For the first time in 32 years, Maryland’s highest court is hearing arguments about whether or not a bar can be held liable for the actions of a patron who consumed excess amounts of alcohol. In this particular case, a man drank 17 beers at Dogfish Head Alehouse in Gaithersburg, Maryland, before causing a car accident on Interstate 270 that resulted in the death of a 10-year-old girl.
Maryland is one of the few states that does not fall under the Dram Shop Act, which holds businesses liable for serving too much alcohol to customers. Forty-four states, including the District of Columbia, have some type of dram shop law in effect, although they vary in scope and not all of them make it easy to hold a commercial host liable for a drunk patron’s conduct.
However, this extreme case has Maryland legislators debating the potential need for change for the first time in decades. The attorney for the victim’s family argues that if dram shop liability was in effect in Maryland, we would see “a great reduction in drunk-driving incidents.” The little girl was not the only one who suffered at the time of the crash; her sister survived, but cannot sit for long periods of time due to a broken hip, and her grandfather is currently suffering from congestive heart failure.
If you have been seriously injured, or if your loved one has been killed because of a drunk driver in Maryland, please contact Cohen & Dwin, P.A. today to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Maryland car accident lawyer.