Nobody expects to a motor vehicle crash to leave them with serious injuries.
The aftermath of a collision can be frustrating and painful.
Many car accident victims want to settle their claims quickly.
They want to obtain financial compensation to cover medical bills and lost wages.
But it is important to work with a Vermont car accident attorney in order to get the best possible settlement.
We receive questions from clients about the car accident settlement process and the timetable for settlements. The process in Vermont can vary depending upon the specific facts of your case. There are some key elements of every claims settlement process. We can provide you with more information about how your settlement is likely to progress. Reach out to talk to someone today.
Reporting Your Car Accident to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles
You must report some, but not all, crashes to the Vermont Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Under Vermont law (23 V.S.A. § 1129), if the accident involves $3,000 or more of property damage, then you must report it within 72 hours of the crash.
Filing an Insurance Claim
The next step in the car accident settlement process is filing an auto insurance claim. Depending upon the specific facts of your case, you may decide to file through your own insurance company (a “first-party claim”) or through the negligent party’s insurance company (a “third-party claim”).
Vermont law (23 V.S.A. § 800) requires drivers to have the following amounts of insurance:
- At least $25,000 for a single person and $50,000 for two or more people injured in a crash; and
- At least $10,000 for property damage in a single collision.
If you decide to file through your own insurance company, you may be eligible for a larger amount of compensation in the settlement if you have additional coverage, or if the negligent driver caused damage to more than your vehicle. In other words, the negligent driver’s policy limits may prevent you from getting sufficient compensation. However, there are drawbacks to filing with your own insurance company. You will have to pay your deductible up front, and you will need to deal with the repercussions of filing a claim. Keep in mind that your own policy limits may be insufficient if the accident was especially severe.
If you decide to file through the negligent driver’s insurance company, you will not have to pay a deductible, but the claims process may take longer, and the insurance policy limits could prevent you from being fully compensated for your losses.
Negotiating With the Insurance Company
The next phase of the settlement process is negotiating with the insurance company. The insurance company frequently will offer a low-ball settlement offer. If you believe that the offer is too low, you can come back with a counteroffer. This is frequently a lengthy process, and it is important to have an experienced advocate on your side to handle the negotiation process.
Average Motor Vehicle Accident Settlements
There is no average or common settlement in a car accident claims process given that each crash is distinct and results in different types of injuries and property damage. However, your lawyer may be able to estimate the amount of a strong settlement offer by taking into account the following:
- Amount of damage to your motor vehicle;
- Type and severity of your injuries; and
- Amount of time you have been unable to work as a result of your car accident injuries.
If you do not receive a fair settlement, you can always file a lawsuit in order to seek compensation for your losses.
Contact an Attorney About Your Car Accident Settlement Today
If you were injured in a motor vehicle crash, an aggressive personal injury lawyer can help you with the claims and settlement processes. Contact Sabbeth Law today to get started.