Understanding the Maine Liquor Liability Act

Maine’s Liquor Liability Act is a crucial piece of legislation that aims to hold establishments accountable for overserving clearly intoxicated customers. The law holds these establishments partially responsible for the consequences of their patrons’ actions.

According to a recent article, a tragic car crash in Maine has sparked legal action against four bars and restaurants for their alleged involvement in the incident. The lawsuit filed by the parents of a 23-year-old individual involves multiple establishments, including a pub, a sports bar, a gentlemen’s club, and a popular restaurant chain. The legal action claims that these establishments failed to cease serving alcohol to a 22-year-old individual, who was visibly intoxicated and tragically lost his life in the ensuing car crash.

Maine Liquor Liability Laws Explained:

Maine, like many other states, has specific laws in place to hold establishments accountable for their actions when serving alcohol. These laws are designed to protect individuals from the consequences of alcohol-related accidents and injuries.

The Maine Liquor Liability Act imposes a cap on damages at $350,000 per incident. However, it’s important to note that this limit does not apply to medical care expenses or wrongful death claims. In cases involving medical care liability, there is no set limit on the damages that can be awarded. Moreover, Maine’s Wrongful Death Statute allows for an additional potential compensation of up to $750,000. 

Dram Shop Liability:

Under Maine’s dram shop liability laws, bars, restaurants, and other establishments that serve alcohol can be held legally responsible for the actions of their intoxicated patrons. If an establishment serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person or a minor who causes harm to others, they can be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages.

Social Host Liability:

Maine also recognizes social host liability, which extends liability beyond commercial establishments to individuals hosting private parties or events. If a person knowingly serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated individual or a minor who subsequently causes harm, the social host can be held accountable for their actions.

Proving Liability:

To establish liability in a liquor liability case, several elements need to be proven:

  • Duty of Care: The establishment or social host had a legal duty to refrain from serving alcohol to an intoxicated person or a minor.
  • Breach of Duty: The establishment or social host breached their duty by serving alcohol to the intoxicated person or minor.
  • Causation: The alcohol served was a substantial factor in causing the person’s intoxication, and their intoxication was a substantial factor in causing the harm.
  • Damages: The injured party suffered actual damages as a result of the accident or injury.

Liability Limitations:

It’s important to note that Maine’s liquor liability laws do have some limitations. For instance, establishments are not held liable for injuries caused by patrons who become intoxicated after leaving their premises. This is known as the “after-service” rule. Additionally, individuals injured as a result of their own intoxication may have limited grounds for legal action.


Maine’s liquor liability laws play a vital role in holding establishments and individuals accountable for their actions when serving alcohol. In light of recent events, it’s essential to understand the responsibilities of bars, restaurants, and social hosts in preventing alcohol-related accidents and injuries.

At Peter Thompson & Associates, we are committed to assisting those who have suffered injuries due to the negligence of others. If you or someone you know has been involved in an alcohol-related accident, we encourage you to reach out to our experienced legal team for a free consultation. Contact us today at 207-874-0909 or visit our website. Let us help you navigate the legal process and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.

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