If you have ever experienced a drunk driving auto accident in Richland County, South Carolina, you are likely to be facing injuries, lost wages, and medical expenses. You may have even lost a loved one. Drunk driving auto accidents are serious matters. The responsible drunk driver will thus face serious consequences in criminal court with a DUI charge. Yet, they can also face serious financial consequences, beyond the court ordered fee, to compensate your damages. If you have been harmed by someone else’s irresponsible drunk driving behavior, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Was Your Auto Accident Caused by Buzzed Driving or Dunk Driving?
Many people make the mistake of thinking that they are okay to drive when they have a buzz. They think that if they are not clearly and obviously drunk, if they can walk a straight line, if they don’t feel sick, if they can carry a conversation, then they are safe. The reality is that even the most minor buzz could impair your judgment and response time. If you’re wondering what the difference is between buzzed driving and drunk driving, you will find any answers to this question unsatisfying as you recover from the auto accident with a driver who swears that he or she was only buzzed.
The truth is that buzzed driving is drunk driving, a phrase which has became the slogan of the National Highway Safety Administration to impart the message on everyone that being buzzed is just as dangerous and illegal as being completely drunk when you get behind the wheel.
What Legal Consequences with the Drunk Driver in Your Richland County Auto Accident Face?
When you’ve been injured in a Richland County, South Carolina, auto accident with a drunk driver, you want to know that the driver is going to face legal consequences for their actions. This is not relevant in terms of your own compensation recovery, but it something that most families care about for the purpose of justice and making sure that the careless drunk driver doesn’t get away with it and do the same thing to someone else’s family. The drunk driver will face criminal consequences that may include jail time, probation, heavy fines, drug and alcohol treatment programs, and the loss of their license. Each time the person gets caught driving drunk, the consequences will be more severe and costly.
Will the Establishment or Person that Served a Drunk Patron Face Consequences?
If the person who caused your drunk driving auto accident was served alcohol in an establishment where it was apparent that the person was already drunk (or was a minor), then that establishment can also face consequences. These will not be in a criminal court, but can be pursued in a civil lawsuit known as a dram shop lawsuit. In cases where the drunk driver was a minor and was served alcohol by a private citizen, that citizen can also be held liable in a social host liability claim. The same is not true for adults. An establishment can be held liable for serving a drunk adult, but a social host cannot. It is presumed that in a social environment at someone’s home, the adult is responsible for his or her own level of intoxication. Establishments that serve alcohol are held to a higher standard and can be held liable.
How to Avoid Getting into an Auto Accident with a Drunk Driver in Richland County, South Carolina
It can be very difficult to avoid an auto accident with a drunk driver. You may be driving safely and defensively, but you could still be caught off guard when a drunk driver comes along. Thus, the most important thing that you can do to avoid such an accident is to treat every other vehicle with caution and respect and watch for erratic driving behavior. Pay attention to the vehicle that swerves a little too much, the vehicle that is speeding, and the vehicle that keeps change speed. If you notice anything odd about the way someone is driving, do your best to keep your distance. Slow down to let them get ahead, turn down another street to avoid them, or stay in a far away lane. If the driving is particularly hazardous, contact the police and give them the vehicle’s description and license plate numbers.
Many drivers hesitate to report other vehicles because they are used to dealing with bad drivers or are not sure of their impression. Even if you are wrong or if the driver is behaving erratically for some other reason (such as drowsiness or medication side effects), you could still save lives by reporting it.
What to Do After a Richland, South Carolina, Drunk Driving Auto Accident
Drunk driving auto accidents can be among the most severe, the most upsetting and shocking, and the most infuriating for the innocent victims. You may be in shock from your injuries or the injuries of others. You may be traumatized, and you may be extremely upset. No matter how upsetting or infuriating the situation may be, you must remain calm. If you panic, then you can’t help anyone. If you take this time to shout at the at-fault driver, then you aren’t helping yourself. You need to assess the damage, respond to injuries, contact the authorities, and collect evidence.
If you want justice or revenge against the irresponsible driver, this is not the time to seek it. You can press charges against a drunk driver and have their crimes faced in a court of law. You can also file an auto accident claim against the drunk driver and recover compensation for your injuries, your property damage, your lost wages, your lost quality of life, your lost loved ones, your pain and suffering, and even punitive damages to punish the drunk driver for the nature of the accident that they caused. Call a skilled Richland, SC car accident lawyer at the Michael Jeffcoat Firm to learn more about how you can seek justice and compensation after a drunk driving auto accident in Richland County, South Carolina.