Charleston Third-Party Liability Claims Against DUI Drivers

The most serious car accidents often involve drunk drivers. In these cases, the drunk driver is generally liable for any damages resulting from the collision. Many people do not know, however, that the people or businesses who served the drunk driver may also be held responsible under certain circumstances.

South Carolina has established case law that allows individuals injured by drunk drivers to sue those who provided alcohol in specific situations. However, actually filing such a claim can be a complex matter that should not be undertaken alone. Those injured by drunk drivers may want to work with professional legal counsel when filing Charleston third-party liability claims against DUI drivers to ensure they identify all possible defendants and effectively pursue fair compensation.

Dram Shop Laws in Charleston

Many states have statutes or codes that establish dram shop laws. A dram shop law punishes establishments or even private citizens who illegally provide alcohol to others. Alcohol may be considered illegally provided if the consumer is under the age of 21 or if alcohol is served to someone who is already visibly intoxicated.

South Carolina does not have a dram law statute. Instead, people who wish to hold third parties liable after being injured by a drunk driver must rely on established case law to prove liability.

When Are Third Parties Liable in DUI Cases?

In the landmark case Steele v. Rogers, 306 S.C. 546 (1992), the court stated that a alcohol merchant can be held liable if it was foreseeable that selling alcohol to a minor would result in an injury. In other words, the third party may be held liable if selling alcohol might result in the minor acting in a negligent way, such as drinking and driving.

This rule also applies to social settings where a person provides alcohol to a minor. If a property owner has a houseguest who is under 21 and gives that person alcohol, the property owner can be held responsible for any damages that result.

Liability may also be extended to businesses who sell alcohol to people who would normally be able to purchase it but were visibly intoxicated at the time of the sale. In Hartfield v. Getaway Lounge Grill, Inc., 26836 (2010), South Carolina’s Supreme Court confirmed that a business can be held liable if they served an already-intoxicated person alcohol and that person goes on to injure another person.

Statute of Limitations for Third-Party DUI Cases

As with all cases alleging personal injury, there is generally a strict time limit in Charleston courts for when a plaintiff can come forward with their case. This is known as the statute of limitations. According to South Carolina Code §15-3-530, any claim for personal injury should be filed within three years of the date of injury.

A local lawyer could help people injured by drunk drivers pursue not only the driver, but also the provider of alcohol for civil damages. By covering all their bases, an injured plaintiff may be able to recover all damages in Charleston third-party liability claims against DUI drivers.

The Importance of Filing Third-Party Liability Claims in Charleston DUI Cases

When someone is injured as a result of an intoxicated motorist, many aspects of law must be considered in ensuring Charleston third-party liability claims against DUI drivers. It is likely that the drunk driver could be civilly liable for their actions in addition to facing criminal charges associated with driving under the influence. However, depending on how that person accessed alcohol, the person or business who supplied them alcohol may also be liable.

If you were injured in a DUI accident, you may want to talk to skilled legal professionals before filing suit. A qualified personal injury attorney could help you file a third-party liability claim that seeks damages from all potentially liable parties. Call today to schedule a consultation and start discussing your case. Claims are principally handled in our Mount Pleasant office.


Free Consultation

(843) 884-6615

The contents of this Web site are for informational purposes regarding legal issues in South Carolina and are not intended to convey detailed legal advice on specific issues. Transmission of the information contained in this site or any sites linked hereto is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Our attorneys practice law only in jurisdictions we are properly authorized to do so and do not seek to represent anyone in any jurisdiction where this site does not comply with applicable laws and bar rules. The lawyers of the law firm of Christmas Injury Lawyers are licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina. Readers should not act upon the information contained in this site without first seeking the advice of an attorney licensed to practice in your area.

Attorneys principally practice in Mt. Pleasant office, but we will meet you at the time and office most convenient to you. We will also come to your hospital room or home upon request.

The information given above are examples of actual cases with actual clients our law firm has handled in the past. The reviews listed on our website are endorsements and/or testimonials from actual clients. Any results our law firm may achieve on behalf of one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

In an effort to continue serving the community while keeping everyone healthy and safe, our office is offering phone and video consultations. To schedule or learn more call (843) 884-6615 or fill out a contact form here.