Here is a list of common and not so common negligence money damages lawsuits in Utah. The cornerstone of “Tort” law is negligence. The predominant number of negligence lawsuits are car accidents, motorcycles, pedestrians versus cars and other roadway injuries. This list is not exclusive.

Abuse of Process (rare) Under the theory of an abuse of process, the at-fault defendant cannot be held responsible for maliciously causing the initiation of process against the injured plaintiff, but only for some improper use made of the process after it was issued. An action for abuse of process, it is not necessary to show either malice or want of probable cause, nor that the proceeding had terminated, and it is immaterial whether such proceeding was baseless or not.

Rather, to establish a claim for abuse of process, a claimant must demonstrate

(1). An ulterior purpose; and

(2). An act in the use of process not proper in the regular prosecution of the proceedings. The gravamen of an abuse of process claim is not the wrongful procurement of legal process or the wrongful initiation of civil proceedings; it is the misuse of process, no matter how properly attained, for any purpose other than that which it was designed to accomplish.

Abuse of process differs from a claim for wrongful use of civil proceedings in that the gist of the tort is not commencing an action or causing process to issue without justification, but misusing, or misapplying process justified in itself for an end other than that which it was designed to accomplish. Thus, in a claim for abuse of process, the allegations must describe not just misuse of process, but misuse for some wrongful and unlawful object, or ulterior purpose. Puttuck v. Gendron, 2008 UT App 362, ¶ 13, 199 P.3d 971, 976 CALL/TXT UTAH PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY JAKE GUNTER (801) 373-6345

Assault and Battery– Intentional.  Unlawful touching, or threatening to touch, a person without their consent causing damages.

Conversion of Personal Property. Conversion is an act of willful interference with a chattel, done without lawful justification by which the person entitled thereto is deprived of its use and possession. A basic requirement of conversion is that there be a wrongful exercise of control over personal property in violation of the rights of its owner. Nassi v. Hatsis, 2023 UT App 9, ¶ 23, 525 P.3d 117, 122

Defamation. A prima facie case for defamation the injured plaintiff must prove that:

(1) the defendant published the statements [in print or orally];
(2) the statements were false;
(3) the statements were not subject to privilege;
(4) the statements were published with the requisite degree of fault; and
(5) the statements resulted in damages. Jacob v. Bezzant, 2009 UT 37, ¶ 21, 212 P.3d 535, 543–44

Slander. Verbal, non-written defamation.

Slander of Title. To prove slander of title, a claimant must [show] that (1) there was a publication of a slanderous statement disparaging [the] claimant’s title, (2) the statement was false, (3) the statement was made with malice, and (4) the statement caused actual or special damages.” RJW Media, Inc. v. CIT Grp./Consumer Fin., Inc., 2008 UT App 476, ¶ 25, 202 P.3d 291, 296

Libel. Written defamation. CALL/TXT UTAH PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY JAKE GUNTER (801) 373-6345

Fraud and Negligent Representation. The elements of a fraud claim include the following:

(1) a representation;

(2) concerning a presently existing material fact;

(3) which was false;

(4) which the representor either (a) knew to be false, or (b) made recklessly, knowing that he had insufficient knowledge upon which to base such representation;

(5) for the purpose of inducing the other party to act upon it;

(6) that the other party, acting reasonably and in ignorance of its falsity;

(7) did in fact rely upon it;

(8) and was thereby induced to act;

(9) to his injury and damage.

Infliction of Emotional Distress– Intentional. To prove a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must show:

(1) That the defendant intentionally engaged in some conduct toward the plaintiff considered “outrageous and intolerable” [key] in that it offends the generally accepted standards of decency and morality, and
(2) With the purpose of inflicting emotional distress or where any reasonable person would have known that such would result, and
(3) That severe emotional distress resulted as a direct result of the defendant’s conduct. Ellison v. Stam, 2006 UT App 150, 136 P.3d 1242, 1249

Infliction of Emotional Distress– Negligent. In order to prevail on a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress, the injured plaintiff must show the following:

(1) The actor should have realized that his intentional conduct involved an unreasonable risk of causing the distress, otherwise than by knowledge of the harm or peril of a third person, and
(2) From facts known to him, should have realized that the distress, if it were caused, might result in illness or bodily harm.42 Carlton v. Brown, 2014 UT 6, ¶ 56, 323 P.3d 571, 585

Intentional Interference with Economic Relations. You need to be careful about intentionally interfering with other people’s business relationships.

