Vermont Automobile Accidents

Automobile accidents are the most frequently encountered personal injury matter in Vermont and, for all practical purposes, are claims against an insurance company.  Insurance is required by Vermont law in order to drive in Vermont.

The wrongdoer’s insurance company sometimes attempts to negotiate these cases directly with an injured person.  However, most people do not know what the value of their cases are but the insurance companies do.  They offer a fraction of the value of the case and claimants never know whether it is a good offer or a bad offer.  In essence, without a lawyer it is like playing a basketball game with only one side knowing the rules and it is not likely that you are going to win this contest without some advice.  Obviously their offers are good for the insurance company or they wouldn’t be making the offer.

The lawyers at Winburn Law Offices have handled thousands of personal injury cases over the last three decades.  Although most cases settle and are not reported in the media, see the following excerpts from local newspapers about a few of our cases over the years:



Facts: 71 year old retired factory worker riding his bicycle south on Route 7 in Pownal near old dog track to get coffee at Stewarts. McLendon, employee of Pittsfield News, had finished his night shift delivering newspapers was returning to shop in employer’s van driving south on Route 7 approaching [client] from behind. As McLendon attempts to pass [client], right side of van strikes [client] at about 50 mph. McLendon tells police [client] was “weaving” on his bike over white line into travel lane and turned into van as it passed. [Client] was thrown from his bike onto shoulder of road.
Injuries: Closed head injury, hemo-pneumo thorax, hemorrhagic shock, respiratory failure, multiple fractures to spine, ribs, scapula, radius, ulna. Reconstructive surgeries to spine (T4 – T9), ribs (1 – 12), radius and ulna. Tracheostomy 3 weeks, gastric feeding tube 6 weeks. Hospital inpatient six weeks. Rehabilitation facility six weeks.
Settlement, January 20, 2017: $2,000,000.00



BENNINGTON – A Manchester developer who was involved in a three-vehicle crash on Route 7 in June is being sued by one of the injured drivers. The complaint filed Jan. 4 by attorney Patrick Winburn on behalf of his client alleges that Benjamin Hauben, 66, whose address was listed as New York City, negligently allowed his vehicle to enter Defendant’s lane, causing a crash that led to her receiving serious and debilitating injuries.

January 13, 2011 – Bennington Banner



by Keith Whitcome, Jr

Staff Writer

“[Clients] injured in a 2009 crash in Sunderland, have settled a lawsuit for $1.2 million against the driver of the other car and his insurance company. According to documents filed in Bennington Superior Court… they are represented by the Winburn Law Offices in Bennington and accepted a settlement of $1,225,000 on June 22″

June 29, 2011 – Bennington Banner



VTLA Newsletter


Case involved an auto accident which occurred on February 18, 2003 in Glastonbury, Vermont. Defendant was traveling northbound in a Hertz rental car and Plaintiff [Client], was traveling southbound in the area known as the highest point of Rte. 7. The accident happened where the northbound lanes merge from two lanes to one.


Multiple fractures of both lower extremities, and left ankle and both knees.


August 5, 2004; $1,050,000



by Neal P. Goswami

Staff Writer

“BENNINGTON — Two recent car crashes — one of them fatal — have led to lawsuits in Bennington Superior Court.

Local attorney Patrick Winburn represents the plaintiffs in both cases, which involve head-on collisions on Route 7 in Sunderland.

‘Both of these accidents are so horrible in terms of injuries,’ Winburn said in an interview. ‘We think the insurance company ought to do the right thing, and we’re giving them a push.’”

August 22-23, 2009 – Bennington Banner



by Mike Gleason

Banner Staff Writer

“BENNINGTON — The attorney of a man who lost a leg as the result of a hit-and-run accident said Thursday that he believes the award for a lawsuit against the driver and two local bars could reach $1 million or more.”

“This was a motor vehicle accident in which Mr. Legacy was driving intoxicated and struck [Client],” Winburn said. “[Client] is still actively being treated for his injuries.”

“Mr. Legacy did not get drunk on his own,” Winburn said, adding that, by some accounts, Legacy had consumed 10 beers before he left Ryan’s Cafe to go to another bar.”

