Car crashes in Delaware can be disorienting and jarring, and it may be difficult to think clearly about how the accident happened or whether you may be eligible to hold another party accountable for the collision. In some cases, people who are injured in auto accidents worry that the crash was partially their own fault even though there are obvious signs that another motorist was responsible for the collision. You may be wondering: if you believe you were partially at fault for the accident in which you sustained serious injuries, should you still consider filing a car accident claim? In many cases, the answer is yes. While you should have a Delaware car accident attorney assess your case, it is important to know that Delaware has a modified comparative fault law that allows injured plaintiffs to recover damages even when they are partially at fault. Our Delaware car accident lawyers can provide you with more information.
Do Not Admit Fault
Before we explain how you may still be eligible to recover damages even if you were partially at fault for the accident in which you were injured, we need to emphasize first that you should avoid admitting fault to anyone connected to the crash. At the scene of the accident, even if you think you might have been partially to blame, you should never admit fault and you should not apologize to anyone involved in the accident. Similarly, when you report the accident to your own auto insurer, it is critical to avoid making any statements that could be construed as admissions of fault.
You might think your own negligence played a role in the accident, but you might not actually have been at fault at all. Further, admitting fault or apologizing can lead the insurance company to deny your claim, or could lead the defendant in your car accident lawsuit to raise the issue of comparative fault or comparative negligence as a defense strategy. Before you make any subjective statements concerning fault, you should have an attorney assess your case.
Plaintiffs Can Often Recover Damages Even If They Were Partially Negligent
Even if the defendant in your car accident lawsuit is able to prove that your own negligence was a partial cause of the car accident, it is essential to know that you may still be eligible to obtain damages to help compensate you for your losses. Under Delaware law, a plaintiff can recover damages as long as that plaintiff is not 51% or more at fault. As long as the plaintiff is less than 51% at fault, the plaintiff will recover damages, but the award will simply be reduced by the percentage of the plaintiff’s fault. Here is what the statute says:
“In all actions brought to recover damages for negligence which results in death or injury to person or property, the fact that the plaintiff may have been contributorily negligent shall not bar a recovery by the plaintiff . . . where such negligence was not greater than the negligence of the defendant or the combined negligence of all defendants against whom recovery is sought, but any damages awarded shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributed to the plaintiff.”
Contact a Delaware Car Accident Lawyer Today
Many people who are injured in motor vehicle collisions in Delaware can recover damages by filing a claim, even in cases where the injured plaintiff may have been partially at fault for the accident. Accordingly, you should certainly consider filing a claim even if you are concerned that your own negligence played a role in the crash. One of our Delaware car accident attorneys can speak with you today about your case. Contact Freibott Law online or call our firm in Wilmington at (302) 633-9000.