Earlier last month in North Potomac, two teens were killed and two others injured in what investigators believe was a drunk driving accident. According to one local news report, the accident occurred on the 13800 block of Dufief Mill Road in North Potomac just before midnight.
Evidently, four teens were traveling together in a car when the driver unsuccessfully negotiated a curve in the roadway. The vehicle left the road, crashing into a tree and a nearby fence before ultimately coming to a rest on its roof. The two back-seat passengers were pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders. The driver and front-seat passenger both survived the wreck. However, the driver did sustain life-threatening injuries as a result. Police believe that the two teens in the back seat did not have their seatbelts on.
Police have told reporters that they believe alcohol and speed may have been involved in the fatal car accident. Apparently, police also received a lead that the teens were all at a party where they were drinking. Police have made contact with an adult who was allegedly at the home during the time of the party. There is no word on whether that adult will face criminal charges.
Liability in Drunk Driving Accidents
In Maryland, liability for a drunk driving accident doesn’t necessarily stop with the allegedly drunk driver. Depending on the circumstances, other parties who were involved may also be held responsible.
For example, in the accident above, if there was an adult at the party who was providing the underage drinkers with alcohol, that person may be held civilly liable for the loss of life that resulted from his or her decision to provide the minors with alcohol. The laws that are used to hold the person who provided the alcohol responsible are called “Dram Shop laws.” Dram Shop laws can also be used to hold bartenders and bar owners liable when they over-serve an already intoxicated patron.
Proving Dram Shop Liability
Those attempting to use a Dram Shop theory of liability to hold a party responsible will have to prove certain facts in order to be successful at trial. For example, a third-party plaintiff would have to prove:
- That the defendant provided the patron with alcohol;
- That there were compensable injuries suffered by the accident victim;
- That the alcohol provided was that which intoxicated the patron; and
- That the patron’s intoxication was at least one cause of the accident or injuries.
If you have a loved one who has been involved in a drunk driving accident, you should speak with an attorney today to discuss your options.
Have You Been Involved in a Maryland DUI Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a Maryland DUI accident, you may be entitled to monetary damages based on another party’s negligence. That party may be the intoxicated driver, or as discussed above, it may be the person or establishment that served the patron. To learn more about Maryland DUI accidents, and to speak with a dedicated attorney about your case, call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Pennsylvania Police Search for Maryland Man Allegedly Involved in DUI Hit-and-Run Accident, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published May 26, 2015.
Car Struck and Cut in Half By Amtrak Train, No Fatalities, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published June 10, 2015.