Auto accidents are a very common occurrence in Vermont, which makes familiarity with Vermont car accident compensation laws an unfortunate necessity for many drivers. This article discusses what you need to know about Vermont car accidents, including what to do after an accident, an overview of Vermont's car accident compensation laws, the state's modified comparative negligence rules, and how to get appropriate compensation for your injuries and losses.
What Should You Do After an Accident in Vermont?
Here is a list of what to do if you are in an accident:
- Don't leave the scene; leaving the scene of an accident, even if it's minor, could be considered an illegal hit-and-run
- Get to safety out of traffic and check everyone for injuries (and consider providing first aid to any car accident victims)
- Call the Vermont highway patrol or the police department for help and medical assistance; you will want to make sure you get a copy of the police report or accident report
- Collect contact information and driver's insurance information from the people who were driving any vehicles involved in the accident
- Take pictures of the scene and get the contact information of any witnesses; also check with nearby businesses or homeowners for a copy of their security camera footage, if applicable
- Call your insurance adjuster and notify them of a possible car accident claim
- Get checked out by a doctor
You can and should consider doing all of this before you think about bringing a personal injury lawsuit.
Vermont Car Accident Compensation Laws: At a Glance
For more details on Vermont Car Accident Compensation Laws, see the table below.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Vermont's “Fault" and “50% Modified Comparative Negligence" Rules
Recovering damages for your injuries in Vermont is going to require you to prove another driver was responsible, or "at fault," for your injuries. The good news is that even if you were partially at fault for a car accident, you may still be able to recover damages because Vermont uses the 50% "comparative negligence" rule. This means that you can recover as long as you were 50% or less at fault for your injuries, and the court will simply reduce your damages in proportion to your level of fault. For example, if you suffered $10,000 in damages, but you were 50% at fault, the court would award you $5,000.
Damage Types Allowed in Vermont
Most often, injured parties can recover monetary damages, known as compensatory damages, for their injuries. These include both economic and non-economic recovery such as past and future medical expenses, disability or disfigurement, property damage, vehicle repair costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Typical car accident damages include:
- Car repairs
- Hospital bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of income
Limits on Damages in Vermont
The State of Vermont limits liability to $500,000 per person, with a total of $2,000,000 per accident, when an employee of the State was at fault. Otherwise, there are no state-imposed monetary limits on economic or non-economic damages available to an injured party.
Vermont does have state-imposed deadlines, known as statutes of limitations, on how long you can wait before filing a claim against the party at fault for your car accident injuries. Fortunately, the time limits are relatively long: three years for both personal injury and injury to property and two years for wrongful death lawsuits.
Get a Claim Review from a Vermont Car Accident Attorney
Vermont's negligence system can make it difficult to estimate the strength and value of your claim. Strict damage caps when the state is the party at fault only compound this challenge. Fortunately, there are skilled professionals available to help guide you through this potentially traumatic time.
Get a claim review from a Vermont car accident compensation law attorney today.