All too often South Carolina is on the list of deadliest states for drunk driving. In 2014 alone, 40 percent of fatal car accidents in South Carolina involved people driving under the influence.
Those who are injured in DUI wrecks in South Carolina have a legal right to recover all actual damages, as well as punitive damages. Additionally, an experienced DUI accident attorney can help identify every potential defendant, so that all culpable parties are held accountable. At the Law Office of Kenneth Berger, we don’t want anyone who contributed – be it through driving or overserving – to escape responsibility.
We’ve included answers to common questions about drunk driving wrecks below. You can also call us at (803) 790-2800 or use the live chat box below to request a free consultation. Our office is centrally located in Columbia, SC, but we handle drunk driving accident cases across South Carolina, including Greenville, Myrtle Beach, and Orangeburg.
- What is the average settlement for being hit by a drunk driver?
- I got hit by a drunk driver – who can be held responsible in South Carolina?
- I was in a wreck with an uninsured drunk driver, what should I do?
- What is considered driving under the influence in South Carolina?
- How can a personal injury lawyer help after being hit by a drunk driver?
As with all personal injury cases, there is no exact formula to determine how much compensation someone should receive after a DUI accident. However, there are a few factors that can help determine what a fair settlement should be if you were in a wreck with a drunk driver in South Carolina:
- Severity of Injury
If you were injured in a DUI accident, the severity of your injury will likely play a role in determining what the settlement will be. How has the injury affected your daily life? Are you still able to enjoy the activities you took part in before the wreck? The answers to these questions will help determine what is called “lost enjoyment of life,” which should be considered when determining how much your DUI accident case is worth.
- Medical Bills
South Carolina law dictates that the at fault driver must compensate you for all your fixed losses like medical bills and future medical expenses. You did not choose to be hit by a drunk driver, so you should not be stuck with the financial burden of paying for medical treatment that was required because of the crash.
- Lost Wages
Drunk driving accidents often cause serious injury to all involved, and these injuries commonly require weeks or even months of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and follow up visits that prevent the injured person from returning to work. South Carolina law requires the at fault driver’s insurance company to compensate you for the wages lost due to the car crash.
- Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are allowed when you are able to prove the at fault driver was grossly negligent or reckless in causing injury. The severity of your injury, the at fault driver’s blood alcohol level, and previous DUI convictions are all considered when the judge determines whether punitive damages should be allowed.
According to South Carolina’s dram shop laws, responsibility for a drunk driving accident doesn’t just fall on the person who chose to drive under the influence. Bars, restaurants, and other businesses that overserve customers and allow them to drive away can be held liable for the destruction caused by the drunk driver. For example, if a person served 10 beers at a local pub tries to drive home, and injures a family of four, the pub (in addition to the driver) and its insurance company may be responsible for compensating the family for their losses.
If you were hit by an uninsured drunk driver, fortunately you have a couple options. First of all, all car insurance policies in South Carolina include uninsured motorist coverage, which protects you from anyone that may be driving on our roads without insurance. If you were hit by an uninsured driver, you should file an uninsured coverage claim with your auto insurance provider.
Furthermore, if you have multiple cars at your household that are covered on your insurance policy, you can “stack” your insurance policies. For example, if you have two insured vehicles at your home, each with a $25,000 uninsured policy, you can stack them to receive $50,000 in coverage.
In South Carolina, driving under the influence is defined as operating a vehicle while under the influence of:
- Prescription pain killers; or
It is illegal to drive in our state if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. However, if you are under the age of 21, the limit is 0.02 percent or higher, and if you are driving a commercial vehicle, the limit is 0.04 percent or higher.
The right accident lawyer will allow you to focus on healing while they take care of all the other factors of your case, such as dealing with the insurance companies, securing evidence, uncovering all potential defendants and insurance policies, identifying skilled doctors to provide medical treatment, and negotiating with healthcare providers to reduce your medical bills.
Talk with Our Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys Today
At the Law Office of Kenneth Berger, we work on life altering injury and wrongful death cases day in and day out. Our clients become family, and our top priority is protecting their legal rights and holding the at fault parties accountable. For us, that means not backing down against stubborn insurance adjusters, spending hours conducting research, locating witnesses, securing experts, and making sure our clients are informed every step of the way.
When innocent people are injured by drunk drivers, we are here to help. To speak with one of our skilled drunk driving accident attorneys, call our Columbia, South Carolina office at (803) 790-2800 or reach out to us by using the live chat box below. We have helped many people across our state, and we would be honored to help you as well.