Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers
In the United States, car accidents are the leading cause of injury. Serious injuries from car accidents can leave those involved severely disabled. When a person suffers an injury due to a car accident, it could mean a significant financial burden that they must overcome, including high medical bills and even a loss of income due to being unable to return to work. There are options available to them in Delaware that will allow them to recoup those losses to prevent an accident from destroying them financially.
If you have been involved in a car accident and do not know what your legal options include, reach out to a Wilmington car accident lawyer who can help.
What Are My Legal Options in Delaware?
In Delaware, all vehicle owners are required to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which will pay a portion of their losses that they suffered due to a car accident. The state also allows its residents the additional freedom to file a claim against a driver who is responsible for the accident if they seek to recoup certain damages as well.
What Does PIP Insurance Cover?
PIP insurance will not only cover you, but anyone else involved in the accident. The insurance will pay for:
- Medical expenses: The insurance will cover every and all reasonable medical expenses that you incur due to your accident, including tests, treatment, and doctor visits.
- Lost wages: You can recoup all your wages that you lost as long as you can prove that you are unable to work because of your accident. If you are self-employed, you are still eligible to recoup this amount.
- Funeral expenses: If a loved one was killed in a car accident, their PIP insurance will cover up to $5,000 in funeral expenses.
- Other expenses: If you are unable to perform household tasks and require the need to hire an outside service, you can recoup those losses through your PIP insurance as well.
PIP insurance will cover these expenses for two years following the accident. The limits of how much you can receive are based on your coverage limits. Delaware requires certain insurance minimums, including:
- $15,000 of expenses per person involved in an accident.
- $30,000 of expenses for all parties involved in an accident.
- $5,000 of funeral expenses.
These are the minimums that the state will allow an insurance company to offer. You are free to purchase additional coverage if you desire since your insurance will only cover up to your limit. Therefore, if your medical expenses exceed your PIP limit, you might need to rely on your medical insurance to cover the difference.
What Is Modified Comparative Negligence?
If you have suffered emotional trauma, you can seek reimbursement through a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. Delaware follows a modified comparative negligence rule, meaning that each person will be responsible for compensation based on their percentage of fault. That percentage will be deducted from the overall compensation award. However, if your level of fault is more than 50 percent, then you will be ineligible to collect any compensation. The state of Delaware has no cap on the amount that can be awarded for a personal injury case.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim?
There is a two-year statute of limitations in the state to file a personal injury claim that starts on the date of the accident. This limit only pertains to any plans to file a personal injury suit against an at-fault driver. Insurance timeframes tend to be shorter, and you should check with your individual carrier to determine what that timeline might be to avoid any problems.
What Are Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Common causes of car accidents include:
- Speeding: Driving over the speed limit is a major cause of car accidents.
- Drunk driving: Despite the strict blood alcohol content (BAC) limits enacted, people continue to drink and drive at a high rate.
- Distracted driving: This includes eating, drinking, using the radio, texting, and other distractions.
- Aggressive driving: Drivers who tailgate and show other forms of aggression on the road cause numerous accidents.
- Drugs: Prescription drugs, marijuana, and illegal substances all affect a driver’s reaction time.
- Weather: Snow, ice, rain, and fog can make driving conditions extremely dangerous and increase the risk of an accident.
- Hazardous road conditions: Potholes, animals, uneven surfaces, and unexpected debris or obstacles can cause a driver to lose control of the car.
- Auto defects: Defects in a car’s design and manufacturing defects can jeopardize the vehicle’s safety and cause an accident.
What Are Common Car Accident Injuries?
No matter the severity of the accident, injuries can still occur, even in a minor fender bender. Common car accident injuries include:
- Head and back injuries: A head injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, can occur when a driver or passenger strikes their head against the dashboard, steering wheel, or window. Skull fractures, hearing loss, and vision problems are also possible. Back injuries include damage to the spinal cord, which can cause loss of feeling or control over limbs or other body parts. Serious spinal cord damage can even leave a person paralyzed.
- Neck and chest injuries: Whiplash affects the neck area, and it can range from mild to severe. Chest injuries occur from blunt force and can result in broken ribs and punctured lungs. Internal bleeding and organ damage are also possible. These types of internal injuries are often life-threatening.
- Broken bones: Broken hands, arms, feet, and legs are common in car accidents. Crushing injuries that may require amputation can also occur in serious accidents.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
The moments immediately following a car accident can be traumatic and confusing. However, there are several important steps that you should take in the immediate aftermath of an accident, including:
- Seek medical help. You should seek medical attention right away. This should be your highest priority, as some injuries may not appear right away. Even if you do not believe you are hurt, you should have yourself checked out by a doctor.
- Call the police. Have a police officer come by to inspect the scene. They will take note of the situation, including the road conditions. Make sure to get a copy of the report. This way, you can use it later if you file a claim.
- Do your own investigating. If possible, scan the accident scene and take pictures of the area and of any conditions that might have contributed to the collision. Also, take pictures of the damage.
- Talk to witnesses. Speak to anyone who might have seen what happened, and get a copy of their contact information.
- Notify your insurance. Report the accident to your insurance company.
- Contact a lawyer. If you have severe injuries and want to explore your legal options, contact a lawyer.
Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Will Protect Your Rights After a Collision
Our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. are here to help you explore your legal options after a severe accident. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.