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Vermont Negligence Laws

Maybe it was a fender bender in traffic on your way to Smugglers Notch State Park. Or maybe you slipped on that section of the sidewalk your neighbor never shovels. Either way, if you’re injured and you think it was someone else’s fault, you may be asking yourself if you have a negligence claim.

So how does such a claim work, and what are the state laws regarding how much you can get for your injuries? Here is a brief summary of negligence laws in Vermont.

General Negligence Law

Negligence describes a situation when someone owes a duty to another person and fails in that duty, therefore become liable for any resulting injuries. For instance, a restaurant owner who mops the slippery floor and doesn't put up a "Wet Floor" sign could be considered negligent.

Elements of a Negligence Case

There are several elements of a negligence case you must prove in court in order for your negligence claim to be successful:

  • Duty: the other party owed you a duty of care;
  • Breach of Duty: the other party failed to meet that duty;
  • Cause in Fact: but for the other party’s failure, you would not have been injured;
  • Proximate Cause: the other party’s failure (and not something else) caused your injury; and
  • Damages: you have actually been injured and suffered some loss.

Vermont Negligence Laws

Vermont negligence laws follow the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. The rule states if you're hurt in an accident and the accident was partially your fault, you still have a right to compensation for your injuries. But if you were 51 percent or more responsible for the accident, your claim can be denied. If you were 50 percent or less responsible, your claim is valid..

The following chart highlights some of the main provisions of Vermont's negligence laws. See Negligence: Background for a general overview.

Code Section Tit. 12 §1036
Comparative Negligence

If an accident was partially your fault, you still have a right to compensation for your injuries. But if you were 51 percent or more responsible for the accident, your claim can be denied. If you were 50 percent or less responsible, your claim is valid.

Contributory Negligence-Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery Contributory negligence not a bar if negligence was not greater that causal total negligence but damages diminished in proportion to the amount of attributable negligence.
Contribution Among Tortfeasors No
Uniform Act No

Note: State negligence laws are always subject to change, usually through legislation, ballot initiative, or court ruling -- contact a Vermont personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Vermont Negligence Laws : Related Resources

Free Case Review from a Vermont Injury Attorney

In many cases, it's not clear who is at fault until after a lawsuit is filed and additional information is discovered. If you or a family member have had injuries resulting from an accident, it's important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to determine your rights under Vermont law and whether you can recover any compensation for your injuries. Contact a Vermont personal injury attorney today for a free review of your case and to see what legal options are available.

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