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Does Maryland Have Dram Shop Laws for DUI Car Accidents?

Whether you review statistics on drunk driving crashes in Maryland or nationwide, it is clear that DUI accidents remain a serious problem and a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MD DOT), there are almost 6,700 vehicle collisions every year that involve an impaired motorist. These incidents lead to more than 160 fatalities and 2,100 injuries to victims, leading to life-changing losses. In addition:

  • Around 900 DUI crashes occur in Baltimore County annually, more than 300 of which lead to a death or injuries to at least one victim.
  • Over 41% of all Maryland drunk driving collisions occur on weekends.
  • Drivers aged 21 to 29 years old are most likely to cause a DUI accident, comprising 31% of all crashes.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there are more than 10,100 lives lost every year due to drunk driving accidents, which calculates to approximately 28 fatalities every day – one death every 52 minutes.

These statistics and others are likely what motivate lawmakers in many U.S. states to enact so-called “dram shop” statutes that affect liability in drunk driving cases. In a jurisdiction where dram shop is the law, victims may have the option of pursuing parties other than – or in addition to – the drunk driver who caused the crash. A Maryland DUI auto accident lawyer can explain the applicability of dram shop laws and advise you through the legal process, but it is helpful to understand how these concepts work.

Dram Shop Basics

To answer the above question: NO, Maryland does not have a dram shop law. However, the District of Columbia and a total of 43 U.S. states do have these statutes on the books, including Pennsylvania and Virginia. Personal trips, commuting, and other travel may take you into these adjacent jurisdictions. Depending upon where the accident occurred and jurisdictional questions, there is a chance dram shop laws could impact your rights.

In sum, dram shop liability enables victims of drunk driving crashes to seek compensation from an establishment that served the intoxicated motorist. The specifics vary by jurisdiction, but you must prove that the bar sold alcohol to a person when staff knew or should have known that more booze puts others at risk of harm.

Dram Shop Liability is Civil

It is important to understand that dram shop laws are linked to the civil cases brought by victims who were injured or by surviving family members after a fatal drunk driving crash. These laws are not relevant to criminal or administrative proceedings involving a DUI, which might result in jail time, fines, and a driver’s license suspension for the at-fault motorist. However, evidence of an arrest and/or conviction for drunk driving could provide solid support for your civil claim.

Legal Options Outside Dram Shop

Knowing that Maryland does not allow you to hold a bar accountable in a drunk driving accident, you might wonder about your options. Regardless of the fact that the crash was DUI-related, your rights are generally the same as other motor vehicle crashes. You must prove four essential elements:

  • The at-fault motorist had a duty to exercise reasonable caution while driving;
  • That person breached this duty by failing to exercise reasonable care, of which drunk driving is a prime example;
  • The breach, i.e., drunk driving, was the direct cause of the collision; and,
  • You suffered losses because of being injured or losing a loved one.

Steps in the DUI Crash Legal Process

Maryland motorists are required to carry minimum levels of auto insurance, so you will first file a claim with the drunk driver’s insurer. Even if you have solid evidence of the above requirements, you may encounter challenges in dealing with the insurance company. The insurer’s policyholder might have received a ticket or conviction for DUI, but the priority is protecting the company’s bottom line. Your claim may be denied, or you could receive a lowball counteroffer to settle. Under the circumstances, you may need to file a lawsuit in court.

Legal Implications to Keep in Mind with Maryland Drunk Driving Crashes

When dealing with an insurance company and/or during litigation, there are some concepts that you need to know because of their impact on your rights. These ramifications apply in all auto collisions, including DUI accidents:

  • Maryland follows the rule of pure contributory negligence, which focuses on the actions of the victim in a crash. If your conduct falls below the reasonableness standard and is a factor in causing the accident, you are barred from recovering compensation. For instance, you might obtain nothing if there is proof that you were speeding or ran a red light.
  • There is a time restriction on filing a lawsuit related to a DUI crash. The state statute of limitations allows you three years to initiate litigation, and the clock starts to tick on the date of the accident. You give up your rights if you fail to go to court by the expiration of this deadline, though there are limited exceptions to the statute.
  • There are two types of damages in an auto collision claim, including economic damages like medical costs and lost income. Noneconomic damages cover pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other subjective, personal losses. In Maryland, there is a statutory cap on noneconomic damages. The amount runs according to a sliding scale, and the dollar value for 2021 is $890,000. Note that this limitation does NOT impact your economic damages.

