If you were recently involved in a car accident that left you with injuries or significant vehicle damage, it’s in your best interest to seek compensation. To hold a negligent driver accountable in court, you need to know your state’s statute of limitations. These limitations can be complicated to grasp because they vary by state.

Continue reading to learn about Utah’s automobile accident statute of limitations.

Understanding Statutes of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a law that forbids prosecutors from charging someone with a crime committed several years ago. The main purpose of these limitations is to ensure convictions are based on evidence that hasn’t deteriorated over time, such as physical proof or eyewitness accounts. After this time is up, you can no longer take the crime to court, making the accused person free. 

Usually, a prosecutor’s clock begins to tick only if the accused person remains in the state. If the individual goes into hiding, the clock will toll, which means it’s on pause. It resumes when the suspected person reenters the state. Tolling prevents criminals from avoiding consequences by hiding from authorities. Other circumstances can also justify tolling, such as when an accused person attempts to conceal a crime. 

Not all crimes are protected by this statute. For example, it doesn’t protect murder, and a murderer can be brought to justice decades later. Other states have no time limits for sex crimes or terrorism charges. 


Automobile Accident Statute of Limitations

The chaotic days after a car accident are filled with doctors’ appointments, physical therapy sessions, and making numerous phone calls. Behind all of that is the silent tolling of your state’s statute of limitations. In most cases, the clock starts ticking from the day of the injury, or when the plaintiff should have reasonably known of their injuries or vehicle damage. 

In Utah, you have four years to ask the state’s civil court system for a remedy when it comes to car accidents. Any injury-related lawsuit by a driver, passenger, motorcycle rider, bicyclist, or pedestrian is subject to this deadline, and the clock starts ticking on the day of the accident. 

If you experienced vehicle or property damage as a result of an accident, you can file a lawsuit within three years of the date of the accident. 

However, if someone died as a result of the accident, there’s a two-year statute of limitations deadline to file a wrongful death claim; the deceased person’s family or representatives can file it. The clock starts running on the date of the victim’s death, as opposed to the date of the accident.

If you attempt to file a lawsuit after the applicable time limit passes, the person you’re trying to sue can point it out to a judge as part of a motion to get the charges dismissed. 


Contact Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton

If you want to receive damages, don’t wait until it’s too late to act. Hold the negligent driver accountable by working with a personal injury attorney. Schedule your free case evaluation with Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton today.