How Premises Liability Works in Delaware
The phrase premises liability refers to a property owner’s legal responsibility for injuries caused by dangerous conditions on his or her property. The most common kind of premises liability claim is the “slip and fall” accident, but many other types of incidents can result in premises liability actions, including fires, explosions, or swimming pool accidents.
Even when a property owner’s negligence seems clear-cut, the negligent party’s insurance company will often claim that a victim was the person responsible for his or her injuries. To minimize or outright deny liability, the insurer will argue that an accident occurred strictly because of the victim’s own negligence.
If you were seriously injured or your loved one was killed by a hazardous condition on another party’s property, it is in your best interest to quickly retain legal counsel. Contact Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP right away.
Delaware Premises Liability Laws
Delaware Code Title 25, Chapter 15 is dedicated to the tort liability of property owners. A tort is a wrongful act that causes a victim to suffer harm and creates civil legal liability.
Delaware Code § 1501 establishes that a person (whether he or she is a guest or a trespasser) only has a legal course of action against a property owner when injuries suffered on the negligent party’s property are the result of intentional acts or willful or wanton disregard of the victim’s rights. In Delaware, a person only has two years to file a premises liability claim.
Delaware uses a modified comparative negligence system in apportioning damages in these cases. Under this system, a victim’s negligence does not bar recovery of damages, so long as he or she was not more than 50 percent at fault for the injuries.
The percentage of fault attributed to the victim will impact the award he or she ultimately receives. Damages are reduced in proportion to the amount of negligence that is attributed to the victim.
This means that a victim who is awarded $10,000 but found to be 25 percent at fault would see his or her damages reduced by $2,500 and would ultimately receive $7,500. Again, most insurance companies will argue that the victims were fully responsible for their injuries.
Insurers do not want these cases to go to court and often attempt to resolve claims by offering settlements quickly. Such settlement offers, however, rarely account for the full lifetime of care victims require.
You should avoid speaking with an insurance company until you have legal representation. Even minor admissions made during these conversations can have extremely damaging effects on a personal injury claim.
Premises Liability Attorney in Delaware
Did you suffer serious injuries or was your loved one killed in an accident caused by a dangerous condition on another party’s property in Delaware? You should contact Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP as soon as possible.
You can have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (302) 295-5050 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.