If you’re the victim of a South Carolina drunk driver—or worse, you’re the family member of the victim of a fatal drunk driving accident—you need an experienced car accident lawyer for many reasons. Chief among them is just to make sure you don’t get lowballed by the drunk driver’s liability insurance adjuster and maximize the amount of your settlement to include punitive damages.

The first trick is figuring out if the drunk driver got served at a bar or restaurant in the first place. If so, you’ve got a highly complex case called a dram shop action in South Carolina. Don’t expect the bar or restaurant to surrender to your demands without professional legal help. You’re telling the bar it’s a menace to society. No business will admit that. Worse, you’re telling the bar or restaurant’s insurance company it needs to pay a big settlement. Insurance companies never do that without a fight.

If you’ve been hurt or lost a family member to a South Carolina drunk driver, it won’t cost you a thing to talk to an experienced Spartanburg car accident lawyer. Call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form.

Let’s look at the major factors we consider in determining how much of a settlement to ask for against a bar or restaurant that serves a South Carolina drunk driver who causes a car or motorcycle accident.

Evidence of Fault, Called Legal Liability, in South Carolina Drunk Driving Accidents

Our evaluation of liability involves two groups of defendants: the drunk driver and the bar(s) or restaurant(s) that served him.

  • The drunk driver. How drunk was he? We evaluate the evidence from the case made against him by law enforcement. We hopefully have copies of a police dashcam video and their reports. A breath test can be a huge help, and a blood test can be pure gold since it’s considered the most accurate.
  • The bar or restaurant. We focus on how the bar or restaurant’s staff knew or should have known their customer was intoxicated when they served him. It’s really hard to prove because there may be no obvious evidence of intoxication. Instead, we plan on building a case based on circumstantial evidence because those circumstances prove the bar or restaurant knew or should have known the customer was intoxicated and should’ve been cut off instead of given more.

To assess the strength of that case, we may need an expert or two. A forensic toxicologist can estimate the drunk driver’s blood alcohol content at the time he got served, based on the evidence we have. We may also need a bartending expert—yes, they exist—to tell us how staff violated safe standards of bartending and alcohol service.

Punitive Damages Against Bars or Restaurants Who Overserve South Carolina Drunk Drivers

Regardless of the case, South Carolina punitive damages are just hard to get. We’ve got to prove the bar or restaurant’s employees were reckless in overserving the drunk driver before he caused the car accident.  If we can establish recklessness to open the door to punitive damages, we still have one more complicated process to undertake in estimating the right amount of punitive damages. We’ve got to evaluate the evidence based on multiple factors for setting the amount of punitive damages set by South Carolina law.

Evidence of the Loss and Injuries to You or the Victim’s Family

While last, this is definitely not the least. The amount of devastation a drunk or high driver leaves in his wake is often breathtaking. The legal term for this aspect of your case is actually plain English. It’s called damages.

Everybody’s case is different, and our evaluation of your damages depends on the case you have:

  1. If you’re hurt, we evaluate how much you should get in a settlement based on the factors under South Carolina law. Because your case is about you, we especially emphasize your pain and suffering, but we don’t call it that. Pain and suffering are only part of it, so we use the more accurate term human loss.
  2. You’ve lost a family member in a fatal car accident. When a drunk driver kills someone after he gets overserved by a bar or restaurant, the victim’s family has a case called a wrongful death case and often a survival action. In a nutshell, wrongful death allows certain family members to recover for the loss of the victim and the survival action allows the victim’s estate to recover for funeral and medical bills plus the victim’s conscious pain and suffering before passing away.  

Suing a Bar or Restaurant for a South Carolina Drunk Driving Accident is Complicated. Get Professional Help.

Getting a settlement for a drunk driving accident is just not easy. It’s also not worth the risk of getting snowballed and shortchanged by a hard-nosed, tight-fisted insurance company that doesn’t care how bad you’re hurt or how powerful the loss of your family member is. The insurance company wants you to stay isolated, so you’ll be exposed to them taking advantage of you.

You’re too smart to be in that trap, or you wouldn’t be here now. Take the next step, which we’ll make as easy as possible on you.

Contact a Spartanburg drunk driving accident and wrongful death attorney to point you in the right direction. Don’t worry. We won’t pressure you to hire us—we’re here to answer your questions and give you peace of mind. You can contact us by calling toll-free at 888-230-1841, filling out a Get Help Now form, or starting a live chat.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to work with us, check out what actual clients say about us on unedited, unscripted reviews at an attorney website we don’t own and Google.


Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.
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