Drunk Driving Accident Wrongful Death Lawsuits

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Drunk driving accident wrongful death lawsuits are civil compensation claims. If you have lost a loved one because of a DUI crash, you may have a wrongful death claim. Bobby Jones Law handles these types of lawsuits. Contact us today.

Laws for Drunk Driving Wrongful Death Claims in South Carolina

  • S.C. Code § 56-5-2930 prohibits operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the person’s faculties to drive are materially and appreciably impaired.
  • S.C. Code § 56-5-2933 prohibits operating a motor vehicle with an unlawful bodily alcohol content (.08% or more).
  • Drunk driving laws are criminal laws. However, drunk driving is also negligence, creating civil liability. Bloom v. Ravoira, 339 S.C. 417 (2000).
  • Negligence per se applies when drunk driving results in wrongful death. Proof of the defendant’s negligence arises from the defendant’s violation of criminal laws. Coleman v. Shaw, 281 S.C. 107 (Ct. App. 1984).
  • When drunk driving results in wrongful death, the right to bring a claim survives, with close family members as the beneficiaries. (S.C. Code § 15-51-10).
  • A bar or restaurant that overserves a patron, resulting in a DUI crash and death, may be responsible for their role. See Daley v. Ward, 303 S.C. 81 (S.C. Ct. App. 1990).
  • Establishments serving alcohol must have at least $1 million dollars in insurance coverage to pay for potential liability. (S.C. Code § 61-2-145).

Factors for Success for a Drunk Driving Case Resulting in Death

Success in a claim for drunk driving resulting in death requires pursuing all possible opportunities for compensation. It means proving legal fault, building on any police investigation.
At Bobby Jones Law, we handle all aspects of your drunk driving accident wrongful death lawsuit. Lawyer Robert “Bobby” Jones understands the factors for success. He creates a personalized case plan based on your needs and legal goals.

Damages that May Be Awarded for a Fatal DUI Crash in S.C.

Under S.C. Code § 15-51-40, damages are the losses because of the death that result to the beneficiaries of the claim. Some drunk driving claims qualify for exemplary (punitive) damages.
Damages may include:
  • Lost financial support
  • Household services provided to the family
  • Companionship and family relationship loss
  • Knowledge, judgment, and guidance the deceased provided
  • Medical, funeral and burial costs
  • Anguish of losing a loved one
  • Property damage that may be related to the collision
  • Punitive damages (statutory limits may apply)
Damages are specific to the case. As your lawyer, we work to understand and prove your damages, showing how the family has been greatly impacted by the loss of their loved one.

How a criminal conviction may factor in

For DUI resulting in death, it’s common for there to be criminal charges as well as a civil claim. The criminal case may impact the civil case.
If there is a criminal conviction or guilty plea, collateral estoppel may apply. It prevents a defendant from litigating an issue in a civil action that has already been determined to a final judgment in a criminal case.
 The precluded party must have had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue. See Zurcher v. Bilton, 379 S.C. 132 (2008), Doe v. Doe, 551 S.E.2d 257 (S.C. 2001). (South Carolina courts apply collateral estoppel even when the defendant has made an Alford plea under North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25 (1970).)
However, if there are no criminal charges, or if charges don’t result in a conviction, you can still bring a civil case. A lack of criminal conviction is not fatal to a civil case. In fact, it’s common for a civil case to succeed when a criminal case doesn’t. That’s part of why it’s so important for you to pursue a civil case.

Our commitment to victims of DUI resulting in death

Bobby Jones Law is a Friend of MADD. We are a sponsor of the Upstate Walk Like MADD 2023 event on September 30, 2023. We are proud of our commitment to helping the families of drunk driving victims find justice.

Lawyer for Drunk Driving Accident Wrongful Death Lawsuits

If you have lost a loved one, we are sorry, and we want to help you. Talk to Bobby Jones Law today. See how you may file a drunk driving accident wrongful death lawsuit and start seeking justice and compensation for your family. Contact our firm in Greenville today.
The team at Bobby Jones Law LLC works tirelessly for the injured in South Carolina. His achievements include:
  • More than $60 million collected for our clients
  • Multiple recoveries exceeding $1 million, including an eight-figure settlement
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America
  • Named among the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report
  • Named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers
  • Named to Super Lawyers 2017–2024
  • Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Selected as Legal Elite of the Upstate 2021–2023
We’re humbled to be considered one of the top firms in the Upstate and invite you to learn what sets our award-winning legal services apart. Call or request a consultation online.
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