Maine Liquor Liability Act May be Applied in Fatal Crash

A young man in Maine has been indicted on a manslaughter charge following a Maine drunk driving accident that killed one and left another seriously injured. Although civil liability has not been raised at this juncture, our drunk driving accident lawyers know it could well be an issue in the future, given the facts we know so far. beer glass

Many actions for which one might be deemed liable in a civil case are also violations of criminal statutes. While some criminal courts will impose orders of restitution on convicted offenders to be paid to the victim(s), this is separate and apart from civil liability, which should be explored in cases involving serious injuries. For one thing, restitution orders often do not take into account more than medical expenses. Civil liability, meanwhile, will weigh such elements as lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. That means one stands to obtain far more compensation in a civil case. This is also true, particularly in drunk driving accident cases, since there is the possibility of third-party liability under Maine’s Liquor Liability Act. Under this provision, one can be sued for up to $250,000, plus medical expenses, for reckless or negligent conduct in serving liquor to a person who is intoxicated or a minor if the defendant disregards the obvious and substantial risk that serving liquor to that person might cause to the drinker or others.

In this case, according to CentralMaine.com, three young men were drinking together at a local restaurant. The defendant driver was reportedly “the most sober” of the trio, so he was designated as the driver that night. He reportedly skidded 300 feet before careening off the road into the opposite travel lane and striking a tree and then a telephone pole. All three occupants were ejected from the vehicle. One of the passengers died, and the other suffered severe injuries.

Investigators reported the truck’s pickup bed and rear axle were detached from the frame. Every window – including the windshield – was broken. Debris from the crash was scattered across the road.

When the remains of the vehicle were towed and impounded, investigators conducted a search and revealed an 18-pack of beer inside. The driver was allegedly speeding in an attempt to catch up to a group of friends who had left in another vehicle. Investigators seized the truck’s black box and learned the truck was traveling approximately 85 mph at the time of the collision.

The driver’s blood-alcohol concentration was 0.202. That’s about 2.5 times the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 for drivers over age 21 in the state of Maine.

The defendant driver faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on the manslaughter charge.

A claim for damages for personal injury and wrongful death could be filed against:

  • The driver;
  • The restaurant that served alcohol to the driver (if there is evidence he was intoxicated);
  • Any social host who served alcohol to the driver (if there is evidence he was intoxicated).

If the driver didn’t have insurance or lacks enough insurance to cover the damages claimed, it’s possible the plaintiffs in such a case could pursue coverage from their own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) carrier.

This kind of legal action can be complex and should be discussed with an experienced Bangor drunk driving accident attorney.

If you are the victim of a Bangor car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-490-5218 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Wayne man indicted on manslaughter, drunken driving charges from May crash, Sept. 25, 2017, By Betty Adams, CentralMaine.com

More Blog Entries:

Maine Motorcycle Accident Claims Life of 77-Year-Old Rider, Sept. 22, 2017, Bangor Injury Lawyer Blog