Evans Moore, LLC represents individuals who suffer injuries in car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers. Bars, restaurants, and other establishments serving alcohol are supposed to monitor their patrons’ alcohol consumption and serve them responsibly. If you were in an accident with a drunk driver, you could hold the establishment liable for your resulting expenses and other losses.
Dram shop laws prohibit bartenders, anyone hosting a party, and other individuals and entities from knowingly serving alcohol to an intoxicated person. Evans Moore, LLC has experience proving liability in cases like this and fighting for the maximum financial compensation accident victims deserve.
Our Georgetown dram shop liability lawyers understand the suffering you’ve had to endure and will advocate for your rights during this difficult time in your life. Call us at (843) 995-5000 to find out more about our services and how we can help.
Dram Shop Laws in South Carolina
Although South Carolina doesn’t recognize specific dram shop laws, there are statutes associated with selling alcohol that could prove an establishment’s actions contributed to your injuries.
South Carolina statute § 61-4-580(1) – The holder of a permit to sell wine or beer or their agent, employee, or servant is prohibited from selling alcohol to anyone under 21 years old.
South Carolina statute § 61-4-580(2) – The holder of a permit to sell beer or wine or any employee, servant, or agent is prohibited from selling alcohol to an intoxicated person.
You could also hold the host of a party liable for your injuries if they provided alcohol to any guests who were under 21 years old. However, there are no laws to establish liability for hosts who serve guests of legal drinking age that cause a car accident.
DUI laws determine someone is under the influence of alcohol if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. A BAC between 0.05% and 0.07% could also indicate a violation of these laws when combined with specific factors. South Carolina also follows a zero-tolerance law. Anyone under 21 years old is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of over 0.02%. Drunk drivers who get caught or cause an accident resulting in bodily injury could face serious civil and criminal penalties.
The Effects of Alcohol on a Person’s Driving Abilities
Drunk driving is extremely dangerous. When someone chooses to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, they put everyone around them at risk of harm. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol, they will have difficulty operating their vehicle safety. A drunk driver may have the following symptoms:
- Blurry vision
- Poor decision-making and judgment
- Altered sensory perception
- Slower reaction time
- Reduced muscle coordination
- Inability to focus
- Loss of consciousness
The risk of an accident increases if there are other factors involved. Besides the symptoms above, drunk drivers could exhibit the following behaviors:
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failure to yield the right of way
It’s entirely irresponsible for someone to knowingly provide alcohol when there are visible signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech. Although establishments, such as bars, make their money by selling alcohol to their customers, it is up to them to ensure everyone’s safety. They could be just as liable for a car accident as the driver who chose to drive drunk.
How to Handle a Dram Shop Liability Case
If you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you should take immediate action to protect your rights to compensation. Follow the steps below to help ensure you can hold the driver and the establishment that sold them alcohol accountable for their actions.
Call 911 and wait for an officer to arrive at the scene. They should write a crash report detailing what happened and who was at fault. They should also note traffic citations and whether they arrested the other driver for driving under the influence.
After leaving the scene, you should immediately seek medical treatment. If your injury is severe, let an ambulance transport you to the hospital or seek an evaluation from your doctor if the injury is minor.
Accident victims will sometimes make the mistake of refusing medical care after the accident, especially if the injury is minor or they’re not in pain. That could create issues down the road and hinder your ability to recover compensation in an insurance claim or lawsuit. Without adequate records of your injury or a timeline of the treatment you received, the insurance company or jury won’t have evidence that your injuries were the result of the accident.
You should show up for your regularly scheduled doctor’s appointments and follow their orders if they recommend physical therapy, prescriptions, and other forms of treatment. Don’t allow too much time to pass between your appointments, as this could negatively impact the outcome of your case. Insurance adjusters typically use gaps in treatment as proof that the claimant’s injuries weren’t severe enough to require consistent medical care.
Following your accident, you should also hire a Georgetown dram shop liability lawyer. While you’re treating your injuries, Evans Moore, LLC will handle the legal aspects of your case. We can investigate the accident and determine if the bar, an employee, or host at a party should be financially responsible for the costs associated with your injuries. Some evidence we might obtain include:
- Video surveillance
- Receipts from the establishment showing how much alcohol they served
- Police reports
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Drunk driver’s debit or credit card statements
- Driving history showing prior arrests or convictions of DUI
Our Georgetown dram shop liability lawyers will use our extensive resources to help ensure the person who served alcohol to the drunk driver involved in the accident is held responsible for their actions.
Pursuing Compensation in a Dram Shop Liability Case
Besides seeking compensation from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance, you might also be able to file a claim with the establishment’s liability insurance company.
Evans Moore, LLC can request a copy of their policy to determine if they have coverage and how much is available. You may be able to seek compensation for your financial, physical, and emotional losses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Out of pocket expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
According to South Carolina statute § 61-2-145, anyone with a license to sell alcohol for consumption at their establishment that stays open after 5:00 p.m. must maintain liquor liability insurance or general liability insurance totaling at least $1 million in coverage. When you file your claim, you could pursue compensation for your past and future losses up to the coverage on the policy.
Filing a Lawsuit in South Carolina
Drunk driving accidents are traumatic experiences that can cause severe injuries and fatalities. It’s possible that the accident that injured you could have been avoided if the person who served alcohol to the driver wasn’t negligent in their responsibilities. They should have known that their customer was a danger to others, but they continued to serve them anyway.
You may be able to file a lawsuit against the establishment and employee for financial compensation. There is a statute of limitations in South Carolina if you want to sue someone in a dram shop liability case. The statute is three years, meaning you have three years from the car accident date to file suit, or you could lose your right to seek compensation from the at-fault parties.
The Georgetown dram shop liability lawyers of Evans Moore, LLC understand the complex nature of injury claims and lawsuits, and we know how to handle this type of case effectively. Our legal team can file the initial documents and conduct a thorough investigation to gather the evidence we need to prove who was responsible for causing your injuries. You will never be alone throughout the legal process. You can count on us to provide guidance, support, and advice from start to finish of your case.
Contact Evans Moore, LLC Today
Evans Moore, LLC has been able to recover over $100 million in compensation for victims throughout South Carolina. We always strive to provide our clients with exceptional representation. We’ll work hard to obtain justice for the injuries you’ve suffered, and we won’t settle for less compensation than you need and deserve. We will fight for the maximum settlement or jury verdict available to help you recover and move forward with your life.
We’ve received national recognition for our hard work and case results. Some of the prestigious legal organizations that awarded us include South Carolina’s Top 10 Verdicts, Super Lawyers, and the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys. We’re proud of the reputation we’ve established since opening our firm and hope to continue our efforts to make our community a safer place.
If you sustained injuries in a drunk driving accident and want to hold the establishment liable for their negligent actions, call Evans Moore, LLC today at (843) 995-5000 for a free consultation with one of our Georgetown dram shop liability lawyers.