This page delves into settlement amounts and jury payouts in personal injury cases in Vermont. Our attorneys also provide an analysis of Vermont personal injury law that you need to know if you are bringing a lawsuit.
If you are a victim of personal injury filing a compensation claim in Vermont, you are certainly interested in understanding the potential range of settlement payouts for your claim. Why? Because the ultimate goal of a personal injury or wrongful death claim is financial compensation. This page is designed to analyze how personal injury cases have been resolved in Vermont, giving you the ability to align your claim with Vermont personal injury settlement statistics and example settlements and jury payouts.
But tread carefully. Comparing two similar cases and expecting the same outcome make sense in theory. But the cases rarely line up as they seem to. Each case is unique and often the driving factors behind a settlement payout cannot be encapsulated in a case summary. But analyzing similar cases and statistics does offer you more insight into the potential value of your injury claim. That is why we’ve collated and presented this information to you. So you can learn from example settlements as long as you take them with a bucket of salt.
Vermont Injury Verdicts and Settlements
- 2022 Vermont: $5,250,000 Verdict. A woman had claimed that her doctor used his own sperm to impregnate her during an artificial insemination procedure over 40 years ago, The jury awarded the woman $250,000 in compensatory damages for her injuries and $5 million in punitive damages for the doctor’s misconduct.
- 2018, Vermont: $400,000 Verdict. A woman suffered severe abdominal pain. She was diagnosed with diverticulitis. The woman underwent abdominal surgery. She aspirated while anesthetized. The woman’s condition worsened. She was brought to another facility. The woman underwent additional procedures. She also underwent treatments for a severe infection. The woman underwent a temporary colostomy. She was left with permanent bowel issues. The woman alleged negligence against the hospital. She claimed the general surgeon failed to receive her informed consent and offer abscess drainage. The jury awarded $400,000.
- 2018, Vermont: $6,590 Verdict. A man was rear-ended. He sprained his spine and suffered muscle spasms. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed he texted while driving and failed to maintain an appropriate lookout. The Chittenden County jury awarded $6,590.
- 2017, Vermont: $286,185 Verdict. A 51-year-old man was rear-ended. He suffered C4-C6 injuries and the aggravation of his pre-existing degenerative cervical condition. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed he failed to safely operate his vehicle. The Chittenden County jury awarded the man $286,185.
- 2015, Vermont: $267,240 Verdict. A woman was struck by a bus in Burlington. She suffered C2 nerve damage. The woman developed permanent head and neck pain and paresthesia. She alleged negligence against the bus driver. The woman claimed he made a negligent wide left turn and failed to follow safety statutes. A Chittenden County jury awarded her $267,240.
- 2014, Vermont: $61,329 Verdict. An 87-year-old woman was rear-ended. She suffered a soft-tissue neck injury. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed she failed to maintain an appropriate lookout. A Chittenden County jury awarded $61,329.
- 2014, Vermont: $5,626 Verdict. A woman was rear-ended. She suffered whiplash. The woman developed recurring headaches and spinal pain. She alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The woman claimed he failed to maintain an appropriate lookout and failed to timely slow down. A Rutland County jury awarded $5,626.
- 2014, Vermont: $40,000 Verdict. A 49-year-old man was rear-ended. He suffered the exacerbation of his pre-existing neck radiculopathy. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed she failed to safely operate her vehicle and maintain an appropriate lookout. A Chittenden County jury awarded $40,000.
Vermont Personal Injury Law
These are the key Vermont personal injury laws you need to know.
Caps on Damages in Vermont
Vermont has no cap on damages. This has a huge impact on average personal injury settlement amount in Vermont for obvious reasons.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Vermont
Vermont follows a statute of limitations for personal injury claims, which sets a time limit for when a legal action must be initiated. In Vermont, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years. This means that the victim must file their lawsuit within three years from the date of the injury or from the date when they knew or should have known about their injuries.
However, in some cases, the injury may not be immediately apparent or may develop over time. In such cases, Vermont follows the “discovery rule” which allows the statute of limitations to be shifted. The discovery rule means that the statute of limitations clock begins running on the date that the injured victim knew or should have known about their injuries, rather than the date of the accident itself.
The application of the discovery rule in Vermont has been recognized in several cases, including the case of Gonyaw v. St. Johnsbury Health Care Center, Inc., 2008 VT 5, 183 Vt. 442 (2008). In this case, the Vermont Supreme Court held that the discovery rule applies to medical malpractice cases and the statute of limitations clock begins running when the injured party knows or should have known of the injury and its causal connection to the defendant’s actions.
No Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations in Vermont
In 2019, Vermont passed a law to eliminate the statute of limitations for sex abuse victims. This law also permits survivors to bring sex abuse and clergy abuse lawsuits against institutions, organizations, or companies that permitted or perpetuated the abuse.
In 1970, Vermont adopted comparative negligence “as a replacement for the common law doctrine of contributory negligence, which denied the plaintiff all recover if the jury found that the plaintiff was negligent to any extent and the negligence was a proximate cause of the damage.” What this means is that if you get hurt or your property gets damaged because of someone else’s negligence, you can still recover damages (money) even if you were also partially at fault. But the amount of money you receive will be reduced based on how much of the accident was your fault.
For example, if you were 30% at fault and the other person was 70% at fault, you would receive 70% of the total damages awarded. If there are multiple people responsible for the accident, each person will be responsible for paying a portion of the damages based on their level of fault.
Vermont Medical Malpractice Law
What Malpractice Victims Must Prove
In order to bring a successful medical malpractice claim in Vermont, the plaintiff must prove that the healthcare provider owed a duty of care to the patient, that the provider breached this duty of care, and that the breach caused harm to the patient. In order to prove breach of duty, the plaintiff must show that the healthcare provider did not act in accordance with the accepted standards of care in the medical community.
If the plaintiff is successful in their medical malpractice claim, they may be entitled to recover damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. In Vermont, there is no cap on the amount of damages that may be awarded in a medical malpractice case.
Certificate of Merit Required for Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Vermont malpractice law requires patients suing a doctor or other healthcare provider to show that another healthcare provider in the same of similar specialty will testify that the doctor did something wrong that caused harm to the patient. So Vermont medical malpractice lawyers prepare a document called a “certificate of merit” that they talked to the other healthcare provider and that the provider thinks the doctor did something wrong and that it caused the harm. Without a certificate of merit, your case would likely get thrown out unless you have a rare case where the judge thinks that an expert isn’t needed to prove the case.
Unlike many other states, Vermont does not make an effort to limit professional expert testimony. Any expert witness otherwise qualified under the requirements of Rule 702 of the Vermont Rules of Evidence can testify as an expert.