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Modified Comparative Negligence and Car Accidents in Delaware

Wilmington Delaware Car Accident Attorney

After a car accident, it’s not uncommon for an insurance agent to contact an injury victim in order to ask a few questions. In most cases, agents present themselves in a way that suggests they are simply doing their “due diligence” – checking up on you to make sure you’re receiving the care you need and are feeling better. At the same time, however, an insurance agent may ask what you remember about the car accident, what caused it, or what you remember right before the collision itself.

After establishing a measure of trust and concern, it’s not uncommon for injury victims to answer these kinds of questions under the assumption they are helping an agent gather important facts necessary for finalizing a claims payout.

Be Careful What you Tell an Insurance Agent

Unfortunately, most insurance agents aren’t personally interested in whether or not you’re actually feeling better or on the mend. In reality, they’re interested in getting you to talk about the accident in the hope you’ll say something they can later use against you to reduce the amount they have to pay out for your accident. Here, if you say something that suggests you were partially at fault for causing the accident you were injured in, your claims payout can be reduced or withheld altogether.

The Doctrine of Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule

The state of Delaware follows the principle of modified comparative negligence – 51% rule. According to this rule, if you are 51% or more at fault in a car accident, you aren’t eligible to receive compensation for your losses. If the court determines that you are 50% or less responsible, you can recover damages reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. For example, if you suffered $100,000 in damages but are found to be 40% at fault, you can only recover $60,000 in damages.

Insurance companies are aware of the doctrine of modified comparative negligence – 51% rule. As a result, anything they can use to convince the court you are partially or totally at fault will result in a reduction in the amount they have to pay in claims.

Contact Michael Hood Before Talking to an Insurance Claims Agent

Insurance companies are in business to make money, pure and simple.  As a result, they have an incentive to reduce costs and minimize claim payouts. Most car accident victims are not familiar with the tactics used by claims agents when contacted by them. Once you retain an attorney, however, the insurer has to talk to your legal representative and avoid contacting you.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact Wilmington Delaware personal injury lawyer online Michael Hood today. We will handle all communications with insurers and take steps to ensure your rights and interests are protected.