Delaware Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
Representing clients in car accident lawsuits in Delaware, including Wilmington, Seaford, and Newark
Each year, drunk drivers are responsible for the catastrophic injuries and deaths of thousands of people throughout the United States. Many of these injuries and deaths due to driver intoxication occur right here in Delaware. Drunk drivers have difficulty controlling their vehicles. Their judgment is awful, their reaction times are slow, and their ability to respond to emergencies is nonexistent. There’s no excuse for drunk driving. Intoxicated drivers deserve to be held accountable for the injuries and fatalities they cause.
People who have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the responsible driver in order to recover financial damages for their injuries and losses in the accident. At the law firm of Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, our Wilmington auto accident attorneys are here to help you recover financially for your injuries, your physical pain and emotional suffering, your property damage, and lost time and income from work. If you were hurt by a drunk driver in Delaware, contact us to schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Wilmington, Newark, or Seaford.
How can we help?
- How dangerous is drunk driving in the United States?
- Does Delaware have a dram shop law or liability for social hosts?
- What damages are available in drunk driving accident injury cases in Delaware?
- Do you handle wrongful death in drunk driving accidents?
- How does a DWI criminal case affect my civil case?
- Do you have a distracted driving lawyer near me?
How dangerous is drunk driving in the United States?
Alcohol is one of the major factors in traffic accidents in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2021, 13,384 people died nationwide in drunk-driving accidents. About 30 percent of all fatal traffic accidents involve a drunk driver.
The NHTSA states that drivers who have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 (the legal standard for driver intoxication) have the following operation difficulties:
Muscle coordination becomes poor (e.g., balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing), harder to detect danger; judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory are impaired.
Predictable effects include reduced concentration, short-term memory loss, speed control, reduced information processing capability (e.g., signal detection, visual search), impaired perception
The Delaware State Police reports that alcohol played a role in 30% of the state’s fatal crashes in 2021. There were 1,243 drunk driving crashes in Delaware that year, leading to 384 injuries and 40 deaths.
Given these alarming statistics, there is a constant effort on the part of the government to focus attention on discouraging Americans from getting behind the wheel after they have had too much to drink. The NHTSA is working with the National Center for DWI Courts to develop new ignition interlock guidelines. An ignition interlock device requires drivers to blow into a breathalyzer-like device to prove that they are sober before the vehicle will start.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that all first-time alcohol-impaired drivers should be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. Some states are also considering legislation that would require someone who is convicted of a DWI to pay child support if a parent of that child was killed in a DWI accident.
While there are many precautions people should take before they ever drink and drive (such as arranging for alternate transportation and taking the keys away from any who is visibly intoxicated), a civil lawsuit does more than compensate the victims for their damages – it sends a message that drunk driving will cost the driver financially.
Does Delaware have a dram shop law or liability for social hosts?
Not exactly. In an effort to make those who sell and serve alcohol more careful about how they serve their drinks and to whom they sell them, 42 states and the District of Columbia have case laws or statutes that hold commercial liquor servers liable for the damage, injuries, and deaths that result when their patrons drink too much and then get behind the wheel and drive.
These laws are called dram-shop laws, which can become the basis for a cause of action when it was apparent to the server that the individual being served or sold alcohol was already intoxicated to the point of being a danger to themselves or other people, and that the intoxication of the person who was being served was the cause of the damages the injured party suffered.
While it is against Delaware law for a business to sell alcohol to an individual who appears to be intoxicated, it also shields businesses from liability for damages as a result of the actions of the intoxicated person. The party who was injured by the actions of the intoxicated person will have to take legal action against that person (driver) directly rather than against the vendor that supplied the alcohol that got the person drunk.
What damages are available in drunk driving accident injury cases in Delaware?
An individual who has suffered an injury in a drunk driving accident may seek damages available in civil injury claims such as:
- Current and future medical costs related to the injury
- Lost wages and any diminished income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of bodily function
- Loss of consortium (marital relations)
There is a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the injury in Delaware for filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Do you handle wrongful death in drunk driving accidents?
Yes. Tragically, many drunk drivers cause their own passengers, drivers and passengers in other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycle riders to die. The relatives of an individual who was killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The relatives who may be entitled to wrongful death benefits include spouses, children, parents, and other relatives. Our Delaware wrongful death lawyers will explain which relatives have priority.
The damages in a wrongful death case include:
- The decedent’s funeral and burial costs
- The loss of financial support the decedent would have provided
- “The loss of parental, marital and household services, including the reasonable cost of providing for the care of minor children”
- “Mental anguish resulting from such death to the surviving spouse and next-of-kin of such deceased person” provided certain conditions are met.
Punitive damages may be awarded to punish reckless and malicious behavior and to act as a deterrent to any kind of similar behavior in the future, however. Our lawyers usually argue that drinking and driving is reckless and malicious – it’s common knowledge that drinking and driving is extremely dangerous.
How does a DWI criminal case affect my civil case?
If a drunk driver causes your accident or the death of a loved one, it is likely that the prosecutors will file DWI charges against the driver. Usually, the criminal case proceeds before your civil case. We work with the police and the prosecutors to coordinate the criminal case with your civil case. Often, if a defendant is found guilty of a DWI, that helps us settle your civil claim. A conviction also helps us persuade judges and juries that the driver who struck you was indeed intoxicated.
Do you have a distracted driving lawyer near me?
Silverman McDonald & Friedman meets injury victims and families at our offices located at:
- 1523 Concord Pike, Suite 400, Wilmington, DE 19803
- 300 High St., Seaford, DE 19973
- 4134 Ogletown-Stanton Rd., Newark, DE 19713
We protect your rights to fair compensation after an injury
Your life has already been shattered by the trauma of having been in a drunk driving crash. You can feel confident when you are working with the skilled personal injury attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman. We devote personal attention and professional diligence to every interaction with our clients. You can be assured that we will not rest until we have secured the best possible settlement for you.
If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver in Delaware, call the knowledgeable attorneys at Silverman McDonald & Friedman to fight to protect your legal rights. You may call us directly or complete our contact form to set up your initial free consultation. We maintain offices in Wilmington, Newark, and Seaford, DE for your convenience.