Putting Our Knowledge to the Test by Addressing Your Personal Injury Concerns
An injury in its own right can produce a lot of questions. Will you be okay? How long will it take to heal? How much will your recovery cost? No doubt as you pursue an injury claim, you’ll have even more concerns and questions. However, that’s where we come in. Come see how our extensive knowledge and dedication to helping our clients can help answer all of your legal questions…and then some.
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Is motorcycle lane splitting legal in Delaware?
Maneuvering one's motorcycle between slow-moving lanes of traffic, commonly known as lane splitting, is a popular practice among motorcyclists. However, while lane splitting is only explicitly legal in California, most states—including Delaware—don't address the issue at all in their code of regulations, making the practice technically legal by default. According to one U.C. Berkeley study, lane splitting is a factor in nearly one-fifth of all motorcycle accidents.
Though Legal, Lane Splitting Can Have Devastating Consequences
Motorists failing to watch for motorcyclists is a common cause of motorcycle accidents. Since motorists do not always think about sharing the road with motorcyclists , they don’t expect motorcyclists to pass them in slowed traffic. Fortunately for motorcyclists injured in crashes caused by a motorist's negligence, failing to see a motorcycle doesn't absolve drivers from responsibility for accidents and injuries.
Motorcyclists who were injured in accidents caused by another person or entity's negligence may be entitled to compensation. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, motorcycle accident victims may be able to pursue a financial recovery for damages such as:
- Accident-related medical expenses (including future medical costs)
- Motorcycle repair or replacement costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring or disfigurement
Sadly, in some instances, motorists may claim that a motorcyclist's lane splitting was the true cause of an accident. When this happens, it's extremely important for motorcyclists to have knowledgeable and experienced legal representation.
Consult a Skilled Delaware Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident involving lane splitting, the seasoned motorcycle accident attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can investigate your case, help you understand your legal rights and options, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Do you have questions about a Delaware motorcycle accident? Contact us today to schedule a free initial case consultation. Act now, as the time to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit is limited.
Is it possible to make a financial recovery for pain and suffering in a Delaware wrongful death case?
Delaware law gives the surviving spouse, children, parents, or siblings of those killed in accidents caused by the negligence of another person or entity the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation for economic and non-economic losses related to their loved one's death. Which of these relatives has a claim depends on who else has a claim. Examples of wrongful death damages include:
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
- Wages and benefits the victim would have provided
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of love, care, companionship, or guidance
- Loss of marital, parental, or household services
- Mental anguish
While wrongful death claims address losses surviving family members incurred as a result of their loved one's death, they don't address the losses the victim incurred before passing away. Fortunately, Delaware law has a legal mechanism for doing just that: the survival action.
Brought by an eligible surviving family member or the representative of the victim's estate, a survival action allows claimants to fight for compensation for their deceased loved one's economic and non-economic damages, including accident-related medical expenses the victim incurred prior to death, property damage repair or replacement costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Talk to an Experienced Delaware Attorney About Your Survival Action or Wrongful Death Case
Losing someone you love because of another person's negligence can be absolutely devastating. While the compensation obtained via a survival action or wrongful death claim can never fill the hole their death left in your life, it can ensure that the at-fault party is held financially accountable and give you the support your beloved family member would have wanted.
Do you have questions about filing a survival action or wrongful death claim in Delaware? The skilled attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you understand your legal rights and options for compensation. If collecting a financial award for your family member's pain and suffering is important to you, our attorneys can advise you on how to build a strong survival action. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a complimentary, no-obligation initial case consultation.
Can I recover damages if I wasn’t wearing a seat belt?
There's no question that seat belts are life-saving safety devices. In fact, seat belt use saved an estimated 14,668 lives in 2016 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Research has shown, time and time again, that wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to prevent serious accident-related injuries and deaths.
