Delaware Car Accident Laws: What You Need to Know

March 8 2023

In Delaware, any person involved in a car accident must provide their name, address, and license information to any other driver involved. Additionally, anyone involved in a car accident must immediately notify the police.

Drivers Liability Under Delaware Law

Drivers liability under Delaware law is subject to the state’s rules of negligence. This means that the driver whose careless or negligent actions caused an accident will typically be held liable for damages. For example, if a driver runs a stop sign and causes a collision, that driver can be found liable for any associated damages. Negligence is determined based on what a reasonable person would do in similar circumstances, as established by the court.

Generally speaking, all drivers have a general duty to exercise reasonable care while driving in order to ensure that no one is harmed in an incident on the road. If a driver fails to uphold these duties and an accident occurs, they could be held financially responsible for any resulting harm. This includes paying for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, or other costs associated with the accident. Even if both parties were partially at fault for the accident, Delaware law allows claimants to pursue compensation from any party who was 25% or more at fault.

In cases where the injured party contributed significantly to causing their own injuries, such as when they were fleeing from police or operating a vehicle while intoxicated, courts may find them ineligible to recover damages from another at-fault driver. This sort of situation exposes how complex car accident lawsuits can become and demonstrates why it’s vitally important to understand Interstate 95’s regulations regarding negligence and responsibility for an accident before filing a claim for compensation.

Considering these regulations on liability is essential to establish fair outcomes in car accidents cases and ensure that victims are able to secure necessary compensation after an incident on Delaware roads. The next section will discuss establishing fault and negligence following a car accident in Delaware.

Establishing Fault and Negligence

Establishing fault and negligence is the first step in filing an insurance claim or lawsuit after a car accident in Delaware. In order to determine who was at fault for the collision, it is important to understand the concept of negligence. Negligence is defined as failing to take reasonable care to avoid causing harm or injury to another person.

In most cases, one of the drivers involved in a car accident will be considered primarily responsible for its occurrence. This driver can be assigned financial responsibility for any injuries or damages caused by the accident. To determine liability and make sure compensation is fairly divided between the parties involved, Delaware courts rely on three distinct regulations: contributory negligence, comparative negligence, and modified comparative negligence.

Under contributing negligence law, if any party was partially at fault for causing the accident their claim for compensation is essentially negated. That means even if someone was only 1% at fault for an accident, they will be unable to hold any other driver liable for property damage or personal injuries resulting from it.

Alternatively, comparative negligence law allows multiple plaintiffs in an injury case to file claims and seek damages even when each person is partly responsible for causing an accident. Under this law each plaintiff will likely be assigned a different degree of fault. These percentages are then subtracted from their total award of compensation meaning that a plaintiff assigned 40% of blame would receive 60% of the total monetary value they requested in their claim.

The third type of negligence recognized in Delaware is referred to as modified comparative fault. This system applies a cap of 51% of liability on claimants who are found partially at fault and disallows them from claiming any compensation if they are held more than 50% accountable for causing an accident.

Fault may also be determined by violations of traffic laws such as distracted driving, reckless driving or violating speed limits; however, it falls upon the injured party’s legal representation to prove these violations occurred during through witness testimonies or police reports at trial.

It’s essential for all those involved in an auto collision – whether the driver or passenger – to seek out legal counsel so that determining liability correctly and that all applicable laws are taken into account when seeking justice. Now that we’ve covered establishing fault and negligence, let’s look further into understanding accident victims’ rights.

Accident Victims’ Rights

Accident victims’ rights are an important issue to consider when talking about Delaware car accident laws. Victims of traffic accidents have the right to seek compensation for any damages or injuries they sustain in an accident, whether it be financial, emotional, physical or otherwise. In the state of Delaware, individuals who have been involved in an auto accident can pursue a personal injury claim or a car insurance claim for any losses incurred as a result of the collision.

Victims of auto accidents in Delaware will have the right to seek fair and just compensation from the negligent parties involved in the collision. This includes both economic and non-economic damages such as medical bills, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress. The responsible parties will also be liable for any property damage resulting from an automobile crash.

