Vermont Auto Accident Claims
Car accidents are a common occurrence in Vermont, and unfortunately, they can lead to serious injuries or even death. In 2019 alone, there were over 14,000 reported car accidents in Vermont, with more than 1,000 resulting in injury.
This article will provide information on how victims of car accidents can receive such compensation for any damages sustained as a result of an accident. It will also discuss factors that might affect the settlement amount one might receive, such as fault and medical expenses incurred from treatment related to the accident.
- How Much Is Your Car Accident Settlement Worth?
Find out the maximum compensation you could receive.
- How Much Is My Car Accident Settlement Worth?
How Much is the Average Vermont Car Accident Settlement?
The average car accident settlement in Vermont can vary depending on a number of factors, but it’s usually somewhere in the range of $20,000 to $50,000. However, there have been cases where people have received settlements for much more or much less than that.
Here are a few factors that can affect the amount of your settlement:
- The severity of your injuries. If you were seriously injured in the accident, you’re more likely to receive a larger settlement.
- The amount of property damage. If your car was totaled or you sustained other property damage, this will also increase the amount of your settlement.
- Your lost wages. If you were unable to work as a result of the accident, you can also recover lost wages as part of your settlement.
- Your pain and suffering. This is a difficult factor to quantify, but it can be a significant part of your settlement amount.
Recovering Damages in a Vermont Car Accident Settlement
The size of the settlement that you can receive is dependent on your level of fault for the accident. The total of your damages is calculated and your demands are laid out when you file your claim. You may send a car accident settlement demand letter, outlining the details of the accident and how much money you wish to recover.
During car accident settlement negotiations, the insurance company will likely offer you a smaller initial payout. This might not be enough to cover your damages. If you feel that you deserve more, you don’t have to accept. A personal injury lawyer can advise you on whether or not you should accept a settlement.
If negotiations fail, you have more options. Some cases will go to arbitration, where a neutral party will review the case and determine who they think is at fault and how much the settlement should be. You can also file a lawsuit against the other driver or liable entity. However, a lawsuit may not be in your best interest if you might share more than half of the liability for the accident. Because of Vermont’s modified comparative negligence standard, you cannot recover any damages if you are found more than 50% responsible for the crash. If you hold fault but it is less than 50%, your settlement will reduce by your percentage of fault.
Vermont is a Fault-Based State
Vermont auto accident laws operate on a fault-based system. This means that the party found to be at fault for causing the car accident will be responsible for paying for any damages. The at-fault driver’s car insurance provider is typically responsible for paying all damages. This payment will be up to the amount specified in the insurance policy. However, Vermont has a modified comparative negligence standard. The injured party may be unable to recover damages if he or she is more at fault than the defendant.
Vermont Auto Accident Laws
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the time limit in which you can file a lawsuit after a car accident. If you don’t file your lawsuit before the deadline, you may lose your right to compensation.
The statute of limitations for car accidents in Vermont is three years. You have three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for damages.
If the accident resulted in death, the family members or loved ones can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute of limitation is two years.
It is important to note that the statute of limitations does not apply to filing a claim with an insurance company. However, if the statute of limitations has expired, the insurance company may be less likely to settle with you because the insurance company has less of an incentive to settle.
It is not uncommon for car accident victims to file a lawsuit even though they are negotiating a car accident settlement with the insurance company. Filing a lawsuit is a way of protecting your rights. This is very important in the event that you are unable to reach an adequate settlement. But be sure to file a lawsuit by the deadline set by the Vermont statute of limitations. Failing to do so can have devastating consequences. For this reason, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced Vermont auto accident lawyer to protect your rights.
Modified Comparative Negligence in Vermont Car Accidents
In Vermont, if you’re in a car accident, the amount of money you can get in a car accident settlement depends on how much fault you have. This is called modified comparative negligence.
Under modified comparative negligence, your damages are reduced by your percentage of fault. So, if you’re found to be 20% at fault for an accident, you’ll only get 80% of the damages you’re owed.
But there’s a catch: if your percentage of fault is more than 50%, you can’t recover any damages. For example, let’s say you’re in a car accident and found to be 60% at fault. In that case, you won’t get any money from the other driver’s insurance company, even if they were 40% at fault.
It’s important to note that there’s no exact science to determining fault in a car accident. The amount of fault assigned to each driver will depend on the specific facts of the case.
As the party seeking damages, you will have the burden of persuading an insurance company or jury that the defendant was more at fault for the accident.
Vermont Minimum Insurance Liability Coverage Amounts
Vermont auto accident laws, like the laws of most states, require that every vehicle be covered by insurance. Under 23 V.S.A. section 800, the required minimum amounts of liability coverage are:
- $10,000 liability coverage for property damage caused by the insured vehicle.
- $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death caused by the insured vehicle.
