Financial Compensation in Delaware Auto Accident Cases
In the Delaware civil justice system, the plaintiff or injured party bears the burden of proof. This means that in a car accident lawsuit, the injured driver, passenger or pedestrian must prove the following elements:
- The other party was at fault or was negligent.
- That negligence caused damages.
- The nature and extent of the damages (physical injuries and financial losses).
Obtaining financial compensation in a Delaware car accident injury lawsuit usually depends on 2 factors: 1. proving fault, and 2. proving damages.
Negligence is generally defined as the failing to do something you should have done or doing something you should not have done. In a car or truck accident case, drivers often cause collisions due to the following negligent actions:
- running a stop sign/red light, and
- being distracted (using a cell phone, eating, changing the radio, etc.).
In some auto accident cases, fault will not be an issue. For instance, an at-fault driver may admit to causing the accident due to running a red light. However, in other cases, fault will not be clear and will therefore be contested. For example, in an intersection accident case, it may not be clear who had the green light, or in a highway collision case, it may not be clear who crossed into the other person’s lane of travel. In these instances, the case will hinge on whether the plaintiff (injured driver/passenger) can prove that the defendant was at fault.
In addition to proving fault, the injured party must also prove the nature and extent of the damages which include the physical injuries, financial losses and pain and suffering. This means investigating and preparing the following types of evidence:
- medical records/reports,
- economic loss records (medical bills, pay stubs, W-2s, etc.),
- documentary evidence (video, pictures, etc.), and
- testimony of friends, family members and co-workers, if necessary.
The evidence will vary from case to case because every case is unique.
Pre-Existing Injuries and Delaware Auto Accident Lawsuits
Oftentimes, individuals injured in car or truck accidents in Delaware have pre-existing injuries and want to know whether they can still file an accident claim to obtain financial compensation. For example, someone with a bad back is injured in an intersection accident in downtown Wilmington and wants to file a claim against the at-fault driver. Can the individual obtain financial compensation even though he had a pre-existing condition, i.e., a bad back?
In most cases, an injured plaintiff will be able to file a lawsuit despite the existence of a pre-existing condition. However, one of the most common issues in these cases is causation, or whether the accident caused the injuries, as opposed to a prior condition or injury. In these situations, success often depends on the medical evidence. Does the medical evidence show that a pre-existing injury had resolved prior to the accident? Are there diagnostic tests (before and after the accident) which clearly show an aggravation?
*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.
*Use of the contact form on this website or emailing one of our lawyers does not create any attorney-client relationship. In addition, confidential information should not be sent through the contact form.