Answering Your Questions About Auto Accident Injuries In Vermont
How does Vermont automobile law affect my case?
Vermont law dictates various rights, benefits and procedures affecting how and what you can recover following an automobile accident. Vermont law, your automobile insurance policy and the other driver’s (or drivers’) automobile insurance policy all affect your case. You may have claims against the other driver and their insurance company. You may also have claims against the owner of the vehicle that hit you or a commercial entity if that vehicle was owned by a business. You may even have a claim against your own automobile insurance company for underinsured benefits.
In short, the facts of each case (and the type of insurance available) drastically affect how you should approach your Rutland County and Bennington County automobile accident case. Numerous parties and insurance companies are often involved and the process can be overwhelming for those not familiar with the law.
Does Vermont law provide for any no-fault benefits to individuals injured in automobile accidents?
Vermont does not require insurance policies to provide any no-fault benefits such as wage replacement or medical payments coverage. You may purchase medical payments coverage at the time you purchase automobile insurance to protect yourself. If you did not purchase medical payments coverage when you bought your policy, your primary source of recovery from any automobile accident will typically be through the at-fault driver.
This can create an enormous hardship on individuals who may be forced to go without wages for weeks, or even months, or who do not have health insurance to cover medical bills. The attorneys at Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP, frequently work to evaluate all of the options available to clients in this situation.
Do I have to reimburse my health insurer for the money it spent on medical treatment related to my accident out of my recovery?
In most cases, both private health insurers (such as Blue Cross) and public health insurers (Medicare and Medicaid) will record all amounts they have paid on medical treatment related to injuries you suffered in your automobile accident. The health insurer will then place a lien against your recovery from the automobile accident for that amount. Often, lien holders will negotiate their liens with attorneys, and the attorneys at Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP, frequently negotiate to reduce health insurance liens to maximize our clients’ recovery.
Can I settle part of my case now, like my lost wages, and settle the rest later?
No. You typically only have one chance to settle your automobile accident claim. Since it is often impossible to determine the value of your claim until you have completed your medical treatment or your doctor has declared you will not get any better, it is usually in your best interest to wait until you have fully recovered or recovered as much as you are going to from the injuries you suffered in the accident before attempting to settle your claim or filing a lawsuit. If you settle your case prematurely and then discover your injuries are more severe than you first believed, you will not be able to make a second claim or seek any further recovery. This can create an unfair burden on individuals who must go weeks or months without any income.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit against a driver who hit me?
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including automobile accidents, in Vermont is three years. This means that you must file any lawsuit within three years from the date of the accident. There are exceptions to this rule, but they are limited, which is why it is important to seek out legal advice as soon as possible after your accident.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
Each case is unique. The most important factor in determining how long it will take to resolve a particular case is the amount of medical treatment required by the individual injured in the accident, since it is important for the individual to reach a medical result before any claim is resolved. If the claim cannot be settled, a lawsuit will often be the next step. Litigation, from the date a lawsuit is filed through the date of trial, can take two to three years, depending on which court is involved.
Many other important factors may influence the length of time it takes to resolve your case, including available insurance policy limits, the number of individuals involved in the accident and their respective injuries, and the medical bills.
The attorneys at Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP, have the experience to know how to approach each case to maximize recovery for our clients.
Contact Our Lawyers To Ask Us Your Questions
If you or a family member has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, and any disability resulting from the accident. Contact us at 802-442-3233 or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer. We have conveniently located offices and other meeting locations throughout southern Vermont and regularly travel throughout the region to meet with clients.
All cases are handled on a contingent fee basis — you will pay no attorneys’ fees unless we win compensation in your case.
Note: This is an introductory overview of Vermont law and procedure regarding automobile accidents. It is not intended to be used as specific legal advice for any individual and is no substitute for experience and expert advice from a qualified Vermont attorney who can evaluate your individual case.