South Carolina Dram Shop Laws

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Glass of light beer with bar on background

Imagine this scenario: it is after working hours on a Friday night and four friends gather at a neighborhood sports bar to celebrate the end of another work week. The friends have honored this “ritual” every Friday night for the past several years and are considered regulars at this establishment. Over the course of the next five hours, they each consume a number of alcoholic drinks along with some amount of bar food. At the end of their time together, three of the friends are obviously intoxicated and are too intoxicated to drive. The fourth friend appears less intoxicated and he feels confident he can drive his other friends home. As the group pulls away from the restaurant and head home, it becomes obvious to other drivers that this particular driver is not okay – the car is swerving, traveling in opposing lanes of traffic, and is traveling at a high speed. As the car carrying the friends attempts to make a turn at 50 miles per hour, the driver loses control of the car and strikes another vehicle before hitting a telephone pole. All drivers and passengers involved – including the four friends and the occupants of the other vehicle – are killed in the collision.
The Reality of Drunk Driving Accidents
This tragic scenario unfortunately occurs on the streets of South Carolina and other states throughout the nation with regularity. The loss of any life is tragic, but what makes these cases even more troubling is that the person directly at fault for causing the accident – the drunk driver who believed he or she was “okay to drive” – is deceased. This can makes recovering compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the estates of the other drivers and passengers killed in the wreck difficult.
In these cases, there may be another “at fault” party – the establishment that served the driver alcohol before the crash. A number of states recognize “dram shop” lawsuits that seek to impose civil liability on restaurants, bars, and other establishments that serve alcohol to individuals who are already intoxicated. This civil liability means these establishments can be held responsible for the damage caused by the drunk driver if the establishment continued to serve alcohol to the driver while knowing (or when they should have known) that the person was already in an intoxicated condition.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney’s Help
“Dram shop” laws help injured individuals and their families recover compensation for injuries caused by the establishment’s negligent serving of alcohol to the at-fault driver or person. But these cases are not easy to win. Establishments routinely claim that the person was not “obviously intoxicated” or that the establishment had no reason to know the person had consumed too much alcohol. Therefore, plaintiffs need to conduct a thorough investigation to discover evidence to support their claim: records showing a large number of alcoholic drinks served to the person, eyewitness testimony, and/or surveillance footage can all be useful in supporting a personal injury claim under the dram shop laws.
Greenville attorney David R. Price, Jr. helps South Carolina residents recover full and fair compensation after they have been injured by the reckless or careless behavior of another. His investigations into personal injury cases uncover all responsible parties, increasing the chances his clients have of recovering the compensation they need for their injuries. Discuss your case with him by calling David R. Price, Jr. at (864) 271-2636 or contacting the office of David R. Price, Jr., P.A. online.


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