Being in a car collision is stressful and expensive enough. You may lose time at work, and you may be faced with car repairs or medical costs, too. On top of these stress factors, you shouldn’t have to worry about extra costs or your car insurance coverage.
However, many drivers who have been involved in a car accident in Delaware are worried their insurance premiums will increase after their collision. Quite a bit of misinformation exists about this topic, but Delaware laws are clear. According to Delaware Administrative Code, Title 18, Section 609, “No surcharge shall be imposed against a named insured or any person insured under the policy for any claim paid by an insurer arising from a not at-fault accident.”
Who Was at Fault?
If you’re wondering whether you were at fault in your car collision, the Delaware Administrative Code states “…an accident shall be considered at fault if more than 50% of the fault is assessed to the insured.” The Code goes on to explain a single car accident is generally considered an “at-fault accident”.
As defined by these laws, if you have been in a car accident in Delaware, you may or may not see an increase in insurance premiums, based on what caused the accident. If you are found to be more than half at fault for causing the accident (more than 50%) and your insurance carrier pays you benefits for the accident injuries and damages, your insurance costs may increase. Even if you were only found to be 55% at fault, your insurance rates may go up. If there was no other car involved in the accident, your premiums may also be raised.
On the other hand, your premiums should not increase if you were not at fault. Even if you have contributed to the accident but are found to be less than 50% at fault, your insurance costs should not increase.
What to Do in a Car Accident
What you do during a car accident can help you file a car accident claim and can help you avoid having your insurance rates go up:
Stay at the scene of the accident and exchange contact information. If you leave the scene of the accident, you may be accused of a hit and run, which is a criminal offense and will drive up insurance costs. Make sure you exchange contact information and insurance information, too, so the other driver cannot accuse you of leaving the scene of the accident.
Stay calm and stick to the facts. Avoid apologizing profusely or getting into a debate about who caused the collision. Let the police and attorneys sort that out. Instead, ask whether the other party needs you to call 911, and exchange information.
Take photos and gather as much evidence as possible. Take as many photos as possible of the cars and the scene where the accident took place. If there was an uneven road or a slippery surface, make sure to capture that, as it may contribute to your case. Get the contact information of any witnesses as well, and if you have to go to the hospital, get copies of medical records.
File a police report. Talk to the police and get a copy of the police report. Make sure it is an accurate reflection of what happened. Ask the police to correct any obvious mistakes.
What to Do After a Car Accident
In the hours, days and weeks after your collision, you will want to:
Take care of your health. If you may have hit your head or suffered an injury, get a full medical evaluation at once, even if you feel fine. Some serious and even fatal injuries are not always obvious. If you have an injury, follow all doctors’ advice and get all the treatment you need.
File your claim. Contact the insurance company to file a claim and to report the accident.
Know when to contact accident lawyers. If you are accused of causing the accident or if there are any problems with insurance, contact an attorney. If the accident resulted in serious injuries, you will likely need to maximize your claim, which means you should contact an experienced car accident attorney.
Keep an eye on your financial statements and insurance statements. If you notice any unusual charges or withdrawals in your accounts or if your insurance company tries to raise your rates, contact an attorney. If your insurer is acting in bad faith, there are legal remedies available.
What Can An Attorney Do?
If you are in an auto accident, an attorney can gather evidence of what really happened. An attorney has access to investigators, medical experts, engineers, expert witnesses, accident reconstruction experts and other professionals who can offer a fuller picture of what led to an accident. In addition, an attorney can seek out all liable parties and present evidence of who was at fault. If an insurance company is acting in bad faith or trying to make a lowball offer, attorneys have the insurance industry knowledge to counter these actions and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Are You Having Insurance Issues After a Car Collision in Delaware?
Not every insurance carrier will honor the rules. If you have been in an accident and you feel your insurance premiums have been increased in violation of the law or if you have other insurance concerns, contact Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya to speak to an attorney. We may be able to help you sort out potential insurance problems or questions you may have.