What Happens When You Meet with Me?

Looking at beautiful downtown Salt Lake City from up near the University of Utah

You are fantastic! That is the first rule of meeting with me. I want you to feel comfortable, confident, and prepared. Whether we meet in my office at Lewis|Hansen in Salt Lake City, at your home or office, or wherever we both agree, let’s make sure it is a good experience for us both. Now, let’s talk about some specifics:

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Is Suing for My Injuries the Right Thing to Do?

You’ve asked a question that could be rather subjective. If you are asking whether it is morally right to file a lawsuit, then you should be asking yourself a whole series of follow-up questions to see if it is “right.” If you are asking whether you should file a lawsuit or take some other action, like negotiate your claim, then there is another set of questions and considerations you should look at. I’ll discuss the latter question in a different post. For now, let’s dig into the first one:

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Are Skiing Injuries in Utah Hard to Pursue?

First tracks at Brighton Ski Resort.

“Skiers are known to say that ‘if you’re not falling, you’re not learning.’”

Donovan v. Sutton, 2019 UT App 161

Short answer: it depends. The Utah Court of Appeals recently affirmed dismissal of a skier’s injury claims because Utah’s laws recognize that skiing is an inherently dangerous and unpredictable activity and the injured skier failed to show the skier causing the accident was negligent. Let’s dig in and see what is so tricky about pursuing a skiing claim in Utah. (By the way, “skiing” in this context in Utah means any way of sliding down the hill including snowboarding, snow-biking, or any other ski-resort sanctioned way of getting down the mountain).

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Do I Have to Sue in Court to Recover for My Injuries in Utah?

The historic Davis County Courthouse in Farmington, Utah.

Short answer: No– and thankfully so. If you’ve read anything else I’ve written on other topics, you will know that with nearly everything legal, “it depends” is a solid answer that is usually true. The long answer to this question is that there are numerous ways in Utah (or wherever) to recover for your injuries. Let’s talk about them:

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Can I still recover for my personal injury even if I caused or contributed to the accident?

Question: Can I still recover for my personal injury even if I caused or contributed to the accident?

Answer: You will get tired of hearing this, but it depends. Utah law requires that the you (the injured person) be less than 50% at fault for the accident in order for you to recover from someone else. This means that if you are 50% or more at fault, you cannot recover from someone else for their share of the fault in the accident. This is called “modified comparative negligence” or “modified comparative fault.” If you read anything about “pure comparative negligence” or “pure comparative fault” or “contributary fault” or “contributary negligence,” you are reading about laws outside of Utah and those laws do not apply. Let’s look at a few examples:

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Wrongful Death of a Pedestrian Crossing a Street Outside of a Sidewalk

Overlooking Big Cottonwood Canyon on the Wasatch Crest Trail from the top of Puke Hill.

Let’s look at the following fictional fact scenario, some of the legal issues involved, and how the issues change value, strategy, and settlement. Be patient; as you go through the facts see if you can identify the issues that might arise in pursuing a legal case. Here we go: a woman (we’ll call her “Sara”) was killed when the driver of a Ford F150 pickup truck (we’ll call him “Joe”) hit her while she walking across a street. Sara left behind two adult children, several grandchildren, and a boyfriend-partner that she lived with. She died without a will. She owned a small local business that dealt a lot in cash and had relatively low reported income on its tax returns.

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Utah Personal Injury: Why hire a personal injury attorney?

If you are injured, you may ask yourself why you shouldn’t just represent yourself and settle your own claim with the insurance company?! It would be cheaper, yes, but not wise. “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” So goes for you: an injured person who represents himself or herself has a fool for a client. So, let’s talk about what you get when you hire a personal injury lawyer (me!):

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