This page will look at drunk or impaired driving accidents in Maryland. Our Maryland drunk driving car accident lawyers look at the average settlement payouts in drunk driving injury cases, how having a drunk driver as a defendant impacts your compensation claim, and how to maximize the settlement amount of your lawsuit.Maryland Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
All fifty states and Washington DC legally require drivers' blood alcohol content (BAC) to be 0.08% or less. Although drunk driving incidences have reportedly declined by half over the last thirty years, drunk driving remains a serious problem in Maryland and the United States.
- Nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in Maryland involve drunk drivers – in 2017, drunk drivers were involved in 29% of all traffic fatalities.
- Maryland ranks 8th lowest in the number of drunk driving deaths per capita, with an average of just 2.6 deaths per 100,000 people.
- Impaired driving is involved in 1 out of every 10 auto accidents in Maryland.
- 70% of drunk driving accidents involve male drivers; and 21-34 year-olds account for 44% of all impaired driving accidents.
In October 2016, the Maryland General Assembly passed "Noah's Law," named after a Montgomery County police officer who was killed by a drunk driver during a traffic stop. With the passage of this legislation, which enforces stricter drunk driving penalties including the usage of an ignition interlock device, Maryland's drunk driving laws are among the toughest in the United States.Suing Maryland Drunk Drivers for Injuries
Recovering from a car accident is even harder when you know the at-fault driver chose to get behind the wheel after drinking. If you are seriously injured in an accident caused by a drunk or impaired driver, you can sue that driver and get monetary compensation just like in any other accident case. Proof that the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the car crash is powerful evidence of negligence in the case.
Our law firm represents victims of serious motor vehicle accidents. Many of these claims our attorneys handle involve victims who have been harmed or killed by intoxicated drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident caused by a negligent or drunk driver, contact our Maryland car accident lawyers today.Settlement Compensation in Drunk Driving Accident Cases
The average settlement value of a personal injury case involving a drunk driver is slightly higher than the average value of typical auto accident case. The average jury verdict in a drunk driving accident case is $575,000. The median jury award in impaired driving accident cases is $75,000.
Both of these numbers are higher compared to regular auto tort cases. The main reason for the higher compensation amounts is drunk drivers cause more serious accidents. Another reason drunk driver accident lawsuits sometimes have higher settlement valuations is simple. Juries have zero sympathy for drunk drivers and this translates into bigger verdicts. But as we explain below, this does not apply to every car accident with a drunk driver.Settlements & Verdicts in Drunk Driving Accident Cases
|Year / Jurisdiction||Summary||Result|
|An uninsured and intoxicated motorist, with a 0.18 BAC, rear-ended a woman’s vehicle. The woman suffered C4-5 and L5-S1 tears, a rotator cuff tear, and a glenoid labrum tear. She underwent pain management and rehabilitative therapy. The woman filed suit against her insurer, Allstate, for failing to pay her UIM benefits. (Young v. Allstate)||$89,762 Verdict|
|An intoxicated motorist rear-ended a woman’s vehicle at the intersection of Route 140 and Route 91 in Carroll County. The woman suffered neck, back, hand, and limb injuries. She claimed that the other driver operated her vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, failed to brake properly, and failed to yield the right-of-way. (Ageloff v. Timms)||$11,000 Verdict|
|An intoxicated motorist struck a man’s vehicle near the intersection of Belair Road and Open Bible Way in Kingsville. The man, a woman, and the woman’s child suffered severe and permanent injuries. They alleged that the tortfeasor operated his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, failed to yield the right-of-way, and failed to look out for other vehicles on the road. (Grace v. Hooper)||$335,455 Verdict|
|An intoxicated motorist ran a red light and struck a man’s vehicle head-on at an intersection. The man suffered a head injury, headaches, and an unspecified permanent injury. His female passenger suffered a concussion, headaches, nausea, a chest contusion, and an unspecified permanent physical injury. Both individuals underwent physical and neurological therapy. The two claimed that the tortfeasor ran a red light, operated his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, negligently sped, and tried to leave the scene. (Smith v. Garcia-Chacon)||$19,376 Verdict|
|An intoxicated motorist crossed several highway lanes and sideswiped a woman’s vehicle. The woman sustained a close head injury, a C6-7 protrusion, a C3-4 bulge, thoracic outlet syndrome, a neck strain, and right wrist pain. She underwent rib resection and wrist surgeries. The woman alleged that the motorist negligently changed lanes and operated his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. (Greshelin v. Hallstrom)||$60,000 Verdict|
|An intoxicated, uninsured motorist struck a woman’s vehicle, causing it to hit a guardrail. The woman suffered C4-5 and C5-6 herniations, spinal strains, a left breast contusion, post-traumatic headaches, and unspecified right wrist and rib injuries. The woman alleged that the uninsured motorist operated his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and negligently sped. She also sued Allstate for failing to pay her UIM benefits. (Bryant v. Allstate)||$285,137 Verdict|
|An intoxicated motorist struck a man’s vehicle head-on, causing it to strike several trees. He costochondritis, inflammation around his cartilage and ribs, wrist abrasions, and spinal pain. The man was treated with chiropractic therapy, electric muscle stimulation, manual therapy, and therapeutic exercises. He alleged that the motorist operated her vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, failed to yield the right-of-way, and failed to slow down. (Lyons v. Chavez)||$24,526 Verdict|
Yes. There is insurance coverage in every drunk driving accident case that occurs in Maryland. If a drunk driver injured you or a loved one, you have a claim.
