South Carolina Dram Shop Lawyers
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Every year, thousands of people are killed and hundreds of thousands are injured in traffic crashes involving intoxicated drivers in the United States. In South Carolina, traffic fatalities related to drunk driving are above the national average.
Many personal injury cases focus on the impaired driver and that person’s insurance company, but the tavern that sold the person the liquor may also be at fault.
Here is what to consider when understanding dram shop law and its effect on personal injury and drunk driving cases.
What is Dram Shop Law?
Dram shop laws are on the books in a number of states. The intent of these laws is to prevent bars, clubs, and restaurants from serving alcohol to intoxicated people or minors. When a seller or server of alcohol knowingly provides alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated, they could be putting the business they work for at risk.
A dram shop lawyer may be needed if the person who received the alcohol was a minor, or if they harmed someone else after leaving the establishment, such as in a drunk driving incident.
But dram shop law can feel confusing at times and can easily be misunderstood by venue owners and their servers. In some cases, even private individuals can be subject to dram shop laws. Taking care to understand what this law requires is vital.
Dram Shop Law in South Carolina
Dram shop Law in South Carolina is based on both statutory and common law. The state does not have an official Dram Shop Act like some other states do. However, it is still illegal to knowingly provide an intoxicated person with alcohol. That is true for selling the person alcoholic beverages, and also for serving them these types of beverages.
So liquor store owners could be liable, as could bar owners and those who host gatherings. The most important thing to remember about dram shop law is that it means anyone who is serving or selling alcohol to others should be very mindful that they are not giving underage or already intoxicated people access to alcohol.
The injured party in an accident involving an intoxicated person will likely hire a dram shop lawyer. That attorney will build a case that the serving party knew or should have known that the person was intoxicated, and is therefore liable for damages.
However, the establishment or host that served the alcohol may also hire a dram shop lawyer, in an effort to prove that they had no liability in the case. Many dram shop attorneys work with both plaintiffs and defendants, making it likely that both parties will have the same type of attorney with similar experience and education.
Why Hire a Dram Shop Lawyer?
Using a dram shop lawyer is extremely important, no matter which side of the case you are on. A dram shop lawyer is able to address the subtleties of the case, and focus on the small details that could make a difference in the decision the judge makes.
Determining who is truly at fault may not necessarily be easy, depending on the specific facts, so having an attorney that fully understands dram shop law matters.
FAQs about Dram Shop Cases
What Is the Dram Shop Act?
If you have questions about dram shop law, you are probably also wondering what the Dram Shop Act is. South Carolina does not have a dram shop act, but some states do. This act makes the selling or serving establishment strictly liable if an intoxicated person injures someone else, but not all states agree with this strict liability.
What Does the Dram Shop Act Mean to a Seller/Server?
The Dram Shop Act is focused on the business itself, not the specific server or seller (except in cases of an individual host). However, the seller or server is often the one who must make the determination whether a person is intoxicated. That gives them a lot of responsibility for helping protect their employer and also keep others safe.
Which Situation Best Describes Dram Shop Liability?
Dram shop liability is most often seen in situations where an intoxicated person leaves an establishment like a bar or tavern, and is involved in a traffic crash causing injury or a fatality. If you have questions about dram shop liability, or feel you may have a case, reach out to us today, and get the information and legal help you need.
Blake Cummings (00:08): “Hey, y’all. Blake Cummings here, one of the founding partners here at Cummings and Lewis, LLC. Keep this in mind. We’re from here and we’re for you. I want to talk to you about motor vehicle accidents. No accident is too big, no accident is too small, but they can equally be inconvenient. Call us today. Insurance companies are going to employ professionals to devalue your claim, whether you’ve suffered catastrophic injuries or suffered what they like to call soft tissue injuries, where you’ve had whiplash, a sprain, or strain. Let us get involved to try to maximize the value of your claim. Again, we’re from here for you, we’re here to help you. Call us today, visit our website. And if we can’t help you, we will certainly get you pointed in the right direction so that you can maximize the value of your claim.”