In September it was
reported that Maranda Schmitt, from Stoughton was charged with drunk driving following
an accident with her four-year-old in the car. She reportedly had a lengthy
record of driving offenses, including a previous conviction of driving
under the influence.
Car accidents, assaults and other injury producing activities are all too
often the result of alcohol inebriation. Under Massachusetts law, the
establishment that sold then the liquor can also be held liable for the
The law provides that no alcoholic beverage can be sold or delivered on to a person
already intoxicated . This means bartenders, servers, managers and owners
have a responsibility to observe slurred speech, rowdiness and other behaviors
associated with intoxication. Owners are also required to provide proper
training for staff to monitor behavior and address intoxicated patrons.
This law is commonly referred to as the
dram shop law and applies to any establishment that sells alcoholic beverages including
restaurants, bars, liquor stores, sporting event arenas and social clubs.
The business will be liable if it continues to serve alcoholic beverages
to an already clearly inebriated customer, who then goes on to be involved
in a drunk-driving accident or a fight inside or outside the establishment
resulting in injury.
In 2010 a new law in Massachusetts required establishments who serve alcohol
to show proof of liquor liability insurance before they could obtain a
liquor license. Therefore, there is now liability insurance covering the
establishment if they are responsible. Most policies pay a minimum of
$250,000 for injury or death to one person, or a minimum of $500,000 for
more than one person killed or injured in the same incident.