Can A Bar Be Liable For Accidents Caused By Drunk Drivers?

DUI Accident Lawyer Posted by the Charleston SC Car Accident Lawyers at Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC.  Our Charleston injury lawyers help people that have been injured by the acts or omissions of others.  If you or a loved one has suffered an unnecessary injury in Charleston, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, Goose Creek, or anywhere else across the South Carolina lowcountry, contact our office and let us get to work for you.

In our last blog post we talked about the possibility of liability being created for someone having a party at their house and serving alcohol to their guests.  This is also called social host liability.  Our post on social host liability can be found here.  As was previously discussed, a social host generally would not be liable to their guests or third parties for injuries sustained in an accident caused by a guest after consuming alcohol at the social host's party.  For further clarification, read our previous post.

Accidents that are caused by impaired drivers can often lead to devastating consequences for third parties.  Many times these devastating consequences include serious injuries or even fatalities.  In a case with serious injuries or a fatality, many times the liability coverage for the at fault driver will not be adequate to compensate the injured party.  In South Carolina it is sometimes possible to look for other parties that may have liability for causing the accident.  Unlike a social host, a bar or restaurant may be liable for over serving a guest that later gets behind the wheel and injures someone.

This liability is based in part on South Carolina Code § 61-4-580(2), which states, "No holder of a permit authorizing the sale of beer or wine or a servant, agent, or employee of the permittee may knowingly…sell beer or wine to an intoxicated person."  Because all bars and restaurants in South Carolina must have a permit to sell alcohol, the state legislature has indicated that they have a duty to refrain from knowingly selling alcohol to an intoxicated person.  If they do so, they can be liable for the injuries caused.  In Hartfield v. The Getaway Lounge & Grill, Inc. the Supreme Court of South Carolina upheld a $10 million verdict that was awarded by a passenger that was seriously injured by a patron of the Getaway Lounge.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, please contact our office.  We are here to help injured people protect their rights and recover from at fault parties.

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