Personal Injury Lawyers

Bill Leckerling -- Attorney -- Burlington, Vermont

Bill Leckerling

What is a personal injury claim?
If you have been injured due to another person’s negligence or because of a defective product or by a drunk driver who was improperly served, you have the right to pursue a claim for any damages to your property and/or for injuries that you suffered and other damages that were proximately caused by the responsible party or parties. Your spouse and children may also be able to pursue a claim for the loss of your consortium resulting from your injuries. Personal injuries due to a professional’s negligence are discussed in the Professional Negligence link to our homepage.

What is negligence?
Negligence is the failure to live up to the duty of care imposed by law. For example, a driver has a duty to stop for a stop sign. A bartender has a duty not to serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person.

What is proximate cause? What damages can you recover?
Damages must be proximately caused by a person’s or entity’s negligence.  This means that the damages must be causally related to the negligent act. For example, if your neck is hurt when a car smashes into the back of your car, you would be entitled to all damages related to your neck injury. These damages include the cost of the medical care necessary for treatment of your neck, an amount for any pain and suffering you experience, and compensation if you have a permanent injury. In addition, you would be entitled to recover for any lost earnings and out-of-pocket expenses you incurred related to your injury. However, at some point, the law will prohibit claims for damages that are too remote or unrelated to the accident. For example, if the accident caused you to miss a job interview, it is unlikely that a court will allow you to recover any damages you suffered because you did not get that job.

Who pays?
Personal injury claims are brought against either individuals or legal entities such as corporations or partnerships. Claims can also be brought against State or Federal governments, although there are some special restrictions which may need to be overcome for claims against the government. Most claims are covered by insurance policies purchased by individuals or entities to protect them from claims. In Vermont, in order to operate a motor vehicle, insurance coverage is required by law. Currently, the minimum amount a driver must be insured for is at least $25,000.00 for one person and $50,000.00 for two or more persons killed or injured and $10,000.00 for damages to property in any one accident. 23 V.S.A. § 800(a). Vermont law also requires drivers to carry insurance for uninsured claims and underinsured claims. These insurance policies provide coverage for people who are injured by a driver with no insurance or not enough insurance. We recommend to our clients that they maintain uninsured and underinsured limits well in excess of the statutory minimum, $50,000.00 for one person and $100,000.00 for two or more persons killed or injured (23 V.S.A. § 941(c)), to protect them in the event they are injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Most homeowners also maintain insurance, although it is not required by law. If there is no insurance, the recovery must come from the person’s or entity’s assets.

How does one pursue a claim?
No person or entity has to voluntarily pay a claim brought against them, so, if you are injured, you must protect your right to bring a claim in court by preparing to as if you will have to go court. As a result, it is important that you consult with a lawyer to protect your rights. Time is of the essence because there are laws which limit the time period within which you may bring a claim. It is also important that you act promptly to make sure any evidence concerning a claim is preserved and investigated. Particularly because insurance companies are in the business of defending claims and paying as little as possible, it makes sense to consult with an attorney before you speak with an insurance adjuster to make sure your rights are protected.

How long has Lisman Leckerling been handling personal injury claims?
For over sixty years, the firm has been representing clients who have suffered personal injuries and has refused to work for insurance companies on personal injury claims. The firm’s founders, Bernard Lisman and Louis Lisman, started that tradition; it has been continued by Bill Leckerling.

Lisman Leckerling P.C. has recovered millions in settlements and verdicts for its clients. Our initial consultation about a personal injury claim is free, so you can invesitgate your rights before dealing with an insurance adjuster.

Lisman Leckerling P.C. has successfully resolved (either through trial or settlement) complex claims and recovered millions of dollars for clients including those involving:

  • A brain injury which occurred when the surgeon entered into patients brain while removing sinus polyps;
  • Cerebral Palsy and other brain injuries caused by an anesthesiologist who administered an adult dose of anesthetic to a six-month-old infant;
  • The death of a nineteen-year-old caused by the hospital’s emergency room’s failure to properly treat an aspirin overdose;
  • The death of a seventy-year-old woman due to the hospital’s administering  an overdose of a sedative;
  • The loss of a patient’s leg as a result of the surgeon cutting a patient’s artery during bladder surgery;
  • Cerebral Palsy and other brain injuries caused by a hospital’s failure to properly treat an infant’s jaundice;
  • The death of a patient following gastric bypass surgery;
  • The negligent training and supervision of a snowmobile tour group which resulted in a passenger suffering a permanent brain injury;
  • The death of a construction worker caused by the landowner’s failure to comply with construction standards;
  • The wrongful discharge of nurse who blew the whistle on another nurse who was abusing an elderly patient.

If you have any questions, please contact Bill at 802-864-5756.

The materials provided on this website are designed for general informational purposes only, and should not be relied or acted upon without first consulting a lawyer. The information provided on this website is not necessarily updated on a regular basis, and may not reflect recent changes in the law.

Viewing these materials does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Lisman Leckerling, P.C. did not produce and is not responsible for the contents of off-site legal resources.  The materials on this site may be considered advertising under various state ethics rules.