Richard A. Zappa

Richard A. Zappa

Wilmington, Delaware

Rick Zappa has been representing clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases since 1974.

Rick has been involved in hundreds of personal injury litigations, including litigations involving persons who were injured or killed in vehicular collisions, in maritime and construction accidents, while using defective and unsafe equipment, machinery and products, from falls on public and private properties, from toxic exposures, from physician and nursing malpractice, and as a result of the negligence of hospital, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.

Rick has tried numerous cases in the Delaware Superior Court and the Federal District Court, receiving many favorable verdicts and substantial awards of damages for his clients. He has been involved in numerous cases in which his clients' recoveries have exceeded $1,000,000, ranging between $1,100,000 and $16,500,000, and averaging in excess of $3,000,000.

Rick believes that his success is due in large part to working harder than his adversary, engaging the very best experts to testify at trial, and treating each client's case as though it is his only case. A past president of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates, Rick is consistently recognized for excellence by his peers, including by Best Lawyers in America®, Delaware Super Lawyers® and Delaware Today.

Some of Rick Zappa’s cases that have resulted in million dollar recoveries for clients in medical malpractice cases include:

  • $3,000,000 to a family in a wrongful death action arising out of the delay diagnosis of melanoma (skin cancer)
  • $1,750,000 to a patient whose cancer diagnosis was delayed because her pathology slides were misread
  • $3,750,000 to a child whose cerebral palsy resulted from hospital negligence
  • $2,750,,000 to a resident of an assisted living facility whose injuries from a fall were not treated in a timely manner
  • $1,650,000 to a child for birth injuries sustained as a result of hospital negligence
  • $2,000,000 to the family of an elderly patient who died from injuries sustained in a fall while hospitalized for a leg fracture
  • $1,500,000 to the family of a man whose lung cancer diagnosis was delayed because his chest x-rays were misread
  • Nearly $1,000,000 settlement to the family of an elderly man who died from complications of a misaligned feeding tube
  • $1,000,000 recovery to the family of an elderly woman who died from post-surgical; bleeding that was not discovered by hospital personnel
  • $1,250,000 to a severely mentally and physically impaired adult who suffered injuries from hospital negligence that increased the level of her disabilities.
  • $5,000,000 to a disabled boy who fell out  of his wheelchair while in the care of a nursing facility 

Other cases Rick has successfully litigated and/or tried in Court include:

  • $2,200,000 to a teenager who suffered paralysis when he dived  into a deceptively dangerous body of water created by a construction company’s operations on private property
  • $1,700,000 to the parents of a 21 year old college student who suffered fatal injuries in a motor vehicle collision
  • $1,300,000 to a college student who was partially blinded when struck in the face by a pledge paddle that was being used by a student who was horse-playing in a dormitory lounge
  • $16,500,000 to a worker who was injured when a sulfuric acid tank exploded at an oil refinery
  • $1,100,000 to a motorist who suffered back injuries in a car accident
  • $2,400,000 to the family of a worker who died as a result of a toxic exposure at work
  • $1,200,000 to the family of a worker who died from exposure to toxic fumes while going to the aid of an injured co-worker
  • $2,750,000 to a police officer who sustained orthopaedic and closed head injuries when a fire escape he was ascending collapsed
  • $1,100,000 to a motorist who suffered neck injuries in a car accident
  • $2,200,000 to several families whose exposures to toxins dumped in a public landfill by a consortium of corporate polluters contaminated their land and compromised their health
  • $13,000,000 to a cable company repairman whose hand was crushed by an improperly maintained door at an apartment complex
  • $5,800,000 to an elderly woman who suffered leg amputations as a result of being run over by a public bus
  • $2,000,000 to the parents of a two year old child who died from injuries sustained in a car crash

Areas of Practice

  • Personal Injury Litigation
  • Wrongful Death
  • Vehicular Collisions
  • Maritime and Construction Accidents
  • Defective and Unsafe Equipment
  • Machinery and Products
  • Falls on Public and Private Properties
  • Toxic Exposures
  • Physician and Nursing Malpractice

Bar Admissions

  • Delaware, 1973


  • American University, Washington College of Law, Washington, District of Columbia
    • J.D. - 1973
    • Law Review: American University Law Review, Associate Editor, 1971 - 1973
  • University of Delaware
    • B.A. - 1970

Honors and Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America®, Personal Injury Litigation, Medical Malpractice Law, recognized since 2005 and was further recognized as 2016 Delaware Lawyer of the Year
  • Delaware Super Lawyers®, Personal Injury, recognized since 2007
  • Delaware Today magazine, recognized as one of the best personal injury lawyers, since 1996, and as one of the best medical malpractice lawyers since 2001
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Martindale Hubbell, Peer Review Rating AV Preeminent
  • Dean’s Fellow to the Honorable Arthur J. Goldberg, Former Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court and contributing writer and editor of The Constitutional Limitations on the President’s Powers, Goldberg, Arthur J., American University Law Review, Volume 22, No. 4 (1973)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Delaware Trial Lawyers Association
  • American Association for Justice (formerly The American Trial Lawyers Association)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (Past President - Delaware)

Past Employment Positions

  • Delaware Superior and Chancery Courts, Judicial Clerk