Dram shop liability refers to a body of law that permits a party host, restaurant, bar, liquor store or another commercial establishment to be held liable in cases where alcohol is sold to a visibly intoxicated person who subsequently causes a serious or fatal accident.
Do I Need a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney?
At Bobby Jones Law, your Greenville South Carolina drunk driving accident attorney understands establishing liability in the wake of a crash is critical to making an adequate recovery for the senseless loss caused by a driver who climbs behind the wheel after having too much to drink. In cases where a commercial establishment serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron, that business and its insurance company must be held accountable.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports someone is killed in a drunk driving accident every hour. Nationwide, more than one-third of all fatal crashes are alcohol-related, resulting in more than 10,000 motorist deaths annually. South Carolina drunk driving accidents were responsible for nearly half of all traﬃc fatalities in the Palmetto State.
Most of these crashes occur at night and on the weekend. It’s no secret many involve patrons of a nightclub, bar or restaurant, who are making their way home after a long night of drinking. In other cases, a sporting venue, concert, fair or street festival may be involved. In all cases, commercial establishments have an obligation under the law when it comes to responsibly serving customers and guests.
An Old World term for a tavern, “dram” is a unit of liquor and “shop” meant the location where spirits were sold.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports states with tough dram shop laws reduce alcohol-related crashes by as much as 5 percent. Such laws also help educate servers and reduce over-service of alcoholic beverages to intoxicated patrons. Excessive and illegal (underage) consumption also decreases.
While South Carolina does not have a “Dram Shop Act,” it is illegal in South Carolina to “knowingly” serve alcohol to any person who is intoxicated. To pursue a Dram Shop action, the injured party must apply the criminal statutes governing alcohol control (S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-580) and demonstrate that an establishment knowingly served alcohol to an intoxicated person. If the injured party can establish that a restaurant or a bar knew or should have known that it was serving an intoxicated person, whether by signs of visible intoxication or based upon the type, number and time period over which the customer consumed alcoholic drinks, that restaurant or bar is liable for the resulting injuries and damages proximately caused by the drunk driver. Additionally, if a restaurant or bar knew or should have known an alcohol purchaser is under 21 years of age, then that restaurant or bar could be liable if the purchaser’s intoxication caused an injury. Similarly, an adult social host who knowingly serves, or causes to be served, an alcoholic beverage to a person he knows or reasonably should know is between the ages of 18 and 20 is liable to the person served and to any other persons for damages proximately resulting from the host’s service of alcohol.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a drunk driver, contact the personal injury lawyers at Bobby Jones Law as soon as possible. Restaurant or bar receipts, surveillance video, eyewitness testimony and statements from staﬀ should be collected as part of a comprehensive investigation conducted in the immediate aftermath of a serious or fatal crash.
Call Bobby Jones Law for a free and conﬁdential consultation to discuss your rights with us today. NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL – (864) 678-0238.