A car accident in Vermont can be expensive. In addition to the damage to one or all of the vehicles involved in the collision, one or more of the people in those vehicles can suffer injuries that require them to obtain expensive medical treatment and potentially face other financial damages like having to leave work and living with a temporary or permanent disability.
Car insurance exists to keep victims from shouldering these expenses themselves.
If you are a driver in Vermont or planning to drive through the state, take time to learn about Vermont’s auto insurance laws. This way, you will be prepared to file and negotiate a personal injury claim if you are involved in an accident.
Vermont is Not a “No Fault” State for Car Accidents
In some states, drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which provides them with compensation for injury-related damages through their own policies. Vermont is not one of those states. Although drivers can purchase PIP coverage and use this in the event they are injured in accidents, they are not required to do so.
An individual who chooses not to purchase PIP coverage may seek compensation from the negligent driver’s insurance provider in the event he or she is injured in an accident. When a driver files a personal injury claim with another driver’s auto insurance provider, he or she must demonstrate that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident and resulting damages to occur. This is not required for PIP claims.
Motorists are Required to Purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage compensates a driver for his or her damages in an accident if the other driver involved did not have sufficient insurance coverage for them. The required coverage amounts for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in Vermont are:
- $50,000 for bodily injury to one person; and
- $100,000 total if more than one person is injured in an accident.
Drivers who do not have insurance are subject to a fine of up to $500 if they fail to provide proof of insurance during a traffic stop. Driving without insurance can also be grounds for a driver’s license suspension in Vermont.
Whether the driver fails to provide proof of insurance because he or she is uninsured at a traffic stop, following a moving violation, or following an accident determines the severity of the penalties he or she faces for the offense.
If your driver’s license is suspended after you are found driving without appropriate insurance, work with an experienced lawyer to have your driver’s license reinstated.
Vermont Requires Drivers to Purchase Liability Coverage
It is illegal to operate a vehicle without the minimum amount of liability coverage in Vermont. Motorists must carry at least the following amount in liability coverage:
- $25,000 for injury or death to one other person involved in an accident;
- $50,000 for the injury or death of multiple accident victims; and
- $10,000 for property damage.
Certain Types of Coverage are Optional for Vermont Motorists
In addition to liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, drivers in Vermont have the option to carry additional types of coverage on their automobile insurance policies. These include:
- Collision coverage. This type of coverage can pay for damage to the vehicle suffered in automobile accidents;
- Comprehensive coverage. This type of coverage pays for damage to the vehicle that results from incidents other than traffic accidents. These can include natural disasters, vandalism, theft, fire, collisions with wild animals, and falling and projectile objects;
- Rental coverage. If you need a rental vehicle while yours is being repaired, you can have these costs covered by your insurance provider;
- Towing and labor coverage. If your vehicle needs to be towed and repaired after an accident, this type of coverage can pay for those expenses; and
- Medical payment coverage. This type of coverage pays for the driver’s medical costs related to the injury he or she suffers after an accident. PIP coverage can cover these costs as well as other personal injury expenses, but some drivers choose only to purchase medical coverage instead of PIP.
Requirements for Proof of Insurance
In Vermont, motorists are required to carry valid proof of their insurance coverage at all times. When a law enforcement officer asks to see this proof during a traffic stop, the driver must provide it.
Drivers who have auto insurance, but do not have proof of insurance at the time of a traffic stop have 15 days to provide proof to the officer who conducted the stop. This is accompanied by a fine of up to $100.
Drivers May be Required to Carry Financial Responsibility Insurance
When a driver is convicted of a traffic violation or involved in a car accident, the state government may require him or her to carry Financial Responsibility Insurance. This is a type of insurance coverage that drivers receive through their own auto insurance providers that cover them, rather than their vehicles.
In other words, a driver who has Financial Responsibility Insurance is covered whether he or she is driving his or her own vehicle or another vehicle. This type of coverage is obtained through an SR-22 certificate. When a driver is required to carry this type of coverage, he or she must do so for a minimum of three years following the original event that triggered the requirement.
Work with an Experienced Vermont Auto Accident Lawyer
If you are involved in a car accident in Vermont, it is in your best interest to understand the state’s insurance and personal injury laws as they apply to you and the other driver involved in the collision. One way to make this easier for yourself and give your case the greatest chance possible of resulting in a favorable settlement for you is to work with an experienced Vermont car accident lawyers.
We understand just how difficult an auto accident can make your life. At Sabbeth Law, our approach was crafted to allow our clients more dignity through this process and ultimately to produce the best possible results.
Contact the Vermont Car Accident Lawyers at Sabbeth Law today to set up your initial consultation in our office, during which we can discuss your case in greater detail to determine the right strategy for your personal injury claim.