Georgetown Dram Shop Liability Lawyers
While a drunk driving accident is a clear indication of an intoxicated driver’s negligence, many overlook the responsibility that may belong to the drinking establishment that supplied the alcohol. South Carolina does not have a specific dram shop statute, but the state does recognize dram shop claims. Historically, dram shop liability has been determined via examination of decisions passed down by the South Carolina Supreme Court. In Hartfield v. The Getaway Lounge and Grill, Inc, precedence was established that an alcohol vendor can be held liable for injuries if they serve patrons who are obviously intoxicated. Serving those who are visibly impaired has contributed to countless injuries and, as such, these so-called dram shop liability laws are in place to ensure victims receive the full amount of restitution they are due.
Establishments that serve alcohol have a legal duty to make sure they are serving responsibly. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a drunk driving accident, the dedicated Georgetown dram shop liability lawyers at Evans Moore, LLC believe you should never settle for less than the full amount of compensation you deserve. Because dram shop laws in South Carolina are not clearly outlined, seeking a well-versed attorney to determine the validity of your claim is pivotal to ensuring you are getting the full amount of damages you are entitled to. Driving under the influence has destroyed countless lives and victims of such reckless behavior should recover as much as they need to rehabilitate and heal.
Dram Shop Liability in South Carolina
Although a state-wide Dram Shop Act is absent, it is still illegal to knowingly serve persons who are already intoxicated. In a stipulation known as “permissive inference,” handed down in the Hartfield case, the prosecution successfully argued that anyone with a BAC level over the legal limit is obviously intoxicated. Previous cases that have established precedence in dram shop law include:
- Jamison v. The Pantry, Inc – The court decided that the establishment could be held liable for injuries based on the facts that alcohol was sold to a minor whose BAC was over the legal limit, and that the subsequent drunk driving accident was “forseeable.”
- Steele v. Rogers – The court decided that the act of selling alcohol to a minor was not sufficient enough alone to hold liability for subsequent injuries caused; additionally, there had to be evidence that the defendant was intoxicated by the alcohol sold to them when the accident occurred.
- Hartfield v. The Getaway Lounge and Grill, Inc – The court decided that an establishment who served alcohol could be held liable for subsequent injuries if they served a “visibly intoxicated adult.”
The South Carolina court has also previously decided that a social host liability claim—wherein a guest who was provided alcohol at a party or social engagement later causes injuries—only exists if the guest was under age 21. Because the statute of limitations for bringing a dram shop claim in South Carolina is only three years, obtaining counsel immediately is pertinent to recovering full restitution.
Contact a Dram Shop Liability Lawyer in Georgetown
Before you determine if you have a valid claim against an alcohol establishment, it is best to seek the advice of a qualified dram shop liability attorney. At Evans Moore, LLC, our proficient legal team can help you fight for damages if a bar or tavern was careless with their service. Don’t hesitate to call our Georgetown offices at (843) 995-5000 to discuss the details of your case.