What are the Alcohol Liability and Dram Shop Laws in South Carolina?
The alcohol liability and dram shop laws in South Carolina can protect victims of alcohol related injury or death. Alcohol has proven to be a lead factor in the cause of injuries and deaths on the highways of South Carolina. South Carolina currently ranks 2nd for the most DUI fatalities per capita in the United States. In recovering for our clients, we do not stop with the drunk driver. We pursue those that cause and enable the drunk driver.
The Goings Law Firm regularly sues restaurants and bar owners, social clubs, and individuals in cases arising from accidents involving the service of alcohol to intoxicated persons and minors. Dram Shop laws are intended to prevent restaurants, bars, and clubs from serving alcohol to minors and serving alcohol to intoxicated persons. If a restaurant, bar, or club violates such Dram Shop laws and someone is injured as a result, the establishment can be held responsible for the injuries. Our attorneys are well versed in these laws and experienced in representing both injured victims involving the sale and service of alcohol.
South Carolina has specific statutory and common law that governs the liability of restaurants, bars, social clubs and even individual people (social hosts) with respect to the service of alcohol under certain situations. These laws govern what is known as dram shop liability, tavern owner liability, liquor liability and social host liability, and they may allow an injured party to hold a restaurant, bar, club, or individual responsible for injuries or death caused by the service of alcohol.
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.
In a recent case, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld a $10 million verdict against The Getaway Lounge & Grill and its owners. See Hartfield v. The Getaway Lounge & Grill, Inc., 388 S.C. 407 (2010). The case involved a customer who spent a night visiting a number of bars, including The Getaway, before getting into a motor vehicle collision, which killed the customer and seriously injured the driver of the other vehicle. One of the owners of The Getaway testified that the customer did not appear intoxicated while he was there. Fluid samples taken from the customer’s body indicated that his blood alcohol content (“BAC”) was .212. At trial, a forensic chemistry expert, using a method known as “retrograde extrapolation,” estimated that his BAC when he left The Getaway must have been between .18 and .20 and that, therefore, “he would have been grossly intoxicated and exhibiting symptoms of intoxication.” The Court stated that there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to support the forensic chemist’s expert testimony. Notably, the Court also held that a customer need not be “visibly intoxicated” for the imposition of dram shop liability; rather, “knowledge” of intoxication may be acquired through different mediums. The complexities of the Getaway case demonstrate that it is critical to retain an attorney with experience and knowledge in the area of dram shop litigation.
Dram shop liability is a specialized area of law, both from a practical and a legal perspective. Dram shop cases are often fact-intensive and require extensive resources and experts to prove the elements of the case. Dram shop cases often turn on the issue of liability, making the timely collection and analysis of police reports, receipts, video, social media, and eye witness statements crucial. Dram shop claims involve unique aspects of the law as well. For example, South Carolina’s modified joint and several liability system does not apply to conduct involving the use, sale, or possession of alcohol. This has significant consequences in multi-defendant litigation, resulting in the ability to collect 100% of the damages awarded from a restaurant or bar that is found just 1% liable. Also, there is no cap on punitive damages under for negligence based on alcohol liability. Thus, having an attorney experienced in dram shop litigation is crucial to both bringing and defending these claims.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a drunk driver and you believe a bar or restaurant may be responsible, call us today at 803-350-9230 or contact us online for a free consultation today,
Alcohol impairment is one of the leading causes of traffic collisions. Based on data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there was an alcohol-impaired traffic fatality every 48 minutes in 2017. Based on the legal definition of impaired driving, alcohol-impaired crashes are those that involve at least one driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 grams per deciliter or above.
According to NHTSA 10,874 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2017. Alcohol-impaired crash fatalities accounted for 29 percent of all crash fatalities. Unfortunately, the DUI arrest rate is much lower. Statistics show that with nearly a million drivers were arrested in 2016 for driving under the influence compared to the 111 million self-reported incidents of alcohol-impaired driving that same year.
If you’ve lost a loved one in a DUI crash, you may be wondering what legal action you can take. Depending on the specifics of the case, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
WHAT IS A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT?
