dram shop rule laptop and gavel DUI | South Carolina Dram Shop LawyerIf you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, the at-fault party might be convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). That conviction, however, will not provide you with any compensation for your damages resulting from the crash. To recover damages, you’ll need to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the drunk driver and other liable parties.

Your success in recovering damages either through the insurance claim process or in court could depend on having the right attorney. There are two steps in the process of retaining the right lawyer for a DUI accident case. The first is finding a prospective lawyer; the second is meeting with that lawyer.

How to Find a Lawyer You Can Trust

If you’re injured in a DUI crash, you need a personal injury lawyer whose practice areas include vehicle accidents and dram shop law or liquor liability. An experienced DUI crash attorney can help you to seek fair compensation from:

  • The at-fault drunk driver who caused your accident
  • Any liquor license holder or social host who overserved alcohol to that driver in the hours before your wreck

Having more than one source of compensation increases your chance of getting a fair settlement or verdict sufficient to cover all your damages, especially if the drunk driver has only the minimum liability insurance coverage limits required by South Carolina law.

To find a lawyer you can trust with your case, take advantage of the following resources.

Personal Referrals

If you know anyone who’s received satisfactory compensation for damages in a DUI or other accident, you might ask this person for the name of the attorney who handled the case. You can then start your search by contacting that lawyer’s office for a consultation or a referral.

Online Referral Services

There are websites that offer directories showing the location and practice areas of lawyers in the Myrtle Beach area. If you use such a site to locate an attorney, be sure the service is approved by the state bar association and try to learn the criteria for being listed. Some referral sites might include details about lawyers’ education, fees, endorsements, and disciplinary records, as well as reviews submitted by clients. Individual attorney websites sometimes provide testimonials from satisfied clients.

Non-Profit Organizations

Any non-profit group concerned with vehicle accidents or drunk driving issues could also be a source of attorney referrals. A chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), for example, might be able to suggest good lawyers who handle DUI accident cases.

Meeting With a Prospective Attorney

Most personal injury attorneys will offer you an in person consultation in order to evaluate your case and decide whether to represent you. You should bring with you as much information and documentation of your accident and damages as you can. You should also prepare questions to ask the attorney. The answers you receive will help you decide if the firm is a good fit for you. 

Questions to Ask a DUI Car Accident Lawyer

What damages can I recover?

You can seek compensation for all medical expenses, damage to your vehicle, the income you lose while off work, and physical pain and suffering, as well as psychological trauma. 

Is there more than one defendant in my case?

If you can prove that a liquor license holder (or a social host in some cases) overserved the at-fault driver before your accident, dram shop liability laws allow you to demand partial compensation from a bar, restaurant, liquor store, or other liable parties.

How will you prove liability?

Your lawyer should investigate your crash thoroughly (sometimes with the help of an accident reconstructionist), obtain the at-fault party’s driving record and results of any sobriety tests administered, look into the driver’s drinking behavior before the crash, interview witnesses and bar or restaurant personnel, and check bar tabs and receipts to determine how much alcohol the drunk driver consumed, where, and when.

Will we go to court?

While most car accident cases are settled out of court, your lawyer should be willing to go to trial if sufficient compensation is not offered. The leverage of a potential lawsuit could motivate the defendant(s) to offer a fair award.

Will we stay in touch?

Your lawyer should assure you that you will be kept abreast of your case’s progress through regular and timely calls or messages.

What about your fee?

Most personal injury attorneys will offer a free initial consultation and take your case on a contingency basis. This means the attorney will charge you a percentage of your settlement or award as "attorney fees." It is important to discuss what the attorney fee percentage will be and if it will increase as your case progresses. Costs that are associated with your case and advanced by your attorney will also typically be deducted from your settlement or award after attorney's fees are deducted. 

It’s also important for your attorney to make you feel comfortable and inspire trust and confidence. You should feel a mutually respectful rapport with your lawyer.

Have You Been Injured In a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Car Accident?

If you've been hurt in a car accident you should speak with an experienced South Carolina car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Myrtle Beach office directly at 843.488.3165 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, workers' compensation lawyer. Please contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our ConwayMyrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. PleasantNorth Myrtle Beach, Florence or North Charleston office locations.

Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.