Trusted Vermont Car Accident Attorneys Ready To Assist You
Vermont, the first state to be admitted to the Union, is a state of rich history and natural wonders. From Saint Albans to Stamford, its stunning beauty and laid-back feel delight the visitor. The natural beauty along Vermont´s winding roads, however, can obscure a darker side that every state struggles with—car accidents.
In 2020, 58 people died and 177 were seriously injured on Vermont highways. This represents an increase of about 20% over 2019, despite the decrease in traffic due to COVID-19 restrictions. In nearly every case, the accident didn’t just “happen”—someone was at fault. When the fault of one person harms another person, Vermont personal injury law allows compensation—and justice demands it.
Vermont Is a “Fault” Car Accident State
Some states are “no-fault” auto accident states, at least up to a certain threshold level of compensation. Vermont is not one of these states. Consequently, you can immediately file a third-party claim against the other driver’s auto insurance company instead of seeking compensation from your own insurance carrier.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If you break your leg in a car accident, you can sue the driver who caused the accident. But what happens if someone is killed in the accident? In that case, the personal representative of the victim’s probate estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This is true even if the victim is a child—the court will appoint a personal representative for the estate.
Compensation, which can be substantial, goes to the victim’s spouse and immediate family, and to reimburse the estate itself for losses such as funeral expenses. A skilled Vermont car accident attorney will know how to maximize the value of your claim.
Vermont applies a standard known as modified comparative negligence. It applies when more than one party is responsible for an injury accident. First, the court will determine each party’s percentage of fault. If the plaintiff is 51% or more at fault, they will receive no compensation. But if they are 50% or less at fault, they can receive their compensation minus a deduction equal to their percentage of fault.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are “Pain and Suffering” Damages?
Pain and suffering damages represent compensation paid for your physical suffering. They often amount to several times the amount of medical bills.
What Other Losses Can Be Compensated?
You can recover both tangible and intangible losses, including medical expenses, lost earnings, and out-of-pocket expenses such as childcare expenses.
How Often Do Vermont Car Accident Cases Go to Trial?
Vermont car accident cases rarely go to trial, at least when we are representing the victim. Well over 90% of our clients’ cases settle out of court, if for no other reason than the fact that opposing parties fear facing us in court.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Vermont?
The statute of limitations is a state law that sets the deadline for you to take legal action. In the case of a car accident lawsuit, it sets the date by which you must file a personal injury lawsuit.
In Vermont, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If someone died in the accident, you have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Exceptions can delay this deadline under certain circumstances, such as when the defendant leaves the State of Vermont.
The Defendant Driver Was Arrested for DUI at the Scene of the Accident, but Was Later Acquitted. Will I Lose My Lawsuit Against Them?
Not necessarily. Although the acquittal of the defendant driver is not good news, keep in mind that the burden of proof is much higher in a criminal prosecution than in a civil lawsuit. As long as you can prove under a “more likely than not” standard that the defendant driver’s negligence caused the accident that injured you, you can still win.
You Are Going to Need an Experienced Vermont Car Accident Lawyer
Every day that you delay your claim is a day closer to the statute of limitations deadline and a day longer for critical evidence, such as witnesses’ memories, to become stale. It’s also a day less that a Vermont car accident attorney has to investigate your claim and help you decide on the best course of action.
Contact the Vermont car accident lawyers at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy by filling out our online contact form or by telephoning one of our offices in Albany, Colonie, Schenectady, Saratoga, or Troy. We will be happy to schedule you a free consultation to discuss your case. And remember—if we don’t win, you don’t pay!