It is important for accident victims to understand that the time limitations for filing a personal injury claim vary for each jurisdiction. In Delaware, personal injury claims must typically be filed within two years of the date of the accident. Claims involving insurance companies often need to be filed within three years depending on the policy terms. If a lawsuit is not properly filed within this period, victims may lose their right to recover damages.

Accident victims should also remember that filing a claim does not guarantee success. Victims will generally bear the burden of proof when pursuing an insurance policy or personal injury lawsuit against another party in Delaware. This means that victims must establish their case with sufficient evidence to highlight the defendant’s fault and demonstrate that they suffered damages due to the negligence and/or recklessness of another person or party.

These considerations are essential when examining Delaware car accident laws from a victim’s perspective. An experienced car accident lawyer can provide significant guidance and help victims navigate through complicated legal issues that may arise during a personal injury lawsuit or insurance dispute arising from an auto wreck. Be sure to research attorneys and find one who is properly licensed in Delaware so that you have all available options available for recovering your damages following an auto collision.

Now we will move on to examine property damage and personal injury claims under Delaware car accident laws.

Property Damage and Personal Injury Claims

When involved in an automobile accident, property damage and personal injury claims are commonplace. To best protect your rights following a car accident, it is important to understand Delaware’s laws regarding these issues.

Property Damage Claims: Drivers who cause damage to other vehicles as a result of an accident will be held responsible for repairing or replacing the damaged property. The person responsible for the accident may need to pay for the damages out-of-pocket, or through their insurance provider. Both parties are entitled to have a written estimate of the damages, and the liable party must pay all repair costs that do not exceed the value of the vehicle prior to the incident.

Personal Injury Claims: When one or several parties are harmed as a result of a car crash, Delaware follows a modified comparative fault rule which allows an injured party to collect compensation only if they are found less than 50% at fault for causing the accident. In cases where multiple people caused injury, each defendant is assigned a percentage figure based on their contribution of fault and held responsible accordingly. Further, Delaware has no cap on overall losses from personal injury suits.

It is important to note that Delaware does not recognize contributory negligence; meaning that even if a person is partially (deeply) at fault for an accident, they may still pursue legal action against parties responsible for additional damage caused by their actions.

In order to protect oneself after being involved in an automobile accident, seeking immediate medical attention and consulting with an experienced attorney can better ensure that you are fully compensated for any property damage or personal injury suffered as a consequence of another’s negligence.

The next section explores how car insurance works in Delaware and what people should consider when choosing their policy limits.

Car Insurance in Delaware

Car insurance is an important part of being a properly licensed Delaware driver. Typically, insurance providers offer a few different coverage options, ranging from financial responsibility to full coverage. When deciding on an insurance plan in Delaware, it’s important for drivers to consider the amount of coverage they need and whether they can adequately cover any potential accident costs.

Financial responsibility insurance, commonly known as FR-19, is mandatory in Delaware. This type of insurance meets the minimum requirements set forth by the state but offers little protection to the driver if they become involved in an accident. Rather than providing full coverage to the policyholder, FR-19 acts as liability coverage in case other parties are injured or have their property damaged while involved in an accident caused by the policyholder. Under FR-19, medical bills and/or vehicle damage can be covered up to a certain dollar limit.

In addition to FR-19, drivers may choose to purchase full coverage insurance for additional protection. Full coverage insurance provides collision and comprehensive coverage that pays for repair or replacement of the policyholder’s car (after his or her deductible has been met). It also provides added protection such as extended warranties, gap insurance and rental car reimbursement if the insured vehicle is damaged beyond repair or needs more time at the repair shop than planned. This type of policy will generally cost more than FR-19 but offers drivers more peace of mind knowing their potential accident costs won’t come out of pocket.

With such diverse options available when it comes to car insurance in Delaware, drivers must weigh their options carefully and decide which type of coverage best suits their budget and lifestyle needs. As either type of policy can help offset some or all of the financial burden associated with being involved in a car accident, it’s important for drivers to select a plan that fits within their personal budget constraints while offering them adequate levels of protection.

