South Carolina Dram Shop Injury Attorneys
From Here, For You
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.
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 South Carolina 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.
Common Negligence vs. Dram Shop
Common negligence refers to a failure to exercise reasonable care in a given situation, which results in harm or injury to another person. This can apply to a wide range of scenarios, such as car accidents, slip-and-fall incidents, or medical malpractice.
Dram shop liability, on the other hand, specifically applies to cases where an establishment that serves alcohol is held responsible for injuries or damages caused by an intoxicated customer. In these cases, the establishment may be found liable if they continued to serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated individual who then went on to cause harm.
What Does the Dram Shop Act Mean to a Seller or Server?
The dram shop act is a law that holds sellers and servers of alcoholic beverages liable for any injuries or damages caused by their intoxicated customers. This means that if a customer becomes visibly intoxicated while being served alcohol, and then goes on to cause harm to themselves or others, the establishment that served them could be held responsible for those damages. As a result, it is important for sellers and servers to be aware of their customers’ behavior and limit their alcohol consumption as necessary in order to prevent any potential harm.
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 the 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, 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.
When to File a Dram Shop Lawsuit
If you or a loved one has been injured or harmed as a result of the actions of an intoxicated individual, it may be appropriate to file a dram shop lawsuit against the establishment that served them alcohol. This can include incidents such as drunk driving accidents, assaults, or other incidents where an intoxicated person caused harm.
To determine if filing a dram shop lawsuit is appropriate in your case, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney. They can evaluate the circumstances surrounding the incident and help determine if there is evidence to support a claim of negligence on the part of the establishment that served alcohol.
It’s also important to note that there are specific statutes of limitations for filing dram shop lawsuits in each state. This means that there is a limited amount of time after an incident occurs during which legal action can be taken. Consulting with an attorney as soon as possible after an incident can help ensure that you don’t miss any important deadlines.
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.
What Does a Dram Shop Lawyer Do?
A dram shop attorney is a legal professional who specializes in cases involving the liability of establishments that sell or serve alcohol. They represent individuals who have been injured or harmed as a result of the actions of an intoxicated person and seek to hold the establishment responsible for their role in the incident. A Dram Shop lawyer will investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident, gather evidence, and build a case to prove that the establishment was negligent in serving alcohol to an already intoxicated individual. They may also negotiate settlements or represent clients in court if necessary.
Spartanburg Dram Shop Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured or harmed as a result of the actions of an intoxicated individual, it is important to get in contact with an experienced attorney who specializes in dram shop liability. At Cummings & Lewis, LLC, our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in dram shop cases and can help ensure that your rights are protected. We will help you gather evidence to build a strong case and will fight for the best possible outcome for your situation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Dram Shop FAQ
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.
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 of whether a person is intoxicated. That gives them a lot of responsibility for helping protect their employer and also keep others safe.
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’s liability or feel you may have a case, reach out to us today, and get the information and legal help you need.
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W. Blake Cummings
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