Motor Vehicle Accidents

Hit By a Drunk Driver?

Hit by a drunk driver: Bartender pouring drinks

If you are hit by a drunk driver who only has $25,000 in insurance coverage (the minimum required in South Carolina) there may be ways you can recover more than just that $25,000 in damages.

Dram Shops

“The term dram shop is used to describe a tavern, bar, restaurant, or other commercial establishment that serves alcoholic beverages. It was used to refer to establishments where spirits were sold by the spoonful or a dram, a unit of liquid measurement.” (

What are dram shop laws?

Dram shop laws originated in the United States during the 19th century.

Although there is no specific dram shop statute in the Palmetto State, the state does recognize dram shop claims. South Carolina law Section 61-4-580 states: “No holder of a permit authorizing the sale of beer or wine or a servant, agent, or employee of the permittee may knowingly commit any of the following acts upon the licensed premises covered by the holder’s permit: sell beer or wine to a person under twenty-one years of age; sell beer or wine to an intoxicated person.” (

A “dram shop case occurs when the intoxicated person causes injury or” death to a third party after one of the two above laws have been broken. That third party may then bring a lawsuit against not only the intoxicated person, but also against the commercial establishment that sold the alcohol to the intoxicated person or minor.

Proving a dram shop claim can be tricky. That’s why it’s important to contact a lawyer who can help. You must prove that the restaurant or bar knowingly served alcohol to a minor or someone who was already visibly intoxicated, AND that your injuries were a direct cause of that patron’s intoxication.

Statute of Limitations

As with other personal injury cases in South Carolina, the statute of limitations on a dram shop case is usually three years. This means you have up to three years from the date of the accident to file a case.

In South Carolina, businesses who sell on premises drinking alcohol are required by law to have a $1,000,000 liability policy.

Hit by a drunk driver?

Video Transcript:

What are your options if you’ve been hit by a drunk driver?

What are your options if you’ve been hit by a drunk driver who only has $25,000 in coverage? South Carolina’s criminal laws and common law may be able to help. These laws are aimed at stopping restaurants, bars & clubs from serving alcohol to minors or to people that are already drunk. Basically, it’s illegal in South Carolina to “knowingly” serve alcohol to any person who is hammered. So, if you can show that the restaurant or bar knew that it was serving booze to someone who was already lit, they can then be on the hook for any injuries or deaths caused by the DUI driver. In fact, South Carolina requires businesses who sell on premises alcohol for drinking to have a $1,000,000 liability policy. Don’t forget, this can also come into play if someone was boating under the influence (BUI) or was a minor who picked up their alcohol at a convenience store.

Some ask, “Why?” We ask, “Why not?”

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 30 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.

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