Can I Sue The Establishment That Sold Alcohol To The Driver That Hit Me?
In South Carolina, after you suffer injuries in a car accident because of a drunk driver, you can file a personal injury claim against the drunk driver in civil court. But can you sue the establishment that sold alcohol to the driver that hit you? Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible to file a claim against the business that served the alcohol to the driver that hit you. A claim you make against an alcohol vendor is called a “dram shop” claim. Below, we discuss South Carolina’s dram shop law.
Dram Shop Law in South Carolina
Many states have specific dram shop statutes. This is not the case in South Carolina. There is no specific dram shop statute in South Carolina. However, South Carolina allows accident victims to file dram shop claims and seek compensation from businesses that serve alcohol to people under the age of 21 or overserve alcohol to drivers.
South Carolina courts have allowed accident victims to file dram shop claims by referring to the state’s criminal statutes regarding the sale of alcohol. According to South Carolina law, alcohol vendors are prohibited from selling alcohol to persons under the age of 21. South Carolina law also prohibits alcohol vendors from selling alcohol to an intoxicated person. In other words, in SC, dram shop claims are allowed where the vendor sold alcohol to an individual below the age of 21 or someone who was intoxicated. If the motorist that harmed you was over-served by a business or served even though they are underage, you may be able to file a dram shop claim and recover compensation from the establishment’s insurer. An experienced attorney can help you with your case.
While the sale of alcohol is legal in SC, establishments that sell alcohol have a legal responsibility to uphold public safety. In South Carolina, failing to act with care, in a manner a person with ordinary judgment would have undertaken under similar circumstances, including refusing to sell alcohol to an underage patron or intoxicated person, is considered negligence.
Why Would You Need to File a Dram Shop Claim?
You may wonder, “If I can file a claim against the drunk driver, why would I need to file a dram shop claim against the business that sold alcohol to the driver?” While drivers are required to have auto insurance, some drivers do not have insurance. Others do not have enough insurance. If the drunk motorist that hit you doesn’t have insurance or has insufficient insurance, you may need to file a dram shop claim to recover all the damages you are entitled to. For instance, suppose you suffered severe injuries, and your total damages are $100,000. In such a case, if the motorist who injured you has the minimum insurance policy limits, they may only pay you $25,000. By filing a dram shop claim against the establishment that sold the driver alcohol, you may be able to recover the full value of your claim.
Contact the Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm
If you’ve suffered injuries because of a drunk driver in South Carolina, contact our Charleston drunk driver accident lawyer at Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm.