I Was Injured by a Drunk Driver. Does Maryland Recognize Dramshop Liability?
A Dramshop Act is a law that imposes civil liability on the vendors of intoxicating liquor where, typically, that liquor is dispensed to someone who is obviously intoxicated, and that obviously intoxicated person then leaves the establishment and injures another, often in a DUI related auto accident.
Maryland is one of the states that currently do not have Drampshop legislation on the books. 1
Those injured in accidents with intoxicated drivers have asked Maryland courts to find such liability. To date, those requests have been refused.2 A proferred theory of recovery has been, that since most states, including Maryland, have laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person, a violation of the statue is considered negligence, and the seller is liable. Maryland takes a different view on this. As attorney Eric T. Kirk will tell you, the law in Maryland has always been that because the sale of the alcohol does not directly injure the third person, then there can be no liability on the seller.