A Massachusetts man was fatally injured last week in a tragic golf cart accident at a South Berwick, Maine golf course.
According to police reports and the Associated Press, the victim, who’d been playing at The Links at Outlook, was riding as a passenger in a golf cart when the driver lost control on a downhill portion of the cart path near the 14th hole. Both the driver and the victim were ejected from the cart; the cart then fell on and crushed the victim’s head. The driver received only minor injuries.
The victim is described as a 27-year-old male from Massachusetts. His name, nor were any other details about the accident, was not released. South Berwick Police Chief Dana Lajoie stated that blood was drawn at the scene from both the driver and victim to determine the men’s blood alcohol content.
Assuming that alcohol was a factor in this horrific accident, this situation could fall under the dram shop statute and liquor server liability law. According to Massacusetts General Laws, Chapter 231, Section 85T:
“In any action for personal injuries, property damage or consequential damages caused by or arising out of the negligent serving of alcohol to an intoxicated person by a licensee properly licensed under chapter 138 or by a person or entity serving alcohol as an incident of its business but for which no license is required, no such intoxicated person who causes injuries to himself, may maintain an action against the said licensee or person or entity in the absence of wilful, wanton, or reckless conduct on the part of the licensee or such person or entity.”
Dram shop liability can apply to various types of establishments including bars, nightclubs, restaurants, social clubs, liquor stores, or in this case, a golf course. Employees and proprietors of these establishments are required by law to refrain from selling alcoholic beverages to visibly intoxicated individuals. It is common practice for many people who visit golf courses for social outings to drink alcohol at a higher rate than normal.
What does this mean for establishments?
If a person is injured or killed, or injures another party as the result of being over served, the entity that over served said person, may be subject to civil liability. While dram shop most often is applied to drunken driving cases, it may also be imposed if a drunken person gets into a fight in or outside of the bar, acts recklessly and hurts another person, or causes harm to himself, another, or property in any way.
Dram shop liability claims may also include an element of negligence. These types of cases tend to be complicated and often are difficult to prove. To prove a dram shop liability claim in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one must establish that the server of the establishment knew or should have known that the person he or she served was intoxicated. This is not necessarily proven by blood tests or breathalyzer results alone; witness statements and depositions are often crucial to dram shop claims. It will also be important to look into the adequacy of bartender and wait staff training procedures.
Because of the complexity of such cases, it is always advised to consult with a legal professional, who can break down the specifics of your case. If you or a loved one was injured as the result of being over served alcohol, do not hesitate to contact the law offices of Altman & Altman for a legal consultation. Our team of experts has over 50 years of combined experience handling all types of personal injury cases; we have the resources to help you settle your case. Call today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.