When individuals suffer some sort of perceived injury, they often have legal remedies they can pursue to make themselves whole again. Civil personal injury lawsuits in Delaware make up a huge proportion of the cases that are decided in the courts.
Delaware injury laws use the legal theory of negligence in civil cases to determine which party in a civil case is at fault and how much of the fault they are responsible for.
In the legal world, the theory of negligence determines whether a person had a legal duty to help or care for another person and if they failed in fulfilling that duty. As it relates to injury laws in Delaware, businesses or individuals can be held liable for their failure to care for a person if there was a duty to do so.
Negligence laws can vary from state to state, but in Delaware, there is comparative negligence to account for. In order to prove a successful negligence claim, a party must prove that there was a duty of care, that the other party failed to meet that duty, that because of that failure you were injured, and that you actually suffered some loss.
Delaware has the unique position of having laws that cover both residents and commuters from surrounding states. Delaware is an “at fault” or “tort liability” state, meaning that if a motorist injured in a car accident wants to recover damages from another motorist involved in the crash, they must prove that the other person was at fault.
Delaware also uses modified comparative negligence to determine how much fault a given driver should be responsible for. A drive must be greater than 50 percent at fault in order for the other party to recover damages.
Delaware has one of the most favorable climates for persons seeking damages for pain and suffering. Individuals can recover economic or non-economic damages depending on the situation. Economic damages, for example, refer to more tangible losses like medical expenses or wages lost due to missing work as a result of an accident.
Non-economic damages relate to things like lost quality of life, future pain and suffering, or other abstract damages. These can be notoriously difficult to prove because they are so subjective. Monetary awards for damages are often set by attorneys using multiplier methods or their own unique formulas.
In cases of an animal attack, many states cut people a break if it’s the first time the dog has attacked someone. This is known as the “one bite rule.” In Delaware, however, there is strict liability regarding dog bites.
This means that no matter what happened in the past, the dog owner is responsible if someone gets bitten.
Delaware has some strict deadlines for filing a personal injury claim. This time limit (known as a statute of limitations) is thirty-six months from the date of the incident. If a claimant has not filed suit before that time runs out, he or she can no longer do so.
The statute of limitations is even shorter for claims against county, city, or state governments and is set at one year.
While the three-year window is long, many people don’t even know they can file a lawsuit or may not have been made aware that they could collect damages. The statute of limitations exists because as time goes on, cases become harder and harder to prove. Witnesses lose memory, die, or become uncooperative; evidence fades, disappears, or is harder to find; and circumstances in general change over time.