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Distracted Driving

Drunk Driving Car Accident Claims

Drunk drivers injure thousands of innocent victims every year. In especially tragic cases, accident victims are killed by drunk drivers. South Carolina takes drunk driving very seriously and holds drunk drivers accountable both civilly and criminally when they cause serious accidents. In addition to being arrested and facing criminal charges, the drunk driver may also be forced to pay accident victims’ medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

In personal injury claims, the victim must show:

  • The at-fault driver owed a duty to the victim; 
  • This duty was breached due to the at-fault driver’s negligence; and
  • Due to that breach, the victim suffered damages.

The victim must prove each of these elements to prevail in a personal injury case.

Supporting the first element is generally straightforward. When a driver uses a public roadway, that driver assumes the duty to drive reasonably under the circumstances. Drinking too much alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is, of course, not driving reasonably under the circumstances. There is never a legal justification for an individual to be intoxicated while driving.

Driving while intoxicated is negligence. Such intoxication may be proven by field sobriety tests, blood tests, or breathalyzer tests. Witnesses may also state that they noticed the driver swerving or ignoring traffic signals. They may also state that they saw the driver consume several drinks before driving. 

Finally, the victim’s damages must be supported by objective evidence. Damages include the financial losses the victim has experienced or is predicted to experience in the future. The victim must submit medical bills, employment records, prescription medication records, and estimates of future medical care costs to be able to seek these types of compensation in a personal injury claim.

South Carolina generally allows accident victims three years to file a claim for a personal injury lawsuit. It is important to meet with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident to begin gathering documents and building your case. If you wait too long, it may be more difficult to obtain records and witnesses may have little memory of your case. 

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