Can I Sue Someone for Driving Drunk in South Carolina?
Vehicle collisions can be completely catastrophic to a person’s way of life. Even apart from the risk of serious injury, a car crash can derail everything from a person’s career, family life and routines to their physical and mental health. For this reason, a vehicle collision is particularly infuriating when you did nothing to cause it. It feels completely unfair to process the fact that a person can be reckless and negligent and you and your family have to suffer the (sometimes permanent) consequences.
Luckily, you have options. In South Carolina, if a drunk driver causes you injury, you have the right to sue them to recover damages. This is also true regardless of whether you are in another vehicle hit by the drunk driver, or are a passenger in their vehicle.
Negligence has a negative connotation of being almost intentionally careless. However, legally, the definition for negligence is much broader. Under South Carolina law, a driver is negligent whenever they deviate from the reasonable standard of care owed to other drivers. When a driver drives drunk, they deviate from a reasonable standard of care, putting everyone else on the road at risk. While driving drunk is a crime regardless of whether anyone gets hurt, there must be financial damages suffered in order to bring a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver.
Civil versus Criminal Systems
The criminal justice system is designed to deal with the criminal. Its focus is on penalizing and rehabilitating the criminal. It is not designed in any way to help restore the victim. This is where the civil court system steps in to help it out. While the criminal justice system holds criminals accountable for their actions by penalizing them with fines, jail time, and/or probation, the civil court system allows victims to seek financial wholeness from the person or parties who caused them harm. These systems work together and are not mutually exclusive. You are free to bring a civil lawsuit against someone who is also facing criminal charges or going through a criminal legal process. Many people find that by pursuing both avenues they are better able to find peace.
The civil court system aims to put victims back in the position they would have been in financially had the accident never occurred. While nothing can make the accident go away or keep it from happening, a lawsuit can mean that you at least don’t have to be affected negatively by the financial fallout stemming from it.
Bringing a Drunk Driving Lawsuit
If you were injured as a result of a vehicle collision due to a drunk or incapacitated driver, you can bring a personal injury lawsuit against them to recover damages. A successful personal injury lawsuit allows you to recover for all past and anticipated future medical expenses, lost wages and/or lost income potential, loss of consortium or companionship, physical property damages (such as damage to your car), reimbursement for all costs related to the accident, and compensation for intangible injuries as well, such as pain and suffering.
Talk to a Charleston Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you are not alone. The Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm is here to help you navigate the process and zealously advocate on your behalf. Contact our Charleston car accident lawyers to schedule your free consultation today.