To recover damages for tortious interference, a plaintiff must prove:

(1) that the defendant intentionally interfered with the plaintiff’s existing or potential economic relations,

(2) for an improper purpose or by improper means,

(3) causing injury to the plaintiff. When the defendants are also employees, however, the plaintiff must establish that the defendants were acting outside the scope of their employment for purely personal reasons. Employees act for purely personal motives when their actions are in no way connected with the employer’s interests. Giusti v. Sterling Wentworth Corp., 2009 UT 2, ¶ 65

Invasion of Privacy False Light. Invasion of privacy false light claims have four variants:

(1) Intrusion upon the plaintiff’s seclusion or solitude, or into his private affairs.
(2) Public disclosure of embarrassing private facts about the plaintiff.
(3) Publicity which places the plaintiff in a false light in the public eye.
(4)  Appropriation, for the defendant’s advantage, of the plaintiff’s name or likeness. Jensen v. Sawyers, 2005 UT 81, ¶ 43, 130 P.3d 325, 334.

The injured plaintiff must show damages from the invasion of privacy false light claims.

Malicious Prosecution. In order to successfully maintain a claim for malicious prosecution, a party must establish four elements:

(1) A criminal proceeding instituted or continued by the defendant against the plaintiff;
(2) termination of the proceeding in favor of the accused;
(3) absence of probable cause for the proceeding; [and]
(4) malice, or a primary purpose other than that of bringing an offender to justice. The failure to establish any one of the four elements is fatal to the cause of action. Magistro v. Day, 2010 UT App 397

Malpractice– Accounting. The accountant must have a professional duty, breached that duty causing the client harm. All professional liability actions are generally based on negligence.

Malpractice–Legal. The elements required for a legal malpractice claim based on a breach of fiduciary duty:

(1) an attorney-client relationship;

(2) breach of the attorney’s fiduciary duty to the client;

(3) causation, both actual and proximate; and

(4) damages suffered by the client. Christensen & Jensen, P.C. v. Barrett & Daines, 2008 UT 64, ¶ 23, 194 P.3d 931, 938

In a legal malpractice action, a plaintiff must plead and prove (i) an attorney–client relationship; (ii) a duty of the attorney to the client arising from their relationship; (iii) a breach of that duty; (iv) a causal connection between the breach of duty and the resulting injury to the client; and (v) actual damages. Kranendonk v. Gregory & Swapp, PLLC, 2014 UT App 36, ¶ 12, 320 P.3d 689, 693
Malpractice– Medical. In order to prevail on a claim of medical malpractice, Plaintiff must establish (1) the standard of care required of health care providers under the circumstances; (2) breach of that standard by the defendant; (3) injury proximately caused by the breach; and (4) damages. Lane v. Provo Rehab. & Nursing, 2018 UT App 10, ¶ 41, 414 P.3d 991, 1000

Negligence Causes of Action/Lawsuits. The basic tort elements of Duty, Breach, Causation and Damages apply regardless of whether it is a scooter, bicycle or motorcycle accident involving car, passengers or pedestrians.

Car Accidents. Car accident negligence claims can include cars hitting cars or cars hitting motorcycles, pedestrians or one car accident hurting passengers.

Negligent Motorcycle Accidents. Motorcycle negligence can include motorcycles hitting other motorcycles, being hit by car, cars hitting motorcycles or passengers hurt in one motorcycle accidents.

          Negligent Scooter Accidents.  See the LINK for an article on scooter accidents.

          Negligent ATV, Side-by-Side, Ski Doo, Snowmobile Accidents.   Recreational Accidents.

          Pedestrian struck by cars or motorcycles.

Nuisance. Unlike public nuisances, which are concerned with the rights of the community at large, the essence of a private nuisance lawsuit is an interference with an individual’s use and enjoyment of land. Whaley v. Park City Mun. Corp., 2008 UT App 234, ¶ 20, 190 P.3d 1, 8

Product Liability. Where products sold by retailers or manufactures hurt people because of poor design.

Premise Liability. Slip and Fall. This is where the property owner creates or allows to continue unsafe conditions on the land causing people injuries.

