Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Personal Injury Questions

What is a contingency fee?

A contingency fee means an attorney only collects if there is some type of recovery for the client, typically a settlement or jury award. If nothing is recovered for the client, no fees are paid to the attorney. The attorney is compensated for the legal work by taking a certain agreed percentage from the recovery, regardless of the time or effort involved.

Contingency arrangements in civil cases have long been commonly accepted in the United States, and in fact may be the only practical means by which an individual with a claim could afford to obtain the services of a competent attorney. Over the last four decades, our firm has only had two clients who could afford to pay us by the hour.

Please call for a free consultation about contingency fees.

What is my case worth?

Determination of the value of the case is based upon several factors — the question of liability, who is responsible for the injury, and the question of damages. Liability depends on the specific facts of accident or crash. As a general rule, the more clearly liability can be established, the stronger the claim. State statutes, regulatory rules and applicable law may all contribute to the determination of liability. In cases where there is no dispute as to fault, liability is admitted by the defense and the only question is the amount of the damages to be paid.

Damages are the losses suffered by an individual. Compensation is appropriate for both economic damages, such as medical expenses and loss of wages, and noneconomic losses such as permanent impairment, pain or loss of quality of life.

What is the statute of limitations in Vermont injury cases?

Every state has statutes, or state laws, governing the time allowed for filing specific types of lawsuits. These time limits are called statutes of limitations. If you miss the statutory deadline for filing your case, you lose the right to do so.

In Vermont, there is a three-year statute of limitations, for general negligence claims. This is a strict statute. You must either have settled your claim or filed suit within three years of the date of the crash. There are different statutory limitations for other types of legal cases.

If the injured party is a minor, the period does not necessarily begin on the date of the injury.
Claims against the state or federal against these institutions may have other time-sensitive procedural requirements with far shorter periods in which to act.

Anything having to do with skiing or snowboarding claims have only a one-year statute of limitation.

As with most legal analysis, you are best protected by discussing your matter with an attorney to ensure you do not lose your right to file a lawsuit.

Why do I need a Vermont attorney?

If you are injured in Vermont, but reside in another state, why should you consider a Vermont attorney? Because you will be required to file a lawsuit in Vermont. Additionally, an experienced Vermont attorney will know the applicable state law and will know the practical considerations to be addressed when filing a claim in Vermont.

Every state has statutes of limitations and procedural requirements that place deadlines as to when you can file a personal injury claim. Statutes of limitations differ from state to state.

Every state recognizes tort claims differently. What claim to file and how to best deal with the claim is part of the expertise you gain when you hire a lawyer from Vermont.

A Vermont lawyer will also know the local legal community such as the judges and the defense counsel that might be involved in your case. This knowledge, and the benefit of an established reputation in the Vermont legal community, will enhance any personal injury claim filed on your behalf.

How do insurance companies get involved?

Questions as to insurance coverage can be some of the most complex issues you will encounter when considering your claim. If you are involved in an auto accident, the special provisions of Vermont law and required motor vehicle insurance will govern the claim. If you have a negligence claim arising from another’s careless conduct, the other party may have insurance which will provide coverage for your claim. You must bring suit against the negligent person, typically their insurance company will hire the defense attorney and handle the litigation.

There are many instances when you might file a claim against your own insurance company and your rates will not be affected. This would be true of claims under your medical payments coverage, as well as an uninsured motorist claim. There can be a lot of confusion among medical care providers as to how bills for your services should be to submitted and to which insurance company. We can provide clarity both for you as well as your medical care providers.

If your medical insurance has paid your medical expenses for treatment of your injuries suffered because of an accident, the medical insurance company may have a right to collect money from the compensation you receive from your claim. Before you talk to a lawyer, you may receive notice from your medical insurance provider of their subrogation rights against any proceeds you collect as a result of your personal injury claim.

The insurance adjuster for the other side may have asked you to provide a statement of your recollection of the accident. This is almost always recorded. It is not so much a statement by you as an interrogation by the adjuster. We strongly encourage that people talk to an attorney before agreeing to make any type of statement other than to officers of the law.