If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you may have a claim against more than the driver. In certain cases, there could be a claim against the bar, restaurant, etc. that allowed the drunk driver to consume alcohol before the accident. This is called Dram Shop liability.
What Is Dram Shop Liability?
A dram shop claim imposes civil liability when a business such as a bar, restaurant, liquor store serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person that the business knew or should have known was intoxicated. A dram shop claim is part of your personal injury lawsuit and can provide additional compensation for your injuries.
How does this happen? Under South Carolina law, no establishment with a license to sell beer or wine may knowingly sell beer or wine to an intoxicated person.
Evidence in a Dram Shop Case
How do you go about proving a dram shop case against a bar? Gathering the evidence begins with defendant’s bank statements, credit cards statements, records from the bar or restaurant, to determine what amount was spent on alcohol and over what time period.
What if they used cash? Good question. Many establishments have video surveillance systems set up inside their locations to keep an eye on the staff, not he customer, to make sure they are not stealing from the employer. This means that there may be video evidence of the defendant at the bar showing they state they were in and the amount of drinks they consumed. However, this type of evidence is typically only available for 30 days or less so you need to consult a lawyer as early as possible to preserve this type of evidence. There may also be witnesses on the night in question.
Why Bring a Drams Shop Claim
If you have been seriously hurt in an accident and the at-fault driver was drunk they may not have an insurance policy that can cover all your injuries or worse yet have no insurance. However, a bar or restaurant provides additional funds that can help compensate you for your injuries. A commercial establishment may carry a liability policy that can cover your loss or pay a judgment.
Social Host Liability
If you intentionally serve or allow to be served a person under the age of 21, at your home you may be liable in both civil and criminal courts to a third person harmed by the actions of that minor due to intoxication. What’s the best course of action if hosting a party with minors? Prevention is better than the cure, do not serve alcohol or allow it to be consumed. That means being vigilant and know what’s going on at the party at your residence.
Charleston Dram Shop Attorney
If you have been injured by a drunk driver call an experienced and trusted Charleston personal injury lawyer at the Dale Savage Law Firm today for a free case consultation (843) 530-7813.