Wrongful death laws allow survivors to pursue monetary compensation for those whose negligence or intentional act of harm caused a loved one’s death. Each state has its own wrongful death statute which governs how a wrongful death action is brought, the types of civil damages that are recoverable, and which family members are allowed to receive compensation. In South Carolina, a wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury claim, except the estate of the deceased person steps in to seek compensation on their behalf. The wrongful death action can only be brought by a person that is determined by the court to be the “personal representative.” So, not just any family members of the deceased to file the claim.
HOW STATE LAWS AFFECT DAMAGES
Though many DUI crashes result in criminal charges, some do not. If your loved one was killed in a drug or alcohol related collision, and the driver was not charged by the police, you still may be able to file a wrongful death claim in civil court.
South Carolina law also affect how damages are handled. Because a wrongful death case is a civil claim, liability comes in the form of damages, rather than punishment by imprisonment or other penalties that can be decided in a criminal case. South Carolina law the recovery of “compensatory damages, which includes the following:
- Pecuniary Loss – the loss of the deceased’s ability to earn money in which the beneficiary might logically and reasonable have been expected to share, such as money for the care and protection of the deceased’s spouse and children and for the education and training of the deceased’s children. Where the relationship of husband and wife or parent and child exists, pecuniary loss will be presumed.
- Mental Shock and Suffering.
- Wounded Feelings.
- Grief and Sorrow.
- Loss of Companionship.
- Loss of the use and comfort of the deceased’s society, including the loss of the deceased’s experience, knowledge, and judgment in managing the affairs of the deceased and his or her beneficiaries.
- medical and funeral expenses
In cases involving a drunk or impaired driver, South Carolina law may also permit punitive damages, which are designed the punish a defendant who’s found negligent and deter similar negligent actions in future.
WHEN TO FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT
When a loved one dies in an alcohol-related crash, family members are often left stunned and unsure where to turn for help. Seeking legal advice immediately following the accident is advised, as evidence can be collected and eyewitnesses can be contacted. Memories get fuzzy, damages get repaired and the chance of video or photographic evidence being deleted or lost rises as time passes. Acting quickly is the best way to ensure as much evidence as possible is collected. You should never delay in determining your legal rights.
It is important to know that each state has a unique statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is the legal principle that sets a time limit for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In South Carolina, a case generally must be filed within three (3) years of the date of the collision. In certain situations, this statute of limitations may be shortened to two (2) years if for some reason the case is governed by the S.C. Tort Claims Act. It is important to understand that if you fail to bring the case within the applicable statute of limitations period, you will forfeit your rights to assert any action.
LEGAL HELP FOR WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS IN SOUTH CAROLINA
If you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim, it’s wise to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can answer any questions you have about your case.
The attorneys at Goings Law Firm, LLC have represented many families who have lost loved ones in tragic accidents. Our team understands the importance of working quickly to gather evidence that can be used to help us fight for the justice you deserve. We have extensive experience representing the families of victims and other wrongful death claims in Alabama.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone getting behind the wheel when they were intoxicated or otherwise acting irresponsibly, call (803) 350-9230 or contact us online for a FREE case evaluation.
South Carolina ranks as the 2nd worst in DUI related fatalities in the nation based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Center for Statistics and Analysis. Drunk drivers kill innocent people, or result in serious injuries that have devastating effects on families. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in South Carolina with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. In fact, all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have by law set a threshold making it illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher. In 2017 there were 10,874 people killed in alcohol-impaired- driving crashes, an average of 1 alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 48 minutes. These alcohol- impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 29 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States in 2017. Of the 10,874 people who died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in 2017, there were 6,618 drivers (61%) who had BACs of .08 g/dL or higher. The remaining fatalities consisted of 3,075 motor vehicle occupants (28%) and 1,181 nonoccupants (11%).
- In 2017 there were 10,874 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher. This totaled 29 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year. (Note: It is illegal in every State to drive with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher.)
- An average of 1 alcohol-impaired-driving fatality occurred every 48 minutes in 2017.
- The estimated economic cost of all alcohol-impaired crashes (involving alcohol-impaired drivers or alcohol- impaired nonoccupants) in the United States in 2010 (the most recent year for which cost data is available) was $44 billion.
