James A. Dumont

Counselor at Law

James Dumont

 

Practice

Personal Injury

Jim has handled countless personal injury cases. Typical of these cases are those in which a driver has, through inattention or excessive speed, collided with another vehicle, causing substantial personal injury. Jim also has represented the estate of a pedestrian in a crosswalk who was struck and killed by a car, a teenager riding a bicycle who was struck and severely injured by an inattentive motorist, a young mother who was struck head-on by a repeat drunk driver, a college student who was badly injured when he fell through a rotten board on second-story deck, a man who was substantially injured when he fell down some ice-covered steps that a landlord had failed to keep clear of ice despite earlier complaints by tenants, and many other vehicle and non-vehicle accident cases.

In personal injury cases, Jim routinely works with the client’s physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists and other treatment providers to understand fully the client’s medical situation. Jim then presents the client’s losses to the insurance company to attempt to reach a fair settlement. Jim also works with the health insurance provider (if any), Medicaid and Medicare to ensure that their claims for reimbursement are addressed and resolved fairly.

In some cases, the question of fault is seriously contested. Jim reviews the accident reports prepared by investigating law enforcement officers, and interviews witnesses, including law enforcement officers and bystanders when appropriate. In some cases, a private investigator, an accident reconstruction expert, a building construction consultant or other experts may be hired to help prove the case.

Many personal injury cases are settled before suit is filed. If a fair settlement cannot be reached before filing suit, then suit is filed. If the case cannot be settled even after pretrial discovery has occurred, Jim prepares the case for actual trial and tries it before a jury.

Each step along the way, Jim’s goal is to work cooperatively with each client, recognizing both the wrong done to the client and the need to firmly and fairly advocate for the client throughout the legal process.

Worker's Compensation

Vermont’s Workers Compensation statute and rules are intended to provide complete medical coverage and fair compensation to injured workers. Sometimes the process works well, and claimants don’t need a lawyer. But the process can become intimidating and confusing and sometimes it seems tilted unfairly in favor of the insurance company and its team of adjusters, lawyers and hired medical evaluators. Often injured workers contact Jim because they can’t get medical care for their injury, or because the compensation being offered is unfair, or because they feel overwhelmed by their injury and the compexities of the workers compensation process.

Jim and his assistant will obtain the injured worker’s complete medical records and employment history, and work with the client to ensure that all of the client’s statutory rights are protected. In addition to medical care, these may include Temporary Total Disability, Permanent Partial Disability or Permanent Total Disability and vocational rehabilitation.

Jim tries to meet with the client’s treating physicians to fully understand the client’s injury and be sure that the client receives all of the benefits authorized by law.

In most cases, after detailed investigation by both sides, a resolution can be reached without a workers compensation trial. Where a fair resolution cannot be reached, Jim will represent the worker through the hearing stage.

Environmental Law

Over the past two and half decades, Jim has represented public interest organizations and individuals in a broad range of environmental and energy law disputes and a wide variety of venues. He has represented individual homeowners with zoning disputes, and he has represented the sovereign nation of the Grand Council of the Crees in their battles with Hydro-Quebec. He has represented the Sierra Club in clean water and clean air and trail protection cases, and he has represented towns fighting for appropriate siting of electric facilities. He has appeared in state courts, federal courts, and public service board hearing rooms, and before legislative bodies in numerous states. He has been consulted by state and federal elected and appointed officials. For six years, he taught Environmental and Land Use Litigation at Vermont Law School.

Employment Law

Few aspects of our lives are as important as our jobs. Not just our income but our sense of self-worth is dependent upon what we do at work. When an employee is discharged or discriminated against on the basis of the employee’s race, gender, age, or sexual orientation, or is the victim of sexual harassment, the hurt and the loss can be substantial. In this day and age, it shouldn’t happen, but it still does.

Vermont law also protects workers against wrongful discharge in some workplaces where the employer has promised progressive discipline, or no discharge without just cause.

Jim has been representing victims of employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful discharge for many years. He has provided education in these areas to other lawyers, and until recently was the President of the Vermont Employment Lawyers Association.

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