Injury Claims After a Snow or Ice Related Car Accident in Delaware
In the winter, car accidents in Delaware often occur due to snow and icy roads. Depending on the severity of the accident, an injury claim may be necessary. In general, there are two types of injury claims: PIP claims and bodily injury liability claims (against an at-fault driver).
In this article, our Wilmington & Dover car accident lawyers discuss the different types of injury claims that can be made after a snow/ice car accident and common types of weather related car accidents.
PIP Claims for Medical Bills, Lost Wages & Other Financial Losses
After a car accident due to snow or ice happens and a driver or passenger is injured, the first type of injury claim to come into play is a PIP (Personal Injury Protection) claim. Injured parties can make PIP claims for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses.
There are two important aspects of PIP claims in Delaware. First, if you’re covered under a Delaware auto insurance policy, you are eligible for PIP regardless of fault. Delaware is a no-fault state which means that you can make a claim for PIP benefits under your own car insurance policy, even if you were at fault. The same holds true if you were not at fault. For example, a Wilmington resident is driving to Dover for work and the roads are icy. Another driver fails to navigate a turn and causes a serious car accident. If the DE resident needs medical treatment, they can make a PIP claim under their own car insurance policy.
Second, there is a minimum amount ($15,000) which is required by Delaware PIP law. What this means is that in Delaware, every policy issued in this state is required to provide a minimum of $15,000 of PIP benefits per person, per accident. Many residents of Delaware, including Wilmington and Dover, often purchase additional PIP coverage.
However, PIP law is complex. There are rules for how long PIP coverage is available after an accident occurs, who can make a claim, etc. Learn more about PIP law in Delaware.
Contact our Delaware car accident injury law firm for a FREE CONSULTATION at (302) 658-1717 (WILM) or (302) 736-5500 (DOVER).
Legal Rights to Compensation – Identify the Cause of the Accident (Someone Else Caused the Accident)
Before we discuss the other type of injury claim, bodily injury liability claim, it is crucial to identify the cause of the accident. Did another driver cause the accident?
In most instances, a car accident on a snowy or icy road happens due to inexperience or just plain carelessness. A car accident during inclement weather conditions is often caused by a driver using a cell phone, speeding or simply driving too fast for the snowy or icy road conditions. When this happens, the injured victim has legal rights against the at-fault driver.
Bodily Injury Liability Claims
The other type of injury claim that can be made after a weather related car accident in Delaware is a bodily injury liability claim. Every car insurance policy issued in this state is required to provide a minimum of $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage. This amount was recently increased from $15,000 and took effect in December of 2017 for all new policies. For any current policies, the $25,000 coverage amount takes effect upon renewal.
Under Delaware law, an injured driver or passenger has the legal right to make a bodily injury liability claim against the at-fault driver. This claim is made under the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy and covers pain and suffering as well as any expenses not otherwise covered by PIP.
Here’s an example to explain how this works. Driver A is a Delaware resident driving to a friend’s home in Kent County. It’s snowing and the roads are beginning to get slippery. Driver A is approaching an intersection controlled by a traffic light that is green for his direction of travel. Driver B is approaching the same intersection, but her traffic light is red for her direction of travel. As she approaches, she simply fails to stop in time and slams her brakes. Because of the slippery road, she isn’t able to stop in time and ends up in the intersection, striking Driver A who sustains major injuries.
Driver B is covered by a Delaware car insurance policy with the new $25,000 bodily injury liability limit. Because the accident is Driver B’s fault, Driver A can make a claim under Driver B’s car insurance policy for up to the limit, $25,000. In addition to the claim against Driver B, Driver A may be able to make an underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) claim.
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