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Are bars liable for over-serving patrons in South Carolina?

It's likely that every driver knows that it is illegal drive while intoxicated in South Carolina. Still, too many people disregard the law and the safety of others by getting behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol.

Drivers in this impaired state obviously pose a major risk for other drivers. Dealing with a drunk driving accident can be especially frustrating for victims and their families, because the situation probably could've been prevented if the at-fault driver had been more cautious and responsible.

In many cases, it seems natural to shift full responsibility to the drunk driver. After all, motorists play the primary role in making sure they can drive safely. At the same time, however, other parties may be overlooked for the role they played in a drunk driving accident. Namely, businesses that supply alcohol to drunk drivers could face dram shop liability claims.

South Carolina law clearly states that permitted distributors cannot sell alcoholic products to intoxicated patrons. This means that a bartender should refuse service to a customer who is clearly drunk. By ignoring signs of intoxication and continuing to serve alcohol, a party could contribute to an accident.

Providing a person with more alcohol even when it's known that they could pose a threat to public safety demonstrates negligence. In this situation, a business with a permit to provide alcohol should exercise stronger and better judgment.

Of course, it may be difficult for accident victims and their loved ones to determine exactly what role other parties played in a drunk driving accident. Conducting full investigation into the circumstances behind a crash can prove to be beneficial. However, this is a task accident victims probably aren't equipped to handle on their own. As such, an experienced attorney can provide the support necessary to move forward.

Source: WestLaw, SC Code 1976 § 61-4-580

Philpot Law Firm, PA
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Greenville, SC 29601

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