Drunk driving accidents are an epidemic across the nation, with thousands of people being injured or killed every year due to the irresponsible actions of someone who had no business being behind the wheel. When these tragedies occur, someone needs to be held responsible for the injuries and suffering inflicted, and someone needs to pay for the damages incurred. Unfortunately, they’re not always as cut-and-dried as you may think.
There are actually situations where other parties beyond the drunk driver can be held responsible for the accident. Learn the situations in which someone else might be held liable for a drunk driver’s actions, and how a Columbia car accident attorney can help.
Drunk Driver and Dram Laws
Dram shop laws are laws that exist in many states, including South Carolina, which state that if someone is drinking at or purchases alcohol from an establishment, and gets into an accident that results in harm, the establishment that sold them alcohol could be held responsible for the accident, in addition to the drunk driver. Dram shop laws split the responsibility between the person who did the drinking, and the person who irresponsibly continued to serve them after they were drunk.
Types of Alternate Liability Cases
There are two types of cases that fall under dram laws or host liability laws. These are first person cases and third person cases.
In a first person case, the person who was drinking has an accident and gets injured. They then attempt to hold responsible the establishment where they got the alcohol or the person at whose party they were when they got drunk. In most cases, these claims are difficult to prove since adults are generally held responsible for their own actions. A notable exception is in the case of a person who was drinking underage, in which case the adults who facilitated the drinking can be responsible.
A third person case is more common and easier to support. In this case, a person drinks too much which results in them getting into an accident where someone else is hurt. In such cases, both the intoxicated party and the host or establishment can be held responsible. The key idea here is recklessness or malicious deliberate actions—the party who served the alcohol should’ve known better than to continue serving an intoxicated party or allow them to leave.
Columbia Car Accident Attorney
If you’re in an accident caused by a drunk driver, and you need help getting compensation for your injuries, you should call on the services of a Columbia car accident attorney. An attorney will know how to hold the responsible parties accountable, and when such circumstances as dram laws and host liability apply.
When you find yourself in this situation, you may be entitled to significant compensation, but you shouldn’t do it alone. The lawyers at Harris and Graves can help you avoid the many pitfalls in pursuing your claim and getting the maximum settlement for your injuries. Contact us for more information and to talk about your case today.