People who are injured in car, truck or pedestrian accidents in Delaware often want to know whether their case is worth pursuing and if so, what they can obtain, and how long a case will take to resolve.
Determining whether a car accident case is worth pursuing depends on many different factors. Two of the most important factors are: 1. liability or fault and 2. nature and extent of the damages, i.e., the injuries and financial losses.
Liability in a Delaware Auto Accident Case
Liability plays a role in determining whether a car accident case is worth pursuing. That’s because in Delaware car accident cases, the injured party must prove the following:
- an accident occurred,
- the accident was due to the fault of the defendant, and
- the accident resulted in injuries.
In many car accident situations, liability will be quite easy to determine and prove. For instance, liability is usually clear in a case in which a driver fails to notice stopped traffic and rear ends the driver in front.
However, there are many situations in which liability will not be so clear. Side swipe accidents, intersection accidents and accidents which involve more than 2 vehicles can be difficult to prove in terms of liability. In what would ordinarily appear to be a clear cut case, the at-fault driver may claim that the other driver ran a red light or was speeding.
In such situations, eyewitness testimony will be important. If there is no eyewitness testimony, proving liability comes down to a “he said, she said” type situation. This means that proving liability may boil down to the credibility of the parties, or who is more believable.
Example: Driver A is proceeding through an intersection and has a yellow light. Driver B is proceeding in the opposite direction and intends to turn left, across Driver A’s lane of travel. This is a common car accident scenario. As Driver B maneuvers the left turn, he strikes Driver A’s car on the front left side. The police arrive 20 minutes later. Because it is rush hour, witnesses who saw the accident wait around for 5 minutes and then leave. No one thinks to get their contact information.
When interviewed by the police, Driver B claims that Driver A sped through the intersection which had just turned red. Driver B claims that Driver A’s speeding and running the red light caused the accident. When interviewed by the police, Driver A denies she was speeding, but admits that she had a yellow light. Since all the eyewitnesses left, the police officer indicates in his accident report that fault is unclear.
Driver A is injured and needs medical treatment. She misses time from work and would like to know if she should take Driver B to court to obtain financial recovery for her injuries and financial losses. Read about obtaining PIP benefits for medical bills and lost wages after a car accident in Delaware.
The answer depends on whether it can be proven that Driver B caused the accident. In addition, it is important to note that in all Delaware car accident cases, the negligence of each of the parties will be compared. If the plaintiff is deemed to be 51% negligent in having caused the accident, she loses the case and cannot recover at all.
Because there were no eyewitnesses, the case depends on the credibility of the parties. If Driver A is shaky about her testimony and relaying how the accident occurred and Driver B is clear in relaying his side of the story, then Driver A might be deemed to have caused the accident. Also, in applying the comparative negligence principle, if she is deemed to be 51% liable for causing the accident, she loses her car accident case.
On the other hand, if Driver B is shaky about his testimony or there are facts to attack his credibility, such as drug or alcohol use, etc., then Driver A’s version of the accident may be believed, and she wins her case.
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- Delaware Car & Truck Accident Law – Intersection and Left Hand Turn Accidents
Car & Truck Accident Lawyer with Over 30 Years of Experience
Since 1982, Knepper & Stratton 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.
*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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