Although all car collisions can have devastating consequences, accidents involving drunk drivers can be particularly treacherous. Intoxicated drivers frequently travel at reckless speeds, weave in and out of their lanes, ignore traffic signals, and even drive the wrong way on the road. Consequently, drunk driving crashes often cause life-altering injuries and fatalities.
If a drunk driver strikes you or your loved one, you might be able to seek financial compensation in a civil injury claim. In addition to pursuing damages against the intoxicated motorist, you might be able to sue the bar that served them. A Marion dram shop liability lawyer could help you learn more about your legal options. A car accident attorney is ready to support you through a claim.
What is Dram Shop Law Liability?
Any type of establishment, such as a bar, tavern, hotel, or restaurant, that serves alcohol or alcoholic drinks is a dram shop. Establishments that sell alcohol, such as liquor stores, big box stores, and grocery stores, are also dram shops. Under dram shop liability laws, people who sustain harm because of a drunk driver could file a legal claim against the dram shop that overserved liquor to an intoxicated person who then got behind the wheel to drive.
Some states have specific dram shop liability statutes that state people can directly sue the bar or other establishment that served the driver a drink and then knowingly allowed them to drive drunk. An experienced attorney in Marion could meet with an injured claimant to see if dram shop liability might have played a role in their accident.
Laws Regarding Dram Shop Liability
South Carolina does not have a specific statute addressing dram shops. However, injured survivors or family members of deceased victims of drunk drivers have other avenues to seek compensation against the establishment that overserved the drunk driver. A claimant or their family could establish that the business is legally liable under the concept of negligence. To prevail on a negligence claim, an individual would need to prove the establishment that sold the liquor to the visibly drunk motorist violated their duty of care to others on the road by letting the motorist drive drunk, creating a foreseeable risk of harm. This violation of duty resulted in an accident that caused the claimant to suffer injuries.
A person could look to South Carolina’s criminal code as evidence of dram shop liability. Pursuant to South Carolina Code Annotated § 61-4-580(2), people cannot sell alcohol to someone who is clearly intoxicated. Similarly, according to S.C. Code Ann § 61-4-580(1), people cannot sell alcohol to minors under 21. A legal representative could help a claimant use the establishment’s violation of one or both of these criminal statutes as evidence of their civil liability.
A skilled dram shop liability lawyer in Marion could help a claimant prove the establishment’s responsibility by performing a detailed investigation. In addition to obtaining and reviewing the blood alcohol levels of the drunk motorist, they could speak to eyewitnesses who observed the driver’s behavior when the business served them and when they left to drive away.
Talk to a Marion Dram Shop Liability Attorney
A drunk driving accident can completely upend your life. A skilled legal team could help you pursue a legal claim against the intoxicated motorist. However, that driver might not carry enough insurance to cover your claim. In some cases, you might also be able to pursue a lawsuit against the establishment that sold liquor to the driver.
A compassionate Marion dram shop liability lawyer understands how devastating a drunk driving accident can be. They could search for all avenues of legal recovery to help your family get back on their feet. Talk to Whetstone, Perkins & Fulda about your legal options today.