After a car accident in Delaware, it helps to have an understanding of the state laws that could affect any insurance claim or lawsuit that might be filed over the crash -- by you, another driver, or a passenger. This page offers a guide to the Delaware-specific resources on All-About-Car-Accidents.com, including the state laws and car insurance rules that might come into play. We’ll also provide tips on when it might be a good idea to contact a Delaware car accident lawyer for help with your claim.
Delaware Car Accident Laws
After a car accident in Delaware, if you decide to file a liability claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver, there are a few state laws to know about, starting with the time limit for getting a lawsuit started in Delaware’s civil court system. This type of law is called a statute of limitations, and every state has one. There are different time limits for different kinds of cases.
In Delaware, whether you are filing a lawsuit for personal injury or vehicle damage after a car accident, you have two years from the date of the crash to file the lawsuit in Delaware’s civil court system -- that means getting the initial complaint filed to start the case). You can find this law on the books at Delaware Code Title 10, Ch. 81, Sections 8107 and 8119. If you don’t get your complaint filed before the statutory deadline passes, the court will almost certainly refuse to hear your case at all. So it’s critical to follow the statute of limitations as it applies to your case.
Get details on other state laws that could impact your car accident case in our article Car Accident Laws in Delaware.
Delaware Car Insurance Requirements and Rules
If you’re making an injury or vehicle damage claim after a car accident in Delaware, car insurance coverage will almost certainly play a big role, whether you are going under your own policy or against the at-fault driver’s carrier (the latter is known as a third party car insurance claim). Here is a brief overview of Delaware’s car insurance rules and requirements:
- Delaware is a “fault” or “tort” car insurance state, which simply means that after a car accident you are free to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. (A dozen or so states follow a no-fault system, but Delaware is not one.)
- The minimum car insurance coverage requirements for drivers in Delaware are: $15,000 per person for death or injury, $30,000 per accident if more than one person is killed or injured (but no one person may receive more than $15,000), and $10,000 per accident for damage to someone else’s property, including buildings.
- Car insurance companies in Delaware are required to offer uninsured motorist coverage to anyone buying or renewing a car insurance policy, but the customer is free to decline UIM coverage in writing; drivers aren’t required to carry UIM coverage in the state.
For more details, check out Delaware Car Insurance Laws and Regulations.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Delaware
If your car accident claim is fairly straightforward, you might not need to hire a lawyer. This is especially true if the other driver’s insurance carrier is admitting that its insured was at fault for the accident, and if you didn’t suffer significant injuries in the crash. As long as you’re comfortable doing so, you can probably handle that kind of claim yourself.
But if the other driver’s insurer is pointing the finger at you when it comes to liability for the car accident, or if you were seriously injured, things can get contentious and complicated very quickly. In that case, it might be a good idea to discuss your situation with a local car accident lawyer in Delaware. Remember that most car accident lawyers represent their clients on a contingency basis, meaning that you don’t pay unless you receive a successful settlement or court award.
A good attorney knows how to handle the back-and-forth of settlement negotiations with car insurance adjusters and other lawyers, and will make sure your rights are protected at every stage in the claim process, including filing a car accident lawsuit in the Delaware civil court system if it comes to that.