- Of the traffic fatalities in 2017 among chil- dren 14 and younger, 19 percent occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.
- The 21- to 24-year-old age group had the highest percentage (27%) of drivers with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher in fatal crashes compared to other age groups in 2017.
- The percentage of drivers with BACs
of .08 g/dL or higher in fatal crashes in 2017 was highest for fatalities involving motorcycle riders (27%), comparedto passenger cars (21%), light trucks (20%), and large trucks (3%).
- The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2017 was 3.6 times higher at night than during the day.
- In 2017 among the 10,874 alcohol- impaired-driving fatalities, 68 percent (7,368) were in crashes in which at least one driver had a BAC of .15 g/dL or higher.
There is some good new too — Fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes decreased by 1.1 percent (10,996 to 10,874 fatalities) from 2016 to 2017. Alcohol- impaired-driving fatalities in the past 10 years have declined by 7 percent from 11,711 in 2008 to 10,874 in 2017. The national rate of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 was 0.34 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), down from 0.35 in 2016. The alcohol-impaired-driving fatality rate in the past 10 years has declined by 13 percent, from 0.39 in 2008 to 0.34 in 2017. At the Goings Law Firm, we believe that one DUI related fatality is one too many. Drinking and driving have consequences, and it’s our mission to make sure at the drunk driver pays for the injuries and harm they inflict on the innocent. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a drunk driver related motor vehicle crash, call us today for a free, no obligation, consultation– the number is 803-350-9230.
Source: National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2018, November). Alcohol- impaired driving: 2017 data (Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 812 630). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
New Year’s Eve rings in more than the dawn of a new year—it’s also one of the deadliest nights on our nation’s roads. It’s easy to get caught up in the festivities, but one too many toasts before getting behind the wheel can turn revelry into tragedy.
South Carolina ranks second highest for DUI deaths amid New Year’s Eve based on a Study from Safewise.com. South Carolina’s statistics show that 6.22 per 100,000 people due to Impaired Driving. This is the second highest in the nation, only behind Wyoming.
Last year , nearly 22,000 people were arrested for DUI and more than 300 died in incidents involving drunk driving. In 2017, drunk driving accounted for 29% of all traffic fatalities nationwide, and nearly sixty percent (60%) of alcohol-involved fatal crashes involved drivers that registered very high blood alcohol content.
Drunk and impaired driving is a deadly problem in our state, and innocent lives are effected everyday. The Goings Law Firm fights drunk drivers in court. If you or a family member has been injured due to a drunk driver, call us today at 803-350-9230. We will get you the justice that you deserve, and we make DRUNK DRIVERS PAY!
In a new study conducted by QuoteWizard, Columbia has been ranked among cities with the highest rate of car crashes.
This is a fact that our firm already knew to be true. In 2017,more than 40,000 people nationwide died in car crashes. And that number is on the rise, with a six percent increase in traffic deaths since 2015. No matter what part of the country you live in, being on the road is always a risk. But driving is apparently more dangerous in some places than others. QuoteWizard analyzed self-reported driving infractions data from site users, which includes accidents. These rankings account for more than one million data points on accidents from 2017.
Cities ranked ‘most accident-prone’ have the highest rate of accidents per driver. “Car crashes are, sadly, all too common across the country. But crash rates vary quite a bit from city to city. Whether it’s distracted driving, lousy roads, bad drivers, or a combination of all three, drivers in some cities seem to crash more often than others,” says Adam Johnson, QuoteWizard content manager. “QuoteWizard analyzed over a million datapoints on drivers in America to find out where people are getting into accidents at the highest rates.”
From the most accidents to the least, these are the 25 most car accident-prone cities in the US:
- Columbus, OH
- St. Louis, MO
- Los Angeles, CA
- Sacramento, CA
- New Orleans, LA
- Charlotte, SC
- Columbia, SC
- Washington DC
- Baltimore, MD
- Greenville, SC
The study reveals that Charlotte, NC, Columbia, SC, and Greenville, SC all rank in the top 10 most car accident prone cities in the country. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car collision, please contact our firm immediately. We have the ability to ensure that you receive all the compensation that you are entitled under the law. We hold reckless drivers, and their insurance companies accountable. For a free consultation, call us today at (803) 350-9230.
