Social Host Liability
Injury Lawyers Representing Victims of Drunk Drivers in South Carolina
If someone gets behind the wheel of a car when they are drunk, they create a significant danger to other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and everyone on the road. When an intoxicated driver causes an accident and injuries, he or she can be held civilly liable. However, other parties may also have responsibility in contributing to the accident. Businesses that sell alcohol are responsible for making sure not to serve an inebriated patron, and social host liability may arise when individuals allow minors access to alcohol. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, the Charleston car accident lawyers at Lofton & Lofton, P.C. can help you determine who was at fault and take proper legal action to make sure that these parties are held accountable for their negligent actions. For more than 25 years, Lofton & Lofton has served South Carolina residents, remaining dedicated to providing seasoned and knowledgeable legal representation in personal injury and wrongful death claims. If you have been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, contact our office today to learn more about your legal options and how we can help.
Situations Involving Social Host Liability
If a motor vehicle accident results from a driver’s intoxication, victims injured in that collision may file a civil personal injury lawsuit against that driver in order to pursue damages related to their injuries. However, sometimes a drunk driver’s insurance policy is not enough to cover the costs of significant injuries, and other at-fault parties must be pursued through legal action. Courts in South Carolina have used criminal statutes related to alcohol, as well as common law negligence standards, to hold restaurants, bars, and other venues that are considered “dram shops” liable for an injury caused by an intoxicated driver who was over served. Dram shop liability applies when one of these establishments serves alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated or to anyone under 21 years of age, when that patron then causes an injury in an accident due to their intoxication.
Social hosts in Charleston and elsewhere in South Carolina cannot be held accountable for serving alcohol to guests who are 21 years old or older. The state Supreme Court has held that, although it is reasonably foreseeable that serving alcohol to a driver could lead to a drunk driving accident, social hosts are not responsible for the actions of an adult guest. However, courts have ruled that social hosts who intentionally serve, or allow service of, alcohol to a minor can be held accountable for injuries that are caused by that minor’s intoxication. Social host liability can provide a cause of action not only for third parties who are injured but also for the minors themselves. However, serving alcohol to someone who is underage is also a crime, so people who do so may face both civil and criminal consequences.
People injured in a drunk driving accident can be awarded damages that arise as a result of their injuries, which include past and future medical expenses, costs related to rehabilitation and physical therapy, loss of income from time missed at work, and changes in a victim’s earning capacity as a result of their injuries, as well as pain and suffering. Family members who have lost loved ones may also receive compensation for burial and funeral costs. In order to investigate the possibility of social host liability and make sure that all of the parties at fault for your harm are identified, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible in the aftermath of a crash.
Seek Guidance from a Car Crash Lawyer in Charleston
Victims of drunk driving accidents need not only time to recover but also financial assistance to help with the escalating costs associated with serious injuries. The personal injury attorneys at Lofton & Lofton help victims and families in Charleston and elsewhere in South Carolina pursue legal action against those responsible for their harm. We guide clients from the start of the investigation into an accident through negotiations and any necessary litigation. Call our office at 843.722.6319 or contact us online today to discuss your potential legal claims.
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