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Delaware Car Accident Settlements

Delaware Car Accident Settlement Guide

When you get into a car accident, you may feel plenty of stress and anxiety. But when you understand the laws and regulations affecting car accidents, claims and lawsuits in Delaware, you’ll have a better grasp of how to move forward with your case. Car accidents can be a deeply traumatic experience, leaving victims mentally stressed and overwhelmed by the process of settling their auto accident case. Understanding your state’s laws regarding car accident claims and settlement is essential to ensure you receive fair compensation for any injuries or damages resulting from an auto accident.

Car Accident Settlement

This article discusses car accident settlements in the state of Delaware, and details the most critical auto accident laws and regulations that you can use to ensure a fair car accident settlement.

What is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident Settlement in Delaware?

The average settlement for car accident settlements in Delaware is difficult to estimate because of Delaware’s comparative fault negligence system; this means that if you are involved in an accident and decide to file a claim, you are entitled to compensation for damages as long as you are not more than 50% at fault for the accident. For example, suppose you are involved in an accident with another driver, and you were awarded $100 000 in settlement; during the trial, it is found that you were 20% at fault for the accident while the other driver is 80% at fault. As a result, you will receive only 80% of the total ($80,000). On the other hand, if it is found that you were 55% at fault for the accident, you are not entitled to any settlement because you are more than 50% at fault for the accident.

In addition, one must also consider the amount of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance each party carries. Delaware law mandates that all drivers have a minimum of $15,000 in PIP coverage.

Generally, a reasonable car accident settlement should cover car repairs, medical bills, lost wages, future complications, and other economic damages.

Delaware Car Accident Settlement Examples 

In 2019, a 30-year-old woman was involved in a crash in Wilmington. Following the car accident, she suffered minor back injuries and underwent physical therapy. She filed a claim and was awarded $15,000 by a jury.

In the same year, another man was sideswiped in an auto accident. He had grade 3 whiplash from the force of the crash as well as multiple shoulder injuries. He filed a claim and was awarded $13,000 in settlement.

Another person was involved in an auto accident and fractured his right leg. He underwent surgery and developed deep vein thrombosis and other post-surgical complications. He filed a claim against the two at-fault drivers and was awarded $250,000 in settlement.

A 70-year-old man was involved in an crash; he sustained multiple injuries and died shortly after the car accident. His wife alleged negligence against the at-fault driver and was awarded $100,000 in settlement.

The above examples prove that the insurance payout amount differs for each situation and depends on several factors.

It is good practice to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney if you have been involved in an accident and want to file a claim for car accident settlement.

How Long Does it Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim in Delaware?

The average car accident settlement in Delaware typically takes a few months. Still, it can vary greatly depending on the severity of the case. Generally, personal injury protection coverage is applicable for medical bills and lost wages resulting from an accident, which helps to streamline the claims process. It is essential to be aware of all deadlines and requirements when filing car accident claims that involve personal injury in Delaware. A personal injury lawyer can help advise you on the specifics of your claim and ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly and within applicable deadlines. In most cases, it can take several weeks or even months before a car accident claim reaches its final resolution in Delaware.

How Can I Maximize My Car Accident Settlement in Delaware?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Delaware, there are steps you should take to maximize your settlement. First, always call the police and seek medical attention right away. Also, keep detailed records of all expenses related to the accident, including any medical bills or lost wages due to time off work, and collect contact information of witnesses on the scene. Next, consult an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help guide you through insurance payouts and potential lawsuits to ensure the compensation you receive is fair.

Car Accident Settlement

How Do You Prove Fault in a Delaware Car Accident Settlement?

Proving fault in a car accident in Delaware requires evidence of bodily injury, proof of vehicular damage, expert reports, witness reports, CCTV footage, and other factors that indicate who was at fault for the auto accident. For example, if it’s clear that the driver ran a red light or was speeding, this would be an indication of their fault. Additionally, witness statements can help prove fault if they were present during the accident. Ultimately, proving fault often involves filing a personal injury lawsuit in Delaware to negotiate with an insurance company or require compensation through court proceedings. Understanding how to best prove fault can be difficult without an experienced personal injury attorney aiding you.

Is Delaware a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?

In Delaware, car accident cases are handled differently than in some other states. Delaware is a “no-fault” state regarding car accidents, which means that your ability to sue other drivers for economic damage is limited. Instead, you must seek compensation from your insurance company, no matter who was at fault in the accident.

Your insurance company may pay for your car damages, depending on policy limits; this limit is usually around $15,000. However, you may seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company for non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium(the inability to have normal family relationships).

Can I Get Compensation for a Car Accident in Delaware?

Yes, you can receive compensation for a car accident in Delaware. As Delaware is a no-fault state, car accident cases are handled differently than in other states, so it’s essential to understand your rights and options. You must seek compensation from your insurance company regardless of who was at fault for the car accident; this is called the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim. Your insurance company may pay for car damages up to $15,000 per policy limit; however, if someone else caused the car accident, you can also file a claim with their insurance carrier for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. Sometimes, you may seek compensation for punitive damages, depending on the circumstances of the accident.

Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering in Delaware?

The answer is yes. You can sue for pain and suffering in Delaware if you have been involved in a car accident. Pain and suffering is a type of non-economic damage that does not include out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, or car damage expenses. According to Delaware law, individuals involved in car accidents who have suffered physical injuries can sue the negligent party for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium(loss of companionship).

If you have been involved in a car accident in Delaware and are considering filing a car accident claim against an at-fault driver, it is crucial to speak with an experienced Delaware personal injury lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney can assist you in understanding the average car accident settlement amounts for pain and suffering in Delaware and help you get a fair insurance payout for your non-economic damages.

How is Pain and Suffering Calculated in Delaware Car Accidents?

Pain and suffering is an intangible form of damage that cannot be proven with physical evidence like medical bills or property damage. Therefore, it can be challenging to calculate the value of pain and suffering in car accident cases. In Delaware, no set formula is used to calculate an individual’s pain and suffering.

However, some attorneys may use the multiplier method to come up with an amount for a pain and suffering car accident settlement. Here the economic damages are multiplied by a number between 1 and 5. For example, if the total economic damage equals $5,000, an attorney may argue that the multiplier number be 3; the pain and settlement amount then becomes $15,000.

How Much Pain and Suffering Can I Get For a Car Accident Settlement Claim in Delaware?

The average car accident settlement amount for pain and suffering in Delaware depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the injuries, how the injury is treated, length of recovery time, complications arising from the injury, the extent of physical damage, and how the injury affects the individual’s life. The average settlement for pain and suffering is usually under $15,000 in Delaware. This amount may be lower or higher, depending on your case.

Auto Insurance Requirements In Delaware

In Delaware and most states, you must have a certain amount of car insurance coverage. If you don’t have enough insurance, you can expect heavy fines or even serve jail time if you’re in a serious auto accident.

The minimum levels of insurance for car insurance in Delaware are:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $10,000 in property damage coverage

Delaware has a tort system regarding fault. This means if you cause a car crash, you can be sued for economic and non-economic damages, as well as pain and suffering. If another person causes the accident, you can file a claim with your insurance, their insurance, or file a lawsuit if you do not receive the settlement you think you deserve.

There is no requirement in Delaware to carry underinsured or uninsured driver coverage. You also do not have to carry collision or comprehensive coverage. But if you have property and cash assets, you may want to have more coverage to shield yourself from heavy losses if you cause a serious accident.

Also, Delaware has a type of no-fault insurance known as PIP or personal injury protection. This pays for your medical costs, lost earnings, but not pain and suffering. But you can sue the person who caused the car accident for pain and suffering.

PIP insurance can pay your medical costs and lost wages for up to two years in the amount of $15,000 or less. There are insurance policies for PIP in this state that are sold with deductibles between $100 and $15,000.

It is recommended to carry more PIP insurance than the minimum in case the at-fault driver is underinsured or has no insurance. If the other driver has no insurance, you could be seriously injured and need to rely on your own policy to pay for your injuries.

Car Accident Negligence Laws In Delaware

As of 1984, Delaware adopted a comparative negligence approach to negligence. This means that if you are partially responsible for the car accident, you will receive less compensation based on your degree of fault.

For example, if you have $100,000 in medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and were 25% responsible for the accident, you would only receive a $75,000 settlement.

Note that if you are 50% or more at fault in Delaware for your accident, you cannot receive any settlement funds for your injuries.

Because of this law, it is important for you to retain an attorney to represent you in front of the insurance company or court. Your personal injury attorney will fight for you to be found as little to blame for the accident as possible.

Almost any insurance company representing the at-fault driver will attempt to at least partially blame you for the accident, even if fault is clearly on the other driver. Your skilled attorney can avoid this.

You can find a skilled personal injury attorney by using our Attorney Search Tool at Lawsuit Info Center.

What To Do After A Car Accident In Delaware to Ensure a Fair Settlement

If you are in a car accident, you need to remain at the scene or you could be charged with hit and run. You also need to offer assistance if anyone is seriously injured. The next steps are to call 911 and to protect the crash scene as best you can. It’s helpful to set up flares or keep your car’s flashers on. Or, you can use a flashlight to tell people where you are as you wait for the police.

Next, get as much information down as you can about the crash while your memory is fresh. When the police arrive, tell them in detail what happened, but only stick to what you know for sure. But you should not admit you were at fault, even if you think you are partially to blame. If the police ask if you are hurt, you should not say no; just say you’re unsure. It’s possible for a minor injury to become worse after a day or two, so it’s best to have no opinion on this for now.

Car Accident Lawsuit

You also should take as many pictures as you can with your cell phone, including the positions of the vehicles, vehicle damages, skid marks, and your injuries.

Next, talk to eye witnesses. You may not be able to find witnesses right away. But if you see anyone hanging around at the scene, you should talk to them and get their contact information. This information could be critical to determine fault in the crash.

The next thing to do is to get a copy of the police report from the responding officer. They should at least give you a police report number. If they don’t mention it, make sure you get one before they leave the scene. You can use the number later to get the police report about the car crash.