Get Legal Help from a Baltimore, MD Drunk Driving Crash Attorney

It may be disappointing to know that Maryland does not follow the law of dram shop liability, but keep in mind that you still have legal options. Our lawyers can assist with the process, from filing an insurance claim to discussing settlement to pursuing the at-fault driver in court. For more information on our services, contact our office to schedule a no-cost case assessment. Once we review your circumstances, we can discuss the best way for you to proceed.

Read Some of Our Recent Client Reviews!

Karla Canedo
Karla Canedo
01:41 01 Jun 21
Bob Katz law, was professional and helpful. This firm was recommended by a friend. I am so thankful for that. I highly recommend Bob Katz law firm. Kristen A Turner who was the paralegal assigned to my case was professional and communicated through out my whole case.
Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
19:47 04 May 21
Bob Katz law was very helpful and communicative throughout the whole case, especially Kristen Turner who was the paralegal assigned to my case. I highly recommend this firm to everyone that has had a recent car accident!
David Kim
David Kim
18:14 07 Apr 21
100% satisfied. Very nice and clear. Helped me solve what I needed.
Yeonsoo lee
Yeonsoo lee
13:49 24 Mar 21
Attorney Bot Kats and his staff helped me so much in my case that I had several months ago. They provide great service and were able to solve my case in a timely manner. I highly recommend this firm to my friends and family for any sort of personal injury and accident cases.
A Stewart
A Stewart
19:59 04 Nov 20
Mr. Katz and Robin are like Batman and Robin! They get the job done, very pleasant, concerned about the client, very efficient, caring, and extremely knowledgeable. They worked extremely hard to get the settlement I was looking for. The professionalism is out of this world! I knew from day one that I was in GREAT HANDS with this team. Words cannot fully express my sincere gratitude for this team...and Robin is the BEST Paralegal on this side of the world! Thank you Mr. Katz and Robin for EVERYTHING!
Diane Gerald
Diane Gerald
16:51 11 Sep 20
A friend referred me to Gordon Feinblatt LLC. When you find yourself in a situation where you really need legal representation it can be difficult to know where to go. I am fortunate that I asked them to represent me and especially grateful for everything they did for me. I worked with Justin Katz and Tatyana Bronzova and could not have asked for a more professional, compassionate team to guide me through the challenges of closing out an accident settlement. I would call them for all my legal needs and want to extend my sincere appreciation for all their support.
Cristina Roach
Cristina Roach
16:00 01 Sep 20
Christina F. was SUPER helpful with my case! She took great care of me. I am very thankful for all of the time and effort put forth by the team.
N Dierolf
N Dierolf
13:42 30 Aug 20
I had the pleasure of working with Christina Franetovich during my case. I had a lot of questions throughout the process and she was quick to respond and always took the time to explain when needed. I would highly recommend working with Attorney Bob Katz's team. Everyone is extremely professional and sincerely cares for you.
Thomas Sul
Thomas Sul
16:05 17 Jul 20
This was my first time going through an accident claim. Marisa Wise was my Paralegal and she walked me through the entire process. She was very quick to respond to any questions or concerns that I had and gave me the assurance that I was in good hands. An absolute pleasure! Would highly recommend!
이정호
이정호
16:23 03 Jul 20
I was very happy working with Bob Katz Law, especially Mrs Yoon, the secretary taught me so kindly and in detail that I did everything very well
Rebecca Yazici
Rebecca Yazici
12:12 15 May 20
Everyone here is attentive, they respond quickly to any questions I had. Christina, Angela and Meghan are who I mainly worked with. They made it as simple as they could for a common citizen like me. Gave me great advice, while also taking into consideration how I felt comfortable to proceed. They got me the best compensation settlement they could secure. I don't have any complaints, or anything less than highest rating to offer. Hopefully I don't have to work with them again in the future, but if I do, I know where to go during that stressful time.
Abraham Tsegaye
Abraham Tsegaye
20:45 24 Apr 20
Attorney Bob Katz and his staff handled my case very well twice I highly recommend.
Ms Graham
Ms Graham
02:32 16 Feb 20
