Hit by a Drunk Idiot? Here’s What you need to know

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When a person gets behind the wheel of a car or other motor vehicle while intoxicated, they are acting negligently. Too often, this negligence leads to serious injuries and possible deaths of innocent bystanders.

At Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney, we strive to hold drunk drivers accountable for the harm that they cause. If you were injured or if a drunk driver killed your loved one, reach out to Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney as soon as possible for a free, confidential consultation.

The South Carolina Law Prohibits Drunk Driving

In South Carolina, like most states, it is illegal for anyone who is over 21 to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. However, anyone under the age of 21 may not drive a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.02% or above. Additionally, commercial driver’s license holders may not operate any vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
Any violation of South Carolina law regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in criminal penalties. Also, it can result in a civil action if the drunk driver causes bodily injury or property damage while operating a vehicle.

Do you have to prove liability for a drunk driving accident?

Different then in criminal cases, you don’t need to prove the driver was drunk to seek compensation in a civil case. Rather, you only need to establish:

  • The driver’s duty to keep you safe: Namely, they should have practiced safe driving to keep you and others from harm.
  • The driver’s actions that violated this duty: While drunk driving is certainly not a part of safe driving practices, this could include simply showing that the driver failed to maintain their lane or ran a red light.
  • How these actions led to the collision: You will need evidence to connect the other driver’s actions to your accident.
  • Your level of damages: You will need to prove the damages you suffered to seek compensation from the other driver.

These four elements are very essential to any civil case, which is why our team will take the time and work hard to collect strong evidence of each when we represent you. You should not have to pursue compensation in a drunk driving accident case alone while recovering or grieving a loss.

What are the Recoverable Damages for a Drunk Driving Accident in South Carolina?

If a drunk driver injures you or your loved one, you may take civil action to seek compensation for damages, including but not limited to the following:

  • Medical expenses related to the accident
  • The projected cost of future medical care
  • Lost income/wages from time taken off work to receive treatment
  • Loss of earning ability if your injuries are temporarily or permanently disabling
  • Physical pain and suffering associated with the accident
  • Emotional distress/trauma and loss of life enjoyment
    Also, if your loved one was killed as a result of a collision with a drunk driver, you may be able to recover compensation for the following damages:
  • Medical bills for treatment prior to death
  • Funeral/burial expenses
  • Loss of love/companionship
  • Emotional suffering
  • Loss of expected income and/or support
  • Loss of benefits or inheritance

At Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney, we understand that no amount of compensation can possibly make up for the immense impact a drunk driving accident will have on your life and family. However, our team can help you fight for the recovery you need in South Carolina to get you back on your feet. We can handle every aspect of your case so that you can specifically focus on healing.

The Penalties Under South Carolina Drunk Driving Laws

The state of South Carolina takes drunk driving very seriously. Drivers could lose their jobs, professional licenses, and certifications if found guilty of impaired or intoxicated driving. The penalties for getting pulled over for impaired or intoxicated driving are:

  • First offense: Up to $400 in fines, plus $992 in assessments and surcharges; being imprisoned anywhere from 48 hours to 30 days and a six-month suspension of your driver’s license
  • Second offense: Fines ranging from $2100 – $6300, plus an additional $10,744.50 in assessments and surcharges; jail time ranging from five days to one year; driver’s license suspended for one year
    From there on the fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspensions increase. For example, drunk drivers face much higher fees and jail time for causing:
  • Great bodily injury: Fines of $5,100 – $10,100 and $21,119.50 in assessments and surcharges; prison time ranges from 30 days to 15 years.
  • Death to another person: Fines of $10,100 – $25,100 and $52,244.50 assessment and surcharge costs; prison time ranges from one to 25 years.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving-related fatalities reached 10,142 in 2019. Likewise, 2019 data from the NHTSA shows that South Carolina showed the greatest decrease in the percentage of alcohol-impaired deaths, down to 28%.

Though these are the lowest numbers recorded in quite some time, it does still represent the preventable loss of many lives. Our team at Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney wants to hold these drivers accountable for their negligent actions when they cause others harm. We can use the results of their criminal cases to do just that.

What if I’m a Victim of a Drunk Driving Accident in South Carolina?

If a drunk driver injured you or a family member, Contact Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney at 843.636.TREY for a legal consultation today. Contacting car accident attorney Trey Harrell is FREE. Getting Advice from attorney Trey Harrell about your car accident claim is FREE. Further, you don’t pay attorney Trey Harrell for representing you in a car accident unless the Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney wins your case. There is almost no reason not to at least call 843.636.TREY and ask a question.

An experienced personal injury attorney at Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney that can determine exactly who is responsible for your injuries, who understands exactly how to find the proper insurance coverage and who knows how to fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your case. Trey helps by bringing clarity representation to ensure your rights are fully protected. Schedule your free consultation with our award-winning local attorney today by calling 843.636.TREY or filling out our online survey.

Disclaimer: Information in this blog is intended for informative purposes only and not legal advice. Please consult with a licensed attorney before you make any decisions on legal matters. Further, viewing of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship with Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney. Matters will be handled by an attorney who primarily practice out of our office in Charleston County located at 2000 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. Charleston, SC 29407. Robert W. “Trey” Harrell, III is the attorney responsible for this posting.

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