Drunk Driving Accident Claims in South Carolina
South Carolina is one of the worst states for drunk driving fatalities, with 315 deaths due to drunk drivers in a single year, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
As much as 38 percent of all car accident deaths in South Carolina are related to drunk driving, and more than 1,900 people have died over the last five years due to impaired driving.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving wreck in South Carolina, you have a legal right to recover all actual damages, as well as punitive damages. Additionally, an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer can help identify every potential defendant, so that all responsible parties are held accountable. At the Law Office of Kenneth Berger, we don't want anyone who contributed – be it through driving or overserving – to escape responsibility.
We've included answers to common questions about DUI wrecks below. If you've been hit by a drunk driver, call our drunk driving accident lawyers at 843-314-4202 or use this online contact form for a free, no obligation review of your case today.
Holding Drunk Drivers Liable
If an injured accident victim or the close relative of someone who was killed can prove the drunk driver was to blame, the intoxicated motorist who caused the accident may be held responsible for:
- Medical bills resulting from the accident, including future treatments for any lasting injuries.
- Compensation for pain and suffering, which includes payment for any reduction in the accident victim's quality of life.
- Compensation for emotional distress resulting from the accident or injuries.
- Payment of lost wages, including compensation for any future reduction in income or earning potential that the accident caused.
In some cases, drunk drivers may also have to pay additional damages, called “punitive damages." These are not available in all car accident claims, but may be appropriate when the defendant's behavior was egregiously reckless and likely to cause serious harm, and when the judge or jury believes that punitive damages are appropriate as a means to deter future wrongdoing and punish the defendant.
In some cases, motorists do not have any insurance or not enough insurance to cover the total losses that arise from the drunk driving crash they caused. Those who have been injured or lost a close relative may have other options for recovering compensation in these situations.
Can You Hold The Bar That Overserved The Driver Responsible?
One option may be a dram shop liability claim. Dram shop laws in South Carolina may allow bars, restaurants, and stores that serve or provide alcohol to intoxicated patrons to be held responsible for car accident losses under certain circumstances.
In South Carolina, one of those responsibilities is known as “dram shop liability.” The idea is that if you get someone drunk, you are in part responsible for what the drunk person does when he leaves your establishment. For instance, if a restaurant “overserves” a couple with complimentary champagne after the couple has already consumed two bottles of wine, the restaurant may be liable if the husband crashes into an innocent driver on the way home. Likewise, if a bar hosts a college party and one of the young girls drinks too much liquor and then strikes a pedestrian, the bar could be held in part responsible.
Our job at the Hopkins Law Firm is to help injured people receive full compensation for their losses. The only way to achieve that aim is to hold at-fault parties liable for the harm they cause or set in motion. Therefore, when a drunk driver injures or kills an innocent person, South Carolina dram shop laws say that the drunk driver as well as the bars and restaurants that set the foreseeable event in motion must be held accountable. Otherwise, the loss falls on the shoulders of the innocent.
Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today
At the Hopkins Law Firm, we are ready to put our legal experience to work on your case. If you've been seriously injured in a South Carolina drunk driving accident, you can count on our car accident lawyers to give you the respect you deserve and work to get the money and benefits you are entitled to.