Also, call your insurance company as soon as you can to inform them about the accident. You usually need to report an accident right away or in a few days, at most.

It’s also critical to get medical help immediately. Whether you think you’re injured or not, you should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible after the car accident. It is common for people to think they’re not injured after an accident. But when adrenaline hits you during a crash, you may not feel pain or discomfort immediately. That’s why you should always be checked out by a doctor.

If you don’t seek medical help after the accident, it’s possible that you could wake up the next day with a very painful back, neck, or other injury. Delayed whiplash is a very common car accident injury that may not show up for hours or even days after the crash. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more likely the other driver’s insurance company will argue that you were not injured in the accident.

The other thing to remember is that if you are hurt in an auto accident, it’s vital to follow your doctor’s treatment plan and attend all doctor appointments. If you fail to do these things, the insurance company will say that you weren’t really hurt and will try to deny your claim.

Auto Accident Statute Of Limitations In Delaware

Delaware has a statute of limitations to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit after an auto accident. You have only two years from the date of injury to file a personal injury lawsuit, as well as two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Because the statute of limitations is so short, it’s important to retain a skilled car accident attorney as soon as you can to ensure that you have plenty of time to file a lawsuit if needed.

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Delaware Driving And Accident Laws

There are other laws to be aware of if you are driving in the state or get in an accident:

  • Delaware has a ban on all handheld electronic devices when you are driving. This law refers to cell phones, laptops, tablets, and PCs. You also are not allowed to write, read, or send text messages when you drive. You may receive a $105 fine for the first offense, and up to $350 for the next offense.
  • Delaware has a keep right law that states you only can use the left lane to pass. You may be fined as much as $230 for breaking this law.
  • Delaware also has aggressive driving laws, stating that aggressive driving includes an unsafe lane change, ignoring a red light, failure to stop, passing on the shoulder, speeding, and passing a school bus that has stopped. The initial fine is $100 to $300. Plus, you could have to pay for a driver education class.
  • Drivers in Delaware are required in an accident involving injury or death to give their contact information to drivers and passengers involved in the crash. Also, you are required to render aid to anyone in the accident with reasonable assistance. This can include making plans to get the injured person to the emergency room.
  • Drivers that are involved in auto accidents where any driver is drunk or impaired by drugs, or a crash involving death, injury, or property damage of $500 or more must contact the closest law enforcement office to report the incident.

Remember that it is almost always a good idea to file a police report for any accident. You may get into a situation where the other driver doesn’t want to get the police involved. But what happens if the other driver goes home and decides that he is in a lot of pain from the accident? It’s possible he could contact the police and say you hit his vehicle and took off!

It’s always wise to be cautious and file a police report for any accident so you are covered if something happens down the road.

Dram Shop Law in Delaware

This state has no Dram Shop Law. This law refers to the liability of social hosts, bars, hotels, and restaurants who serve alcohol to customers or minors for injuries that drunk patrons or minors cause to third parties in car crashes.

In this state, it is against the law to sell alcohol to a drunk person or minor, but the seller has no liability for that person’s actions.

Auto Accident Settlement Process In Delaware

All personal injury lawsuits must go through an alternative dispute resolution process before they can go to court. If both sides cannot agree on the format, the other option is mediation. If you reach a settlement during ADR, your arbitrator needs to tell the court within five days. You could reach a settlement in your auto accident case at any time before the jury renders a verdict.

Car accident settlements in Delaware usually are lump sum, but can also take the form of a structured settlement, where the total amount is paid out in small increments over a specified period of time. 

Delaware Auto Accident Settlement Taxes

If you receive a car accident settlement in this state, it’s important to understand the federal and state tax laws about settlements.

Usually, any funds that you get in a lawsuit or settlement for physical injuries, including medical costs and pain and suffering, cannot be taxed at the state or federal levels.

But if you have only mental anguish from your accident that isn’t related to a physical injury, you can be taxed in Delaware and by the federal government.

If you get punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant for reckless behavior, it will be taxed at the state and federal levels.

Also, if you take medical expense tax deductions, that part of your compensation will be taxed.

If you get pay for lost earnings, that also is taxable at both levels.

Get Legal Help For Your Auto Accident Case

Car accidents can significantly impact your life, and filing for a car accident settlement or lawsuit may be necessary to receive adequate compensation. Knowing how to prove fault, maximizing settlements, and filing within the two-year statute of limitations are essential steps in dealing with car accident settlements in Delaware.

Any auto accident is an upsetting experience, but it helps if you’re prepared. Now that you know more about the car accident and personal injury laws in Delaware, you will know what to do if an accident happens.

But most importantly, if you’re hurt in an auto accident in Delaware, make sure that you call law enforcement and receive medical assistance if you need it. If you don’t, you could have trouble filing a claim later because the insurance company will argue that your injuries weren’t caused by the accident. Additionally, most car accident lawyers offer free consultations, which can be an invaluable resource, so don’t forget to take advantage of these as well. 

Car Accident Settlement

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