What Can I Recover in a Dram Shop Case?

The defendant in a dram shop case is the business that served the driver alcohol. Businesses often have more liability insurance and assets than individual drivers. Your Myrtle Beach drunk driving compensation will depend on the injuries you suffered and who is liable for your injuries. If the insurance company agrees to a settlement or the court finds in your favor in a dram shop lawsuit, you may recover compensation for your:

Medical Expenses

In a dram shop case, you may be entitled to compensation for all medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident. This includes costs associated with emergency medical treatment, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care related to your injuries. 

Lost Income and Earning Capacity

If your injuries prevent you from working or result in a loss of income, you may be able to recover compensation for lost wages, raises, bonuses, benefits, self-employment income, and any diminished earning capacity. This includes both current lost income and future lost earnings if your injuries have long-term effects on your ability to work. 

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate you for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish caused by the drunk driving accident and your injuries. Compensation for pain and suffering acknowledges the non-economic losses you have experienced as a result of the accident, such as physical discomfort, anxiety, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are more subjective and can vary depending on the severity and impact of your injuries. 

Property Damage

If your vehicle or other property was damaged in the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement. 

Punitive Damages

In rare cases, punitive damages that are meant to punish the defendant for egregious behavior may also be awarded.

Does a Dram Shop Case Prevent Me From Pursuing Legal Action Against the Drunk Driver?

No. You may still have a personal injury case against the drunk driver involved in your accident, and the State of South Carolina may file criminal charges against the driver, even if you file a dram shop case.

The Significance of Criminal Drunk Driving Cases

Criminal drunk driving cases are crucial for upholding justice and deterring dangerous behavior on the roads. When an individual chooses to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, they not only endanger their own life but also put the lives of others at risk. Prosecuting such cases sends a strong message that driving under the influence will not be tolerated, thereby potentially preventing future accidents and saving lives. Furthermore, criminal charges may result in penalties such as fines, license suspension, or even incarceration, holding the offender accountable for their actions. However, criminal drunk driving cases will not result in any compensation for you.

The Importance of Personal Injury Cases Against Drunk Drivers

A personal injury case against a drunk driver allows you to seek compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial damages you suffered in the drunk driving accident. Like criminal cases, personal injury lawsuits can help hold a drunk driver accountable for their actions and deter future accidents. 

Dram Shop Cases Are Still Important

Even with criminal drunk driving and personal injury cases in play, dram shop cases remain important for several reasons:

  1. Dram shop laws hold establishments accountable for over-serving alcohol to intoxicated customers who may cause accidents. Bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and other establishments want to avoid this financial liability, and dram shop cases may deter future incidents of overserving that lead to dangerous drunk driving accidents.  
  2. Dram shop cases can provide additional avenues for compensation for you. In some cases, the drunk driver may not have sufficient insurance coverage or assets to compensate the injured parties fully.  A dram shop case may allow you to pursue the compensation you deserve.
  3. Dram shop cases promote public safety by encouraging establishments to prioritize responsible alcohol service. This may reduce the likelihood of alcohol-related accidents and injuries.

Do I Need a Myrtle Beach Dram Shop Lawyer to File a Dram Shop Claim?

You always have the right to pursue legal action without an attorney. However, dram shop cases are often complex. An experienced Myrtle Beach dram shop lawyer can help protect your rights by thoroughly investigating what happened and holding the proper defendants accountable pursuant to all applicable laws, including South Carolina personal injury law and Myrtle Beach Drinking Places and Nightclub ordinances. 

What to Look for in a Myrtle Beach Dram Shop Lawyer

When seeking legal representation for your dram shop claim, you may consider the following factors:

  • Experience. Look for a lawyer with a proven track record in handling dram shop cases and personal injury litigation. While past case results do not guarantee an outcome in your case, they can provide information about how a lawyer has handled similar cases.
  • Resources. Choose a law firm with the resources and capabilities to thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence, and build a solid legal strategy on your behalf.
  • Communication. Select a lawyer who is accessible, responsive, and communicates clearly and effectively with you throughout the legal process.
  • Client Reviews. Read client testimonials and reviews to get a sense of the lawyer's reputation and level of client satisfaction. 
Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.