Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a car accident case involving a plaintiff’s attempt to hold a bar responsible for the actions of a drunk driver under the theory that the bar was negligent in serving the at-fault driver to the point of intoxication. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence of the establishment’s negligence for a jury to hear the case.
The case presents an interesting and developing issue under Maryland personal injury law in that, prior to 2016, third parties could not be held liable for serving alcohol to someone who later went on to cause a car accident. However, in a landmark case, the Court of Appeals of Maryland held that an accident victim can hold those responsible who served a minor alcohol if it contributed to a subsequent drunk driving accident.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was rear-ended while driving with her two children. The driver who rear-ended her was determined to be under the influence of alcohol. That driver was cited for driving under the influence. As it turns out, the driver was returning from a work event at a local bar. After the accident, the woman reported feeling “buzzed” to police. The officer noted that the woman had bloodshot, watery eyes and slurred speech.