Burlington comes alive in the summer and fall when visitors from all over the country flock to the city. It is no surprise why. Burlington is full of Vermont charm and boasts many restaurants and shops, as well as the beautiful Lake Chaplain shoreline. While a popular spot among tourists, residents here know that it has something to offer everyone all year round.

Unfortunately, things are not always so picturesque in Burlington. Accidents happen and when they do, people become seriously hurt. If you have been injured due to the negligent actions of another person, you can file a claim against them for damages. Our Vermont personal injury lawyer can help you claim the full settlement you are entitled to.

Proving Negligence After an Accident

Most people owe the other people around them a certain duty of care. Drivers, for example, have a duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonable manner that will keep people safe. Doctors have a duty of care to provide the best quality care to their patients. Property owners also have a legal duty to make sure people are kept safe on their premises. These are just a few legal issues that arise after an accident.

When people fail to fulfill their legal duty to keep others safe, they are considered negligent and can be held liable for paying compensation for any injuries that result. Most personal injury cases in Burlington rely on negligence or carelessness. Proving someone else was negligent and caused an accident resulting in injury is never easy. However, it is essential to your claim, so it is important to speak to a Burlington personal injury lawyer who can help you prove your case.

Comparative Negligence in Burlington 

There are times when more than one person may be at fault for an accident. For example, you may be texting on your phone while driving through an intersection. This prevents you from seeing a motorist coming the other way, who is not slowing down for the red light. After they crash into the side of your car, you may both be found liable because you were both acting carelessly. 

In this instance, both drivers would be assigned a certain percentage of fault. Running a red light is generally considered more serious than texting while driving. As such, the driver that hit you may be assigned 80 percent of the fault while you would carry 20 percent of the blame. Under the modified comparative negligence law in Vermont, you can still claim damages even if you contributed to an accident. Any compensation you are awarded will be reduced by the same percentage of fault. If it is found that you were more than 50 percent at fault, you lose your right to claim any damages at all.

The Time Limit on Personal Injury Claims in Burlington

Like all other states, Vermont imposes a statute of limitations, or time limit, on personal injury claims. If you do not file your claim before the time limit expires, you will probably lose your right to any monetary damages at all. In Burlington, as throughout the rest of the state, you only have three years from the date of the accident to file your claim.

Although the statute of limitations governing personal injury claims seems fairly straightforward, it is not. There are situations that could toll, or delay, the statute of limitations in your case. For example, if in a medical malpractice case you did not discover your injuries right away, the clock on the statute of limitations starts ticking on the day you discovered your injuries or the day you should have discovered your injuries. Additionally, if a child is hurt by someone else’s negligence and a claim is not filed on their behalf when they are still a minor, they have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a claim.

Additionally, certain types of personal injury cases have different statutes of limitations. For example, in wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations is reduced to just two years from the date of death, not the date of the accident.

Frequently Asked Questions about Personal Injury

What personal injuries can I receive compensation for?

Our clients suffer all sorts of bodily injuries, including fractures, lacerations, burns, concussions, whiplash, and back injuries, among others. Any accident that causes a bodily injury is covered by personal injury law.

We can also seek compensation for the emotional devastation that follows many accidents. Most clearly, serious bodily injuries prevent people from leaving the house and enjoying their favorite hobbies. Consequently, they can suffer from depression and anxiety. Others will struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder as they relive the accident in their minds.

How much compensation will I receive?

We can’t guarantee any specific amount. However, our personal injury clients often receive compensation for certain economic losses, like medical treatment, prescription drugs, rehabilitation, and lost wages. If your property was damaged, you can seek compensation to fix or replace it. Often, we can estimate the amount you can request by looking at your medical bills, paystubs, and repair bills.

You can also request compensation for pain and suffering. This category refers to physical pain and emotional injuries. This is a more subjective category of damages. Still, we have the experience you need to request the maximum amount under the law.

Can I receive punitive damages for an accident?

Punitive damages are rarely awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. These types of damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer for acts that go well beyond mere carelessness. We usually see punitive damages awarded when the defendant acts with “malice,” such as when they intentionally injure you or are willful and wanton. At Sabbeth Law, we always consider whether to request punitive damages as part of a claim.

Is whiplash a serious injury?

Yes. Many defense attorneys try to minimize the seriousness of whiplash. This is an injury that affects the soft tissue in the neck and shoulders. You can suffer debilitating headaches and neck stiffness for months as the tissue slowly heals. Please go to the doctor if you feel neck pain after an accident or fall. Some of our clients need months to recover from whiplash.

What mistakes should I avoid after an accident?

Certain mistakes make it harder to seek compensation, so we recommend avoiding the following:

  1. You don’t go to the doctor or hospital for treatment. Trying to self-diagnose creates problems. You could actually end up with much less compensation if your failure to get treatment makes your injuries worse.
  2. You fail to call the police after a motor vehicle accident. An officer can create a crash report, which is invaluable for personal injury claims. The officer can also speak to witnesses.
  3. You give a statement to an insurance adjuster without a lawyer’s presence. Because of comparative negligence rules, defendants have an incentive to pin some of the blame on you. You can be sure an insurance representative will try to find evidence showing you contributed to your accident.
  4. You try to handle your own personal injury claim. You are not required to have a lawyer, but a lawyer is a big help. We can gather evidence for you and answer any questions you have. We will also communicate on your behalf with insurance adjusters.
  5. You accept a settlement offer without showing it to a lawyer first. Chances are high that you are not being offered a fair settlement. Let an experienced attorney review any offer before you give assent.

Please call Sabbeth Law as soon as possible following an accident so we can begin pulling together a legal claim.

Why should I hire Sabbeth Law?

We have negotiated favorable settlements for all sorts of personal injury cases. Few law firms in Vermont can match our depth of experience.

You will never be treated like just a number. We get to know you, your medical condition, and your life goals. We understand how a painful injury can throw a wrench in someone’s life, and we care about the whole person.

I have no money; can I afford your legal services?

Yes. Our firm can discuss how we charge clients using contingency fee agreements, which remove all the risk from your shoulders. You won’t pay anything unless we win your case.

What if the defendant has no insurance?

Our lawyers excel at finding other sources of money to cover your injuries and financial losses. For example, if you are involved in a car crash, you might have uninsured motorist coverage that will kick in. In other cases, an additional defendant could share liability, so we might add them to your case.

If you have been hurt due to someone else’s carelessness, our Burlington personal injury lawyer at Sabbeth Law can help. We know how to determine who is to blame for your injuries and will hold them fully accountable for paying the full financial compensation you justly deserve. Call us now at (802) 457-1112 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation.