If you have hurt someone in an accident while driving drunk, you have come to the wrong place. Our lawyers can't and won't help you and neither will this website.
This information is for DWI/DUI accident victims, the people that really need protection in our legal system. Dealing with injuries from an accident is difficult enough. It is even more painful when it is so senseless: DWI/DUI accidents just shouldn't happen. All of the pain you are feeling is because someone couldn't just get a cab, get a friend to drive, or just stay home. It is awful.
Our law firm does not represent drunk drivers. We sue them.
DWI/DUI accident cases are largely the same as regular accident cases our lawyers handle throughout Maryland. But there are some differences worth talking about because they can impact how the case should be fought and what the value of the case might be.Is a Maryland Accident Case Worth More Because the Other Driver Was Drunk?
Is an accident case in Maryland worth more because the other driver was drunk? Yes, no and maybe.
In an auto accident case, the question of whether handling 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/she was not at-fault for the accident, any evidence of the driver's intoxication should be admissible to prove fault in the crash. Obviously, being drunk/DUI/DWI puts your credibility in the tank if there is a he said/she said liability dispute. But if the drunk driver concedes liability for the accident, your lawyer cannot provide evidence to the jury that the defendant was drunk. Is that unfair? Of course it is.
There are some exceptions. The most frequent are if the defendant was on the job or in a work vehicle - think truck accidents - that evidence can often come in under a negligent entrustment claim (and other evidence of bad driving).What If I Was a Passenger and the Driver Was Drunk?
Our lawyers have handled drunk driving accident claims where the drunk driver's insurance company argued that the passenger should never have gotten in the car with the drunk driver. Ultimately, the strength of this depends on the unique facts of each case. 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 (and thus would have been able to do the math)?
Ultimately, our lawyers believe that there are cases where getting into a car with a drunk driver constitutes contributory negligence. But there are many instances where the insurance companies try to hang knowledge on the drunk driver's passenger that the passenger(s) could not possibly have. We have had a good deal of success in fighting off this defense in jury trials. (Here is one example that resulted in an $8 million verdict.)Is There Insurance Coverage If the Defendant is Driving Drunk?
This question worries many victims. Why would the insurance company provide coverage if the driver was drunk? Don't the insurance companies have the small print to disclaim coverage in DWI and DUI cases?
Thankfully, the answer is clear: there is insurance coverage in every drunk driving accident case that occurs in Maryland. Any small print exclusion an insurance company would try to sneak into the insurance contract would be forbidden by Maryland law. Maryland has a list of potential foundations to deny insurance coverage to an insured driver. Being drunk is not one of them. If a drunk driver hurts you, you have a claim.The Defendant Was Found Guilty at Trial? Does That Mean Liability Is Not Disputed?
Any actual admission the drunk driver makes in a criminal trial is admissible. But - and this surprises a lot of people - a mere guilty plea or verdict in Maryland does not constitute liability in a civil case.
Maryland applies this rule as do most states. Some states have allowed admission of such evidence. The logic that seems pretty obvious to most people. The safeguards in a criminal prosecution are greater so if you get convicted criminally, that ought to - if nothing else - stop the defendant from arguing or testifying inconsistently with the criminal trial. The law in this area is changing as it well should. But, as for Maryland, we are where we are right now.Can Your Lawyers Help Me?
Our law firm handles only serious injury accident cases in Maryland. We don't take every case. But if it is a close call and the victim was hit by a drunk driver, our law firm far more likely to take that case. We remain convinced that we have to do everything we can to stop drunk drivers everywhere. In our little corner of the world, the Baltimore-Washington area, we fight to do our part.
So if you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a car accident, call us at 800-553-8082 or get a free consultation via the Internet. We will be able to help you or, at least, send you in the right direction.Related Information
- More on Drunk Driving Accident Claims in Maryland
- Car Accident Claims in Maryland (an overview)
- Contributory Negligence (foundation of defense in many drunk driving car accident claims in Maryland)
- Does a guilty plea establish negligence?
- What Is the Value of Your Personal Injury Case? (overview and average settlements and verdicts)
- Drunk Driver Accident Statistics (state-by-state data -- it is a little old, but the statistics have - sadly - not changed all that much in 2016)
- Maryland Points: You can get between 8 and 12 points for a drunk driving conviction. It should be higher.