No matter what type of car insurance you choose, understanding your policy is key so you know exactly what kind of expenses you are protected against in case of an accident. Now that we’ve discussed car insurance in Delaware let’s move on to our next section about what type of expenses are usually covered by insurance after a car accident.

Accident Expenses Covered By Insurance

When it comes to dealing with the financial costs of a car accident, Delaware law states that an insurance policy must provide coverage for the Medical Payment (Med-Pay) and Uninsured Motorist (UM) expenses. Med-Pay covers medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault in the accident. UM covers medical expenses and other damages if you are injured by an uninsured driver. It’s important to keep in mind that these policies do not always cover the full costs of an accident – many only extend coverage up to a certain limit.

While Med-Pay and UM policies can help offset the cost of an accident, some argue that they are not always enough to adequately compensate victims for their losses. Others are of the opinion that these policies provide a sufficient starting point for victims looking to cover their costs. In addition, there may be other forms of compensation available to accident victims, such as personal injury settlements or awards from tort claims. It is important for accident victims to understand their rights and potential course of action when seeking compensation after an accident.

The next section will explain the legal rights of accident victims when it comes to recovering damages and being compensated for their losses following a car crash in Delaware: Accident Victims’ Right to Compensation.

  • According to Delaware Code, drivers are required to have at least $10,000 of liability insurance coverage for bodily injury or death and/or $15,000 for property damage per accident.
  • In 2019, Delaware had 205 fatal motor vehicle crashes and a total of 11,625 nonfatal motor vehicle crashes.
  • According to the Delaware Department of Transportation, 74% of all fatal motor vehicle collisions involved drivers not wearing seat belts.

Accident Victims’ Right to Compensation

Accident victims in Delaware have the right to pursue compensation for any losses they sustain due to the negligence of another party. This right to compensation ranges from a variety of sources and may include recovery of medical costs, lost income, or physical and emotional damage done by the accident.

In some cases, innocent victims may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party to recover damages. However, in order to prevail on such a claim, the injured victim must clearly prove that he or she has incurred certain losses resulting from the defendant’s failure to ensure his or her safety at the time of the accident. In general, award amounts are based on the degree of fault attributed to each party, any prior settlements collected from other responsible parties, and other contributing factors as outlined by state law.

An alternative avenue for seeking financial restitution is through an insurance claim with one’s own insurer. Although this path often requires less effort than pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, there are specific regulations and stipulations that must be met which make this option complicated. Furthermore, insurers may disregard claims if sufficient evidence of the accident is not presented within a prescribed period of time. To qualify for maximum benefits after an accident it is critical that victims take advantage of all available resources including contacting a qualified lawyer or legal insurance provider.

Regardless of whether victims seek recovery through a lawsuit or an insurance claim (or both), they can rest assured that Delaware offers many reputable options for pursuing rightful compensation after an automobile accident.

The next section will discuss The Court System and Accident Law in Delaware and how such laws guide compensation for accident victims.

The Court System and Accident Law in Delaware

The court system and accident laws in Delaware may be confusing for those unfamiliar with the way it operates. Generally, civil claims, including car accidents and related litigation, must be brought to either Superior Court, the state’s trial court of general jurisdiction or the limited jurisdiction Court of Common Pleas. Depending on which court you file your claim in will depend on the kind of relief available.

In Delaware, all car accident claims must be brought within two years of the date of the incident. This timeframe is known as the statute of limitations. It can be extended if there are special circumstances surrounding the case. For example, if an injury wasn’t noticed until much later than two years after the accident, this could cause the timeline to be extended so that victims aren’t unable to achieve justice due to a delay in recognizing their injuries.

