Drunk Driving Litigation – Increase in Lawsuits Against Bars that Over-Serve

Lawsuits brought against bars and restaurants who have over-served their customers are on the rise according to a report in The State Newspaper. South Carolina law makes it illegal for a bar to knowingly serve alcohol to an intoxicated person. Dram shop cases, as they are known, seem to be increasing in frequency in South Carolina, and unfortunately, there is no shortage of tragedies that lead to these type of actions. When a drunk driver is in an auto accident and injures or kills a passenger in their vehicle or someone else on the road, the bar or restaurant who served the driver to the point of intoxication can — and we believe, should — be held liable for over-serving. Sadly, there are many such cases currently pending in South Carolina, including one against Tin Roof in Columbia’s Vista. In that case, 19-year-old Caitlin Clark of Lexington was killed when James Gainey Jr. was over-served and recklessly got on his motorcycle to drive home, leaving her family devastated and rocking the entire community.

Another example of recent dram-shop litigation in South Carolina is the 2015 case against The Loose Cockaboose, where the jury awarded $3.85Million to the family of six-year-old Emma, who was killed by a drunk driver on a Sunday morning on the way to church. The drunk driver, Billy Patrick Hutto, was a repeat DUI offender, and Emma’s family sought redress from The Loose Cockaboose in a wrongful death action, indicating that the driver had been served past the point intoxication in the wee hours of the morning in the establishment. The family also appeared before the state legislature and advocated for legislation known as Emma’s Law, which Governor Nikki Haley signed into law on April 30, 2014. Emma’s Law stiffened penalties against DUI offenders, and especially repeat offenders, but it did not direclty address the over-serving issue.

State Senator Luke Rankin of Horry County called the over-serving problem “rampant,” and indicated that he expects to introduce a Bill in the upcoming Legislative Session that would, if passed into law, require bars and restaurants to provide mandatory safe alcohol service training for any employees who would be serving customers alcohol. The South Carolina Senate considered a similar bill last year, known as Alli’s law (named for Alli Cousins, who was over-served and died in a fatal car crash), but it died in committee. John Durst, president of the S.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association, indicated that many drinking establishments recognize that there is a problem with regard to over-serving, and the Association will be backing the Bill to be introduced in January. The State reported that, according to the National Restaurant Association, seventeen states currently require similar training, which teaches servers and managers how to check IDs for age and recognize signs of intoxication, and also teaches them the best ways to handle situations where someone should no longer be served alcohol.

The personal injury attorneys at the Goings Law Firm, LLC understand the devastation that can follow a drunk driving accident, especially if serious injury or wrongful death is involved. We are experienced at handling legal claims and lawsuits involving drunk drivers and bars that serve alcohol. We will work hard to hold the drunk driver and bar or restaurant responsible. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed because of a drunk driver or the negligence of a bar or restaurant, please contact us at (803) 350-9230 to find out if we can help.


Eight People Injured in Accident on Interstate 77 in Columbia, SC

Eight vehicles were involved in a car crash around 7:30am on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 in Columbia, SC, and eight passengers were taken to the hospital from the scene.  No report yet on the severity of their injuries.

According to WLTX, the accident occurred when a vehicle spun out of control just as it got to the bottom of the Shop Road ramp onto Interstate-77 and  hit three other cars.  When traffic came to a sudden stop, four additional vehicles collided.  All South-bound lanes on I-77 were closed for about an hour near Exit 6.

The personal injury lawyers at the Goings Law Firm, LLC understand how difficult it can be for people to deal with the aftermath of car crashes. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, we may be able to offer you legal assistance to hold negligent parties accountable. Call us at (803) 350-9230 to learn more about your options.


Columbia Motorcycle Accident Shuts Down Major City Intersection

Earlier this week, on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 a severe auto accident involving a motorcycle happened at one of Columbia’s intersections. The accident happened at the intersection of Assembly St. and Gervais St. just after 7:00 A.M. during peak morning commute hours.

The accident occurred when an SUV pulled out in front of the motorcycle. The Columbia Police Department reports that an SUV was cited for failure to yield to right-of-way. Tragically, the driver of the motorcycle was taken to the hospital and later died as a result of this accident.

If you are familiar with the Columbia area, you know that morning commutes and city traffic can often be treacherous. At the Goings Law Firm, LLC we understand the difficulties that are often involved when you or a loved one are involved in an auto accident. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as the result of an auto accident or motorcycle accident, then call Robert F. Goings at (803) 350-9230 to find out how we can help.


Columbia Auto Accident at the corner of Gervais St. and Assembly St.

Another auto accident at the center of downtown Columbia has left one car severely damaged. The Columbia auto accident happened at the intersection of two of Columbia’s major roads. One of the cars involved in the accident rolled-over and collided with a traffic light post. Those who are familiar with the city of Columbia know that Assembly and Gervais streets can become very busy during the week. Cars often drive very fast though the intersection and can cause very dangerous conditions.http://coladaily.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/21/files/2015/08/gervais-assembly-accident.jpg

To read more about this accident, please click here. This is the second accident to happen along Gervais street this week. We reported the first accident to you here on our website.