Sometimes. The settlement payouts in DWI/DUI auto accident cases are largely the same as other accident cases our lawyers handle throughout Maryland. But there are differences that impact how the case should be fought and what the compensation amount of a lawsuit might be.
The question of whether a drunk driving car crash case is different from other accident cases hinges on whether the drunk driver denies liability. If the driver claims that he or she was not at fault for the accident, any evidence of the driver's intoxication should be admissible to prove fault in the crash.
However, if the defendant concedes liability for the accident, your lawyer cannot provide evidence to the jury in a Maryland court that they were drunk.
There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the defendant was on the job or in a work vehicle their intoxication can be used as evidence in a negligent entrustment claim.
Ultimately, our lawyers believe there are cases when getting into a car as a passenger with a drunk driver constitutes contributory negligence under Maryland law. But there are also many instances when insurance companies claim that a passenger knew things that they could not have possibly known. We have had success in fighting this defense in jury trials.
Our drunk driving car crash attorneys have handled claims in which the drunk driver's insurance company argued that the passenger should never have gotten in the car with the drunk driver. But how obvious was it that the driver was drunk? Did the passenger have the opportunity to see how much alcohol or drugs the driver had taken? The strength of this argument depends on how much the passenger knew before they got into the vehicle.
No. A guilty plea or verdict alone does not constitute liability in a civil case in most states.
If you have a test that shows a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above, you are presumed to be under the influence of alcohol according to §11-174.1 of the Maryland Transportation Article. Lawyers seek the expert counsel of toxicologists in these cases. Toxicologists study the effect of drugs, chemicals, and other substances on living organisms.
It is useful to have a toxicologist explain what BAC means and the impact it would have on the driver's ability to operate a motor vehicle in the context of a particular accident. This is because the plaintiff has to explicitly make a causal connection between the intoxicated state and the driver’s behavior.
- Wilbur v. Suter, 126 Md. App. 518, 730 A. 2d 693 (1999) The Baltimore City trial court excluded evidence contained in a report from the fire department that the plaintiff drank several beers before the fire that was the subject of the case. Maryland's intermediate appellate court affirmed this decision and explained that “for evidence of intoxication to be admissible is for the proponent of the evidence to demonstrate some causal connection between the allegedly intoxicated state of the person in question and his or her conduct or behavior."
- Mitchell v. Montgomery County, 88 Md. App. 542, 596 A.2d 93 (1991). In this case, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals recognized the issue of whether intoxication led to a negligent act or omission.
- Quinn Freight Lines, Inc. v. Woods, 13 Md. App. 346, 352, 283 A.2d 624 (1971). The court ruled that mere evidence of intoxication is, in itself, sufficient to show negligence.
The language that lawyers use against drunk drivers is also important. They can reinforce the fact that alcohol caused the accident by continually emphasizing that the driver’s BAC was above the legal limit and that they chose to drive anyway.
- What is the value of my car accident case?
- What is contributory negligence?
- Statute of limitations for personal injury cases
Our lawyers handle serious car accident cases. We have recovered millions for our clients over the years and can help you and your family get peace of mind during this trying time. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you need someone to fight for you. Call us at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.