About one-third of all traffic fatalities in South Carolina involve a drunk driver, which is one of the highest rates in the nation. If you or a loved one suffered injuries because of a drunk driver’s negligence, you might be eligible for compensation for your medical bills and other costs. Learn more about the problem of drunk driving and how to proceed with a drunk-driving related auto accident claim below.
There are More Car Accident Fatalities During Spring Break in South Carolina
During Spring Break season, fatal car accidents increase dramatically. In 2014, researchers studied crash data in 14 popular Spring Break locations, including Myrtle Beach and Horry County, South Carolina. They found that traffic deaths increased by 9.1% during traditional Spring Break weeks. Most of these fatal crashes involved young, out-of-state drivers.
Why Are Drunk and Drugged Drivers So Dangerous?
Alcohol impairs both your decision-making skills and your physical coordination and reflexes, even if you’re below the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two alcoholic drinks can cause decreased visual function, problems multi-tasking, and poor judgment.
If you’re a male of average height and weight, drinking about three alcoholic drinks in an hour will give you a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05, which is below the legal BAC limit. However, A 0.05 BAC is still enough to impair coordination, decrease your visual tracking abilities, and slow your reaction time by about a tenth of a second.
This might sound minor, but if you’re driving at 70 mph with a 0.05 BAC, it means you’ll travel about one extra car length before responding to a hazard. Based on this information, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) suggested in 2013 that the U.S. impose a 0.05 BAC limit instead of the current 0.08.
Studies have also shown that drivers who have a 0.08 BAC have relatively poor concentration, difficulties with perception and self-control, decreased motor skills, and blurred vision. They also typically struggle to control the speed of their car and to make good driving decisions.
Now, imagine a drunk driver on Spring Break. They’re trying to follow directions in an unfamiliar location, perhaps fiddling with the maps app on their phone, and they also can’t properly steer, see, or make decisions. Under these circumstances, one error can easily lead to catastrophic results for a driver, passenger, or pedestrian.
Who Is Liable When Drunk Drivers Cause Crashes and Injure People?
If you’ve been hit and injured by a drunk driver, you might have multiple lawsuits and claims depending on the circumstances surrounding your crash. These claims could include:
- Liability claims against the driver: There’s a good chance you have a claim against the at-fault driver (or drivers) who caused the crash and their insurance companies.
- Dram shop claims against a bar, restaurant, or liquor store: If a bar or restaurant overserved the drunk driver or sold alcohol to a minor driver, you might have a negligence claim against the business.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist claims: Your personal uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage might cover some of your losses if the drunk driver doesn’t have insurance or if they have minimal insurance coverage.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) claims: If you have a PIP policy, it might help cover some of your lost wages and medical expenses, regardless of who was at fault for the crash.
Every drunk driving claim is unique, so it’s impossible to generalize about your case without knowing all of the facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your potential claims, contact an experienced South Carolina auto accident lawyer for help and advice.
What Should I Do After a Drunk Driver Causes a Crash?
In the aftermath of a drunk driving wreck, it’s understandably hard to think clearly. Your focus is on your safety, getting medical attention, and calling law enforcement. If you didn’t think to take pictures or identify witnesses, don’t panic. An experienced South Carolina car accident and personal injury lawyer can investigate the crash that injured you and help collect evidence for your claim.
After the accident, you’ll typically have to file a series of insurance claims. While the insurance adjuster might want to interview you alone and might discourage you from hiring a personal injury lawyer, it’s not in your best interest to make statements or negotiate a settlement without help from an attorney. Instead, you should contact an experienced auto accident lawyer right away for help.
The Law Office of David L. Hood: Fighting for Victims of Drunk Driving and Negligence in South Carolina
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a serious drunk driving crash or other type of auto accident in South Carolina, contact the Law Office of David L. Hood for help right away. We have served South Carolina accident victims for over 25 years by standing up to insurance companies, demanding fair compensation, and helping our clients rebuild their lives. Contact us online or call us at (843) 491-6025 to schedule your free, no-risk initial consultation with David L. Hood today.
French, M., & Gumus, G. (2014, April 7). Fast times during spring breaks: Are traffic fatalities another consequence? Economic Inquiry. Retrieved from http://conference.iza.org/conference_files/riskonomics2014/french_m10000.pdf
Uren, B. (2016, July 29). How alcohol impairs your ability to drive. University of Michigan Health. Retrieved from https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/wellness-prevention/how-alcohol-impairs-your-ability-to-drive
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.