At the Goings Law Firm, LLC we are very familiar with the Columbia area, and our offices are located in the downtown area. If you have been involved in a Columbia Auto Accident, we are here to help you. Goings Law Firm, LLC today for a free case consultation. Call our office at (803) 350-9230.


Columbia Auto Accident Causes Damage to Local Cemetery

On Monday August 3, 2015 an accident that occurred in downtown Columbia at the intersection of Sumter and Gervias Streets caused one of the cars to crash into the cemetery at Trinity Episcopal Church. The accident occurred because one driver failed to yield to a right-of-way and crashed into another car. The collision caused one of the cars to crash through a wrought iron fence, and some of the gravesto635742157371061629-suvnes were damaged as a result of the collision. One of the drivers was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Trinity Episcopal Church is a historic church that is located directly across the street from the South Carolina State Capitol Building.

 

When an auto accident occurs, often times it can cause significant damage, to both the victims of the accident and to people and property surrounding the accident. At the Goings Law Firm, LLC we have developed significant experience in all types of automobile accidents, and we have developed a reputation for taking the at-fault driver and insurance companies to trial, when necessary.

 

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a South Carolina Auto Accident, then contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today. Contact us by calling (803) 350-9230 for a free case consultation.


Steps to take if you are the Victim of an Auto Accident

An auto accident can be overwhelming, confusing, and terrifying. As we have already noted several times, auto accidents are on the rise this summer in South Carolina. At the Goings Law Firm, LLC, we want you to be prepared if you are the unfortunate victim of a South Carolina auto accident. By taking certain key steps immediately after an accident you will be in a better position to hold the responsible party accountable for the damage they have caused you.

auto accident Automobile Accidents

Stay calm.

One of the fist things you should do after an accident is to take a deep breath and remain calm. This is not the time to loose your cool. Once you have collected yourself, put your hazard lights on.

Check for injuries.

First, make sure that you are ok, and then check with the passengers in your car to make sure they don’t have any serious or life threatening injuries. After checking everyone in your own car, check your surroundings, make sure it is safe to exit your car, and then check for serious or life-threatening injuries with the driver(s) or passenger(s) of other cars involved in the accident. If you believe that anyone has sustained serious or life-threatening injuries, then call 911 immediately.

Many injuries as a result of an auto accident are not immediately apparent. Because of the adrenalin and initial shock that often come with an auto accident, pain from back and neck injuries often manifests in the days or weeks following an accident. For this reason, it is always a good idea to call an ambulance to the scene of the accident and get checked out by a medical professional.

For minor accidents, move your car to safety.

Traffic surrounding an accident scene can often lead to further accidents or create further hazards for cars already involved. If your car is movable, then consider moving to the side of the road or a safer location. If you move your car, be sure to take pictures of your car as it is in the accident scene before moving it.

Call the police. Get an accident report.

An accident report can be very helpful for establishing liability. An officer will come to the scene and talk to both parties and fill out an accident report. In South Carolina, the accident report you receive at the scene will be called a form FR-10, be sure to save this form. You should call the police, even for the most minor accidents. The other driver may suggest not calling the police, but do not listen to them. Call the police anyways. Again, if there is an emergency, call 911. If it is a minor accident, police departments have non-emergency numbers.

In the City of Columbia, the non-emergency number for car accidents is: (803) 252-2911

Exchange information with the other driver and all witnesses.

You should get the other driver’s name, phone number, and address. You should also collect the insurance information. Be sure to get the insurance company name and the policy number. If there are any passengers in the other car, or if there are any witnesses to the accident, be sure to also get their name, address, and phone number(s).

Take pictures.

This is your best chance to collect information about the accident. Take as many pictures as possible. Cell phone cameras are very handy in this situation. Be sure to get pictures of all cars involved in the accident. Also take pictures of the area of road or intersection where the accident occurred. If there are skid marks or any other evidence of the accident at the scene, be sure to take pictures of all of this.

Do not admit fault or apologize.

Even though the accident may not be your fault, you may be tempted to apologize for the accident. This could be viewed as an admission of fault. Often, fault for an accident is not clear, and you should refrain from any statement that could be viewed as an admission of fault.

Contact your insurance company.

Even when the accident is not your fault, you should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Give your insurance company the information (name, address, insurance policy, etc.) of the other drivers involved.

If you are injured as the result of an auto accident, then contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC!

Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be very long and difficult process. If you believe you have sustained injuries, things can become even more complicated. Enlisting the help of an experienced Columbia personal injury attorney early in the process can go a long way in helping you deal with the complex aftermath of an auto accident. The South Carolina legal team at the Goings Law Firm, LLC has experience working with insurance companies to help ensure you get the best possible result for your injuries. If you have been injured by another driver’s negligence, then you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. Contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today at (803) 350-9230, for a free case consultation.