The legalese surrounding alcohol can make certain situations far more complicated than they originally seem.
One of these situations is drunk driving cases. In many states, when a driver is injured by a drunk driver, they have the legal standing to file a personal injury case against the drunk driver. These cases allow those injured to earn the compensation they deserve to pay for costly medical bills or even the purchase of a new vehicle.
However, the drunk driver who caused the accident is not the only one who can be found liable for the accident. If the dram shop that sold the drunk driver alcohol allowed them to get behind the wheel even though they were noticeably intoxicated, the shop can be found liable for the victim’s injuries.
Learn more about how dram shop liability laws can factor into personal injury law. I’ll use South Carolina as an example, as the specifics of dram shop laws vary from state to state. Hopefully, this information helps you or a loved one in the future.
What is a Dram Shop?
Before I delve into the specifics of dram shop law, I should explain what a dram shop is. Very few people actually use this term in everyday life, but a dram shop refers to any establishment that sells alcoholic beverages for consumption. This covers a wide range of establishments, including bars, taverns, and restaurants.
Dram Shop Law in South Carolina
Remember, statutes regarding dram shop law vary from state to state, and this blog post will focus on the state of South Carolina. If you do not live in South Carolina, make sure to research the specific laws in your state to get a better understanding of how dram shop law will play into your case.
South Carolina does not have a dram shop statute on the books. This, however, does not mean that one cannot hold dram shop-esque establishments responsible for selling intoxicated drivers alcohol. Rather than have a specific dram shop statute, South Carolina relies on its criminal statutes.
Through the application of these criminal statutes, such as S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-580(2) which bans the sale of alcohol to an intoxicated person, attorneys are able to hold establishments that sell liquor to intoxicated individuals responsible for their actions. However, the liability does not extend to social hosts in South Carolina. Meaning, if a host of a party gives alcohol to an intoxicated person who then crashes their car, that host cannot be held liable.
What To Do
If you have been recently injured in a drunk driving accident, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. This attorney will be able to explain how you should proceed to get the compensation that you are entitled to. If a dram shop is able to be held liable, your attorney will also be able to take them to court as well.