- $50,000 liability coverage for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident caused by the insured vehicle.
Vehicle owners also have the option to file evidence of $115,000 in self-insurance with Vermont’s Commissioner of Motor Vehicles rather than purchasing liability insurance. Vermont auto accident laws require the purchase of uninsured motorist (UM) coverage under 23 V.S.A. section 941. UM allows you to recover from your insurance company if you are involved in a car accident and the at-fault driver does not have insurance. UM minimums in Vermont are $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Vermont
If you’re pulled over by the police or involved in a car accident, you’ll need to show proof of insurance. If you don’t have it, you could get a ticket and face penalties like a fine or suspension of your driving privileges.
Even worse, if you don’t have insurance and cause an accident, you could be personally liable for any injuries or property damage you cause. That means you could be on the hook for thousands or even millions in damages.
Vermont Auto Accident Laws for Accidents Involving Uninsured Drivers
According to the Insurance Information Institute, approximately 7% of drivers in Vermont do not have car insurance. You may wonder what to do if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver.
Here are your options:
- File a claim with your own insurance company. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can file a car accident claim and get a payout from your own policy. This will help to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. However, you are limited to the coverage limits you pay for.
- Sue the uninsured driver. If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you may be able to sue the uninsured driver in civil court. However, this can be a long and expensive process, and you may not be able to recover all of your damages.
- Contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Some states have programs that can help you recover compensation from uninsured drivers. In Vermont, you can contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to see if you qualify for any assistance.
- Sue a third party. If poor road conditions contributed to the accident, you can file a lawsuit against the entity responsible for maintaining the roads. This could be the city, county, or state.
Types of Damages in Vermont Car Accident Cases
In Vermont, there are no caps on recoverable damages in a car accident case. The most common types of damages in a car accident case fall into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and property losses.
- Medical expenses are usually the main type of damages collected in a car accident settlement. This includes any initial ambulance rides & ER visits, as well as bills for all the exams, medications, surgeries, and other healthcare-related costs incurred due to your injuries. If your treatment is ongoing, such as weekly physical therapy or chiropractic visits, your medical expenses should also include estimated future costs.
- Lost wages are the wages you lose due to your injuries. This includes both your lost salary and your lost benefits. If your injury prevents you from returning to work long-term or permanently, you can also claim diminished earning capacity. This is also true if you must take on a new, lower-paying job because of your injuries.
- Property losses are the costs of repairing or replacing your property that was damaged in the accident. This includes your car, your home, and your personal belongings.
Non-economic damages cover your pain, suffering, and other losses that are harder to prove. These damages can be very subjective, so it’s good practice to have a good car accident lawyer help with calculating your damages.
- Loss of enjoyment of life is the loss of the ability to do the things you used to enjoy before the accident.
- Emotional distress is the mental anguish you experience as a result of the accident.
- Pain and suffering is the physical and emotional pain you experience as a result of your injuries. It is the most commonly talked about form of non-economic damages. Because there is no way to calculate or track pain and suffering, it is not always taken seriously.
Pain and suffering can cover a variety of things. The pain that you suffer from your injuries can have a negative impact on your quality of life. Your injuries may prevent you from doing things that brought you enjoyment before the crash. A disability caused by accident injuries can completely change how you live your life. When claiming pain and suffering, it is good to present any and all evidence you can to back your claim.
Keep a journal, blog, or video series showing how your life has changed since the car crash. Get statements from people close to you who can attest to your mental state. Get an evaluation from a mental health professional if you are feeling anxious or depressed.
How Pain and Suffering is Valued in Vermont Car Accident Settlements
Two main methods are used to value pain and suffering in car accident cases: the multiplier method and the per diem method.
The multiplier method multiplies the monetary value of your medical expenses by a number between 1.5 and 5. The number used depends on the severity of your injuries and the impact the crash had on your life. For example, if your medical expenses totaled $100,000 and the multiplier settled on is 4, you will be looking at $400,000 for pain and suffering.
The per diem method assigns a total value to one day of pain and suffering. Then, that amount is multiplied by the number of days that you experienced pain and suffering. The number assigned to each day depends on the circumstances of your claim.. Similar to the multiplier method, the number assigned is based on the circumstances of your claim.
Vermont Car Accident Settlement Calculator
If you’d like to see how much your accident settlement may be worth, please try our free car accident settlement calculator tool.
Resources for Car Accident Victims in Vermont
If you have been injured in a car accident in Vermont, several resources are available to help you. Here are a few of the most helpful resources:
- Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles: The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can provide information about the car accident reporting process and your rights as an accident victim.
- Vermont Trial Lawyers Association: The Vermont Trial Lawyers Association (VTTLA) is a professional organization for lawyers who specialize in personal injury law. They can provide you with a list of lawyers who may be able to help you with your case.
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