Two Reasons to Pursue a Dram Shop Case

After being injured by a drunk driver, you are likely dealing with mounting medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering, and other damages. While you can pursue a claim against the drunk driver, there may be several compelling reasons also to seek compensation from the negligent establishment that overserved them:

1. Bars and Restaurants Often Have Greater Insurance Coverage and Assets

Businesses like bars and restaurants usually have more insurance coverage and assets than individual drunk drivers. An intoxicated individual may lack the funds or insurance limits to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other costs. However, established businesses may have the necessary insurance coverage to cover your damages. 

2. Dram Shop Claims Promote Public Safety

Holding bars, restaurants, and other establishments financially accountable for negligently serving people who are intoxicated or underage may act as a deterrent and encourage similar businesses to prioritize responsible alcohol service. This may prevent future drunk driving accidents in the Charleston area.

Possible Damages in a Charleston Dram Shop Case

If your Charleston dram shop lawyer can prove that an establishment's negligent service of alcohol caused the drunk driving accident that hurt you, you may be able to recover compensation for damages, including:

  • All medical expenses related to treating your injuries, including emergency care, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, medical equipment, rehabilitation, and follow-up treatment
  • Anticipated future medical costs if you will require ongoing care
  • Lost income if you can’t work from being unable to work during recovery
  • Loss of future earning capacity if you cannot return to the same job
  • Pain and suffering for your physical injuries and emotional trauma
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement 
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Property damage repair or replacement costs

In some cases, more than one bar or restaurant and the drunk driver may be liable for paying damages. Every case is unique, and our past results do not guarantee an outcome in your case. However, our lawyers have experience recovering damages from more than one defendant in a dram shop case. 

Benefits of Hiring a Charleston Dram Shop Lawyer

Since South Carolina law recognizes dram shop liability claims, you may wonder whether you need to hire a Charleston dram shop attorney. You have the right to represent yourself. However, dram shop cases often require extensive investigation and compelling arguments to hold an establishment accountable for your injuries. It can be stressful and time-consuming to do this on your own. However, an experienced dram shop lawyer will work hard to help you:

Establish Liability

Your attorney will work to compile documentation showing the establishment knew or should have known the patron was visibly intoxicated or underage yet continued serving them alcohol. This may involve obtaining the following:

  • Surveillance camera footage
  • Witness statements from staff or other patrons
  • Receipts showing the number of drinks served
  • Results of any breathalyzer or blood alcohol tests
  • Reviewing the establishment's training and alcohol service procedures

It's not enough just to show the bar or restaurant overserved the at-fault driver. Your lawyer must also prove that the overservice caused your drunk driving accident injuries. This may involve considering the time between the last drink served and the crash and reconstructing how the collision occurred.

Calculating Fair Compensation

Dram shop lawyers understand how to accurately value the total damages you have suffered, including projected future medical costs, lost earning potential, and non-economic damages. They fight to recover the fair compensation you deserve from all liable parties, including the bars and restaurants that overserved the drunk driver before your accident and the drunk driver.

Insurance Negotiations and Court Representation 

Your attorney will negotiate with all insurance companies involved to push for a full and fair settlement covering your damages. If they refuse to agree to reasonable compensation, your lawyer may take the case to trial.

Ultimately, hiring a Charleston dram shop lawyer to represent you evens the playing field against bars, restaurants, and their insurers who have legal teams protecting their own interests. 

While no amount of money can undo the harm caused by a drunk driving accident, holding all negligent parties accountable through a dram shop claim can provide a sense of justice and the financial support needed to rebuild your life. 

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