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SC bar pays just under a million dollars in fatal DUI settlement

Drivers that get behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol are at risk of facing civil and criminal penalties for their actions. However, what many residents of South Carolina may not realize is that the drivers may not be the only ones in need of a DUI defense if they are part of an accident that causes injuries to another individual. If they were served alcohol at a bar, the victim may also try to hold that establishment responsible for their injuries. This very situation has led to a South Carolina bar paying $975,000 in a drunk driving settlement.

According to South Carolina law, bars are prohibited from selling wine or beer to individuals who are already intoxicated. This is the legislation that brought rise to the lawsuit that eventually ended in a $975,000 settlement. On May 5, a 24-year-old man was killed while crossing the street in Five Points. According to reports, a 24-year-old driver was traveling faster than the 25 mph limit and did not stop for the pedestrian. He struck the man causing fatal injuries. Upon taking a test, his blood alcohol level allegedly registered at .20. He was charged with felony DUI.

This accident gave rise to civil and criminal lawsuits, which revealed that the bar at which the driver had last been drinking had surveillance video cameras. The deceased's father then filed suit against the bar claiming that they violated state law by serving the drunk driver. Surveillance videos showed that the man arrived at the bar a little before 11:30 PM and left around 1:30 AM. The videos then showed him returning around 2:00 AM and staying for 14 minutes before leaving. His total bar tab was around $200.

In the settlement the bar did not admit having any liability and the father waived any possible opportunities for future claims against the establishment.

This story goes to show that sometimes bars are also in need of a defense when a driver ends up facing DUI charges. There may be other circumstances that led to the occurrence of the accident or ways to prove that the bar does not hold any liability for the incident. Whatever those tactics may be, a sound defense will appropriately plan a strategy to mitigate the consequences.

Source: The State, "Five Points bar pays $975,000 settlement," John Monk, Jan. 16, 2013

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