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Court Determines Adults Who Enable a Minor’s Intoxication May Be Liable for Injuries Caused as a Result

Posted in Auto Accidents

Earlier this month, a Maryland appellate court issued a written opinion involving the death of a young boy who had been drinking at a friend’s home. In the case, Kiriakos v. Phillips, the court determined that under a traditional negligence analysis, an adult who knows that minors are consuming alcohol on their property has a duty to those who may be injured in an accident involving the intoxicated minors.

The Facts of the Case

The Kiriakos case presented two cases consolidated for the purpose of appeal. The second case, Dankos v. Stapf, presents a clear factual scenario of when liability may arise. In the Dankos case, Dankos was with several friends drinking at one of his friends’ houses. The friend’s mother, Stapf, was present and didn’t do anything to stop the children from drinking. Importantly, she also didn’t do anything to stop them from driving.

On the next morning, one of the other intoxicated teens and Dankos left the Stapf home. The driver of the car was involved in a serious accident, and Dankos died as a result. The Dankos family filed a negligence lawsuit against Stapf, arguing that her negligence in allowing the minors to consume alcohol in her home contributed to their son’s death.

In Maryland, where this case took place, there is no Dram Shop Law to hold those who over-serve liquor to a guest responsible. However, the court read in a duty under the state’s traditional negligence analysis. To be sure, this was a landmark decision in that jurisdiction. Thankfully, New Mexico law is already more favorable for those injured in drunk driving accidents.

New Mexico’s Dram Shop Law

New Mexico is one of several states that do have a Dram Shop Law. In New Mexico, it may be possible for anyone injured in a drunk driving accident to hold responsible not only the driver but also the person who served the drunk driver the alcohol leading to their intoxication. This may be the case if the alcohol was consumed either in a licensed establishment or in a person’s home. To learn more about New Mexico’s Dram Shop Law, and how it may help injured parties recover compensation for their injuries, contact a dedicated attorney today.

Have You Been the Victim of a New Mexico Drunk Driving Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled personal injury attorneys at the Fine Law Firm have decades of experience upholding the rights of injured parties in courtrooms across the State of New Mexico. With their help, you may be entitled to an award package including compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call 505-889-FINE to set up a free consultation today. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

State Supreme Court Denies Governmental Immunity for Transportation Commission in Wrongful Death Claim, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 13, 2016.

State Court Finds Plaintiff Was Not Entitled to a New Trial in Lawsuit over Medical Expenses, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 28, 2016.