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Vermont Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury & accidents in Vermont is three (3) years (Ref: Vt. Stat. tit. 12 § 512). 

What this means is that you (or your attorney) must file a lawsuit against a defendant within three years of the date of your accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within three years, generally you forfeit any potential claim against the defendant as a matter of law - meaning there will be no opportunity for a settlement, arbitration, or trial. 

Disclaimer: Although the information presented on this page is generally true there are some exceptions to this information, and the Vermont Statute of Limitations (and the exceptions) may change over time. If you or a family member was involved in an accident and considering seeking compensation for your injuries it is crucial that you speak to a Vermont personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and potential recovery.

Variations on Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in Vermont

There are some variations & exceptions to the 3 years statute of limitations on personal injury cases in Vermont. Because of this, it is critical you discuss your matter with a lawyer who is highly experienced in personal injury law. 

  • Vermont Laws on Shared Fault: In some personal injury cases, the person you are trying to hold responsible for your injuries may turn around and argue that you are partly to blame for the underlying accident that caused your injury. If you do share some of the faults, Vermont's comparative fault rule may reduce or eliminate the amount of damages you can collect from others who may be responsible. 
  • Owner Liability For Injury by a Dog or Other Animal: There is no specific statute in Vermont governing personal injury liability for dog bites. Owners will be held liable for injuries caused by their dog (or other animals) if the injured party can show that the owner “should have known” the animal was dangerous. This is known as the “one bite” rule
  • Injury Claims Against the Government in Vermont: If your injury was the result of the negligence of a Vermont government agency or an employee of the government, you'll need to follow a different set of rules when it comes to getting compensation for your injuries.
    For injuries involving a state-level government agency or employee, you have three years to file a claim (which is different from a lawsuit). The claim needs to be filed on the  
    Vermont General Liability Report of Accident form and then submitted to the state's  Office of Risk Management.

What if You Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?

If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit and the Vermont statute of limitations passes (barring any exceptions), the opposing party will almost surely move for case dismissal and it will likely be granted. This also means that nearly any hope of a settlement will also be forfeited because there is no leverage to potentially pursue a trial (since it would immediately be dismissed). 

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