Delaware No-Fault & PIP Car Insurance
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – No-Fault Law in Delaware
Delaware no-fault auto insurance law is widely misunderstood and is applied differently in every state that offers it. The laws of the state in which the car accident occurs usually determine who pays for the damages from an auto accident.
Delaware has a form of no-fault automobile insurance called Personal Injury Protection or “PIP”, which pays for your medical bills and lost wages, but not for your pain and suffering. Delaware no-fault law allows you to sue the person who caused the car accident and your injuries for pain and suffering.
How “No-fault” car insurance works in Delaware
- up to two (2) years after the car accident;
- up to the amount of your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy limits (usually $15,000.00); or
- until your car insurance company sends you to a “doctor” of their choice (who then says that you no longer require medical treatment or that you can now go back to work), whichever of the three occurs first.
Note, some Delaware car insurance companies sell PIP policies with deductibles ranging from $100.00 up to $15,000.00.
Delaware “No-Fault” coverage does not limit or preclude a personal injury lawsuit for pain and suffering for a motor vehicle collision or car accident resulting in personal injuries. Also, if you are a resident of a state which limits or precludes lawsuits, such as Pennsylvania or New Jersey, those limitations do not apply to you if you are making a claim in Delaware for personal injuries you suffered in a motor vehicle collision or car accident which occurred within the State of Delaware. How Delaware “no-fault” laws apply in your situation is not always clear, which is why you should consult the experienced personal injury attorneys of Knepper & Stratton at (302)658-1717 or (302)736-5500.
The State of Delaware requires that insurance companies write Delaware No-Fault PIP insurance polices with at least minimum insurance limits of $15,000.00 / $30,000.00. Some Delaware insurance companies offer additional PIP coverage with limits of coverage up to $100,000.00 / $300,000.00.
If you are person covered by a Delaware Automobile Insurance policy the only limitation on your car accident personal injury lawsuit damages claim against the negligent party is that you may not sue for reimbursement of any medical bills or lost wages that were paid by or were eligible to have been paid by your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. 21 Del. C. Section 2118 (g)
How no-fault insurance works generally
“No-fault insurance” describes any automobile insurance system that requires drivers to carry insurance for their own protection and limits their ability to sue other drivers for damages. In an accident under a no-fault system, your auto insurance company may pay for your damages up to your policy limits, no matter who was at fault for the accident. Other drivers involved in the accident are covered by their own automobile insurance policies.
Under a pure no-fault system, drivers would be entirely covered by their own policies and could never sue any other driver for damages, but no state currently uses a pure system. All no-fault insurance states use parts of the no-fault system and parts of the standard-liability system, under which a party is responsible for the cost of damages he or she causes, so lawsuits are permitted under some circumstances in all states.
The amount and type of no-fault insurance required varies from state to state. Some states allow injured parties to sue if their injuries are severe, while others allow suits if the total costs reach a certain dollar level. Many modified no-fault systems pay for economic damages up to the policy limit, but allow the injured party to sue for non-economic damages if the amounts of these damages are greater than a specified amount. These thresholds also vary from state to state. Therefore, you should contact the personal injury lawyers of Knepper & Stratton at (302)658-1717 or (302)736-5500, or another law firm experienced in handling car accidents if you are in an accident in any no-fault state to determine and analyze the relevant laws.
Choice no-fault insurance laws create two classes of insured drivers in some states by retaining parts of both the no-fault and the traditional fault-based systems. Pennsylvania and New Jersey have implemented versions of choice no-fault laws. Pennsylvania’s elections are “limited tort” and “full tort”. New Jersey has enacted a “verbal threshold” test to determine who may maintain a personal injury lawsuit arising from a motor vehicle collision. Under a choice system, drivers choose whether they want to be insured under a no-fault plan or retain some traditional tort rights similar to modified no-fault. For example, if a driver chooses a pure no-fault plan, he or she may not be able to sue negligent drivers for non-economic damages. However, if the driver retains traditional personal injury suit rights, he or she can sue other drivers who have also chosen to retain their tort rights, but, in exchange, they can sue him or her. An experienced attorney, such as the attorneys at Knepper & Stratton (302)658-1717 or (302)736-5500, can help you work through the complicated issues regarding fault, whether you are in a fault or a no-fault state. As discussed above any choices you made on your Pennsylvania or New Jersey policies do not affect your unfettered rights to sue for pain and suffering in Delaware courts for personal injury car accidents occurring in the State of Delaware.
A no fault insurance policy
If you live in a no-fault state, the no-fault part of your auto insurance policy is usually called personal injury protection (PIP). Different states’ PIP packages cover different expenses, but benefits generally include most injury-related expenses, including medical costs, lost wages, compensation for loss of services, funeral expenses, and death benefits. Some damages, such as pain, suffering, emotional distress and inconvenience, are generally not covered by no-fault insurance coverage. Also, medical expenses or lost income above any established limits are not covered, and other insurance coverage is typically needed to cover physical damage to vehicles.
Last updated: October 15, 2022
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