Maine Dram Shop Laws in Alcohol-Related Car Accidents

Like many states, Maine maintains a “dram shop” law that allows injury victims to recover compensation from a host or alcohol vendor who provides alcohol to an intoxicated person who ends up causing an accident. Maine’s “Liquor Liability Act,” provides that vendors who are licensed to sell or serve alcohol may be liable for recklessly or negligently providing alcohol to someone who is intoxicated or under 21 years old.

Negligent alcohol service occurs when the server should have known that the patron was intoxicated or under the legal drinking age. Recklessness occurs if the server served alcohol and knew the person was under 21 years old or drunk, and they disregarded a substantial and apparent risk of harm to the individual or another person. In these cases, the vendor may be liable for the intoxicated person’s negligent or reckless conduct towards another individual. Typical vendors in these cases are restaurants, bars, and pubs.

For example, a news report recently described an incident where a 19-year-old driver lost control of his vehicle, hitting a curb and flipping his Subaru onto its side. The driver did not suffer injuries, but two of his passengers were taken to a hospital for treatment. The teenager was speeding, under the influence of alcohol and failed to obey road signs when the accident occurred. In a case like this, a social host or vendor who served the underage driver may be liable for the passengers’ injuries and damages.

In addition to vendors, the Liquor Liability Act applies to social hosts as well. These hosts maintain the same duty of care to their guests. Social hosts must avoid serving alcohol to underage guests and those who appear visibly intoxicated. Like vendors, these hosts may be liable if they serve these guests, who then harm another person. Social hosts can be friends, family members, or acquaintances.

Injury victims in cases like this must abide by the time limits for filing these claims if they wish to recover damages. Plaintiffs must file their claims against a vendor or social host within six years from the date of their injury. Defendants may be liable for the injury victim’s medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, property damage, and pain and suffering. Maine does not cap the amount of medical expenses a victim can recover in these cases. However, there is a $350,000 cap on all other damages.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Maine Car Accident?

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries in a Maine car accident, consider contacting the personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates. The Maine car accident attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience handling a variety of personal injury cases, including claims against liquor vendors and social hosts. These cases can be complicated because they involve various parties and insurance companies. Our attorneys possess an in-depth understanding of the applicable laws and can help you recover the damages you deserve. We have recovered significant compensation on behalf of our clients, and continue to provide excellent representation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Contact our law firm at 1-800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation with an accident attorney at our law firm.

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