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Columbia Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > General > Who Pays for a DUI Accident?

Who Pays for a DUI Accident?


As outlined below, commercial alcohol providers often pay for DUI accidents. Quite simply, under South Carolina’s dram shop law, if a bar, restaurant, or other provider is responsible for a patron’s intoxication, that establishment is responsible for any injuries that patron negligently causes. This law could apply in a few other situations as well.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the number of alcohol-related crashes had leveled off. But during the pandemic, because roads emptied, motorists took more risks, including drinking and driving. Several years after pandemic lockdowns ended, this bad habit persists.

The duty of care requires motorists to be at their best, mentally, physically, and otherwise, before they get behind the wheel. If a breach of duty, like alcohol impairment, causes injury, a Columbia dram shop injury lawyer can obtain compensation for victims in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

First Party Liability

Alcohol providers are responsible for these damages if a Columbia personal injury lawyer proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the driver was negligent.

In terms of evidence, the police accident report is often the cornerstone in a personal injury claim. That’s especially true if an experienced emergency responder prepared the report, or multiple agencies contributed to it.

If these things aren’t true, the report might be weak evidence. Inexperienced emergency responders often cannot put all the pieces of evidence together in these cases. Furthermore, a multi-agency investigation usually means a long inquiry and a detailed report. Single-agency reports aren’t much more than conclusory summaries.

A weak report might be enough to establish first party liability, but it might not be enough to obtain maximum compensation. Fortunately, other kinds of evidence, like witness statements and security camera footage, are also available.

First party liability is easier to establish if emergency responders cited the tortfeasor (negligent driver) for DUI. These tortfeasors could be liable for damages as a matter of law.

Third Party Liability

South Carolina’s dram shop law usually applies if the tortfeasor was visibly intoxicated at the time of sale. Evidence of visible intoxication includes:

  • Physical Symptoms: By themselves, bits of evidence like bloodshot eyes, slow reflexes, and slurred speech don’t establish intoxication. But the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
  • Tortfeasor’s Statements: Many people treat bartenders like personal confidants. Additionally, when people have had a little too much to drink, their inhibitions disappear and they speak freely about many subjects, including their own intoxication.
  • Prior Purchases: This proof might be the most compelling proof of intoxication. Three or four drinks are enough to intoxicate most people. Furthermore, many bartenders are trained to cut people off after this many drinks. But to keep making money, they often keep the drinks flowing.

The dram shop law also applies to other illegal sales, such as underage sales and unlicensed sales.

Work With a Thorough  Richland County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.


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Marc Brown

Marc Brown Law Firm

Meet Attorney Marc Brown

Marc Brown is an experienced personal injury and civil rights attorney serving clients throughout South Carolina and Georgia. Marc is motivated by the challenge of helping his clients solve their complex legal issues, and most importantly, he obtains favorable results. He is a caring and conscientious attorney who brings the experience and resources of a larger firm to his smaller, more personalized practices in Sumter and Columbia, SC.

A Personable & Dedicated South Carolina Attorney

As someone who has always had a keen sense of right and wrong and a desire to achieve excellence and fairness in all things, pursuing law was a natural career choice. After graduating with honors from the prestigious Emory University School of Law, Marc went on to become a dedicated litigator who focuses on personal injury, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense cases.

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Choosing an attorney is a very important decision, but it can be difficult. When you choose the Marc Brown Law Firm, we do everything we can to keep you informed, put your needs first, and to make sure justice is served. Here are just a few reasons to choose us:

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Attorney Marc Brown has experience that matters. Prior to opening this law firm, Marc spent nearly a half a decade defending big insurance companies and large corporations in personal injury and commercial litigation matters across the United States. Marc knows exactly how insurance companies and corporations evaluate claims and what they look at when deciding to increase the amount they are willing to pay. He thinks outside the box to find additional or hidden opportunities for favorable results.

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After being injured in a serious accident, you need to focus on getting better. Serious accidents can be hard on an individual, physically and emotionally. The Marc Brown Law Firm is dedicated to fight for you while you recover. If you are unable to travel to our office for any reason, we will personally visit you! Just give us a call to talk whenever you may be in need of assistance. We’re here to help.

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At the Marc Brown Law Firm, we choose to put our clients first. Our clients are more than just a case number. We think of each of our clients as extended members of the family. We make sure to inform our clients of all their legal options and provide timely updates throughout the life their case.

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We work hard so that our clients receive the justice they deserve! When necessary, Attorney Marc Brown retains investigators, engineers, and other experts to help prove your case. Insurance companies are big, but Marc is experienced and resourceful. We fight for each of our clients so that you can receive the maximum compensation available to you.

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We work on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront cost to clients. You only pay lawyer fees when we win your case. This also means that your attorney is only paid a percentage of what is recovered for you. The Marc Brown Law Firm has a vested interest in ensuring that each of our clients receive the maximum recovery available to them. We are determined to fight tirelessly to recover for you.

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