Injuries sustained in a car accident can manifest slowly. Over time, injuries such as whiplash and even emotional trauma can develop. Injured victims may have left the scene of an accident without realizing they were injured. Many wonder how long after a car accident one can file a personal injury claim.
Many people believe that you must immediately report an accident to your insurance company. However, there are numerous circumstances in which you may be permitted to wait before reporting an accident and filing a claim. Prior to entering into negotiations with the insurance company, it is best to consult with a car accident attorney about your case if the accident was not minor. While you are required to report the accident, you are not required to give an immediate recorded statement. You are also not required to file a claim immediately.
Why Delay Filing a Claim Following a Car Accident?
In many cases, it may be advisable to delay filing a claim following a car accident in Vermont. The reason for this is that if you do not yet know your prognosis and what medical expenses and outcomes to expect, you do not know how much compensation to seek in your claim. For instance, if you sustain internal injuries and broken bones, you may require several months to recover and heal. Even ongoing physical therapy or other forms of treatment may be necessary to improve or maintain your health.
Until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), you will not know if a settlement that is offered is fair. If you agree to and accept a settlement, you cannot later seek additional compensation if you discover that it is insufficient to cover your car accident-related expenses and other losses. Injured victims are advised to wait until they have reached MMI before filing a claim. This does not imply that you have not reported the accident; rather, you are awaiting to file a claim for injuries.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Car Accident Injury Claim in Vermont
Each insurance provider has a unique timeframe for accident reporting. The majority of companies encourage their customers to report accidents as soon as possible. Again, this does not imply that you must immediately consent to a recorded statement or sign a blanket waiver release for medical records. Instead, you must report the incident to your insurance company.
In Vermont, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit following a car accident varies depending on whether the accident resulted in bodily injury, death, or property damage.
According to 12 Vt. Statutes Section 512, plaintiffs have three years to file a lawsuit for damages in a car accident. This covers claims made by drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The "clock" for these cases begins on the day of the accident and stops three years later.
However, if the accident victim dies as a result of their injuries, their legal heirs have only two years to file a wrongful death claim against the driver who caused the accident (and remember that the date of the death might be different from the date of the accident). The relevant Vermont statute is Section 1492 of Title 14.
If you attempt to file a lawsuit in Vermont after these deadlines have passed, the defendant will almost certainly request that the case be dismissed. It is essential to understand how the statute of limitations applies to your case.
Leave enough time to file a lawsuit if necessary, even if you believe your case will be resolved through the insurance claim process or an out-of-court settlement. Immediately consult a lawyer if you were involved in a car accident in Vermont and are concerned about missing the deadline.
Reporting a Car Accident to the Vermont Police
In Vermont, the operator of a motor vehicle involved in a collision in which a person is injured or in which total property damage exceeds $3,000 must notify the police and file a written report using the forms provided by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. The incident report must be mailed to the commissioner within 72 hours. After the police have secured the crash site and concluded their investigation, an accident report will be generated. This document is formally known as the Vermont Uniform Crash Report, and it serves as a vital piece of evidence in any personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Receive Assistance with a Vermont Injury Claim Following a Car Accident
We understand. Automobile accidents can affect your health, well-being, and finances, causing you and your family worry, fear, and anxiety. We have decades of experience successfully advocating for our clients, even when other attorneys claim there is no case and insurance adjusters deny or undervalue the claim.
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we value exceptional client service, compassion, and results. This makes us one of the most highly regarded auto accident law firms in Vermont. After suffering a personal injury because of the negligence of another, we have helped a large number of individuals in your position move forward. Contact us now for a free consultation.