Although Delaware traffic laws can be troublesome for those who accidentally find themselves on the wrong end of the law, the truth is that they are no more complicated than similar laws in other jurisdictions. Many traffic violations arise by accident rather than malicious intent, and in both Delaware and elsewhere, this can be a mitigating factor when navigating the legal demands and potential punishments of such violations. This is true even in federal cases.
In Delaware and many other states around the United States, traffic laws can be quite contentious because the essence of a traffic law case is determining which driver out of two or even several was mostly at fault. Each state is different in terms of whether it considers traffic accidents from a “fault” or “no-fault” perspective.
No-Fault Traffic Laws And Violations
In a “no-fault” state, an individual who is injured in a car accident cannot sue the other driver in order to impose punitive damages or receive compensation for pain and suffering, medical loss, and so on. In no-fault states, all drivers are expected to have additional coverage in their car insurance called Personal Injury Protection insurance. This type of insurance will cover the cost of lost wages, medical bills, and rehabilitation costs.
“Fault” States Including Delaware
Unlike many other states, Delaware is a state that operates under a fault system. The fault system means that all parties to a traffic accident must be extremely careful in terms of the steps that they take once a car accident has occurred. The types of penalties that may be imposed in civil court in response to a traffic accident are much broader than they are in the no-fault states.
The “degree of fault” factor impacts insurance protection as well as the rights of each individual in a car accident to seek damages from the other. In order to seek damages, including pain and suffering, an individual in a car accident must show that he or she was not at fault, or that his or her fault was greatly eclipsed by the fault of the other driver.
In fault states like Delaware, the amount that a person harmed by a car accident can collect in civil court is not capped as strenuously as in no-fault states. In other words, it is possible – although very rare – for the victim of a traffic accident in Delaware to collect tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars from the party who is at fault on the basis of emotional distress.
However, this is not usually the case. Most of the damages collected will be related to:
– Medical bills up to the amount spent on medical care.
– Physical damage to your vehicle caused by the accident.
– Ongoing rehabilitation costs, if any, related to the injury.
– Lost wages as a direct result of injury or loss of transportation.
When you are involved in an automobile accident in Delaware, even if you clearly feel that you were not at fault and you believe the evidence is obvious, you must begin immediately to work toward establishing your lack of fault. This makes Delaware traffic laws much more challenging for most people to navigate!
Establishing That You Are Not At Fault
Knowing the rules of the road can help you to avoid involvement in many traffic crimes. You can avoid tickets by being a conscientious driver, obeying traffic stops, signs, signals, rules, and regulations, being aware of traffic cameras, and keeping a Delaware law firm or attorney close at hand in case something happens.
However, if you are involved in a traffic accident of any kind, you will want to build up a case that you were not at fault. Whether the proceedings that go forth are criminal or civil, you will be better protected if you take certain steps. First of all, get in touch with a Delaware attorney who can mediate with insurance and the authorities on your behalf.
Secondly, get all the details that you can about your driving record and your car. If you have a good driving record up until the present, this will help you to establish a reduced fault in the event of any proceedings. Likewise, if you can show that your car is regularly maintained and is not likely to suffer from mechanical defects resulting in accidents, this can also help.
In criminal and civil traffic proceedings in Delaware, character witnesses can also be of great value in establishing that you are the kind of person who follows traffic laws. Steps that you may have taken to reduce your insurance premiums, such as taking defensive driving classes, can also be helpful in building your case in court.
Criminal Charges For Traffic Violations
Naturally, civil penalties and lawsuits arising from traffic violations are not the only issues that you should be concerned with. You may also have to defend yourself criminally if it is found that you caused an accident by a gross violation such as ignoring a road sign or driving while under the influence of alcohol or prohibited substances.
Criminal traffic cases in which others were injured and in which fault is clearly established can be serious felonies. If you feel that you may have been at fault in such a case, you should speak to a lawyer on the day of the accident if at all possible. The combination of criminal and civil penalties in Delaware can be very severe, and an experienced criminal defense attorney’s help may be invaluable.
Our Delaware criminal defense lawyers serve all of Delaware including Wilmington, Newark, University of Delaware, Pike Creek, Hockessin, New Castle, Bear, Glasgow, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Magnolia, Little Creek, Milford, Laurel, Millsboro,, Seaford, Milton, Greenwood, Dagsboro, Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island & Ocean View, DE.