The operator of a motorized vehicle involved in an accident in Vermont resulting in a death, personal injury, or more than very slight property damage must file a report of the accident with the state.
For motor vehicles, the reporting threshold is $3,000 or more. As to snowmobiles it is $500. As to boats and all-terrain vehicles, it is $100. As to an aircraft, any accident or “incident “on a state-owned airport requires a report to the state and any other accident or incident, requires a report to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Most accidents require a report within 72 hours, boat accidents within 36 hours, and aircraft accidents must be reported “immediately.”
Most accidents involve cars and the required accident report form is on the web. Most of the required information is simple factual information such as the date and time, the make and model of the vehicle, etc. But there is one question on the motor vehicle form that demands careful attention. On page two the form asks: “Describe in your own words what happened (attach sheet if necessary).
Tread carefully. Remember the Miranda Warnings from your favorite cop show: “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” That is just a true in a civil personal injury case as in any criminal prosecution.
So when you describe what happened, be careful. Protect your credibility:
Don’t present statements a true that you are not reasonably certain about.
Don’t estimate speed, distance or time, unless you are sure. (Most people are notoriously bad at making these estimates.)
On subjective matters give yourself the benefit of the doubt.
What you report is important. Even if you are not going to use a lawyer to pursue your claim, or are undecided, you might be very wise to buy an hour of a lawyer’s’ time to help you write your report. We would help you do it without charge.
For more information on Filing An Accident Report, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (802) 335-2794 today.
Rich Cassidy Law
1233 Shelburne Road
South Burlington, VT 05403