I had a great experience with this practice , my Attorney Meghan Young was very professional since the first day I met with her about my accident case . She was very knowledge , patience and kept me updated every chance she got. She responded to all my calls & emails but if she couldn't somebody from the law firm definitely did in a timely manner. She answered all of my questions and concerns , she explain everything to me so well. She sent me all my mail that was needed for me to see for my proof. I wished I use her in my 2017 accident but I didn't finish the case . I was nervous at first because I didn't know what lawyer to go to but I'm glad I went with Meghan young . Hopefully I would never need to again but if so I would most definitely use them in the future and recommend them to anyone who was involved in a accident . Thanks so much Ms Meghan you're the best!!! Tyshell =)) !!
Donald Johnson
Donald Johnson
13:19 13 Jan 20
The attorneys at this firm are great they will keep you updated on your case and are very knowledgeable with the whole process from start to finish would recommend thank you very much
sung nyun lee
sung nyun lee
03:28 27 Nov 19
Had a great experience with this practice and with Meghan Young. They answered all of our questions. They did a great job of translating between us and the lawyer. They were very professional in court and did a great job. Would definitely use them in the future and recommend them to anyone!
LaTisha Johnson
LaTisha Johnson
05:55 16 Nov 19
My daughter and I were involved in a car accident in February 2019. The other driver was at fault. My paralegal was Marisa Wise and she was great at settling my claim and ensuring that we were satisfied throughout the entire litigation process. Thanks!!!!
Marsha Smith
Marsha Smith
03:47 06 Nov 19
The law office of Bob Katz handled my case when I was in a car accident involving a drunk driver. Rebecca's Slattery was the Paralegal that worked with me. She was very helpful and made what could have been a difficult process very easy for me.
jennifer Yoo
jennifer Yoo
19:00 01 Oct 19
The Katz office represented me for my auto accident case and i would like to thank them for their hard work. My paralegal, Jennifer Bolton helped me through the whole process and did a great job with the settlement. This office was very professional and pleasant to work with. i would recommend anyone to choose Bob Katz as their attorney for any personal injury they had with their auto accidents. 👍🏻
Tiffany Lumpkin
Tiffany Lumpkin
20:30 11 Sep 19
This office and specifically my paralegal Marisa is fantastic! I’m confident I received the best possible settlement for my claim and Marisa was amazing throughout the entire process.
Makeda Richardson
Makeda Richardson
00:34 28 Aug 19
Attorney Bob Katz handled my accident case with the optimal level of professionalism, promptness and care. They kept me informed every step of the way and made me feel very comfortable and protected. I would definitely recommend their firm!
Jung Woo
Jung Woo
19:48 26 Aug 19
I got rear-ended by an uninsured motorist in January of 2019. I worked with Marisa Ward, who took great care of me. She was very responsive and made sure that she had all the details of my case. In July, after all my treatment was finished, I received a large settlement. I would not have received this settlement if I had dealt with only my insurance for this accident. I highly recommend working with Bob Katz if you are involved in any type of vehicle accident.
Marie Florence Kouadjo
Marie Florence Kouadjo
17:09 02 Aug 19
Marisa Ward took my case for an accident. she was very professional and very patient with me. the outcome of her work was even more surprising. I would recommend her if you are looking for help with your personal injury case. Thanks again Marisa
Marie Florence Kouadjo
Marie Florence Kouadjo
17:09 02 Aug 19
Marisa Ward took my case for an accident. she was very professional and very patient with me. the outcome of her work was even more surprising. I would recommend her if you are looking for help with your personal injury case. Thanks again Marisa
Sherrie Doody
Sherrie Doody
22:46 11 Jun 19
I have been working with this firm for over a year and they have been very supportive and knowledgeable. I've been working one on one with Rebecca Slattery who has been amazing in helping me through this whole process... I would recommend this firm to any of my colleagues.
April Runk
April Runk
21:08 07 Jun 19
