Were you or a loved one injured in a drunk driving accident in South Carolina? The dram shop act may be able to help. Some injury victims may be eligible to pursue compensation from the bar or restaurant that served alcohol to the drunk driver.
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Injured in a DUI accident in South Carolina? Our experienced attorneys may be able to help. South Carolina's powerful dram shop law empowers injury victims and their family members to pursue financial compensation after suffering an alcohol-related accident.
How To File A Dram Shop Lawsuit
Licensed establishments in South Carolina are bound by law to provide alcohol in a reasonably safe manner. When a bar, restaurant or nightclub serves alcohol negligently, allowing others to become injured, the establishment can be held accountable for violating the dram shop act.
Violations Of South Carolina's Liquor Service Laws
Dram shop lawsuits must be based on a violation of the dram shop act. In reality, South Carolina doesn't have a dram shop act on the books, but its Supreme Court has recognized negligent alcohol service as a viable cause for civil action in multiple cases.
South Carolina's general liquor laws come into play here, and the State's Supreme Court has acknowledged at least two violations that can give rise to a dram shop claim:
- serving alcohol to a minor (someone under the age of 21)
- serving alcohol to someone who is already visibly intoxicated
Either of these violations can serve as the foundation for a viable dram shop case. Plaintiffs are required to prove that the drunk driver (or assailant, in the case of bar fights) was served alcohol in violation of South Carolina law and that their resulting intoxication contributed to the accident in some way.
Limited Social Host Liability
A limited form of dram shop liability can even extend to social hosts, people who provide alcohol at private parties. Social hosts in South Carolina can be held liable for the drunken actions of minors, if the intoxicated minor goes on to cause an accident. The same isn't true for adults. Social hosts can't be held accountable for what their adult guests do, no matter how much the adult is allowed to drink.
Dram Shop Statute Of Limitations
Like every other type of civil lawsuit, dram shop claims are controlled by a rigorous statute of limitations. This state law acts like a legal time limit, restricting the amount of time injury victims and their families have to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for dram shop lawsuits in South Carolina is currently 3 years, beginning on the date of injury.