Many of Our Clients Are Injured in the Worst Intersections in Columbia and Richland County by Reckless Drivers
The Most Dangerous Intersection in the entire State of South Carolina is located in Columbia. A study performed by The State Newspaper in Columbia determined that the most intersection collisions in the entire state of South Carolina occurred in Columbia a I-20 and U.S. 176 (Columbia), with a total of 669 collision from 2011-2015.
In this study, the State Newspaper also analyzed the most dangerous intersections based on reports of collisions that occurred in Columbia and Richland County during 2016. The data was obtained from incident investigated by the Columbia Police Department and S.C. Highway Patrol.
The State compiled the following list of intersections in Columbia and Richland County with the highest number of crashes:
INSIDE COLUMBIA CITY LIMITS
- Assembly Street and Elmwood Avenue: 50 collisions, 10 with injuries
- Taylor Street and Huger Street: 49 collisions, nine with injuries
- Devine Street/Garners Ferry Road and Rosewood Drive: 45 collisions, 10 with injuries
- Main Street and Elmwood Avenue: 38 collisions, four with injuries, one fatal
- Gervais Street and Huger Street: 37 collisions, nine with injuries
- Investigated by Columbia Police Department
JUST OUTSIDE COLUMBIA IN RICHLAND COUNTY
- I-20 and Broad River Road: 142 collisions, 26 with injuries
- I-20 and I-26: 84 collisions, 15 with injuries
- I-26 and Broad River Road: 78 collisions, nine with injuries
- Killian Road and I-77: 75 collisions, 10 with injuries
- Two Notch Road and Sparkleberry Lane: 64 collisions, eight with injuries
Read more here: https://www.thestate.com/news/local/article153453474
Please contact us today if you were injured in a collision in Columbia or its surrounding counties in South Carolina. Many of the cases that we handle have involved collisions in the dangerous intersections that are listed in this study. We offer compassion, aggressive, and experienced representation to victims of car and truck accidents — call us at 803-350-9230 today for a free consultation.
The Highways in South Carolina are Among the Most Dangerous in the Nation
Wall Street 24/7 has released its latest study of United States Roadways, ranking the safest and most unsafe by state. In ranking the safest and most dangerous states to drive in the United States, data of roadway fatalities from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Federal Highway Administration was reviewed. The state with the safest roads was Rhode Island. The state with the most unsafe road was Mississippi. Surprisingly, 9 of the 10 safest states were in the Northeast. Six of the top ten worst regionally fall in the Southeast with South Carolina coming in this year’s survey as the 3rd worst state for roadway safety. As the number 3 dangerous state, South Carolina has the following statistics:
South Carolina (#3 most dangerous roads in America)
Road deaths per 100,000: 20.5
2016 roadway fatalities: 1,015 (13th most)
Seat belt use: 94%
Deadliest holiday in 2016: Martin Luther King’s Birthday (16 fatal crashes)
Fatal crashes on rural roads: 60%
If you or a loved one have been injured or suffered death as as result of a collision in South Carolina, you need to hire an honest, aggressive, and experienced attorney that can help you get the compensation that you deserve. You need a Real Lawyer, with Real Results. Contact the Goings Law Firm today at 803-350-9230 to see how we can help you.
We find that car collision are often caused by drivers who are breaking the speed limit or driving too fast for conditions. Unfortunately, there are a lot of car accidents in Columbia, South Carolina, and a new study may explain why: Columbia drivers are heavy-footed Speeders!
