Every year, tourists visit Myrtle Beach to enjoy the beautiful white beaches, restaurants, and retail offerings. When tourists or residents over-indulge in alcohol and choose to drive, DUI accidents can occur. If you or your loved one have been seriously injured in a Florence or Myrtle Beach DUI car accident, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Working with an experienced, local personal injury attorney can increase the likelihood of recovering the compensation you deserve. For over 125 years, Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, has represented personal injury victims in Florence and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We are prepared to help you pursue damages for your injuries.
The Legal Blood Alcohol Limit in South Carolina
In South Carolina, operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher is illegal. Police officers may use breathalyzer tests or blood draws to determine the driver’s BAC. Even when a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is under the legal limit, his or her driving could be negatively impaired and dangerous.
The driver’s reaction time may be slower, or his or her coordination may be lessened. Consuming alcohol can affect a driver’s body in many ways, including decreasing his or her ability to drive safely. Drivers with any amount of alcohol in their system may be held liable in a civil court for the injuries caused by their drunk driving. Even if the driver isn’t ultimately convicted of driving while intoxicated in a criminal court, victims can pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit in civil court for their damages.
Drunk Driving Accidents Are Far Too Common in South Carolina
Residents of Florence, Myrtle Beach, and other South Carolina communities are more likely to be injured or killed in a drunk driving accident. A recent study using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows South Carolina ranks as the seventh worst state for drunk drivers. According to the data, 289.6 of every 100,000 licensed drivers in South Carolina were convicted of a DUI. In 2020, 29.6 percent of South Carolina deaths were caused by drunk drivers.
Injuries Caused by DUI Car Accidents
Victims of preventable DUI car accidents can suffer serious injuries or death when they are involved in collisions with drunk drivers. Drunk drivers are less likely than sober drivers to take evasive actions to prevent collisions. They may be more likely to engage in unsafe driving practices such as speeding, cutting drivers off, and failing to use a blinker correctly. Drunk drivers are also more likely to cause-head on collisions, some of the most deadly types of car accidents. As a result, victims can suffer more serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spinal cord injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries can cause permanent changes to a person’s memory, reasoning, vision, emotions, and hearing. They can limit his or her ability to work and perform basic day-to-day activities. Spinal cord injuries can cause partial or complete paralysis. In addition to paralysis, a person’s neck and back injuries can cause discs to rupture or slip, resulting in nerve damage and chronic pain. Other injuries caused by car accidents include the following:
- Organ damage
- Internal injuries
- Limb injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Severe burns
- Lacerations and bruises
- Bone fractures
Who Is Liable for My Injuries?
Victims must prove the driver is liable for their injuries to recover compensation. Drunk drivers are liable for injuries caused by their negligent or reckless driving. As a drunk driving accident victim, you can pursue a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, some drivers do not have the required auto insurance, or their insurance policy doesn’t cover the losses caused by the accident. In these cases, drunk driving accidents may have other options for obtaining compensation.
Victims may recover compensation from the bar, restaurant, or store serving the drunk driver. Under South Carolina’s dram shop laws, victims have a right to hold establishments liable for the damage done by customers to whom they overserve alcohol. There may be another third party responsible for the accident, besides the drunk driver. For example, a driver who was texting while driving may have contributed to causing the accident. The victim may be able to pursue compensation from the third-party driver.
Another option is to make a claim through your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). A UIM claim allows your insurance company to cover damages you can’t recover from the at-fault driver up to the policy’s limit. When you work with Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, we will investigate the causes of the accident and determine which party or parties can be held liable for your injuries so we can pursue the total compensation you deserve.
Damages Available After a Florence or Myrtle Beach DUI Car Accident.
Those injured in car accidents with intoxicated drivers can pursue several damages through an insurance settlement or personal injury lawsuit. Victims of serious injuries may incur hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars of medical expenses.
Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, has the experience and resources to estimate the total medical expenses you will incur carefully. We frequently work with medical and financial experts to thoroughly evaluate the different types of expenses DUI car accident victims will have in the future. Medical expenses include hospital stays, surgery rehabilitation, physical therapy, home health aids, durable medical equipment, and other expenses.
If you can no longer work due to your injuries, you can pursue compensation for lost wages and the loss of future earnings. Victims can also pursue property damage from the accident and other expenses related to the DUI car accident.
Victims of drunk driving car accidents can also pursue punitive damages intended to punish defendants for engaging in reckless and dangerous behavior. When a DUI car accident results in a fatality, the deceased victim’s surviving family members can pursue compensation for lost wages of their loved one, funeral and burial expenses, and loss of consortium or companionship through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Contact a DUI Car Accident Attorney in South Carolina
When you work with Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, we will thoroughly investigate your claim and develop a compelling strategy to recover a favorable settlement. We do not charge personal injury victims until compensation is recovered. Don’t hesitate to contact Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation case evaluation.