Who Pays in a Delaware Car/Auto Accident Lawsuit
The question of how car accident verdicts or settlements are paid in Delaware is probably one of the most frequently misunderstood aspects of car accident cases.
Most individuals who are injured in car accidents think that the financial recovery literally comes from the at-fault driver’s pockets. This is usually not the case. For example, if a car accident results in lost wages or medical bills, people generally believe that the wrongdoer pays. This is not quite true for two reasons.
How Medical Bills and Lost Wages are Recovered
First, Delaware car accident law requires that Delaware residents who are injured in auto accidents in this state make personal injury protection (PIP) claims to recover medical bills, lost pay and other types of damages. PIP claims are made with car insurance companies, not the at-fault driver per se. Read more about PIP claims in Delaware.
How Pain & Suffering Damages are Recovered
Second, if the at-fault driver has car/auto insurance, then his or her car insurance company will pay for the injured plaintiff’s pain and suffering damages as well as compensatory damages (i.e., past medical bills and past lost wages) damages which exceed PIP, up to a certain amount. Pain and suffering damages compensate injured individuals for the physical pain and mental anguish caused by the accident and injuries.
How Car/Auto Insurance Companies Get Involved in Car Accident Cases
In the vast majority of car, truck and pedestrian accident lawsuits filed in Delaware, the car insurance company for the at-fault driver is contractually obligated to pay civil damages to the injured party, per the car insurance policy issued to the at-fault driver. Every car insurance policy issued in the state of Delaware must provide a minimum of $15,000/$30,000 of bodily injury coverage (i.e., liability coverage). The $15,000 amount is per person and the $30,000 is per accident. Many people purchase higher policy limits. A $100,000/$300,000 car insurance policy is common.
To illustrate: A Wilmington resident gets into a car accident and is seriously injured. He files a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle County (Wilmington). The case goes to trial, and the jury finds in his favor, awarding him $60,000 of damages. The at-fault driver is insured with ABC Insurance Company and has an auto policy with $100,000/$300,000 of bodily injury coverage. Therefore, ABC Insurance Company pays $60,000 to the plaintiff.
- Learn the Basics of Delaware Car Accident Lawsuits Part One (General Info)
- Learn the Basics of Delaware Car Accident Lawsuits Part Two (Lawsuit Basics)
- Learn the Basics of Delaware Car Accident Lawsuits Part Three (Litigation Basics)
Wilmington DE Car Accident Lawyer with Over 30 Years of Experience
Since 1982, firm founder, Martin Knepper, has served residents of Delaware in all personal injury matters, including car accidents and truck accidents. Contact our accident lawyers today and ask for a free consultation. (302) 658-1717
Our lawyers serve residents throughout the Delaware area, including: Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Middletown, and Smyrna. We also represent residents of other states such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia who are injured in car or truck accidents while in Delaware. For more information, please contact us.
*Disclaimer: This website page does not provide any legal advice or create any attorney-client relationship. Every case is unique and you should not take any action or make decisions in your case without speaking to a qualified car and truck accident lawyer in Delaware. Any discussion of results is no guarantee of the same or similar results in current or future cases.
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