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Dram Shop Liability Laws Indicate South Carolina Businesses Could Be Held Accountable for Damages

South Carolina ranks among the highest in the country for DUI fatality rates. It offers little solace to know that if you’ve lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, you’re not alone. It stresses the importance, though, of holding responsible parties accountable for the immeasurable hurt they cause. This extends beyond drunk drivers themselves. Dram shop and liquor liability laws can punish bars and restaurants that overserve alcohol to intoxicated patrons.  

Grieving families must explore every legal avenue they have available to them. Our South Carolina wrongful death attorneys have the skills to evaluate whether you can sue a bar or restaurant whose negligence contributed to your family member’s unfortunate passing. At Pracht Injury Lawyers, we’re dedicated to securing the justice you deserve.

Dram Shop and Liquor Liability Laws in South Carolina Explained Simply

A dram shop is any bar, tavern, restaurant, or other commercial business that sells and serves alcohol. By extension, dram shop laws or rules describe how these establishments may be legally liable for damages caused by their intoxicated patrons. Common examples include bar fights and drunk driving accidents.

There’s no specific dram shop statute for civil liability in South Carolina. However, South Carolina Code of Laws Section 61-4-580 prohibits businesses from selling beer or wine to someone who is already intoxicated. It also forbids selling alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age. Applying this criminal law to a civil claim is how you may be able to seek damages from these businesses. 

Along with bars and restaurants, other businesses governed by dram shop rules may include:

  • Lounges
  • Night clubs
  • Hotels
  • Country clubs
  • Convenience stores
  • Sports and concert venues
  • Liquor stores

It’s essential to hire a wrongful death attorney for fatal DUI accidents. The legal team at Pracht Injury Lawyers can explain what these liquor liability laws might mean in your case. While a bartender may have sold the drink, businesses assume responsibility for their employees’ actions. 

Proving Businesses Knowingly Served Alcohol to Drunk Patrons in a Wrongful Death Case

When you file a lawsuit after a fatal drunk driving accident, you need to prove four things: 

  1. The business owed you a duty of care.
  2. They breached this duty of care.
  3. This breach caused your loved one’s death.
  4. Their failure contributed to your losses.

The business must have knowingly served alcohol to the intoxicated patron. They may state their employees they didn’t know the person was already drunk. Your lawyer will compile evidence, like witness statements and video footage, to counter this argument. How many drinks did they serve? Did employees take measures to prevent the customer from drinking and driving?

Because wrongful death laws vary by state, local knowledge is crucial. Pracht Injury Lawyers has proudly served the people of South Carolina for years. Christopher Pracht graduated cum laude from the Charleston School of Law. He formed his law practice in Anderson in 2009 and has been helping local families ever since. 

Importance of Holding Bars and Restaurants Responsible

Enforcing dram shop liability in cases like these can serve as a powerful deterrent. It not only holds the one bar or restaurant responsible for contributing to a tragic loss, but it also reminds other establishments to adopt stricter policies. This proactive approach helps prevent future incidents and improve public safety. 

Notably, criminal charges and civil wrongful death claims are separate cases. They may lean on similar evidence, but families can only recover losses through civil action. In the spirit of justice, it also means legal liability is equitably shared. The drunk driver may be to blame for the accident. But, the bar overserved alcohol to an already inebriated patron. 

Compensation You May Recover in a Dram Shop Case

Following a fatal DUI car accident, families may seek such wrongful death damages as: 

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Lost wages and future earnings
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of consortium and companionship
  • Punitive damages

Pracht Injury Lawyers has a proven track record of seeking top compensation for every case. We helped one client injured by a drunk driver receive a $250,000 award to help them move forward.

Get Answers From an Anderson, SC Wrongful Death Lawyer

Understanding how wrongful death cases work in South Carolina is complicated. Different factors impact every case, and emotional trauma makes the process even more difficult. But remember, if your loved one was killed by a drunk driver in a car accident, you have the legal right to hold all liable parties responsible.  

Trust in our knowledge and experience. We’re here for you. As one client put it, Pracht Injury Lawyers is “the best in the upstate! They truly care about their clients and work hard to deliver amazing results."