May 09, 2008 – Bennington Banner



VTLA Newsletter


Plaintiff was rear-ended while stopped and preparing to make left hand turn. The Defendant was traveling approximately 50 miles per hour before braking. Defendant claimed the Plaintiff stopped suddenly and failed to activate his turn signal but admitted liability in trial.


Plaintiff, age 47, injured his neck, arm and lower back. He was not seen by a doctor until two days after the accident. He admittedly had pre-existing problems with his lower back, but claimed to have none in his neck or arm, which were disputed by the Defendant. He had engaged in chiropractic manipulation of his neck and back. Plaintiff’s daughter, age 13, was shaken up at the scene of the accident and examined by her family doctor two days after the accident with her father. She did not testify but her father indicated in his testimony that she was still nervous while being passed by cars.

Jury Verdict – $159,000

VT Federal District Court, December 19, 2001



by Gordon Dritschilo

Herald Staff

“A Danby woman has won a $205,400 verdict against two insurance companies in a lawsuit stemming from a 2002 bus crash.”

“The insurance companies tried to claim [Client] could not have been badly injured if she was dancing and called an expert witness who claimed the injury must have resulted from dancing”, Winburn said, “but the jury was not persuaded.”

“She deserved it”, Winburn said of the award.

March 25, 2008 – Rutland Herald



VTLA Newsletter


Plaintiff, age 44 was parked at the Stratton Mountain parking lot on March 3, 2001, and was preparing to go skiing. He was at the back of his Chevrolet Suburban with the hatchback opened, leaning forward retrieving ski equipment. The UM driver was traveling through the parking lot preparing to park next to Plaintiff and lost control of his van on the snowy lot. His front bumper struck Plaintiff’s rear bumper and broke both of his legs.


Tibia and fibula fracture of the left leg with 25% impairment, and fibula fracture of right leg with no permanency.


November 12, 2002

$500,000; no offers until 2 days before scheduled arbitration, first offer was $200,000



by Peter Crabtree

Herald Staff

“Brattleboro — A former Londonderry resident who sued the Allstate Insurance Co. when it balked at paying a claim has been awarded $150,000 by a U.S. District Court jury.”

“It took the jury just 35 minutes to return a verdict in her favor on Sept. 15, according to attorney Patrick Winburn, who argued that the case is part of a corporate strategy that forces ordinary citizens like [client] to file lawsuits against Allstate.”

“‘Instead of the good hands, what she got was the back of their hands,’ Winburn said in an interview. ‘Essentially, what Allstate has done is they’ve decided that whatever they’re going to pay for is going to be very minimal and if you don’t like it you’re going to have to sue them and prove your case in court.’”

November 06, 2000 – Rutland Herald



April 30, 1998 – Burlington Free Press

“RUTLAND — A federal court jury awarded a stunning $2.4 million verdict Wednesday to a pedestrian who suffered brain damage after she was hit by a car while shopping in Manchester”

“‘You hear about the McDonald’s case,’ where jurors awarded a huge sum to a woman scalded by coffee, ‘but some people really deserve it,’ said [Client]‘s attorney, Patrick Winburn. ‘This woman has suffered incredibly.’”



Mike Gleason

Banner Staff Writer

“BENNINGTON — After deliberating for three hours, a Bennington Superior Court jury awarded nearly 100,000 to a local woman involved in a car crash.”

“Winburn said this verdict was really a victory against an insurance company, not the other driver.

‘The insurance company basically denied the claim,’ Winburn said. ‘They wanted to beat us — they claimed the accident was an act of God, not the other driver.’”

January 30, 2007 – Bennington Banner




by Peter Crabtree

Herald Staff

“NEWFANE — A woman who was injured in a car accident and then spied on when she sought damages was awarded $270,000 Tuesday by a Windham Superior Court jury.”

“‘Insurance companies more and more seem to be doing this kind of stuff,’ Winburn said. ‘The jury didn’t like it.’”

November 23, 1995 – Rutland Herald




Matt Kelly

Banner Staff Writer

“BENNINGTON — A local man has been awarded $378,000 by a Superior court jury for injuries he suffered that may have prevented a professional baseball career.”

