Nobody expects to get into a car accident, especially on a beautiful day in the hills of Vermont. But they happen, and not many know what to do in the aftermath, especially if the accident resulted in severe injuries and damages to property.
Along with injuries, many suffer emotional and mental pain and suffering and will want to file a claim as quickly as possible to be compensated for their troubles. It is important to take your time and work with a Vermont personal injuries lawyer to receive the compensation you deserve.
Reporting your accident and filing an insurance claim
In the state of Vermont, if you have been in an accident that resulted in more than $3,000 worth of property damage you must report it to the Vermont Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. The next step in the process is to file an insurance claim, either through your insurance company or the negligent party’s insurance company.
If you file through your insurance it is called a first-party claim, if you file through another insurance company it is referred to as a third party claim. Vermont law requires that you have an insurance plan that covers at least:
- $25,000 for one person or $50,000 for two or more people injured in an accident, and;
- $10,000 for damages per crash.
- If you don’t have insurance you must alternatively file $115,000 with the Vermont Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
Reporting first-party claims vs. third party claims
If you have more insurance coverage than the other party, you may have a first-party claim against your own insurance for what is called “underinsured motorist coverage.” This means that your own insurance covers that part of your damages that exceeds the amount of insurance available under the other motorists’ liability coverage.
For reporting purposes, after an accident, you have two options when filing with an insurance company: you can go through your insurance, first-party, or the negligent party’s insurance, the third party. There are pros and cons to both and the facts of your case will help you determine which is best for you. If you make a first-party claim through your insurance company, you may have access to more money in a settlement if you have additional coverage.
You may also receive more coverage if the negligent party caused damage to more than just your vehicle. The drawbacks to filing through your insurance company include having to pay your deductible upfront and dealing with the repercussions of filing a claim. Also be aware that if your accident is too severe, your insurance company may not provide sufficient coverage. If you file through the negligent party’s insurance company, you will not have to pay a deductible, but the claim will take longer to process and their plan might not cover the cost of the incident.
Average Accident Settlement in Vermont
There is no average accident settlement. Every incident is completely different, with different results in damages to property and injuries. Although every case is different, a lawyer may be able to help you calculate what your settlement might be based on a few variables:
- Amount of damage to your vehicle;
- The severity and type of your injuries;
- The wages lost during recovery due to time off work;
- Pain and suffering occurring from the accident, and;
- The likelihood for success or failure if your case were to go to court.
How long do I have to file my claim?
As with most legal cases, there is a time limit on when you can file an accident claim, this is also known as the “statute of limitations”. In Vermont law, Title 12, Section 512 requires lawsuits involving damages to person and property to be filed within three years of the incident. Make sure to be aware of your timeline and don’t file too late to get compensation for your injuries.
If you have been in an accident and are hoping to settle your case, contact Larson and Gallivan Law PLC, we’re here to help.