What You Need to Know about Auto Accident Lawsuits in Delaware
Protecting the rights of those injured in collisions and crashes in Wilmington, Seaford and Newcastle and beyond
For most people, going to trial is a scary proposition. But you might need to file a lawsuit if you are unable to reach an agreement on a settlement with the insurance company. Furthermore, if you have been injured in a catastrophic car accident where you required surgery for your injuries, and you’re likely to lose significant time at work or suffer lasting effects from your injuries, a lawsuit might be appropriate.
You might be new to the law, but we’re not. The Delaware auto accident lawyers of Silverman, McDonald & Friedman have been helping families in Newark, Seaford, and Wilmington and throughout the state for years. We walk you through the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit in Delaware, explore all of your options, and keep our phones on in case you have questions you forgot to ask (or a case of nerves when you’re not here).
What kinds of damages might I recover in a car accident lawsuit?
Auto accident lawsuits typically claim two kinds of damages, or compensation: economic and non-economic. Economic losses can include property damage, loss of income and medical expenses, such as rehabilitation or prescription drug costs. Non-economic damages include things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium/ spousal companionship
Delaware also allows for punitive damages, which may be awarded when a person’s injury resulted from an act of malice, or to punish the negligent party. They’re not always awarded, and most personal injury lawsuits, under normal circumstances, don’t seek punitive damages as part of their compensation package. For example: we might seek punitive damages from a manufacturer who knowingly put a defective auto part in a car, without warning the public that it could fail under certain circumstances.
The process of a car accident injury lawsuit
As the person initiating the case, you are the plaintiff. You file a petition or complaint with the civil court, which includes the damages you are seeking. The driver who caused your injuries is the defendant. You will serve the defendant with the lawsuit and they will have a specific amount of time in which to respond with an answer, in which the defendant will either admit to the allegations or deny them with a counterclaim. You would then be required to answer the defendant’s counterclaims within a specific period of time. There is a legal time limit, called the statute of limitations, within which you must file your lawsuit. In Delaware you have two years from the date of the injury to file your case.
The judge can set a date for the trial, but they could also order your case to mediation, which is an alternative dispute resolution process where a neutral third party seeks to work with both sides to come up with a mutually acceptable agreement. If the mediation process fails and the two parties are still unable to agree, the case goes moves on to trial. If this happens, you may have either a bench trial where the judge will hear and rule on your case or a jury trial where the judge hears the evidence and the jury decides on the merits of the case.
Discovery is the time when both sides investigate the accident through a deposition, which is an interview conducted under oath that will be used in court, and interrogatories which are requests for written answers to questions.
At any stage in the process you can decide to settle the case. Working with a knowledgeable car accident attorney at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman gives you the benefit of our years of experience fighting for the rights of our injured clients in trial and obtaining the best settlement possible for them in negotiations. When you work with us, you will not pay any legal fees up front. You only pay when we have won your case.
Contact a team of auto accident attorneys who will represent your best interests
If you have been injured in a car crash or collision in Delaware, the skilled auto accident attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman will zealously fight to protect your legal rights. To schedule your initial consultation to discuss the details of your case, please call us at 302-888-2900 or complete our quick contact form. Our offices are located in Wilmington, Newark and Seaford for your convenience.