Drunk driving accidents can have devastating and long-reaching effects. Accident victims may face serious injuries, property damage, or the wrongful death of a loved one. According to the national data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 28 people die daily from motor vehicle accidents involving impaired drivers. In 2019, there were 10,142 fatalities in the United States due to motorists under the influence of alcohol.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) claim over 290,000 incidents occur each year in South Carolina, and over 10,000 people are killed in a DUI accident. The numbers are staggering and made all the more tragic by the fact that DUI incidents are easily preventable if people took more precautions.
The victims of these senseless accidents often suffer pain and injury of unfathomable levels, especially since drunk driving accidents are totally preventable. At HawkLaw, our drunk driving accident attorneys are determined to help car accident victims recover fair compensation for their suffering. If you were injured by an intoxicated driver, contact us through our contact page or by calling 888.HAWK.LAW to receive a free consultation.*
Unfortunately, drunk drivers wreak havoc on tens of thousands of innocent victims in South Carolina every year. According to South Carolina public safety officials, approximately 22,000 DUI arrests are made annually. Under state law, a person is under the influence if their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) reaches 0.08. Once a person reaches this level of intoxication, they are seven times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident than a driver with a zero BAC level. Even a smaller amount of alcohol, registering at the 0.15 BAC level, increases the chance of an accident by 25 times.
Tragically, nearly half of all deadly car crashes occurring in the state involve impairment. Preliminary NHTSA data indicates one person is killed in a DUI .08-related accident every 30.8 hours. That’s approximately one senseless death every single day. Unfortunately, the people taking these risks typically don’t think about the damages and subsequent heartache they cause when their actions result in someone else’s injury or death.
Drivers who get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle or hop onto a motorcycle after drinking are held accountable in South Carolina. The state has a “Sober or Slammer” approach because lawmakers in the Palmetto State take drunk driving (or any other type of driving while impaired) incidents very seriously. Drunk driving is an intentional decision made, and accidents caused by these irresponsible choices are 100% preventable if only those negligent individuals would have simply acted responsibly. Law enforcement members take DUI events seriously and actively monitor roads to detect impaired drivers. Tragically, while helpful, it still doesn’t prevent drunk driving-related injuries and deaths from occurring.
At HawkLaw, we firmly believe drunk drivers should be held accountable for their dangerous actions, regardless of their BAC level. We’ll perform due diligence to make certain the at-fault driver is held legally liable for the accidents that resulted in your injuries and losses, along with pain and suffering. To prove negligence in a South Carolina DUI accident claim, several pieces of documentation are required. Your DUI personal injury attorney can ensure critical evidence is pulled together. The evidence they’ll gather includes:
Your personal injury accident lawyer will pursue justice for you from the drunk driver and make them held liable for your losses. If the driver was charged with DUI or a related driving offense, this arrest could help strengthen a personal injury liability case against the driver. However, even if the driver wasn’t charged with a DUI-related offense or found not guilty, your South Carolina DUI accident lawyer can still potentially establish driver negligence led to your injuries and losses.
A personal injury lawyer can help you pursue compensation for medical bills and other damages. Under South Carolina personal injury law, there are two types of recoverable damages after a DUI accident case: compensatory awards and punitive awards. Compensatory damages include medical expenses, lost income, vehicle repairs, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. This means if you’ve suffered any losses that affect your quality of life, you’re entitled to monetary compensation.
Punitive damages are only available in cases where the at-fault driver acts in a reckless manner and/or in violation of the law. Some factors that may cause a jury to award punitive damages include:
Punitive damages are not automatic and aren’t available for all personal injury cases. That being said, many juries or judges will rule in favor of this type of monetary punitive damage award to victims to send a message and/or to emphasize to individuals who act recklessly that their behavior won’t be tolerated.
In addition to pursuing compensation from a negligent driver, other individuals can sometimes be held responsible for the damages caused by a drunk driving accident. Many states have laws that place legal liability on stores or party hosts who sell or serve alcohol, knowingly allow someone to drive while drunk, or serve alcohol to an individual younger than the legal drinking age. These statutes are called dram shop laws or, in the case of underage drinking, social host liability laws. The latter holds people who serve alcohol to minors in private spaces responsible for any accidents that could have been prevented by not permitting alcohol use, but it does not apply to adult drinkers.
South Carolina doesn’t have any specific laws to address these issues, but the state does have legal precedence where this is a legal avenue victims can pursue. The state’s Supreme Court has a history of holding shops and individuals responsible for serving alcohol to drunk people who subsequently get behind the wheel and cause accidents.
Under State of South Carolina law, there is a short window of opportunity to file a claim against the person who caused a DUI-related injury or fatality. At HawkLaw, we encourage you to speak with an attorney to obtain legal advice as soon as possible after the accident occurs. While state law offers a limited window to file a lawsuit, it also does allow for some exceptions, which means your claim may still be viable even if much time has passed. A skilled DUI attorney can examine the circumstances surrounding the accident and determine if your personal injury case has merit and can still be filed because of specific circumstances, and is not subjected to South Carolina’s statute of limitations.
Your DUI accident legal claim should always include medical expenses incurred to treat your injuries from a drunk driving incident. These include medical bills for the night of the accident, and rehabilitation therapy costs to fully recover from the incident.
If the DUI incident puts you into the hospital, you’ll likely be on bedrest for several days, potentially for weeks; all of which is time that you’re unable to work your regular job. Your claim against the drunk driver can include compensation for that lost earning potential.
Drunk driving accidents don’t just cause physical harm. They also leave psychological scars from the trauma of the incident that will likely impact you for years to come. Between physical pain and emotional suffering, you can include compensation for both traumas in your claim in an attempt to try and make things right again.
Statistics show drunk drivers are significantly more likely to be at fault for car crashes than sober drivers. A person who chooses to drink and drive will suffer from impaired judgment, slowed reaction, and essentially an inability to make sound decisions when driving, all of which can lead to serious injuries, or worse, fatalities. Sadly, these senseless accidents are easily preventable if people who choose to drink make smarter decisions or take better precautions.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident due to impairment of alcohol or drugs in Charleston, Columbia, or other regions of South Carolina, an experienced DUI lawyer can help. The compassionate and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at HawkLaw will fight for you to hold the drunk driver who caused you pain responsible for their actions. We handle DUI accident injury, wrongful death, and personal injury claims against drivers or other people who can be held liable for their actions.
Our South Carolina DUI Accident law firm is dedicated to helping victims of drunk driving collisions obtain justice for their suffering and losses. The attorney-client relationship is extremely important to us, and our law office promises to meticulously examine the details of your case. At HawkLaw, we fight to win. Contact our car accident attorneys by calling 888.HAWK.LAW or by using our contact page today.
Call 888-HAWKLAW or talk to us using our live chat and we’ll get to work right away. You take care of you and we’ll take care of the rest.
Following the first meeting, your dedicated personal injury lawyer will launch your case. We have an investigative team with years of experience identifying what happened, recreating the incident, and collecting any evidence that helps with your case. As a digital-first law firm, you’ll be able to check in on our findings and see how your case is progressing.
Once we have what we need to build a case for your claim, we will contact the insurance company or at-fault party and attempt to negotiate a fair and just compensation for your injuries. Our goal is to do Right By You and agree on a fair and just settlement for your damages, pain, and suffering. If an acceptable settlement can’t be reached, a HawkLaw trial lawyer will advise you about the option of going to court.