          Permanent unsafe condition on the land. To recover under a permanent unsafe condition theory, a plaintiff must show that an owner chose a mode of operation that foreseeably could result in an inherently dangerous condition. Jex v. JRA, Inc., 2008 UT 67, ¶ 11, 196 P.3d 576, 579

          Temporary condition on the land. In premises liability cases involving a temporary unsafe condition, fault cannot be imputed to the landowner unless the injured party plaintiff shows

(1) that the defendant had knowledge of the condition, that is, either actual knowledge, or constructive knowledge because the condition had existed long enough that the defendant should have discovered it; and
(2) that after obtaining such knowledge, sufficient time elapsed that in the exercise of reasonable care the defendant should have remedied the dangerous condition. Cochegrus v. Herriman City, 2020 UT 14, ¶ 17, 462 P.3d 357, 362–63

Res Ipsa Loquitur (not a cause of action). Res ipsa loquitur is essentially an evidentiary rule that allows an inference of negligence to be drawn when human experience provides a reasonable basis for concluding that an injury probably would not have happened if due care had been exercised. Since res ipsa loquitur generally raises only an inference and not a presumption of negligence, the fact finder may choose either to accept or reject that inference. Ballow, 699 P.2d at 723; Kusy v. K–Mart Apparel Fashion Corp., 681 P.2d 1232, 1235 (Utah 1984)

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur requires a plaintiff to establish a foundation from which an inference of negligence can be drawn. That foundation is usually established by proving the following three elements:

(1) the accident was of a kind which, in the ordinary course of events, would not have happened had the defendant used due care;
(2) the agency or instrumentality causing the accident was at the time of the accident under the exclusive management or control of the defendant; and
(3) the plaintiff’s own use or operation of the agency or instrumentality was not primarily responsible for the accident. King v. Searle Pharms., Inc., 832 P.2d 858, 861 (Utah 1992)

Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings. Wrongful use of civil proceedings, is defined as follows: One who takes an active part in the initiation, continuation, or procurement of civil proceedings against another is subject to liability to the other for wrongful civil proceedings if

(1) they act without probable cause, and primarily for a purpose other than that of securing the proper adjudication of the claim in which the proceedings are based, and
(2) except when they are ex parte, the proceedings have terminated in favor of the person against whom they are brought.” Hatch v. Davis, 2004 UT App 378
Zone of Danger Injuries. Where you are not directly hurt by the negligence of others but are so close to others being hurt you are in the zone of danger and may recover.

The zone-of-danger rule, provides:

(1) If the actor unintentionally causes emotional distress to another, he is subject to liability to the other for resulting illness or bodily harm if the actor
(a) should have realized that his conduct involved an unreasonable risk of causing the distress, otherwise than by knowledge of the harm or peril of a third person, and
(b) from facts known to him should have realized that the distress, if it were caused, might result in illness or bodily harm.

(2) The rule stated in Subsection (1) has no application to illness or bodily harm of another which is caused by emotional distress arising solely from harm or peril to a third person, unless the negligence of the actor has otherwise created an unreasonable risk of bodily harm to the other. Mower v. Baird, 2018 UT 29, ¶ 51, 422 P.3d 837, 851, as corrected (July 11, 2018)

Trespass and Money Damages. Similarly, trespass to chattels is understood to occur when one intentionally dispossesses another of the property, or uses or intermeddles with a chattel in the possession of another.

Wrongful Death. Wrongful death statutes create a new cause of action for the survivors of the deceased, such as parents or heirs. Wrongful death claims acknowledge that the survivors suffer a direct loss to themselves when their loved one dies from a wrongful act. Accordingly, the damages recovered in wrongful death actions are meant to compensate the harm done to the survivors because of the death. Damages in a wrongful death suit include loss of financial support furnished; loss of affection, counsel, and advice; loss of deceased’s care and solicitude for the welfare of the family; and loss of the comfort and pleasure the family of the deceased would have received. Meeks v. Peng, 2024 UT 5, ¶ 50, 545 P.3d 226, 237.  See this VIDEO on ditribution of wrongful death proceeds.

In a survival action, the personal representatives or heirs of the individual who died have a cause of action against the wrongdoer for special and general damages. Utah Code § 78B-3-107(1)(a). Meeks v. Peng, 2024 UT 5, ¶ 54, 545 P.3d 226, 238

NOTE: All entries and language is not the author’s and should be attributed directly to the cited case or author. The author in no way asserts that this language is his original language and attribution should occur. Citations have been cleaned up with many internal citations and quotes removed for ease of reading.