What Should I Do After an Accident to Protect My Rights?
Were you or a loved one involved in a serious accident in Delaware? If so, it is imperative that you know what to do to effectively protect your rights and your interests. By taking specific, proactive steps, you can put yourself in the best possible position to bring a successful personal injury claim. Here is a short list of key things to do:
- Get Medical Attention: Ensure safety for everyone involved and dial 911 for medical assistance if needed. You should always see a qualified doctor right away.
- Report the Accident: Motor vehicle collisions should be reported to the police. Other types of accidents may need to be reported to the appropriate business/property owner.
- Document Everything: Gather evidence by taking photographs of the accident scene, injuries, and any property damage. If there are witnesses, get their contact information.
- Beware of Insurance Adjusters: Do not admit fault or discuss details with others at the scene. Instead, only provide notice of the accident.
- Consult With a Delaware Personal Injury Attorney: You are not alone. Consult with a top Delaware personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a serious accident.
Should I Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company After an Accident?
No—at least not without an experienced Delaware personal injury on your side. While you may feel obligated to cooperate with an insurance company after an accident, you are not required to give an immediate recorded statement. Here is the issue: Insurers are usually looking for ways to minimize payouts—and your words may inadvertently help their cause. Insurance companies are not on your side. Speak with a Delaware personal injury lawyer before speaking with an insurance company.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Claim in Delaware?
In Delaware, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the accident (Del C. Tit. 10 § 8119). What impact does this have on your personal injury case? You need to bring any legal claim before the statute of limitations runs out. If you fail to file within this time frame, you may lose your right to legal recourse. Put another way, you may be deprived of the opportunity to seek financial compensation. There are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations (in both directions), so it is always best to consult with an experienced Delaware personal injury lawyer who can review your specific case.
How Do I Prove Liability for an Accident in Delaware?
It depends on the circumstances. Proving liability for an accident in Delaware usually involves establishing negligence. What does that mean in practice? You need to demonstrate that the other party:
- Owed you a duty of care;
- Breached this duty of care; and
- As a result, you suffered harm.
You should be prepared to present a strong, well-supported case. Evidence such as police reports, witness testimonies, photographs, and expert testimonies can all contribute to establishing liability. A Delaware personal injury attorney can help you collect and present this evidence effectively.
What is Modified Comparative Negligence?
Modified comparative negligence is a legal doctrine in Delaware that may affect your personal injury claim. If you are partially at fault for the accident, your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault. Consider the following example:
- You sustained $10,000 in damages in a slip and fall accident. You are found to be 20% at fault for your own fall. As such, your total personal injury compensation would be reduced by 20%—meaning you could hold that at-fault party liable for 805 of your damages, or $8,000.
What Compensation Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Claim?
In a personal injury claim in Delaware, the compensation you may recover is typically categorized into economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic Damages: Economic damages represent the tangible financial losses you have suffered as a result of the accident. This includes medical bills, future medical costs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and any other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident.
- Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages are intangible losses. This can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and in some cases, loss of companionship. Determining the value of these damages can be complex and typically requires the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
What is the Average Personal Injury Settlement?
There is no real true “average” settlement for a personal injury case in Delaware. An injured victim’s compensation should be based on their actual damages, whether economic or non-economic. It is crucial to note that personal injury settlements vary widely on a case-by-case basis. The amount of a settlement is typically dependent on several factors, including:
- The severity of injuries;
- The long-term impact of those injuries;
- The level of negligence of the responsible party; and
- The financial and emotional costs incurred.
While small personal injury claims may settle for several thousand dollars, severe and life-altering injuries can result in settlements of hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. Each case is unique. A top Delaware personal injury attorney can help estimate the potential value of a claim.
How Do I Find the Right Personal Injury Attorney in Delaware?
Finding the right personal injury attorney in Delaware is a critical step in ensuring the best possible outcome for your case. Look for an attorney with extensive experience in handling personal injury claims similar to yours. Review their track record and history of results. Remember, a good attorney should have a record of success in obtaining fair settlements or verdicts.
Moreover, seek a lawyer who provides personalized representation. You want someone who will take the time to understand your situation, guide you through the legal process, answer your questions, and be available when you need them. A great first step is to set up a free, no-commitment initial legal consultation with a lawyer to discuss your case in detail.
Freibott Law Firm is a reliable, results-focused workers’ compensation law firm with law offices in Wilmington and Lewes. Injured workers deserve personalized legal representation. If you have any questions about a workers’ comp claim or a workers’ comp appeal, contact a Delaware workers’ compensation attorney at Freibott Law Firm for a free, no-commitment consultation.
Wilmington Office 1711 E. Newport Pike
P.O. Box 6168
Wilmington, Del., 19804
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