What is the Insurance Duty to Defend in Utah?

Rock climbing the world-famous cobblestone cliffs of Maple Canyon near Fountain Green, Utah

The duty to defend is the duty that an insurance company owes its insureds to hire an attorney and take action to defend the insured when the insured gets sued. It’s a bit of complex law that is often at the heart of any bad faith action against an insurance company. Utah typically follows the majority of jurisdictions when it comes to the duty to defend in insurance contracts. Here’s what you need to know:

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Utah Hospitals Now Get Paid 100% of Their Liens in Personal Injury Cases

Who gets how much from a personal injury settlement or judgment has always been shared pro rata among those benefitting: the plaintiff and those who paid for the personal injury. No longer. The Utah Supreme Court ruled in Bryner v. Cardon Outreach, LLC, et al., 2018 UT 52, that the Utah Hospital Lien Statute, Utah Code § 38-7-1, et seq. allows hospitals 100% of their lien regardless of the cost involved in obtaining the recovery. The statute is relatively straight-forward but its effect is a bit murky. Let’s look at the effects.

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Ways to Pay Your Attorney

Salt Lake City classic street art.

You need an attorney but you cannot afford to pay or need a different way to pay? There are ways known only to the initiated (i.e., those who have asked!). It’s called an “alternative fee agreement” or “alternative fee arrangement” and are only limited by your imagination. As you already know, attorneys typically charge an hourly rate and bill in increments of 1/4 or 1/10 of an hour. Let’s go through a few of the alternatives:

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Watch Where You Are Going– the Open and Obvious Danger Rule

Overlooking Lower Bowns Reservoir.

In many Utah premises liability personal injury cases, the person who is injured on real property is often told they should have avoided the object or situation that injured them because it was “open and obvious.” The Utah Supreme Court reiterated the “open and obvious danger rule” in Coburn v. Whitaker Construction Co. released in June 2019. Let’s dig in and see what the rule is and what it means for persons injured on real property.

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Establishing Property Ownership Rights in Property in Utah, Part 2

Sunrise over Willow Pond Park, Murray Utah

Property disputes are common. Unraveling a property dispute, however, can take some fancy footwork and legal wrangling. You have questions, so let me give you a few answers. There are a number of legal avenues to assert rights to property including ownership rights, possession rights, and use rights. I previously wrote about the ownership right established by adverse possession. I will leave possession and use rights for another time. For this article, I will focus on the second of the following three ownership rights: (1) boundary by acquiescence, (2) boundary by agreement, and (3) boundary by estoppel. Any one of these three can establish rights of ownership. The first of the three articles can be found here. Continue reading “Establishing Property Ownership Rights in Property in Utah, Part 2”