child or an adult at the time of the abuse. If the victim was an adult when the abuse occurred, they have 4 years from the date of the last assault to file a civil lawsuit.
For child sex abuse victims, there is no statute of limitations for bringing a civil lawsuit against the individual person who actually committed the sexual abuse or assault. However, child sex abuse lawsuits against third-parties such as a church or a school that negligently permitted the abuse to happen are subject to the general 4-year-statute of limitations. Utah Code Ann. 78B-2-308. This is somewhat meaningless, of course, because the only way to get any financial compensation in a sex abuse civil lawsuit is by suing negligent third-parties like schools or churches.
Suing the State of Utah
Utah does not make it easy for victims of negligence suing the state. First, there is a one year notice requirement. The notice of claim mjust include: (i) a concise account of the facts; (ii) the nature of the claim; (iii) the damages suffered by the claimant as far as they are known; and (iv) the name of the government employee if the claim is against them individually.
The government body has 60 days to approve or deny the claim. If the government body fails to respond within the 60-day period, the claim is assumed to be denied. Once the claim is either rejected by the government body or left unanswered after 60 days, a lawsuit can be initiated. The claimant then has one year from the date of claim denial or from the end of the 60-day period to initiate legal proceedings.
Utah retainers immunity from lawsuits to all governmental entities for any harm resulting from performing a governmental function. But the law does allow some claims against governmental entities such as those concerning contracts, property, defective public buildings and structures, and, most importantly for our purposes, negligent acts by public employees. The Act also relinquishes immunity for injuries caused by hazardous or faulty roads.
Utah Product Liability and Mass Tort Cases
Under Utah law, a manufacturer or seller of a product can be held liable if that product is defective and that defect causes injuries or harm. There are a number of national mass torts or “class actions” that involve Utah plaintiffs, including claims our law firm is handling across the country:
- Paraquat Parkinson’s Disease: The commercial herbicide Paraquat is used on big farms across Utah. Exposure to Paraquat has been linked to casing Parkinson’s disease leading to a class action lawsuit.
- Tylenol autism lawsuit: new studies have determined that using Tylenol (acetaminophen) during pregnancy can cause the baby to develop autism or ADHD. This has prompted a growing class action lawsuit by parents of children with autism and ADHD.
- Camp Lejeune lawsuit: A new law allowed individuals exposed to the toxic water at the Camp Lejeune marine corps base in North Carolina to file claims for compensation.
Hiring a Utah Personal Injury Lawyer
Our firm handles significant injury and wrongful death lawsuits in Utah, collaborating with trusted colleagues within the state. We compensate your Utah lawyers – and we work with the finest – out of our attorneys’ fees. You don’t pay any additional contingency fees for having two law firms instead of one. Moreover, you only owe a fee if you receive settlement compensation or a jury payout.
If you’ve been injured and think you may have a viable civil tort claim, get a free, no-obligation consultation online or call us today at 800-553-8082.