“‘He actually had the talent,’ Winburn said of [Client]. ‘He went to baseball camps, played on all the leagues, won trophies. This was not something unreachable.’”

May 31, 1995 – Bennington Banner



Barbara Bennett

Staff Writer

“BENNINGTON — Nearly three years after being hit by a beverage truck in Bennington, a jury awarded an Arlington woman $347,000 in damages.”

“[Client’s] attorney, Patrick Winburn of Manchester, said he felt the case should have been settled long ago, blaming a combination of factors for the delay.”

“According to Winburn the state is not adequately funding the judicial branch and the defendent, Leader Beverage Corporation, a local distributor of Pepsi and other beverages, refused to take responsibility for the accident until it was forced to do so by the jury.”

February 29, 1996 – Bennington Banner



Frederick Bever

Banner Staff Writer

“BENNINGTON — A Bennington Superior court jury has awarded $228,000 to a Pownal man who said he was permanently injured in a 1989 car accident.”

“‘It was a hotly contested case,’ said Winburn, adding that the Allstate Insurance Company hired attorneys to help [Defendant]‘s defense.” ‘It was a pretty good win for the plaintiff,’ said Winburn. ‘I was happy to be a part of it.’” December 16, 1993 – Bennington Banner


The lawyers of Winburn Law Offices have won millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements. These verdicts include a $2.4 million verdict in Vermont Federal Court for a woman who was struck by an automobile while crossing a street in Manchester (see Canedy v. Liberty Mutual, 126 F.3d (2nd Cir. 1997) and an award of $1.1 million in Vermont Superior Court for a man who was struck by a truck while riding his motorcycle in Northfield, Vermont (see Brown v. Roadway Express, 169 Vt. 633 (Vt. 1999). Agreements reached by pre-trial settlement also include results in excess of one million dollars.

While most cases do not guarantee verdicts or settlements of this size, our record of success in court serves all of our clients in two ways. First, it helps compensate them for the injury and losses they suffered because of someone else’s irresponsibility. Second, it contributes to our ability to reach fair settlements for our clients. Opposing lawyers and insurance companies know our track record of success in court which helps assist them in their determination of a fair settlement value of our clients’ cases.

Mr. Winburn has also been an invited speaker at the Vermont Trial Lawyers Association, the Vermont Bar Association and Vermont Association of Justice meetings including:

  • The Use of Expert Witnesses – December 2, 2016
  • Extraordinary Cross-Examination – November 19, 2010
  • A review of Vermont Verdicts – April 3, 2009
  • Bench and Bar Panel – May 30, 2008
  • Trial Advocacy In Vermont – Winning Techniques and Insights – May 10, 2007
  • A Review Of Vermont Verdicts and Settlements in 2004 – March 25, 2005
  • Persuading The Gatekeeper – Daubert And It’s Progeny – January 15, 2005
  • How To Grab The Jury With Your Opening Statement – March 19, 2004
  • Anatomy of a Jury Trial – February 7, 2003
  • Nuts and Bolts of Trial Practice – February 9, 2001
  • Opening Statement – May 11, 2001
  • Insurance Abuses – July 13, 2001
  • Trial Practice – December 7, 2001
  • Gender and Case Outcome – September 8, 2000
  • Understanding Basics – Medical Malpractice – May 12, 2000
  • Vermont Auto Insurance Law and Accident Litigation – August 26, 1999
  • Handling Medical Malpractice Cases – April 9, 1999
  • Communication – Mock Jury – June 14, 1998
  • Closing Arguments – October 9, 1998
  • Discovery: Was Trial By Ambush Better? – September 19, 1997
  • Damages: Loss of Enjoyment – May 31, 1996
  • Compulsory Physical Examinations – 1993

Also, see our blogs of May 2, 2016, April 15, 2016, April 1, 2016, December 15, 2015, August 3, 2015, April 29, 2015, December 16, 2014, December 2, 2014, November 3, 2014, October 14, 2014, September 4, 2014, August 22, 2014, and July 3, 2014 at our Blog page.

Contact us at (802)447-0100, (802)362-5100, toll free at (800)640-5100 or at for a free consultation.  We only handle personal injury cases in Vermont and charge a fee only if we are successful.