Delaware Accident And Lawsuit Attorney Legal Overview
A budding high school football star lost his life and five others were injured in a Delaware car accident on April 12, 2012, after the 2000 Dodge Durango driven at a high speed by the player’s friend hit the median and rammed into another vehicle. Three days before this incident, a crash caused by reckless driving damaged three cars in Dover and injured 10 people. A week later, a severe collision of two cars resulted in injuries to five and closed a section of Newport Gap Pike for the traffic for hours together. In February, two separate incidents of reckless driving claimed lives of two women in Wilmington and Harbeson. Last June, a 79-year-old died and two others were seriously injured in a three vehicle crash caused by improper lane change near Millville. In July 2011, a driver ran a red light at a Seaford intersection, causing collision of four cars and resulting in seven injuries.
Delaware Auto Accidents: Statistics and Causes
According to the 2010 Annual Traffic Statistical Report published by Delaware State Police, there were 20,697 auto accidents, including 94 fatal crashes in the state in 2010 resulting in 103 deaths, 8,000 injuries, and economic loss worth $443 million. The average mileage death rate in Delaware was 1.12 in 2010, with one crash reported every 25 minutes. Middle-aged drivers, between 25 and 50 years, were responsible for the highest number of crashes and causalities followed by youthful drivers below the age of 25.
Alcohol consumption or DUI accounted for 39 percent of crashes and 41 percent of fatalities while speeding contributed to 25 percent of Delaware car accidents. Out of the total 103 people killed in auto accidents in 2010, 16 percent were under 21 years. One in every 25 licensed drivers in the state found to be involved in a traffic crash.
New Castle County led the number with 13,841 reported crashes and 48 deaths. Sussex witnessed 3,841 accidents and 31 deaths while there were 3,015 crashes and 24 deaths in Kent County. Rural areas accounted for more accident fatalities compared to cities and towns.
Common Delaware Accident Injuries and Damages
Delaware traffic accidents cause one injury in every 66 minute and one death in every 85 hours. While wrongful death is the most serious consequence, drivers and passengers also suffer from a range of serious and nonserious injuries. You can file a lawsuit in consultation with your Delaware accident lawyer to claim compensation for the following injuries.
- Injuries to brain and head, such as concussion, internal bleeding, external injuries, traumatic brain injury, etc.
- Injuries to neck, including cervical strain, disk pain and dislocation, whiplash injury, and spinal cord damage.
- Injuries to back, strain, disk injury and dislocation, fracture, strain, and spine injuries.
- Permanent and nonpermanent injuries to the face, bruises, scratches, broken teeth, jaw dislocation, or any type of injury requiring cosmetic surgery.
- Burn injuries
- Emotional distress and psychological disorder, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Statutory Regulations for Delaware Accident Lawsuit
- Delaware Code Title 10, Chapter 81, sets a two-year limitation on anybody filing any Delaware accident lawsuit seeking compensation for personal injury or property damages.
- However, the limitation does not apply to insurance claims. Every insurance policy explicitly mentions the time frame for filing accident claims against it.
- Another exception to two-year limitation rule is when a minor is party to an accident. A minor has a two-year time or until he turns six, whichever comes earlier, to file a Delaware auto accident lawsuit.
- Delaware accident claims against the government are subject to a separate statute of limitation, ranging from one to six months and depending on the nature of the accident. There are different time limits for accident claims against municipal buses, federal workers, and private cars driven by state employees. Failing to file claim within the stipulated time makes one noneligible to sue the government. Check with your Delaware accident lawyer about limitations governing your claims against public authorities.
Delaware Accident Lawyer Process of Filing Civil Lawsuits for Damages
- Contact an experienced Delaware accident lawyer and provide him with all details about the accident.
- Your Delaware accident lawyer investigates the case and prepares detailed compensation claims.
- The attorney files claim with the insurance company and the other party seeking damages on various grounds.
- Filing of Case
- If both parties fail to agree on compensation or the defendant contests the claims, the plaintiff’s attorney can file an accident compensation lawsuit.
- Once the case is filed, the defendant is served a notice regarding his liability.
- The law allows both parties to negotiate directly or through mediators to settle the case before the court begins the hearing.
- Litigation and Trial
- During the discovery phase, Delaware accident lawyers representing both parties exchange their findings.
- The plaintiff’s lawyer can ask for judicial intervention, trial, examination, and disposition by the defendant.
- Either party can seek a summary judgment based on their findings. The judge is the final authority to make a decision.
- Defense lawyer cross examines the plaintiff or seeks medical examination.
- Both Delaware accident lawyers argue for their clients and the court makes the final decision based on facts.
- Settlement through negotiations can be reached at any point of time. However, if the case has already entered the litigation phase, any settlement reached must be approved by the court.
Delaware Accident Insurance
- Delaware follows an “at-fault” auto insurance policy. The driver responsible for an accident is liable to pay for damages and personal injuries.
- Victims of auto accidents in Delaware can ask their own insurance to cover expenses or seek compensation directly from the insurance provider of the at-fault driver. They can file auto accident lawsuits against the at-fault driver seeking damages.
- All licensed drivers in Delaware must buy personal injury protection insurance of varying amounts. The state law fixes the minimum liability insurance coverage of
- $15,000 per person for death or injury,
- $10,000 per accident that caused damages to property,
- $30,000 per accident that resulted in death or injury to one or more people.
- Drivers without insurance may be fined up to $3,000.
- Delaware auto insurance covers both property damaged and people injured in auto accidents.
- There is a separate provision for coverage of damage to your vehicle. Drivers have to buy “collision insurance” for this.
Delaware Seat Belt Law
- Drivers and all passengers in the car, either on the front or back seats, must wear seatbelts properly.
- Seat belt is mandatory for people of all age groups.
- Drivers must wear lap and shoulder belts properly.
- Drivers are responsible for violation of seatbelts by passengers in the car.
- Children under 15 years of age must be belted properly.
Delaware Accident Lawyer Compensation Claims
Delaware accident lawsuit compensation is awarded based on "modified comparative fault." If the court finds that the plaintiff is responsible partly for the accident for which he has sought compensation, it orders for deduction of your liability, which is determined on the basis of percentage of fault, from the compensation. However, if the comparative fault of the plaintiff is 50 percent, he is not entitled to any award. There are instances where plaintiffs have secured more than $1 million compensation with the support of able Delaware accident lawyers.