Prior to the 1990s, drunk driving was little more than a serious traffic ticket. Then, a decades-long crackdown began. This crackdown included tough new laws and aggressive law enforcement tools, like a lower BAC level and controversial sobriety checkpoints. Yet despite all these things, alcohol still causes about a third of the fatal car accidents in South Carolina. That proportion is almost as high as it was back in the 1980s.
Broken bones are among the most serious alcohol-related wreck injuries. Bone fragments often pierce the skin or internal organs, causing massive blood loss. Furthermore, even after corrective surgery and extensive physical therapy, these wounds usually don’t heal all the way.
If you want to know how common alcohol related car accidents are, you probably also want to know what compensation is available to victims. Because of the serious nature of the injuries, a Rock Hill car accident lawyer can normally obtain substantial damages in these cases. These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
First Party Liability
Even if the negligent driver wasn’t legally intoxicated, that driver could be liable for the wreck. Legal intoxication makes liability easier to prove in court.
Alcohol impairs motor skills and judgment beginning with the first drink. Evidence of dangerous impairment includes:
- Erratic driving prior to the wreck,
- Physical symptoms, like bloodshot eyes,
- Admissions of alcohol use (g. I only had two beers), and
- Slowed reactions or confusion.
If the police arrest the tortfeasor (negligent driver) for DUI, that person could be liable for damages as a matter of law. The negligence per se shortcut usually applies if the driver violated a safety law, like the DUI law, and caused a wreck.
Liability is a legal term which basically means drivers are responsible for the mistakes they make. Frequently, a third party is financially responsible for damages.
SC dram shop laws provide that bars, clubs, and other commercial alcohol providers are financially responsible for car crash damages if they knowingly sold alcohol to an intoxicated person and that person caused a car wreck. Much of the same circumstantial evidence listed above, especially the physical symptoms of intoxication, is admissible on this point as well.
Alcohol related wrecks often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Rock Hill personal injury attorney, contact Elrod Pope Law Firm. Home, virtual, and hospital visits are available.
What’s the difference between intoxication and impairment?
Alcohol intoxication usually begins after three drinks. Alcohol impairment begins after the first sip.
What is a “dram?”
Alcohol was once served by the dram, or by the glass. Hence the name “dram shop.”
How long does it take a car crash claim to settle?
If liability is crystal-clear, the settlement process is brief. Otherwise, an insurance company could drag things out.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.