Civil Attorney Team Explains “Dram Shop” Cases

State Victim Service Sponsor Yarborough Applegate Law Firm shares information about “dram shop” cases in a guest blog this month.

A common misunderstanding following a drunk driving collision is that the only compensation available for victims comes from pursuing a claim against the drunk driver. However, in South Carolina, civil “Dram Shop” laws provide for victim recovery against entities that serve alcohol. “Dram Shop” is another term for a bar, or establishment that serves alcohol.

Firms like Charleston’s Yarborough Applegate handle civil “Dram Shop” cases on behalf of victims by bringing claims against bars and restaurants that fail to safely serve alcohol, thus turning a patron into a drunk driver. These establishments are actually in a very unique position to prevent drunk driving, as they decide who drinks and how much. Unfortunately, bars and restaurants often fall short and play a lead role in putting drunk drivers on our roads and endangering the public.

Laws differ from state to state, but in South Carolina, it is against the law for a commercial seller of alcohol to serve a patron who the server knew, or should have known, was already intoxicated. It is also illegal to sell to underage patrons.

Under South Carolina “Dram Shop” laws, bars and restaurants can provide a valuable source of recovery for victims when those establishments break the rules and service alcohol to a patron that they knew or should have known was already intoxicated, who later gets behind the wheel and injures the innocent. Now, many establishments are required by law to have a minimum of $1,000,000 of liability insurance for this situation, which can be used to compensate victims of drunk driving.

If you believe you can pursue a civil “Dram Shop” case or have any questions about this type of victim assistance, please contact the Yarborough Applegate Law Firm