After being injured in a crash caused by another person or entity's negligence, accident victims may be entitled to a wide range of economic and non-economic damages, including medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more. However, accident victims who weren't wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash may be hesitant to pursue the compensation they're owed out of concern that their lack of seat belt use could be used as evidence of comparative or contributory negligence.
Fortunately, Chapter 21, § 4802 of the Delaware Code prohibits an accident victim's failure to wear a seat belt from being used as evidence for comparative and contributory negligence claims in any civil trial or insurance claim adjudication. As a result, accident victims are still eligible to seek and collect compensation for injuries and other losses—even if they weren't wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Consult a Skilled Attorney About Your Car Accident Case
Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney can help you build a strong car accident insurance claim or lawsuit. Not only can a knowledgeable attorney help you understand your legal rights and options after a Delaware car accident, but they can also help you fight for the compensation you deserve and navigate each and every step of the personal injury legal process.
Contact the Morris James Personal Injury Group today to request a free initial case consultation. Our attorneys are happy to meet with you to discuss the details of your case.
What should I keep in my vehicle in case I'm in an accident?
Most people don't expect to be involved in an auto accident while going about their daily business, despite the fact that car crashes are far from rare. In fact, more than 37,000 people are killed—and an additional 2.35 million are injured—in auto accidents each year in the United States, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT).
Even if you don't think you'll actually be in an accident, it's important to be prepared—just in case disasters strikes. Keeping an accident preparedness kit in your car, truck, SUV or minivan helps ensure that you and your family have life-saving essentials on hand in the event of an emergency. Accident preparedness kits should include:
- First aid kit. The kit should be stocked with antiseptic, gauze, bandages, and other essentials.
- Auto escape tool. These tools allow trapped motorists to escape from submerged vehicles by slicing through locked seat belts and breaking the automotive glass with a specially designed hammer.
- Flashlight. Keep extra batteries with the flashlight or, to eliminate the need for batteries, choose a wind-up flashlight.
- Road flares or emergency triangles. Having an accident at night can be dangerous—for accident victims and other motorists. Setting these items up at the scene of the accident can help make it more visible to other motorists.
- List of emergency contacts. Keep a handwritten or typed list of emergency contacts in the glove box, so that they can be accessed, even if a smartphone is broken or has a dead battery.
- Blanket and towel. These items can help motorists stay warm after a cold-weather wreck or be soaked in water and used to put out an automotive fire.
- Fire extinguisher. Also essential for putting out automotive fires.
- Multi-tool. Pliers, screwdrivers, pocketknives, and other included tools may be useful in an emergency.
- Notepad and pen. These items are perfect for taking notes about the accident, as well as writing down contact and insurance information for other drivers, and contact information for passengers and witnesses.
- Disposable camera. This is a crucial item to have on hand, just in case a smartphone is broken or dead.
- Food and water. A jug of clean water and non-perishable snacks like crackers, cookies, dried fruit, protein bars, and more can help wrecked motorists stave off hunger until they're found.
Experienced Representation for Victims of Wilmington, DE Car Accidents
Were you injured in a car accident caused by someone else's negligence? The knowledgeable attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you explore your legal rights and options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial review of your case.
How do I obtain a car accident police report in Delaware?
When police are summoned to a car crash, the responding officer talks to those involved, surveys the scene, and completes an accident report. This report usually contains the opinions of the investigating officer, as well as detailed information about the accident, including:
- Time, date, and location
- Relevant weather and road conditions
- Makes, models, and license plate numbers of the involved vehicles
- Contact information, insurance information, and statements from involved drivers
- Contact information and statements from passengers and witnesses
Though police accident reports aren't admissible in court for the purpose of proving negligence, they can still provide crash victims—and their personal injury attorneys—with valuable information. Unfortunately, in Delaware, people involved in car accidents don't automatically receive a copy of the police report. They can, however, request a copy of the police report from the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident.
How Can I Obtain a Copy of the Police Report?
