Charleston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Drinking and driving don’t mix. If you were recently in an accident involving an intoxicated driver in Charleston, it’s important to contact the Charleston drunk driving accident lawyer, Max Sparwasser, right away. He can help you fight for fair compensation after a reckless driver permanently impacts your life.
While driving while distracted is being called the new DUI, driving under the influence is still a real problem in the United States. In 2016, alcohol-impaired drivers killed 331 people in South Carolina. When someone drinks, the alcohol affects the person’s judgment, vision, and reaction times. Every state in America has enacted drinking and driving laws in an effort to reduce the number of accidents each year. Learn more South Carolina collision statistics by speaking to a Charleston car collision attorney.
How Do I File A Claim After a DUI Accident?
In order to prove fault in a drunk driving case, you need to show four things.
- Demonstrate that the defendant owed you a duty of care. This should be easy to prove since all drivers are responsible for driving safely on roads.
- Prove that they knowingly violated this duty. Since the driver was operating the vehicle under the influence of a substance, this should be provable.
- Show that since they breached this duty, it caused the accident to occur.
- Display that you sustained damages from the crash. This could be physical injuries, property damage, financial losses, and more.
- Contact a Charleston DUI accident lawyer to find out how to approach the situation and how you can work together to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Keep in mind that you only have 3 years to file a claim regarding this crash. The clock starts ticking the day that the accident occurs or the day that you discover you sustained injuries from the crash.
South Carolina Drunk Driving (DUI) Laws
South Carolina’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws make it illegal for drivers over the age of 21 to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher. If your BAC is 0.05% or above, it could be used as evidence along with a sobriety test failure.
If you are under the age of 21, you are not allowed to drive if you have a BAC of 0.02% or higher. If you do get caught in a DUI accident with a BAC of 0.02% or higher more than once, you will receive an automatic license suspension for three to six months. If you refuse to take a BAC test and already have a prior alcohol-related conviction, your license will automatically be suspended for six months to a year.
Drinking and driving in South Carolina can come with civil and criminal penalties. The at-fault driver could face hefty fines and jail time, on top of having to pay a judgment award to the victim(s) of the accident. While the county where the collision occurred will press criminal charges against the driver, they will not file a personal injury claim on your behalf. It’s your responsibility to take this action, with help from experienced Charleston DUI accident attorneys.
Who is Liable for Your Drunk Driving Accident?
You might think that the drunk driver that crashed into you is the only party you could file a lawsuit against following an accident, but this is not necessarily the case. In South Carolina, a few different parties could be liable for your injuries. The driver is one party you could file a claim against, but he or she might not have enough insurance coverage or income to pay off a settlement or judgment award. Bringing a claim against more parties increases your odds of a defendant who can pay for all of your damages. Your DUI accident could be the fault of:
- Bar or restaurant. South Carolina’s dram shop laws state that injured accident victims could hold the shop or business that supplied the drunk driver with the alcohol responsible under certain circumstances. If the shop knew or reasonably should have known that the driver was likely intoxicated and would get behind the wheel, the shop could be accountable for selling or serving the alcohol.
- Social host. The state’s dram shop laws also apply to social hosts if the drunk driver was under the age of 21. If the hosts of the party knew or should have known they were serving alcohol to an underage person at a party or social event and that he or she was planning on driving, yet served the alcohol anyway, the social hosts could be liable for subsequent injuries, deaths, or property damages sustained in the DUI accident.
There is also the chance that one or more third parties could also share liability for your accident. For example, if you were riding in an Uber or Lyft at the time of your accident then the rideshare driver and/or company could become a defendant. Another third-party driver, a product manufacturer (such as the manufacturer of a defective seatbelt) could also be potential defendants in a DUI accident claim.
It’s important to discuss your case with a Charleston drunk driving accident attorney from the Max Sparwasser Law Firm, LLC to identify all possible defendants. Contact us and schedule your free consultation with one of our injury attorneys in Charleston today.