Drivers, passengers, and others who have been involved in a car accident in Vermont will want to have an understanding of the different car insurance requirements and state laws that could affect any claim or lawsuit over the accident. This page provides a summary of the Vermont-specific resources available on All-About-Car-Accidents.com, plus links to more detailed information.
Like most states, Vermont requires drivers to carry adequate car insurance coverage on any vehicle owned and operated in the state. The following minimum amounts of coverage are mandatory in Vermont:
Uninsured motorist coverage is also required for any car insurance policy issued in Vermont. For more details on car insurance for vehicles in Vermont -- including compliance with the state’s “financial responsibility” requirement -- check out our companion article Vermont Car Insurance Laws.
If you decide to file a lawsuit after a car accident in Vermont -- or even if you’re only making an insurance claim for the time being -- there are a few state laws to keep in mind, beginning with the time limit for getting a car accident lawsuit started (this is a state law called a “statute of limitations”).
In Vermont, the statute of limitations that applies to car accident lawsuits gives a prospective plaintiff three years from the date of the accident to get their case filed in the state’s civil court system, whether the lawsuit is for personal injury or for vehicle damage stemming from the crash. (See Vermont Statutes title 12, section 461 for the full text of this law.)
If you don’t get your lawsuit filed before the deadline passes, it’s safe to assume that the court will refuse to hear your case when you do try to file. So it’s crucial to pay attention to the deadline, and that’s true even if you think your case is going to settle out of court. You always want to leave open the option of filing a lawsuit, not just for leverage in settlement negotiations, but also to make sure you can turn to the court system for a remedy if the settlement process isn’t promising a satisfactory solution.
Get details on other Vermont laws that could impact your car accident case in our article Car Accident Laws in Vermont.
You might not find it necessary to hire a lawyer for every car accident claim you decide to file. For example, in a situation where the other driver’s insurance carrier isn’t disputing that its insured was at fault for the car accident, and you suffered only minor injuries, it’s probably fine to handle that kind of claim yourself as long as you’re comfortable with the process.
But what if the other driver’s insurer is saying that you caused the car accident? Or what if you suffered serious injuries and the insurer is balking at the extent or the costs of your medical treatment? In those situations, things can get complicated (and contentious) very quickly, and it may be time to discuss your situation with a local car accident lawyer in Vermont. Remember that most lawyers will take a car accident case on a contingency basis, meaning that the lawyer only gets paid a percentage of any successful settlement or court award.
A good attorney knows how to successfully navigate not just the back-and-forth of settlement negotiations with car insurance adjusters, but also the car accident lawsuit process if your case proceeds to Vermont civil court.