Car and truck accidents on Delaware roads and highways tend to increase during the winter months. While this year’s snowfall so far pales in comparison to last year, the first few days of January have started the year off with quite a bang. Just after the New Year holiday, there was a relatively minor snow storm that resulted in dozens of car accidents throughout Delaware. A second storm about a week later brought freezing rain to the area. Both storms wreaked havoc during the morning commute hours.
Drivers and passengers who are injured in winter auto accidents in Delaware often want to know what their legal rights are and whether they have legal rights to sue other drivers. The reality is that a winter auto accident case is not much different than a usual auto accident case. That’s because under Delaware injury law, the plaintiff (injured driver/passenger) has to prove that the other party (at-fault driver) was negligent.
Proving Fault (Negligence) in a Winter Auto Accident Case in DE
Proving negligence or fault in an auto accident case, whether it’s a winter auto accident case or not, requires evidence that the other driver was doing something he or she should not have been doing or failing to do something that he or she should have been doing. In a nutshell, this is how negligence or fault is defined in Delaware auto accident lawsuits. The key question in determining fault is: would a reasonable person have acted differently under the same circumstances?
In winter auto accident cases, the issue of liability or fault often involves things like:
- driving too fast for the conditions,
- following too closely,
- running a stop sign, or
- inattention (distracted driving).
These are all factors which certainly increase the risk of an accident in wintry conditions which result in snow or ice accumulation on roads. In addition, proving fault in a winter auto accident case in Delaware often requires establishing what the weather conditions were at the time of the accident as well as locating and questioning eyewitnesses.
For instance, during a winter storm in Delaware, a car being driven on Interstate 95 slides into another lane and crashes into another car. In order to prove that the at-fault driver was driving too fast for the conditions, it may be necessary to establish the actual precipitation levels at the time of the accident. Local weather reports may establish the temperature and precipitation. An eyewitness may be able to testify that the at-fault driver was driving faster than other cars on the road and weaving in and out of traffic. These facts would help to establish liability or fault.
In addition to proving liability, an individual injured in a winter auto accident in Delaware is also required to prove the nature and extent of the injuries and damages. The plaintiff in a Delaware auto accident lawsuit may make the following types of claims for financial compensation:
- medical bills (in excess of DE PIP),
- lost wages (in excess of DE PIP), and
- pain and suffering.
The key is presenting proper evidence of the damages. For instance, medical bills and lost wages would be proved with billing statements, paystubs and employer provided wage loss documents. Read more about wage loss claims after car accidents in DE.
Delaware Car Accident & Injury Lawyers
Since 1982, the car accident injury lawyers at Knepper & Stratton have represented residents of the Delaware area in motor vehicle accident lawsuits, including car accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, etc. For a free case review please call (302) 658-1717. We have offices in Wilmington, Newark and Dover.
*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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