The National Weather Service reports that an area of high pressure will continue to build causing strengthened inversions along the Wasatch Front through Friday. They list that the potential impacts of the inversion will be deteriorating air quality, fog, and haze along the valley, and increasing low clouds. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality warns that Salt Lake, Davis, and Cache counties will be unhealthy for sensitive groups on both Friday and Saturday. Their advisory message states that “[s]olid fuel burning devices must not be used. Open burning may not occur; including fire pits, fire rings, and campfires.”
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the inversion will clear up a little bit because of a storm system expected on Saturday. This storm will bring snow to the mountains and chances of mixed rain and snow in the valleys. The beginning of next week will see drier conditions.
Whenever there is a chance of an inversion, there is a recommendation to carpool or use public transportation by the National Weather Service. You are also supposed to reduce your idle time and lower the temperature on your thermostat. We endorse all of these recommendations to help keep our air quality better. However, if you do decide to carpool, how does your insurance work in that situation? For example, let’s imagine a co-worker, Debbie, lives nearby and offers to pick you up for work (a very nice gesture by Debbie). But imagine as you are driving along, Debbie is involved in an accident, and you are badly injured. Who pays the medical bills?
The answer is, it depends. If the accident is not Debbie’s fault, then the at-fault driver will have to pay the medical bills. In Utah, there is a legal concept known as “comparative fault.” This concept means that the at-fault driver has to be more than 50 percent at-fault. For example, if Debbie is 49 percent at-fault and the person who hit her is 51 percent at-fault, then the other person will have to pay 51 percent of the medical bills. If Debbie is 55 percent at-fault, then she is paying, and there is no case.
Imagine you are hit, it is not Debbie’s fault, but the person that hit you and Debbie does not have insurance to pay your medical bills. This situation can happen. There are plenty of people on the road driving without insurance. Who pays for your medical bills then? If you are a driver in the state of Utah, you are required to have Uninsured Motorist Coverage. This type of coverage will pay to the person, not just the vehicle they are driving. Therefore, in our hypothetical, you can use your own coverage to pay your medical bills.
Now, the contents of this article are not intended to serve as formal legal advice. Please do not apply them to your specific situation. Rather, this is simply general information that can help you get a better idea that there are options out there. If you do have questions regarding a car accident or anything relating to a personal injury, contact The Advocates. Carpooling can be a great alternative to driving for many people during times of inversion. It reduces fuel emissions and can help curb the worsening air quality. We encourage you to consider carpooling if you are able.