Maryland’s Lack of Dram Shop Laws May Act to Prevent Drunk Driving Victims from Recovering Compensation for Their Injuries

Drunk driving is a serious problem not just in Maryland but across the entire United States. In fact, it is estimated that each day there are about 27 people who lose their lives to a drunk-driving related accident. While some of these cases involve people who were drinking in their own home, many of these accidents are the result of a restaurant or social host over-serving the driver who eventually causes the accident. It is for this reason that many states have adopted “Dram Shop Laws” that can act to hold a restaurant, bar, or social host liable for the injuries caused by a drunk driving accident involving someone to whom they served liquor.

Bar SceneA Recent Application of Dram Shop Laws

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued an opinion allowing a woman’s wrongful death case to proceed against the establishment that served her father alcohol moments before he was fatally injured in a single-vehicle car accident. In the case, Bayless v. TTS Trio Corporation, the plaintiff’s case survived a summary challenge brought by the defendant, claiming that the plaintiff pleaded no personal knowledge of her father’s state when the defendant restaurant served him the alcohol.

Before trial began, the plaintiff interviewed a number of people who were present on the day of her father’s accident. It was discovered that the man had been at the bar for about six hours and had been served about 12 drinks during that time. However, since the plaintiff was not personally present on the day in question, none of the evidence presented to the court was first-hand in nature. The defendant challenged this as insufficient. However, the court ultimately determined that at the early stage at which the challenge was brought, enough evidence was presented to allow the case to proceed to trial.

Maryland Does Not Have a Dram Shop Law

Unfortunately for victims of drunk driving accidents in Maryland, the state currently does not have a Dram Shop Act on the books. In fact, not long ago, a Maryland appellate court specifically declined to adopt such a law, limiting the victims of a drunk driving accident to compensation through the at-fault driver and his insurance company. It is important to note that drunk driving accident victims still can recover for their injuries, just not through the establishment that served the driver the alcohol that got him intoxicated.

Have You Been the Victim of a Drunk Driving Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, as the case discussion above makes clear, it is incredibly important to be familiar with local laws and regulations that may prevent a seemingly valid trial strategy. To learn more about Maryland law as it pertains to drunk driving accidents, call 410-654-3600 to speak with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney about your case.

More Blog Posts:

Pedestrian Accidents on the Rise, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published April 4, 2016.

Auto Manufacturers Seek Help from Insurance Companies to Increase Compliance with Safety Recalls, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published April 18, 2016.

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