Delaware Hit and Run Laws

Delaware hit and run laws: What happens if you leave the scene of an accident?

Under Delaware hit and run laws, you must report an accident and remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives. You must also make a reasonable effort to assist the injured person. Consequently, an accident escalates into a crime if you flee the scene.

Quick take:

  • A hit and run escalates into a felony in Delaware if the victim dies, or if the driver had intention or was under the influence at the time of the accident.
  • All car accidents go through Alternative Dispute Resolution in Delaware.
  • You have a legal obligation to immediately stop after an accident in Delaware.
  •  Failure to stop and offer reasonable assistance to a victim Is a felony if the victim dies or suffers injury.
  • Delaware hit and run laws do not prevent prosecutors from pursuing other charges including vehicular homicide and manslaughter.
  • Your percentage of fault reduces your claim.


Delaware hit and run laws: 4201 Duty of Driver involved in a collision resulting in property damage or injury explained:

After an accident in Delaware, the hit-and-run law requires you to stop at the scene immediately or close to it without putting yourself or other drivers in harm’s way. Additionally. The statute requires you to immediately make reasonable efforts to determine if anyone involved in the accident was injured or killed.

What happens if the accident only results in property damage?

If the accident only results in property damage, the statute requires you to make a reasonable effort (when parking) to allow the regular flow of traffic. What if you are injured? If only you or a person in the vehicle suffers an injury, you need not stay at the scene -but you must report the incident. If the owner of the damaged property is not reachable, you must leave your name, address, or other contact information on a conspicuous section of the damaged vehicle.

What if you flee the scene of an accident that only results in property damage?

Fleeing the scene of an accident that does not result in death or injury is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine no less than $250 and not more than $1150. The judge may also order imprisonment for not less than sixty days and not more than 6 months.

Upon conviction, the secretary will revoke your drivers’ license for up to six months.

What happens if a hit and run results in death or injury in Delaware?

Delaware’s hit and run laws state that whenever an accident results in death or injury, the driver must fulfill the requirements of state statutes 4201, 4202, and 4203. These statutes require you to:

  • Stop the vehicle at the scene or as close to the scene as possible without obstructing traffic.
  • Give the injured party, vehicle occupant, or law enforcement your name, address, and vehicle registration number.
  • Exhibit your drivers’ license to law enforcement, the person struck, or an occupant of the vehicle struck.
  • Render reasonable assistance to anyone injured, including transporting the person to a hospital.

What is the penalty for a hit and run in Delaware?

If the accident results in injury and the driver flees, the fleeing driver is guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor that carries a fine not less than $1000 but not more than $3000. In addition, the judge may imprison the driver for up to two years, and the secretary will revoke the individual’s driving privileges for up to two years.

Delaware hit and run laws: your duty to report collisions

After a traffic collision in Delaware, you have a legal obligation to report the incident to a police agency if (1) the resulting damage amounts to $2000 or more. (2) the accident resulted in death or injury. (3) the driver’s physical ability was impaired by drugs, alcohol, or other substance.

Delaware hit and run laws: section 4201 through 4203 what to remember:

  • The Department of Safety and Homeland Security may require you to file supplement reports.
  •  State law does not allow you to remove the vehicle from the scene without the authorization of law enforcement or from the owner of the damaged property.
  • You must give your name, address, and contact information to the other party or law enforcement after an accident.
  • You must call law enforcement and file a report if the incident results in death, injury, or property damage.

Is hit-and-run a felony in Delaware?

A hit-and-run in Delaware turns into a Class E felony if the victim dies. A hit and run may escalate into other felonies, including vehicular manslaughter, homicide, driving under the influence, reckless driving, fleeing the police, and all additional charges that apply to the facts presented.

Repeat offenders may also face felony DUI and hit and run charges.

Dui hit and run Delaware

In Delaware, the circumstances determine if a DUI is a felony or misdemeanor. For example, if you operate a vehicle while intoxicated, resulting in death or injury – you will likely face felony charges. What if you had a motive to harm or injure the victim?

If prosecutors can prove that you had a motive, they may pursue vehicular homicide charges. On the other hand, if the accident was due to negligence, they may pursue vehicular manslaughter charges.

That prompts the question:

How is fault determined in Delaware?

Delaware relies on a “modified comparative negligence” rule to determine fault. Because of that, if your level of responsibility for causing the accident is higher than the other party, then you cannot claim compensation.

What that means is, do not accept fault after an accident. Instead, call law enforcement. Law enforcement and your insurer will investigate then place fault. If you admit fault, you may deny yourself compensation.

Delaware comparative negligence rule

Delaware code title 10 section 8132, reads, quote:

“In all actions brought to recover damages for negligence which results in death or injury to person or property, the fact that the plaintiff may have been contributorily negligent shall not bar a recovery by the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s legal representative where such negligence was not greater than the negligence of the defendant or the combined negligence of all defendants against whom recovery is sought, but any damages awarded shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributed to the plaintiff.”

To prove negligence in Delaware, you must show the court the other party owed you a duty of care, the individual breached that duty of care, and that that breach was the cause of your injury or loss.

What to remember:

  • If you are responsible for your injuries, you do not qualify for compensation in Delaware.
  • The claimant’s award is diminished based on the individual’s attributed negligence.
  • Accepting fault at the scene of an accident may deny you compensation.

What is the statute of limitations on hit and run in Delaware?

State law states that you have two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit.

What to do after a hit and run in Delaware

As mentioned, after an accident, be careful not to place blame on yourself. That means avoiding using words like “it was my fault” or “I did not see the other vehicle.” Instead, do the following;

The victim

If you suffered injury or property damage after an accident, doing the following will increase the odds of getting compensation and the fleeing driver arrested and punished:

  • Document everything you see: that includes the fleeing driver’s license plates, car make, color, physical description, and vehicle damage.
  • Do not chase the fleeing driver. Instead, call the police.
  • Find witnesses and get their names, address, or phone numbers.
  • Contact an attorney and document all costs incurred to repair the damage or for medical reasons.

The driver

  • Fleeing the scene of an accident escalates the accident into a crime.
  • If you and the people in your vehicle are the only ones who suffered injury, you may leave the scene to seek medical assistance.
  • Call the police and assist anyone who suffered an injury.
  • Call your attorney
  • Contact your insurance company
  • Do not admit fault until investigations conclude.

Delaware hit and run laws: alternative dispute resolution

All car accident lawsuits in Delaware go through the state’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program. If successful, you may avoid a trial and criminal charges. Therefore, contact your attorney immediately if you face hit and run charges and find out if you qualify for mediation.

That said. If mediation fails, your lawyer may use the following defenses during the trial.

Delaware hit and run defenses

The other party did not suffer property damage, loss, or injury

If the other party did not suffer property damage or injury, or if the injured person was responsible for his injuries. Then you have committed no crime, and the individual has no grounds to file a lawsuit. To prove your claim. You may use footage of the accident, witness testimonies, or the victim’s words.

Other defenses include:

  • You feared for your safety.
  • You did not know that you were involved in an accident.

Your defense depends on the facts presented

It is worth noting that all cases have unique facts. Consequently, your attorney will shape your defense based on the facts presented. Therefore, contact an attorney immediately.

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