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Delaware Negligence Laws

Let’s say you were the passenger in a car that tried to beat a red light through an intersection in Wilmington, but a driver turning left across your lane tried the same thing and collided with the car you were riding in. Who is at fault for your injuries, and do you have a legal claim based on negligence? How do negligence cases work, and what laws does the First State have regarding who is responsible for your injuries? This is a brief summary of negligence laws in Delaware.

General Negligence Law

Negligence, as a legal matter, tries to determine whether a person has a duty of care to another, and whether he or she failed in fulfilling that duty. If so, he or she may be liable for any resulting injuries. Taking the above example, if Patty is driving you to work and she collides with Paul’s car turning left, she might be held liable for negligence. In Delaware, Paul may also be liable under a doctrine known as “contributory negligence.”

Therefore you could file a negligence claim against both Paul and Connie jointly, or one or the other separately. The concept of contributory negligence, however, could bar recovery in a negligence claim if the defendant was also responsible for his or her injuries. There are limits to contributory negligence. For instance, if you weren’t wearing your seatbelt in the above example, that likely wouldn’t count as contributory negligence under in Delaware.

Negligence Laws in Delaware

State negligence laws can vary depending on their particular civil justice system. Negligence laws in Delaware are highlighted in the chart below.

Code Section Tit. 10 §8132
Comparative Negligence -
Contributory Negligence-Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery Claimant's contributory negligence does not bar recovery if such negligence is not greater than the defendant(s) negligence. But any awarded are diminished in proportion to claimant's attributed negligence (Tit. 10 §8132)
Contribution Among Tortfeasors Yes; Tit. 10 §§6301 to 6308
Uniform Act Yes; Tit. 10 §§6301 to 6308
Negligence Cases

In order to have a successful claim, there are several elements of a negligence case you must prove in court:

  • Duty: the other party owed to a duty of care;
  • Breach of Duty: the other party failed to meet that duty;
  • Cause in Fact: but for the other party’s failure, you would not have been injured;
  • Proximate Cause: the other party’s failure (and not something else) caused your injury; and
  • Damages: you have actually been injured and suffered some loss.

Delaware Negligence Laws: Related Resources

Understanding the ins and outs of negligence law can be tricky. You can visit FindLaw's section on Negligence for more articles and resources on this topic.

Your Next Steps: Get a Free Legal Consultation

When you've been injured in an accident, the last thing you may want to think about is going to court. However, it may be necessary to enter the legal process in order to be compensated for your injuries. After all, why should you have to foot the bill for someone else's negligence? Fortunately, you can make the process easier by contacting a Delaware personal injury attorney near you. Call one today to receive a free review of your case and advice on the next steps.

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