The parents of a man who suffered extensive injuries in a car crash are suing the bars that served him alcohol, the Kennebec Journal reported on August 22nd. On the night of January 31, 2008, Paul D. Hinerman went drinking with a friend at Mainely Brews & Tavern, the Midnight Blues Club and Cellar Door, and The Chez. According to reports, Waterville police Officer Matthew McNutt saw the pickup shortly after midnight as Hinerman raced past the station on Front Street. Moments later, the vehicle crashed at Front Street and College Avenue, rolled over and trapped Hinerman underneath.
As a result of his injuries, Hinerman, 30, who had been a high school varsity athlete, was forced to spend months in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. According to the lawsuit, he now “has the mental capacity of a child with nearly complete short-term memory loss, speech impairment and loss of mobility and function.”sHe was discharged from the hospital in May 2008 with medical bills in excess of $400,000, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit charges the bars with recklessness in serving Hinerman, “given his visible and observable intoxication and in conscious disregard of the obvious and substantial risk that serving liquor would cause physical harm.”sNot surprisingly, the bars have responded that in fact their serving practices are responsible and it is unfair for them to be held liable for a customer’s own recklessness.
Cases such as this one are complicated and require a thorough investigation into the events that led up to the accident. As Portland and Bangor attorneys with a statewide personal injury law practice and a reputation for aggressive prosecution of claims, we have represented dozens of drivers in similar situations. An investigation into this incident would need to determine how many drinks were served to Hinerman at each bar, and how intoxicated he appeared at the time. If he was indeed visibly intoxicated, one or more of the bars could be at fault and liable for significant damages.