Delaware goes way back in American history -- all the way back to being the very first state. From the Agricultural Museum and Village to the Zwaanendael Museum, the Diamond State is filled with fun. If you were injured in a car accident in Delaware, you will be thankful that many injuries are covered under no fault insurance. But if you were seriously injured, you may not have time to fully litigate your claim and you may want to learn about the Delaware car accident settlement process and timeline.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Delaware?
Yes. Even if the only damage was to your own property (such as your car), you may be fined under section 4201 for failing to report a car accident in Delaware. If you were involved in a car accident which resulted in injury to a person and you fail to report it, you may be guilty of a misdemeanor under section 4202. Under that same section, if you fail to report a car accident which results in the death of a person, you may be guilty of a felony.
Delaware Car Insurance Laws
Under Delaware Motor Vehicle Code section 2118, you are required to carry both liability insurance and no fault driver insurance (also known as Personal Injury Protection, or "PIP" insurance) in the following amounts:
- Bodily injury protection: $15,000 per person, per accident/$30,000 per accident
- Property Damage: $10,000 per accident
- PIP: $15,000 per person, per accident/$30,000 per accident + $5,000 in funeral expenses
Motorcyclists should be aware of policies offering $15,000 in PIP coverage with a $15,000 deductible. These policies essentially leave you with no coverage.
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Delaware?
All lawsuits must go through compulsory alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before they can proceed to trial. If the parties cannot agree on a format, the default form is mediation. If a settlement is reached during the ADR process, the arbitrator must notify the court within five days. You may reach a settlement in your car accident dispute anytime before the jury returns with a verdict. Settlements generally come in one of two forms: lump-sum, which gives you the entire award amount upfront, or structured, which pays money damages to you over the course of many years.
What is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Delaware?
Delaware's comparative fault negligence system under section 8132 makes it difficult to estimate the value of any given car accident settlement. Under Delaware's negligence laws, you are legally entitled to recover compensation for your injuries so long as you are not more at fault for your damages than the defendant. At a minimum, any settlement offer you accept should compensate you for:
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Delaware?
You have two years to file a car accident lawsuit under sections 8107 (property damage) and 8119 (personal injury). This means that whether your claim is for reimbursement for medical treatment expenses, a replacement vehicle, or pain and suffering, you must file your claim within two years of the date of the accident.
Get Professional Help With Delaware's Car Accident Settlement Process
No fault systems exist to reduce litigation and speed up compensation to injured parties. But no fault systems have their limits, including maximum payout amounts. If you were seriously injured, you may not have the time or energy to wait for a jury to award you damages. Before you settle your claim, talk to an Delaware accident attorney experienced with settling car accident claims.