To obtain a copy of an accident report from the Delaware State Police, crash victims must send a request to Delaware State Police, Traffic Operations Section, P.O. Box 430, Dover, DE 19903, along with a copy of the Collision Information Exchange form given to them by the investigating officer. The fee—which must accompany the request for the police accident report—is $25 for a standard collision report or $60 for a fatal collision report. Accident victims with questions about obtaining a report can call 302-739-5931 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The process to obtain an accident report from municipal police departments is similar, though the exact details vary. Call the specific law enforcement agency that responded to the accident for additional information.
Do You Need an Experienced Car Accident Attorney?
Can I collect damages for emotional and psychological injuries after an accident?
It's not uncommon for people who have been the victim of a defective product or involved in a car, truck, motorcycle or slip-and-fall accident to have serious physical injuries that require expensive medical treatments or time away from work, or even limit their ability to hold a job or care for themselves.
Physical Injuries Aren't the Only Kinds of Harm That Personal Injury Victims Face
Depending on the severity of the incident or the physical injuries sustained, some victims may go on to develop emotional or psychological injuries as a result. Such injuries can affect victims in many of the same ways that physical injuries can, including requiring them to seek medical treatment and take time off of work to recover.
Fortunately, just like Delaware law gives accident and personal injury victims the right to seek compensation for medical expenses—including treatment for related mental health conditions—it also allows them to pursue damages for the mental suffering itself. This type of compensation falls under the category of non-economic damages and is often referred to as “mental anguish,” a term that encompasses a wide variety of mental suffering, including depression, anxiety, grief, fear, and distress.
Consult a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Attorney
Because mental anguish is a non-quantifiable type of damage, it's value is determined by a judge or jury based on the evidence the plaintiff and his attorney have presented. This is just one of many reasons why it's important to consult an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you build a strong case.
If you sustained serious physical and mental injuries as a result of another person or entity's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for a wide range of damages. The skilled attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you understand your legal rights, as well as explore your options for compensation. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial review of your case.
Can my employer fire me for filing a workers' compensation claim?
More than 4.1 million workers sustain serious work-related injuries each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). After an on-the-job accident, injured workers may face significant physical and financial challenges. Oftentimes, Delaware workers' compensation benefits can help alleviate some of the financial stress associated with a workplace injury. However, injured workers are sometimes hesitant to file a workers' compensation claim, fearing that doing so will jeopardize their employment.
Delaware Workers' Comp Laws
Delaware's workers' compensation laws expressly forbid employers from discriminating against or firing an employee simply because they've submitted a claim for workers' compensation benefits, or have testified or plan to testify in a workers' compensation case. While this may sound like good news, injured workers shouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. As an at-will employment state, employers in Delaware have the right to fire a worker at any time, for any reason—or even no reason at all—and they aren't even legally required to give the employee notice.
Unscrupulous employers can put an injured workers' ability to collect workers' compensation benefits for an on-the-job injury in serious jeopardy. Fortunately, an experienced and knowledgeable Wilmington, DE workers' compensation lawyer can help injured workers protect their rights.
Our Skilled Delaware Workers' Compensation Lawyers Can Help Navigate the System
If you were injured in a Delaware on-the-job accident, workers' compensation benefits can help cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and more. However, some employers may try to use the “at-will employment” loophole to deny you the benefits you deserve. Don't let this happen to you. Attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can review your case and help you understand your options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.
What if my car accident was caused by a drowsy driver?
Life is busy and, as a result, many are burning the proverbial candle at both ends. Though driving while tired may not seem on par with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, research shows it can have the same impairing effects. Drugged, drowsy, and drunk drivers all experience slowed reactions, decreased focus, and impaired judgment and decision-making ability.
Drowsy driving is extremely prevalent and, yet, many people remain unaware of the danger it poses. According to research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other federal agencies, more than 72,000 accidents involving drowsy drivers were reported to police each year from 2009 to 2013; annually, these crashes injured more than 41,000 people and killed more than 800.
