Greenville Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

A drunk driver would face more than just criminal consequences if they have injured you in an accident. You can also make them pay for your damages when you file a claim against their car accident insurance.

Still, obtaining full financial compensation for your injuries is far from automatic. You would need to hire a drunk driving accident lawyer to give you the best chance of getting a fair settlement for your accident injuries.

You have more leverage than you think when dealing with an insurance company in a drunk driving accident. Contact Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm to discuss your case with an experienced Greenville car accident lawyer.

How a Lawyer Investigates a DUI Accident

You may need your own proof to show that the driver should be liable for your accident injuries because your case is largely independent of the criminal process. Your lawyer may do the following to investigate a DUI accident:

  • Speak to witnesses who saw the crash or observed the driver drinking before the accident
  • Obtain blood test or Breathalyzer test results (a lawyer would usually have to subpoena these test results because prosecutors would not provide them)
  • Review pictures from the scene of the accident or video camera footage

Your lawyer could help you build a strong case for financial compensation based on the available evidence.

South Carolina Drunk Driving Accidents

According to a survey in Forbes, South Carolina has the seventh-highest per capita rate of DUIs in the entire country.

The number of DUI fatalities in Greenville County has been sharply increasing. In 2017, 21 people lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes in the county. By 2021, this number has tragically risen to 33. In that timespan, the number of non-fatal DUI accidents has risen from 591 to 662. There are more crashes, and they are becoming more severe.

Drunk Driving Under South Carolina Law

In South Carolina, it is unlawful to drive a car while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicant. You would be guilty of DUI if your blood alcohol content is over .08, since that creates a presumption that you are under the influence of alcohol. You could also be charged with DUI if you appear under the influence, regardless of your blood alcohol content.

Drivers who are convicted of DUI can face a range of penalties, depending on their BAC when they were stopped and whether it was their first or a subsequent offense. There may also be other aggravating factors, such as there being serious bodily injury or children in the car.

How Alcohol Affects a Driver

Alcohol impairs a driver by doing the following:

  • There is less of an ability to judge distance
  • They lose some of their inhibitions and risk aversion
  • Reflexes may be dulled
  • Thinking is impaired
  • Muscle coordination is distorted and lessened.

How Long You Have to File a DUI Accident Lawsuit

South Carolina law only gives you a limited amount of time to file an insurance claim or lawsuit after a DUI accident. The statute of limitations in personal injury cases is three years from the date that you were injured. In wrongful death cases, the time limit is three years from the date of the person’s death.

You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after the DUI accident to begin the legal process.

Can Other Parties Be Held Liable for a DUI Crash?

There is a chance that you can hold the establishment that served alcohol to the drunk driver legally liable for the injuries that they have caused. South Carolina does not have a formal dram shop law on the books, like there is in other states. However, you can sue a bar or store under the legal theory of negligence. You would need evidence that the establishment illegally served a minor or continued to supply alcohol to someone that they knew or should have known was visibly intoxicated. There are often large settlements or jury awards in dram shop lawsuit cases.

Criminal vs. Civil Trials for a Drunk Driver

The drunk driver can face civil and criminal consequences for their behavior at the same time. The two legal processes are largely independent of each other.

In order to be convicted of drunk driving, the prosecutor must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

This legal standard is akin to 100% proof of each element of the crime. In a civil case, the standard is a preponderance of the evidence. This standard of proof is lower than what the prosecutor must demonstrate. It is possible for a drunk driver to be acquitted at trial but be found civilly liable in a lawsuit.

If the drunk driver pleads guilty, then the evidence of their plea can be used in your civil case. This is the reason why most drunk drivers would plead no contest if they reached a deal with the prosecutor.

Similarly, evidence of a conviction at trial also cannot be used to prove your civil case.

Do not draw any assumptions about your civil case based on what you may see in the criminal case.

Factors that Can Influence a Drunk Driving Settlement

Your drunk driving settlement amount depends both on the amount of insurance coverage and the extent of your injuries. If the other driver does not have enough coverage to pay for your injuries, you can file a claim against your own auto insurance policy.

In terms of your own settlement, the amount will be determined by both your economic and non-economic damages. You would be compensated for the actual financial losses that you have incurred from your accident injuries. In addition, you would also be paid for the physical and emotional ordeal. Everything depends on your own situation, as opposed to an average settlement amount.

Contact a Greenville Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, you will need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer to secure the compensation that you deserve. Here, justice means that you get paid for every dollar of damages that you have suffered.

Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm works to get top dollar for accident victims and their families. We take down the barriers that the insurance company tries to put in your way. You can speak to a lawyer in a free consultation when you call us at (864) 280-7660 or message us through our website.

Drunk Driving Accident FAQs

Do drunk drivers survive more accidents?

Drunk drivers have a higher chance of survival in a car accident because their body does not tense up before a crash like other drivers will. Their inebriation keeps them from being able to anticipate an accident.

What should I do if my loved one was killed in a drunk driving accident?

The first thing that you need to do is contact a car accident lawyer to help you pursue financial compensation for your loss. Make sure to document the nature of your relationship with your family member and what they provided for the family.

What is the legal drinking age in South Carolina?

Like every other state, the legal drinking age in South Carolina is 21. Establishments can be responsible for drunk driving injuries when they serve alcohol to minors.

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