I love this office in the Baltimore area. Marisa Ward went above and beyond as my paralegal. I could not have asked for a better assistance. Meghan Young help me all the way up to the court date. She kept me informed the entire time. This is a very informative and efficient team. I didn't have to do the work, they took care of everything. Thank you for all your hard work. April Runk
Monica B
Monica B
13:49 10 May 19
I loved the staff from this office. They are so easily reachable and so informative. They update me on the status of my settlement so I know what going on. They are so quick with the processing. I recommend here. So far best Attorney office ive worked with. I will definitely be working with them again. Each attorney know what they're doing. Thank you for making my first experience so positive.
Soo Kim
Soo Kim
20:40 03 May 19
I worked with Bob Katz and Jennifer Bolton during my settlement case and highly recommend their team! Ms. Bolton was there for me the every single step of the way and I could not be happier. Everyone is very professional, quick, and you will not be disappointed!
Sancho Martin
Sancho Martin
22:38 18 Apr 19
I usually don't write reviews but this one by far was well worth it. Attorney Megan Young went above and beyond for me, in a matter i had lingering on for almost a year and she helped me settled it in less than 60 Days! If I could give 10 stars i would but unfortunately it only allows 5 stars.And the Paralegal Ms.Kristen Turner was also a great help in every step of the way with my case. Thank you guys again!! I would recommend them to any and everyone!
An Tran
An Tran
21:51 18 Apr 19
Attorney Bob Katz helped me from start to finish with extreme care and consistency. They are there for you during the process and will do their best to serve you and keep you well informed. My experience with this office was great and I highly recommend Attorney Bob Katz.
Brooke Adams
Brooke Adams
16:05 10 Apr 19
I loved having Attorney BobKatz help me with my recent car accident. Ms. Erica was very helpful as well. Very friendly and personable. I would definitely recommend everyone to choose Attorney BobKatz if they are in need of help!
Theo Ngongang
Theo Ngongang
16:08 04 Apr 19
Attorney Bob Katz and his team provided me with great guidance and assistance throughout the process of working toward a settlement. Very professional team, knowledgeable and patient. Thank you again!
Seo Young Hong
Seo Young Hong
15:54 04 Apr 19
I had positive experience with Attorney Bob Katz office. They were really helpful and really quick in response to all the questions that I have throughout the case. Special thanks to my paralegal, Christina Franetovich and Mrs. Yun, Korean interpreter. I would highly recommend this firm to anyone and especially that needs interpreter.
Felicita Lopez
Felicita Lopez
20:15 15 Mar 19
I have had a very good experience with this attorney. They have been patient with me and have updated me on any news of my case. At first I wasn't sure if I should have chosen them but after a few meetings they have been nothing but nice and understanding. They pushed through and fought to get me through this case without any worries. 10/10 would recommend them to anyone looking for an attorney.
Carla Young
Carla Young
18:09 11 Mar 19
This was my first time ever having to go through a situation like this with a car accident. My main contact was Erica & she was very supportive & informative. She made the whole process seem so effortlessly. They even went to bat with some of my medical providers ro lower my balance with them. I hope I never need an attorney again, but if I do I will surely give them a call.
Atiq Vahora
Atiq Vahora
17:43 04 Mar 19
My family has used this law firm for almost 16 years on our car accident cases. Accidents are stressful experiences, but their law team is very supportive throughout the ordeal. The staff is friendly, professional, and always working to find the best possible outcome for me. As drivers, we just want to get things fixed quickly and move on with our lives. All that is required besides the facts is a little patience. With Bob Katz, I feel assured that someone I can trust has my back.
jungsun Park
jungsun Park
19:00 28 Feb 19
I am very pleased with the service that Attorney Bob Katz and his legal team has provided. I would highly recommend!
Amartuvshin Batbaatar
Amartuvshin Batbaatar
02:42 11 Feb 19
I am very grateful for handling my several car accident claims and they were helpful and responsive to all our questions and concerns. I highly recommend them without any reservations.
anthony henry
anthony henry
21:01 07 Feb 19