A new study ranks drivers in Columbia, South Carolina as among the fastest drivers in the United States. Columbia ranked 6th in the top 25, with drivers who break the speed limit. Charleston ranked 9th and Greenville, SC ranked 11th in the study. The study was published by QuoteWizard, an online insurance comparison website. QuoteWizard analyzed self-reported data from users on driving infractions, which includes speeding tickets. These rankings are based on over one million data points on speeding infractions from 2017. Cities ranked ‘speediest’ have the highest rate of speeding tickets per driver. A more detailed look at the study can be found here: more detailed looks at the fastest specific markets is available here: https://quotewizard.com/news/posts/fastest-driving-cities-2018
From faster to slower, these are the top 25 fastest driving cities in the US:
- Columbia, SC
- Salt Lake City
- Charleston, SC
- Virginia Beach
- Greenville, SC
- Kansas City
- Bay Area
Our thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Katie Arrington, and the family of the deceased driver in a fatal collision that occurred in Charleston County on Friday night, June 22, 2018
Katie Arrington, a representative in the State House for the Lowcountry and a U.S. congressional candidate, was seriously injured in a fatal car wreck Friday night. The driver of the vehicle that collided with Arrington’s car was killed on the scene, according to Mount Pleasant’s WCBD. Reportedly, the collision occurred when the driver that was killed was driving on the wrong side of the road, striking Arrington.
Arrington won the Republican primary for the House of Representative (1st District) seat, defeating incumbent Mark Sanford. She was traveling with a friend on U.S. Highway 17 when a driver traveling in the wrong lane collided with the vehicle Arrington was in.
Arrington “sustained a fracture in her back and several broken ribs, as well as injuries that required Katie to undergo major surgery including the removal of a portion of her small intestine and a portion of her colon,” according to a statement released Saturday morning via her Twitter account. She is expected to remain in the hospital for at least two weeks, according to the statement, which read:
“Last night, Katie Arrington and her friend were traveling to Hilton Head, where Katie was scheduled to receive an award from a state medical organization this morning. Katie was the passenger in the car traveling southbound on Highway 17, when a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction — northbound in the southbound lanes of Highway 17 — struck the vehicle containing Katie and her friend. Katie sustained a fracture in her back and several broken ribs, as well as injuries that required Katie to undergo major surgery including the removal of a portion of her small intestine and a portion of her colon. Additionally, the main artery in her legs has a partial collapse and will require a (stent). Additional surgeries will be required including one likely today; and it is likely that Katie will remain hospitalized for the next two weeks. As we all know, Katie Arrington is an extremely strong woman and has tremendous faith and an incredibly supportive family. And it is from her strong faith, the support of her family, the prayers and support of our community, and the incredible doctors and staff at the hospital that she is certain she will be back to work for our state soon. As her family asked last night, Katie asks for your continued prayers for the deceased and the deceased’s family, as well as prayers for a quick recovery for Katie and her friend.”
On Wednesday morning June 20, 2018, a 40-year-old Indiana man was tragically killed when a tractor trailer struck the construction lift he was operating on I-77 South in Columbia. The crash happened just after 5 a.m. on I-77 South near the Blythewood Road exit, according to the S.C. Highway Patrol.
The collision involved a tractor-trailer and a piece of construction lift equipment, according to Lance Cpl. David Jones of the Highway Patrol. The tractor-trailer was traveling south on I-77 when it hit the construction equipment, which was moving in the southbound lanes, Jones said. It was reported that the driver of the construction equipment was trying to cross from the median to the shoulder of the road, Jones said. When he was hit by the truck, he was thrown from the bucket of his equipment and killed.
Officials have identified the worker killed in an accident on I-77 as Nathaniel B. Deaton, 40, of Martinsburg, Indiana. Deaton was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy indicated the cause of death to be blunt force injuries suffered in the collision, says Richland County coroner Gary Watts.
I-77 South in Columbia was closed for more than 6 hours following the accident as S.C. Highway Patrol investigators reconstructed the scene. WLTX News 19 in Columbia spoke with Trooper David Jones who wants to share a reminder with drivers on the road. He says, “Make sure you limit your distractions. Slow down in construction zones, make sure you put your cell phone down and pay attention to your surroundings because again a lot of times these are active work zones.”
Tragic collision on the interstates are preventable if drivers are exercising care and not distracted while driving. It’s important to slow down in construction zones and be mindful of workers that are making our roadways safer. If you are a loved one has been injured or tragically killed in a collision in South Carolina, please contact the Goings Law Firm at (803) 350-9230 today to learn about your rights.