“Limited Social Host Liability” A major shift in Maryland law

Limited social host liability – You’re injured by a drunk driver and you have medical bills.   If the drunk driver can’t pay, can you sue the person who served the alcohol?

The answer in the State of Maryland has always been “no”.  Maryland was one of the last states to deny a claim against a server of alcohol.  This year the highest Court of Maryland has ruled that there is an exception—where a person knowingly allows a minor child to consume alcohol and the child then causes injury to another person, the supplier of the alcohol is also liable for injuries inflicted by the child.

The Court refers to it as a “limited social host liability cause of action”.  This means that a host of an under-age drinking party can be liable for any damages that are caused by a minor that is served alcohol.

Major shifts in Maryland law support extending civil liability to those found to have knowingly and willfully supplied alcohol to persons who are drunk or who are under-age.  If a bar owner supplies alcohol to a person who is highly intoxicated, knowing that the person is going to get in a car and drive the highways of Maryland, why shouldn’t the server be liable for injuries caused by that drunk driver?  This case may open the gates to similar suits and may hopefully result in fewer cases involving the over-serving of alcohol.

The attorneys at Salvatore & Morton are informed on the latest changes in the law and can help. Don’t settle for anything other than attorneys who know and understand the law.