If you are involved in a car accident in Vermont, you are expected to act responsibly. First things first, do not leave the accident scene. Also, do not allow anyone, especially the other driver, to talk you out of calling the police. For emergency assistance, call 911, and wait for the police to arrive at the scene. If you are feeling okay, consider taking contact details of drivers, witnesses, and people involved in the accident. Take photos and video footage for the accident scene, which will be evidence for your personal injury lawsuit. Consider calling a Rutland VT car accident lawyer at the earliest, so that you can get advice on your claim’s worth. Here are some things to know about Vermont car accident laws.
Reporting the accident
Drivers in Vermont are required to report a crash, if there were injuries, death, and/or property damage worth $3,000 or more. You must report the crash within 72 hours to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles.
Understanding modified comparative negligence
What if you had a minor role in causing the accident? Vermont follows the modified comparative negligence rule. This means you can file a personal injury lawsuit and seek compensation for your damages, as long as your share of fault is less than 50%. However, your awarded compensation will be reduced by your share of fault in percentage.
For example, if you were 30% at fault and have been awarded $50,000 in compensation, you will only get $35,000 as the final settlement.
Statute of limitations
Like other states, Vermont also has a statute of limitations, which allows three years to file personal injury lawsuits against the at-fault party. Note that the count starts from the date of accident. In case of someone’s death in a car accident, the family has two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, counting from the date of death. If you don’t adhere to the filing deadline, the court will refuse your request in all likeliness, except very rare circumstances.
Contact an attorney
While you can file an insurance claim on your own, you may want to contact a car accident lawyer for experience and advice. An attorney can evaluate the case, work on investigating the accident to establish fault and liability, and deal with the insurance company on your behalf. Thankfully, most car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis in Vermont, which means you don’t have to pay them if they don’t win a settlement for you!