Personal Injury Law in Vermont

Were you hurt due to another’s negligence in Vermont? If so, it may have far-reaching consequences such as a loss of wages or extensive medical treatment. Personal injury law allows an injured person to get damages if the responsible person acted recklessly. A personal injury attorney in Vermont can help navigate the lawsuit to make sure you receive all of the compensation you deserve.

What Is Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury law in Vermont relates to the legal process of getting compensation for an injury caused by someone else’s negligent behavior. These cases involve one party, the plaintiff, trying to seek financial compensation for expenses incurred and money lost as a result of the defendant’s reckless behavior. These cases involve both parties’ insurance companies and may even settle before proceeding to litigation.

Examples of Personal Injury Claims in Vermont

Some personal injury claims are more common than others. However, almost any incident that ends with a physical or mental injury could qualify, depending on the circumstances.

A few of the most common personal injury claims are:

  • Car Accidents
  • Slip and Fall
  • Dog Bites
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Workplace Accidents
  • Burn Injuries

Most Common Injuries in Vermont 

According to the Vermont Department of Health, there were 60,581 emergency department or hospital admissions on average from 2005-2014. Both the number of admissions and rate of injury trended upwards during that period. Falls and motor vehicle crashes were the top causes of injury in the state. Meanwhile, poisonings added significantly to the total amount as well. Sadly, accidents like these were the third leading cause of death in the state in 2017, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Unintentional falls were responsible for the most deaths each year.

Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Vermont

Once you determine that you wish to proceed forward with a personal injury action in Vermont

A lawsuit begins when a complaint is filed with the court and served on the defendant. The complaint alleges your assertion as the plaintiff that the defendant’s negligent behavior resulted in damage to your body or mental state. As the process proceeds forward, you may have to go through depositions, independent medical evaluations and document production. This discovery process is lengthy and ends in either settlement or a court appearance.

A Vermont small claims court can handle cases up to $5,000. Within the Civil Division, sitting above the Probate Division, a trial court hears personal injury cases involving larger amounts. The jurisdiction of the court is the county where it is located. Generally, cases require parties to attempt mediation in an effort to reach an agreement without going to trial. While there isn’t a rule that forbids individuals from representing themselves in court, the Civil Division is not designed to be navigated without the assistance of a legal team.

Vermont Personal Injury Settlement

With most personal injury cases, insurance companies and injured parties prefer settlement negotiations rather than going to court for a trial. You may wonder how much you should seek in your settlement and factors that impact the final amount.

In the state of Vermont, over 1,200 people per week seek care for minor to severe injuries according to 2014 data. The cost of this care ranges based on the severity of the injury and quality of care. For fall injuries, the most common type of injury in the state, the average hospital cost is over $30,000, stated by the Falls Free Vermont Coalition. While this figure can serve as a rough guide in determining your settlement, you must consider the nature of your injury with a legal team to calculate a settlement amount that is appropriate for your case.

If the other party has insurance, the insurance company likely wants to settle out of court. In order to avoid leaving the final settlement decision to a jury. Settlements benefit injured parties as much as they do insurance companies. This is because accepting a settlement means you receive compensation sooner rather than later. Also, by going to court in VT, that means you risk not receiving any compensation at all.

Damage Awards in Vermont

If your Vermont personal injury lawsuit goes before a judge or jury, your legal team will be ready with a request for damages. In personal injury cases, there are three types of damage awards a court may order the defendant to pay to compensate you for the damage he or she inflicted.

Special compensatory damages reimburse you for things such as lost income, medical bills and insurance deductibles. You submit receipts proving these losses.

General compensatory damages are subjective. If you receive special compensatory damages, you may also collect general damages. If your injury was particularly painful, you might request that the judge order the defendant compensate you for the pain and anguish.

Punitive damages are the most rarely awarded and are up to the court. The judge or jury may determine that the defendant’s negligence was particularly heinous and the resulting injury to you was equally horrific. 

If an entity of the government of Vermont is involved in your case, there are some limits on the amount of compensation you may receive. These amounts are $500,000 per person and $2 million total per incident, including pain and suffering damages. There are no limits on damages in most other cases.

Statute of Limitations in Vermont Personal Injury Law?

The injured party may have a set amount of time to file suit for a personal injury case. State law establishes statutes of limitation. Commonly, the plaintiff’s injury or discovery of the injury begins the statute of limitations. However, the latter factor is trickier, as the plaintiff will have to prove when the injury was first realized.

Typically, you have three years after the discovery of an injury to bring a claim forward in the state of Vermont. In the unfortunate case of wrongful death, you have two years to file.

We recommend you speak with a personal injury lawyer for this matter. Don’t wait too long and miss out on receiving the compensation you deserve for your injury. 

Work With an Experienced Vermont Lawyer

Pursue a personal injury claim in Vermont against the responsible person if you are dealing with an injury caused by someone else. One of our experienced lawyers can help you navigate your personal injury claim.  We can even help you connect with an attorney across Vermont state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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