In order for a case to be successful on these grounds, plaintiffs should always work with experienced legal counsel who can effectively guide them throughout their case and explain laws that might apply to their claim such as liability limits and contributory negligence laws. Liability limits refer to a cap on damage awards enforced by the state that dictate how much an individual plaintiff can recover from their insurance policy or from an at-fault driver’s insurer after a crash. Contributory negligence laws exist to protect individuals who are partially responsible for causing an accident, but also suffered damages as a result of it. In Delaware, even partial responsibility – such as failing to obey a stop sign or driving while distracted – can reduce or deny plaintiffs any recovery they might otherwise be entitled to make it essential that individuals involved in a car accident consult with legal counsel right away.

Having a good understanding of the court system and accident laws in Delaware is key for anyone involved in a car accident because it can help ensure fair compensation and ensure that victims receive the justice they deserve. With expert legal guidance, victims can maximize their chances of forming a compelling case against an at-fault party or insurance company and have their rights properly protected in court.

To wrap up this section, it’s important to note that time is always a factor when filing any type of personal injury claim in Delaware given that car accident cases need to be brought within two years from the date of injury. Therefore, anyone involved in such an incident should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible for task guidance and advice when seeking compensation for damages incurred during an accident.

Now that we have gone over the court system and basic accident laws within Delaware, let’s now move into our next section about “Conclusion”.


When it comes to car accidents, Delaware law leaves a lot to be considered. The state’s fault-based system creates incentives for drivers to act responsibly and requires victims of negligence to be diligent in documenting their losses. It is important that drivers remain aware of their responsibilities as well as the rights of those affected by an accident.

For victims of negligent drivers, understanding their rights under the law helps make sure they receive fair compensation for their losses. While there may be some confusion surrounding other states’ laws when it comes to liability and compensation, Delaware’s standards are clear and provide ample opportunity for justice.

At the same time, Delaware’s fault-based system also places responsibility on drivers to exercise reasonable care when operating a vehicle. Negligent driving can lead to significant damages and have serious ramifications for all involved. With careful consideration and respect for the rules of the road, drivers can reduce the chances of being involved in an accident that might lead to costly litigation or penalties.

Ultimately, Delaware car accident laws emphasize the importance of acting responsibly when driving while also providing adequate protection to those injured by someone else’s negligence. Understanding how these laws work can help both drivers and victims understand their rights after a car accident occurs.

Answers to Common Questions with Explanations

Does Delaware follow a no-fault auto insurance system?

Yes, Delaware follows a no-fault auto insurance system. In this system, each driver responsible for an accident is covered by their own insurance policy regardless of who may be at fault in the accident. This helps limit liability while still allowing individual victims to be compensated and treated quickly after the accident. Additionally, both drivers are still able to pursue damages from any other parties found negligent in causing the accident. The no-fault system helps reduce long delays and legal costs associated with sorting out who is at fault for certain accidents in court.

When do I need to report an auto accident in Delaware?

If you have been involved in a car accident in Delaware, it is important to report the accident to the police as soon as possible. The Delaware Motor Vehicle Code requires that all drivers involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury or property damage of $500 or more must make a report within 24 hours. Even if damages are less than $500, the State of Delaware recommends filing an Accident Report Form with your insurance provider to ensure all parties are protected. Be sure to exchange contact and insurance information with any other drivers involved in the incident and take photographs at the scene if possible.

What typical penalties may I face if I am held liable for a car accident in Delaware?

If you are found liable for a car accident in Delaware, you may be subject to a variety of penalties, depending on the severity of the accident and its associated damages. Generally, these can include paying a fine, tires, court costs, restitution for any medical expenses or damage to property, and even jail time.

In more serious cases, such as if someone is injured or killed in the incident, punishments may be more severe and may include misdemeanors resulting in hefty fines and/or incarceration. The state also has stringent financial liability laws which impose limits on how much money can be recovered from an at-fault driver—and uninsured drivers may be penalized even further.

It’s important to note that civil and criminal penalties usually go hand-in-hand after a car accident in Delaware. Although the court will determine what the exact punishment is, typically there will be some combination of fines and jail time administered regardless of whether the defendant’s actions were deliberate or negligent. It is therefore important to know your rights and become familiar with local laws if you ever find yourself involved in a car accident.