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MYRTLE BEACH ATTORNEYS OF THE YATES FIRM
Myrtle Beach DUI Accident Attorneys
If you were injured in a car accident caused by an impaired driver, contact The Yates Firm immediately to learn about your available legal options. You might be entitled to compensation for your injury.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is irresponsible and endangers others’ lives. In South Carolina, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the extent that it materially and appreciably impairs a person’s driving abilities.
At The Yates Firm, our personal injury attorneys understand the long-lasting consequences of getting hurt in a DUI crash. The negligent driver could have prevented it, but they took a serious risk by choosing to get behind the wheel of their car.
The Dangers of Driving Under the Influence
A person is under the influence when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Being under the influence can cause a range of symptoms that increase the risk of an accident, such as:
- Blurry vision
- Poor judgment
- Inability to read and understand traffic signs
- Loss of coordination
- Slower reaction time
- Reduced alertness
- Impaired motor skills
- Altered sensory perception
- Poor decision-making
Impaired drivers are less likely to notice a dangerous situation and respond appropriately. They can sideswipe a vehicle while changing lanes or hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Anyone who causes a car crash while under the influence can face serious criminal and civil penalties.
Injuries in DUI Accidents
The most common injuries in DUI accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injury
- Internal bleeding
- Nerve damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Emotional or mental trauma
- Back and neck injuries
Accidents that involve impaired drivers can be deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32 people die in drunk driving accidents every day. In 2020, alcohol impairment caused 11,654 fatalities.
Compensation for DUI Accidents
You can seek compensation after a DUI accident someone else causes. State law requires every driver to purchase auto insurance with liability coverage. The liability coverage might be enough to cover your medical expenses and other care.
You can file a lawsuit for compensation if you want to sue the at-fault party. Whether you file a claim or lawsuit, you can recover money for:
- Emotional distress
- Hospitalization, surgery, and other medical expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
You might be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death case if your loved one died in a car accident caused by an intoxicated driver. Only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Compensation goes to the surviving family members, such as a spouse, child, parents, or heirs. The money you receive might compensate for:
- Lost financial support and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of the deceased’s protection, companionship, and care
- Medical bills and other costs related to the fatal injury
- Loss of the deceased’s knowledge, experience, and judgment
Punitive damages might be recoverable in a lawsuit. This type of award punishes the defendant and deters similar actions in the future. You must provide clear and convincing evidence of the at-fault driver’s wanton, reckless, or willful conduct to receive this financial award.
Who Is Liable for a DUI Accident?
Someone who causes an accident while driving under the influence might not be the only person at fault. Other parties could be liable for contributing to a person’s impaired state.
For example, a bar can be responsible for injuries in a crash if they knowingly serve alcohol to an intoxicated person.
In South Carolina, vendors are prohibited from selling alcohol to:
- An intoxicated person; or
- An underage patron
To pursue this claim, you must prove that the alcohol purchased from the vendor proximately caused the crash. That means the vendor is to blame for the at-fault driver’s intoxication, resulting in your injuries.
Establishments that sell alcoholic beverages must also refrain from selling alcohol to underage patrons. If a vendor knows or should know a patron is under 21 but serves them alcohol anyway, and that person causes a car crash, the vendor can be liable.
Proving the elements of a dram shop claim can be challenging. You need evidence of the driver’s intoxication. If they submitted to a chemical test, you might be able to use those results to show their alcohol level was above the legal limit. You can also use security camera footage or witness testimony to prove they drank alcohol before driving.
There are many reasons why you should hire an attorney after an accident like this. The Yates Firm can handle the accident investigation and gather evidence for you. We will determine whether we can pursue a dram shop liability claim and seek the compensation you deserve. You won’t have to deal with the confusing aspects of your case alone. We will provide the guidance and support you need.
Statute of Limitations for DUI Accidents
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations allows a three-year timeframe to file a lawsuit against another party. That means you have three years from the date of the crash to initiate your lawsuit against the driver, vendor, or another negligent party. Once the timeframe passes, you will likely lose your right to pursue compensation in court.
The wrongful death statute of limitations also allows a three-year timeframe for initiating a lawsuit. You must file suit within three years of the date your loved one died.
Injured in a Car Accident? Call Our Myrtle Beach DUI Accident Attorneys Now
The award-winning personal injury lawyers at The Yates Firm dedicate the necessary time and attention to every client who hires us. We know how stressful this experience has been and want to help you recover. You can depend on us to protect your rights and fight for the maximum possible compensation.