Unfortunately, Delaware Isn't Immune to the Problem of Drowsy Driving
In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an analysis of a Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) telephone survey it conducted in 2009 and 2010. Of the more than 4,100 Delawareans who participated in the survey, more than 100 admitted to having fallen asleep while driving at least once in the past month.
Drivers or passengers who were severely injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, property damage costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. However, proving that an excessively fatigued driver caused an accident can be challenging, as many drivers may be reluctant to admit that their lack of adequate rest resulted in an accident, injury, or fatality. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney with experience handling motor vehicle accidents knows just what to look for when investigating a drowsy driving crash.
Were Your Injuries Caused by a Drowsy Driver?
If you were injured in an accident caused by a fatigued driver's negligence, attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you explore your legal rights and options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case analysis.
My workers' compensation claim was denied, what now?
For injured workers, having a workers' compensation claim denied can be confusing, frustrating, and maybe even a little bit scary. Fortunately, a denied claim is not the end of the road for workers seeking compensation for injuries sustained in the workplace. Delaware's workers' compensation laws give claimants multiple opportunities to appeal if their claim is denied.
My Delaware Workers' Compensation Claim Was Denied, What Do I Do Now?
The first step is to appeal the denial to the Industrial Affairs Board (IAB) through the Delaware Office of Workers' Compensation. Immediately after receiving notice that the claim was denied, the injured worker can start the appeals process by submitting a Petition to Determine Compensation Due to the Office of Workers' Compensation. State statute of limitation laws requires this petition to be filed within two years of the date of the injury.
After the petition is filed, the employer and injured employee file pre-trial memorandums, attend a pre-trial scheduling conference, and present their cases to the IAB. Once both sides have finished introducing evidence and calling witnesses, the IAB gives its decision in writing.
For many injured workers, this is the end of the journey. However, the IAB does not always reverse the initial claim denial and, when they don't, workers can feel like they are right back to square one. Though it may feel like it, that is not the case, as injured workers can press on and appeal their claim denial through the state court system.
After the worker receives the IAB's decision upholding the initial claim denial, they have 30 days to file an appeal with the Superior Court in the same county where the workplace injury took place. If the Superior Court also denies the claim, the final chance for appeal rests with the Delaware State Supreme Court. Injured workers must appeal to the state Supreme Court within 30 days of the Superior Court's claims denial.
Consult an Experienced Wilmington, DE Workers' Compensation Attorney
A denied workers' compensation claim does not mean that you are ineligible for benefits. A skilled workers' compensation attorney can help you appeal your denied claim to the IAB—and beyond. Contact the Morris James Personal Injury Group today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation for your workers' compensation case.
Is the driver of the rear vehicle always at fault in a rear-end car accident case?
When a car and the vehicle in front of it collide, resulting in a rear-end accident, the prevailing wisdom is that the driver of the second vehicle is almost always at fault, as they had a duty to follow at a safe distance and—had they done so—could have presumably prevented the crash. While this is often the case, the presumption that the second driver is always to blame doesn't hold true for every rear-end accident.
In fact, there are a number of rear-end collisions scenarios where the blame—and, more importantly, liability—may not rest solely on the driver of the second vehicle, including instances in which:
- The driver of the first vehicle reverses without warning
- The first driver's brake lights are not working
- The driver of the first vehicle stops suddenly to make a turn, but fails to actually execute the turn
- The first driver experiences a vehicle maintenance issue—such as a flat tire—but fails to safely pull over or turn on the hazard lights
In the above examples, the driver of the first vehicle may be considered negligent and, thus, at least partially responsible for the accident and subsequent damages.
Do You Need an Experienced Wilmington, DE Car Crash Attorney?
If you were injured or sustained significant property damages in a Wilmington, DE rear-end car wreck that wasn't your fault, the knowledgeable attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you explore your options for compensation. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free, no-obligation case consultation.