Shared DUI responsibility – “Dram Shop” Laws

It was recently reported that a man who killed a young girl in a fatal Maryland DUI accident has pled guilty and will now serve time in prison. A Maryland resident, his wife, and two granddaughters were driving down Interstate 270 when their jeep was hit from behind by the drunk driver, resulting in the death of one of the granddaughters. The man was speeding at the time of the accident, going approximately 88 to 99 mph. Though the driver in this case pled guilty to MD vehicular manslaughter charges and is serving eight years in prison, the family has now hired an attorney to sue the owners of the restaurant. Before entering the vehicle, it has been reported that the driver was served as much as 17 beers!

At this time, Maryland is does not allow a victim to sue bars and restaurants for irresponsibly serving alcohol to customers. The family of the victims in this accident will be trying to change that. A majority of the states have what is called “dram shop” laws, in which legislation addresses a bar/restaurants responsibility when serving alcohol. Presently, 37 states have laws which allow restaurants and bars to be sued by victims and families involved with accidents of drunk drivers, injuries caused in bar fights, or by drunken patrons outside the bar. Maryland and Virginia are two states that do not currently have these laws. They exist in some states to possibly spread out some responsibility to all those that may have caused an injury. Still, those seeking to hold a bar responsible usually have to show “proximate cause” between the injury and the serving of alcohol. In other words, the two must be clearly connected.

Family of the girl believe that stricter laws against bars would prevent more innocent people from being injured or killed. These law would probably cause bartenders and those who serve alcohol to be more conscious of what they are doing. A harsh punishment is always a strong deterrent for anyone. This case may lead to other parties, in addition to the drunk driver, being held responsible and partially to blame for DUI accidents in Maryland.

Though DUI accidents can have serious consequences, including lost lives, Fred Antenberg can defend those who have been charged to assure a fair trial and provide a strong defense. A DUI/DWI can have great effect on a person’s life, including their job and family. It is important to have an experienced attorney to attempt to mitigate and minimize the damage and effect a DUI will have on your life. CONTACT Fred at 410-730-4404 for a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss the DUI charges or any other matter you may want to discuss.