How Do You Prove Negligence in a Delaware Car Accident Claim?

How Do You Prove Negligence in a Delaware Car Accident Claim?At Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, we have the experience and resources to help you with any type of car accident – whether it’s a head-on crash, broadside, rear-ender, intersection accident, or a merging or passing accident. We represent drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicycle riders, and families throughout Delaware at our conveniently located offices in Newark, Wilmington, and Seaford.

As your attorneys, we have one job: to convince a judge, jury, or insurance company (in the case of settlement negotiations) that you deserve a fair and just award for the losses you sustained. That means we have to prove the other party’s negligence was the cause of the car accident. Successfully proving another driver’s negligence isn’t always easy; it’s why you want to hire a lawyer with years of experience, working relationships with different professionals, an understanding of the defenses that are likely to be asserted, an ability to negotiate with insurance companies, and an ability to argue your case before a jury. Every part of your case is built upon the part that came before it, starting with our very first meeting with you.

The initial consultation

We begin each car accident case by speaking with the person who was injured. If a loved one tragically died, we speak with the family members.

At the initial consultation, we’ll ask you questions about how the accident happened. We may even ask you to draw a diagram or give you some toy cars to show us what happened. Don’t worry. Many clients don’t have perfect recall. The initial consultation is just a way to get started.

How we work with investigators

We’ll normally send an investigator we work with to the car accident site. The investigator will observe and report back to us about many different details such as:

  • The nearest intersections
  • How many lanes of travel there were
  • The conditions of the road – were they straight or curved, were they asphalt or some other material, and how wide was the shoulder of the road?
  • Where the traffic lights and stop signs were
  • The speed limit on the road
  • Whatever other observations help establish the setting of the accident and the other driver’s negligence.


The investigator will try to see if there are any businesses or residences nearby that may have photographs or video of the accident.

How we work with the police

Normally, in Delaware, the police are called to the scene of an accident. They ensure that anyone who is hurt is taken to a hospital or burn center. They should obtain the license information, insurance information, and contact information about everyone involved.

The police will also conduct their own investigation to determine if any traffic citations should be issued and if any initial blame should be assessed.

We’ll obtain the police report that the police prepare. If necessary, we’ll also talk to the police about their investigation and their report.

When we work with traffic reconstruction experts

In some cases, we’ll request that traffic reconstruction experts we work with review what happened and make their own analysis of what happened. Traffic reconstruction experts are generally used in complex cases such as when there are three or more vehicles involved, cargo spilled from a truck, or when other complexities exist. They can build virtual or even 3-D models of the scene, and provide a digital representation of what happened and how, based on the evidence and data they have.

For example, if the damage to your car is in the rear of your vehicle, and the damage to the other driver’s car is in the front of his/her vehicle, then it was clearly a rear-end collision. A traffic reconstruction expert, however, can take look at the angle of impact, the amount of damage done, and the way the debris scattered across the road and use that information to show that the other driver hit you at a certain speed, or while trying to change lanes, and so forth.

You can see a demo version of what these videos can look like here.

How discovery can help us build a case for negligence

Our Delaware car accident lawyers make an initial assessment of who is liable for your injuries. In many car accident cases, just the other driver is liable. There may be times though when other defendants may also be responsible. These additional defendants may include:

  • The owner of the vehicle that struck you – if the owners and the drivers are different – such as when parents allow their teenager to use their car.
  • An employer of the driver who hit you.
  • The Delaware Department of Transportation if they failed to properly design the road
  • A manufacturer if a defective car part such as defective brakes caused your accident

Once we determine who is responsible for your accident, we file a complaint against every defendant.  We then proceed to ask formal written questions (called interrogatories) of each defendant. These questions examine many issues such as where the driver that struck you started their journey, whether they might have been distracted when the accident happened, how fast they were going, who else was in their vehicle, where they were traveling too, how tired they might be, and many other questions. We’ll also ask many questions of the other defendants depending on their role in the crash.

In addition to written questions, we ask oral questions (depositions) of the defendants and any witnesses. The other witnesses (who aren’t defendants) may include the passengers in the vehicles involved, any drivers in nearby cars, and anyone else who might have seen the accident.

Please know that while we have the right to question everyone about how the car accident happened, the lawyers for the defendants have the right to ask you questions. We’ll help prepare you for these questions by reviewing the questions that are likely to be asked – before the defense lawyers ask you.

All of this information is used to prove another driver’s negligence in your car accident case. We can help. Call the Delaware car accident lawyers of Silverman, McDonald & Friedman today or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation at our offices in Wilmington, Newark, or Seaford today.