It was a pleasure to work with Christina Franetovich She is awesome! She kept me well informed throughout the whole process. Thanks for all your hard work! I would definitely recommend her for your legal needs
Angel Boyd
Angel Boyd
14:32 28 Jan 19
Christina has been really helpful with settling both of my accident claims even with my nervousness and constant questions lol. But she worked with me and settled it. She is also available for my diminished value claim (which I'm trying not to annoy her with lol). I would recommend this firm and will probably stick with this firm for any accidents in the future. Hoping there aren't anymore tho
karla rivas
karla rivas
04:37 18 Jan 19
Great Team & Great Attorneys very good lawyers and excellent work. happy with the case.
Fadie Mohammad
Fadie Mohammad
14:54 08 Jan 19
Worked with Sarah Treuhaft (Paralegal) when retained Bob Katz's office. Sarah was absolutely amazing to work with, she was very professional and prompt with everything she did. She would respond to any inquiries I had immediately and never hesitated to hop on the phone to clarify or assist with anything, regardless of how early or late it was. I definitely highly recommend her and this law office.
Kelly Kess Malone
Kelly Kess Malone
15:50 20 Nov 18
Very helpful paralegals and attorney assistants. Also informative on various types of cases. Reasonably priced for the work that they provide.
Brittany Peterson
Brittany Peterson
08:19 17 Nov 18
Had a very awesome experience fast settlements... Communication was a A+ ...Strongly recommend Mr.Katz. !!! Ms. Robin made me felt like family was always there when i needed her and when i had a question.
Yarnell Goodwin
Yarnell Goodwin
23:38 15 Nov 18
Got a little more settlement money than expected. Was provided great service and prompt responses. I greatly appreciate it!
Ashley Poole
Ashley Poole
01:05 08 Nov 18
Attorney Bob Katz and his staff are highly recommend. Customer Service was impeccable. Every phone call and email was responded to in a timely manner. Natalie Ulrich was very professional, helpful and thorough every step of the way, which resulted in a stress free experience. I will recommend this law firm to family and friends!
Tania Jefferson
Tania Jefferson
17:51 06 Nov 18
Customer service was A+. All questions were answered promptly and information was shared appropriately. Concerns were addressed and I was made aware of all updates on my case. I would whole heartedly recommend this firm.
edward Robinson
edward Robinson
03:00 06 Nov 18
I highly recommend Mr. Katz and his staff. They were friendly, compassionate and really showed they had their clients best interest at heart. There was never a time you called them they didn't respond or returned your calls and answer your questions.They took the worry, and stress and turn it into reassurance. They were diligent and just down right professional. My wife and I really thank God for allowing us to cross paths on a professional business experience. Ms. Rebecca Slatery is the most courteous, compassionate soul. We wish you all peace, love and blessings. Thank you for your service.
J JR
J JR
20:11 31 Oct 18
I decided to use this firm again for an accident I was involved in. As always they were professional and caring. Rebecca slattery was the paralegal assigned to my case and she was professional and kept me up to date with everything. I would recommend this firm to friends and family!
Cedric Jones
Cedric Jones
19:04 23 Oct 18
Erica Z is amazing with keeping you to date and staying communication with you during the entire process. Meghan Young was a wonderful lawyer made me feel extremely comfortable in the courtroom and she also fights for the best possible outcome for you..GREAT LAW FIRM
Nguyen Le
Nguyen Le
16:44 23 Oct 18
It was a great experience being taken care of by Rebecca Slattery and Meghan Young, they helped me resolve my case and were very courteous and professional. Highly recommend working with this law firm
Soun Gil
Soun Gil
21:35 17 Oct 18
Ms. Park helped me out through my whole accident process. She took her time with me and made sure I understood everything. I would recommend to her all of my friends if they were to get into any accident.
Yejin Chung
Yejin Chung
15:40 12 Oct 18
I highly recommend. My family’s experience with this office was great. Christina Franetovich was very helpful throughout the whole process, which made this experience less stressful. She responded to my questions immediately and made sure that I understood everything.
Claudette Pope
Claudette Pope
13:18 30 Aug 18
