Four bars and restaurants in the Midlands are being sued for over-serving a woman who was already intoxicated. The woman crashed her car on I-26 and killed a passenger who was in the car with her. The driver and her passenger had been begun their evening by drinking before barhopping to a variety of bars and restaurants. Legal cases against bars in South Carolina have been on the rise in recent months. In October, a Richland county bar was hit with a verdict over $3 million for serving a man who killed a young girl.
What is the current law in South Carolina about the liability of bars and restaurants?
Under South Carolina law, Restaurants and bars are prohibited from knowingly selling beer or wine to an intoxicated person. However, unlike many other states, South Carolina does not require the training of bar employees to recognize drunkenness nor does South Carolina require its establishments to carry liability insurance.
What are Dram Shop laws?
Dram shop laws are statutes in some states that impose civil liability on bartenders and bars for serving patrons who cause injury to a third person. These laws are based in the idea that bartenders should know when a customer is intoxicated and should not serve them.
South Carolina does not have a dram shop statute. However, the South Carolina Supreme Court has said that bartenders and bar owners can be held liable under other legal theories. This case resulted in a $10 million verdict against owners of a bar. While there are no dram shop laws in South Carolina, as stated above it is illegal to knowingly serve someone who is drunk.
Liability under Dram Shop Laws
Generally, if a person has a claim under a dram shop law, they can have a claim both against a drunk driver who hit them and a bar that served the drunk driver. Due to the way the courts have ruled in South Carolina, there may be an opportunity for you to sue both the bar and the at fault driver. Multi-party lawsuits are very complex and should only be attempted with the help of an experienced attorney.
Cases may also be based in traditional negligence law. Proving negligence against a drunk driver is a simpler process than proving negligence against a bar or restaurant. With an individual driver, there is a good chance you will be able to rely on information like the at-fault driver’s BAC or failure to adhere to the rules of the road. However, determining the negligence of bars is not as clear.
Call Surasky Law Firm for Help
Cases against bars and restaurants can be complex as they often will have significant financial resources to defend a case. Therefore, it is necessary that you contact an experienced South Carolina personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. We have the tools necessary to investigate, evaluate, and advise you of any potential legal claims may stem from a loved one’s accident. Contact the Surasky Law Firm today at 1-803-593-3912 and learn how we can help you through the process of your case.