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What is a Tort Case, and What does it Involve in Vermont?

In the State of Vermont, a civil violation that causes any injuries, harm, or loss to persons is a tort. Victims of civil wrongs can bring it before a court to ensure that it imposes liability on the party that inflicts the injury. In tort cases, the court also awards monetary damages as compensation to the claimant for the injury or loss suffered.

The Superior Court’s Civil Division of the Vermont Judiciary handles tort case hearings. All fourteen counties in the state have a Superior Court that aggrieved parties can file a tort case.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What is Vermont Tort Law?

The State of Vermont tort law provides the guidelines for claims that arise in the civil court. The concept of this body of laws determines if an individual or business is liable for wrongful acts that inflicted harm on the claimant. It also has the intent to compensate affected persons for the injuries or loss suffered.

Typically, Vermont tort law is contained in Title 12: Civil Procedure of the state statutes.

Following the statute of limitation rule, aggrieved parties who suffer injury from a tort incident can bring the case before the civil court within three years from the incident. If the three-year window elapses, aggrieved parties cannot seek compensation in court.

In personal injury cases, the civil court can reduce or remove the amount of damages if the claimant has a degree of fault in the incident. Known as the comparative fault law, the court reduces compensation if the claimant carries less than half of the blame. However, the court does not award any damages if the claimant is responsible for a large portion of the fault that resulted in the injurious incident.

Interested persons may also file tort claims against a Vermont government entity. Claims against the state will require the claimant to follow a different set of procedures, following 12 V. S. A. Section 5601.

What Kinds of Cases are Covered by Tort Law in Vermont?

Vermont tort law covers the following kind of cases:

  • Injuries arising from car accidents
  • Defamation
  • Violation of civil rights
  • Deliberate infliction of emotional distress
  • Product liability
  • Wrongful death
  • Premises liability

What are the Differences Between Criminal Law and Tort Law in Vermont?

Criminal law in Vermont describes crimes and the punishment(s) they warrant, while tort law centers on tort incidents and the claimants’ compensation. Title 13: Crimes and Criminal Procedure of the state laws covers the scope in criminal law in the state, while tort law is contained in Title 12: Civil Procedure

The criminal division of the Superior Court uses criminal law to handle offenses brought before it, but the civil division hears tort cases.

Crimes generally attract more severe punishments than torts. While the criminal court can sentence offenders to a prison term, such penalties are not applicable for civil cases in tort law.

In criminal litigation, the government takes up the case and are the prosecutors of the proceedings. Tort cases involve disputes between a claimant and a defendant.

What is the Purpose of Tort Law in Vermont?

When tort cases are brought before the court in Vermont, the foremost intent is to ensure that the party that suffered injury or loss due to the incident gets fair compensation. Tort law mainly provides a procedure that the court awards such persons a particular amount of damages and holds the defendant liable for their civil wrong.

What is a Tort Claim in Vermont?

Tort claim in Vermont refers to the official process of filing a claim in court with the intent of removing damages as compensation for injuries or losses suffered. Persons can bring a tort claim against an individual or business. If an employee of the state commits a civil wrong, affected individuals can file a tort claim against the government. However, the process of plaintiffs filing a tort claim against an individual/business and the government is different.

How Do You File a Tort Claim in Vermont?

Persons who wish to file a tort claim in Vermont against an individual or a business can do so with the civil division of the Superior Court located in their county of residence or the defendant. Claimants can use the state judiciary online court locator tool to find the court in their county area. The office of the Clerk of Court provides a Notice of Claim form and other necessary forms. Upon filling them, the claimant will file the forms with the clerk and pay the filing charges. Low-income earners can file an Application to Waive Filing Fees and Service Costs if they cannot afford the filing fees. Upon filing, the court sends the claimant a signed copy of the court papers that should be mailed to the defendant. If they wish, the defendants can file an Answer within a month. The court will set a hearing date and send a notice to both parties.

To file a tort claim against the government, claimants are to complete the Auto Liability Claim Form (for claims on vehicle injuries) or the General Liability Claim Form (for other non-auto claims) and file it with the Office of Risk Management (ORM). Claimants can also submit the forms to the mail or via a phone call to the agency at (802) 828–2899.

What Does a Tort Claim Contain in Vermont?

A tort claim in Vermont contains the following details:

  • The personal information of the claimant
  • State employee’s information, if any is involved
  • Details of the tort incident
  • Contact information of available witnesses
  • Amount of claim sought to recover

What Happens after a Tort Claim is Filed in Vermont?

Upon filing a tort claim at the Superior Court in Vermont, a court hearing occurs and the parties can either work out a settlement or the case goes to trial. The court will award damages to the claimant if they win the case.

Individuals who file a tort claim against the government will be contacted by a liability adjuster who may require some information and investigate the incident. The ORM will send a letter to express claims they deny. The claimants have the opportunity to appeal the decision. The maximum liability of the government for an individual is $500,000, while the maximum of a claim involving multiple plaintiffs is $2,000,000.

Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Tort Claim?

Individuals who file a tort claim can hire a personal injury lawyer to represent them in the case proceedings. However, the state laws also allow self-representation in a tort claim. Personal injury lawyers have expertise in tort claims and can assist their clients to correctly file a claim and gather the necessary evidence for the court hearings.

How Can I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me?

The Vermont Judiciary Finding Legal Help page provides resources that interested persons can connect with personal injury lawyers located in their area. Low-income earners and senior citizens can refer to the Vermont legal help and legal services site. The Vermont Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service also provides an option that litigants can find personal injury lawyers practicing in their county or city.

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