I was referred to Gordon & feindblatt in 2014 when my family was in an accident, Mr. Katz personally consulted with me by phone and he was very polite and professional, Mr. Carpuso, one of the litigation attorneys even came out to our home and went over our case with us, he made sure all of our needs was addressed and before he left our home that day I felt like we were old friends. that case was settled and I was very pleased, I have used this law firm twice since then and the results are always the same, I have nothing but great experiences with Gordon & Feindblatt the staff are courteous and professional and they get the job done but the one in particular that really stood out for me is Rebecca Slattery, she is truly a gem, she is so compassionate, she walked me through the entire process, she even checked up on me from time to time just to see how I was feeling and I really appreciated her kindness. I will use this law firm again and again for any future legal issue that may arise and I would highly recommend Gordon & Fiendblatt to friends, family and co-workers.
UniversalSniping
UniversalSniping
02:32 04 Aug 18
The lawyer who was initially handling my case parted ways with the company and I was assigned a new lawyer. This new lawyer was amazing! Christina Franetovich made me feel secure by double checking all the facts and notes in my case so that I was not worried during this transition. I was on disability from an a different accident while she was finalizing my case, and I had called and hounded her about the time frame of my settlement very frequently to the point that I felt guilty for calling so much. Christina was very sympathetic to my situation and assured me that she would do everything in her power to make sure the situation would be resolved quickly. She actually finalized my case before the time frame she had given me, was always very courteous and knowledgable on the phone, and I feel extremely lucky that she ended up handling my case because the previous lawyer was not as amazing with customer service as Christina. She also has a way of making you feel comfortable and builds incredible rapport quickly. I am going to highly recommend her to my friends and family. Thank you Christina!!!
Richard Hose
Richard Hose
02:26 27 Jun 18
On Feb 23, 2017 I was in a bad accident on the JFX. I had been rear end by another driver. Almost immediately I felt pressured by the other drivers insurance. Everything from wanting a recorded statement; to failing to acknowledge responsibility. No one would answer my questions, nor would anyone take responsibility. I was frustrated and overwhelmed with everyone from the towing company, to the repair shop, to the insurance company nightmare I just entered. I reached out to Attorney Robert Katz and I was assured they were here to help. He provided with some much needed information, and told me not to worry, Sarah his Paralegal would be in touch to help get things moving. Sarah reached out as expected and explained their process and walked me through what my expectations would be. She as well assured me they were here to help me navigate the obstacles. What Sarah really did was so much more than help. She took the stress and burden off my shoulders and assumed ownership for handling everything on my behalf. I knew what to expect, and I received regular updates throughout the entire process. Honestly, I received so much more than I anticipated. Some of the most frustrating items to chase after are medical records and hospital charges. While I was trying to recall events and timelines, she had already obtained my records and information. She made this process so painless. I truly cannot say enough about the exceptional service she provided. Many thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Richard Hose
Andrea Barajas
Andrea Barajas
15:13 16 May 18
My husband and I were in a car accident in August 2017. We contacted Bob Katz team for legal representation in our case. Kristen A. Turner was our paralegal and she was excellent. It took 9 months for us to receive our settlement and Kristen kept us updated throughout this entire process. She was very kind and patient as I happened to have several questions. She always answered my questions promptly and thoroughly. I would highly recommend this firm and Kristen if you are in need of legal assistance.
TheOfficalCeeandDee
TheOfficalCeeandDee
15:24 09 Feb 18
My experience here was great. My lawyer Rebecca was so professional and I love her personality. She handled my case well and kept me updated and made the process easy and always made me feel comfortable to call whenever I needed to know anything.
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