Myrtle Beach DUI/Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
Of the many causes of car accidents in the U.S., it is arguable that those caused by drunk driving are the most preventable, and some of the most tragic. Still, people make the decision every day to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. In 2017, the number of drunk-driving-related fatalities reached 10,874 nationally, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration, with South Carolina sitting near the top of the list of states in which most of these accidents occur.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident because of another motorist’s drunk driving or driving under the influence of another drug or intoxicant in the Myrtle Beach area, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you get justice. The car accident team at Law Office of William J. Luse will study your case and explain your best options, including whether it is one worthy of taking legal action.
A car accident that is the fault of another person can be frustrating and discouraging in and of itself. Finding out that the driver who caused the accident was impaired at the time can be even more demoralizing. Anger or stress, among other emotions, is natural. Take comfort in knowing that there are legal consequences for the wrongdoer’s actions and that you can receive compensation for the injuries you suffered.
Let the experienced legal team at the Law Office of William J. Luse fight for your right to compensation, whether that includes a settlement or taking your case to trial. Call (843) 839-4795, fill out our email form, or chat live today to schedule a case evaluation so that you can take the first steps to rebuild your life.
Why Do I Need a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer?
When it comes to car accidents, insurance companies by default are incredibly reluctant to pay out the maximum benefits to which you might be entitled. They may resort to sketchy tactics or aggressively attempt to settle with you for an amount way below that which you deserve as a victim. A skilled attorney familiar with an insurance company’s bargain-basement approach will instead assertively seek the full range of compensation available on your behalf.
In some instances, the driver who caused the DUI accident lacks the insurance coverage or the assets to pay you for your full recovery. In that case, Law Office of William J. Luse will seek alternate avenues to help you reach full recovery.
The first option is filing a claim with your own insurance company under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Another possible alternative is to hold a bar, restaurant, or store that sells alcohol responsible for the injuries caused by a drunk driver. To recover from one of these commercial establishments under the so-called Dram Shop law, if it applies to the facts, it’s necessary to prove that the employees knew or should have known that the drunk driver was intoxicated at the time they sold alcohol to the driver.
Depending upon the circumstances, proof may or may not be easy to obtain. Rest assured that Law Office of William J. Luse will perform a thorough investigation to determine if employees were aware that the driver was intoxicated.
Why Choose Law Office of William J. Luse To Handle My Case?
Given that South Carolina that was previously ranked as the third deadliest state when it comes to fatal car accidents, we completely understand the devastating ramifications that a collision, fatal or not, can have on the lives of all involved.
The Law Office of William J. Luse in Myrtle Beach is a trusted firm that delivers excellent service to our car accident clients. We have the extensive legal experience that allows us to determine the best strategies to build your case. We employ aggressive and effective, hands-on legal skills in hopes that it will lead to a positive outcome for you.
Aside from calling 911 and seeking medical treatment immediately after you’ve been involved in a DUI car accident, contacting a personal injury attorney is one of the most important things to do. At Law Office of William J. Luse, we will immediately begin collecting evidence and interacting with insurance companies and law enforcement to pursue full compensation for your injuries.
What Compensation May I Be Entitled As A Victim of A Drunk Driving Car Accident?
In many drunk driving cases, the victim’s injuries are more severe than those of another type of car accident. Usually, the motorist driving under the influence is operating the vehicle at a dangerously high speed or is unable to control the vehicle or react to changes in road conditions. Additionally, innocent motorists have little to no time to react to the actions of the DUI driver who may suddenly be weaving all over the road.
If you’ve been injured in a drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Medical bills and expenses, including those for necessary medical devices and prescriptions. This includes those current expenses and future medical expenses.
- Costs for long-term care and rehabilitation.
- Lost income, wages, and benefits as a result of your inability to work. This also includes your loss of future earning capacity if or when your injuries prevent you from being employed.
- Property damage to your car.
- Pain and suffering. This includes not only physical pain and suffering you endured, but also any emotional or psychological trauma you suffered.
If a loved one was killed in a drunk driving car accident, you can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. While no amount of money can ever make up for the distress of losing a loved one, it does provide some level of compensation for the tragic outcome.
Compensation that you may be entitled to in a wrongful death claim include damages for loss of companionship, assistance, and consortium. Additionally, you may be entitled to damages for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills for treatment before death
- Loss of expected income
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of inheritance
Generally, punitive damages are not recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina. These damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer for their particularly egregious actions and to deter similar, future actions.
To recover punitive damages in a DUI accident lawsuit, you must first be awarded compensatory damages as outlined above. Upon meeting that requirement, you must then show that the drunk driver’s actions were willful or reckless based on “clear and convincing” evidence. This constitutes a higher standard of proof than required to prove underlying liability for the accident.
Generally, the willful or reckless behavior might be shown if the drunk driver already has a DUI conviction on their record. However, merely establishing that the driver was over the legal limit (i.e., a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater) at the time of the accident may be sufficient to establish willful or reckless conduct. Given the technicalities involved, however, a claim for punitive damages is best handled by a skilled DUI/drunk driving attorney
If you are eligible for punitive damages as the victim of a drunk driving accident, there is no cap, i.e., no ceiling, on them in South Carolina when the liable party was intoxicated.
How Long Do I Have To File A Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawsuit In South Carolina?
A Statute of Limitations applies in each state. The statute of limitations is a law that puts a clock on how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit in court after an accident occurs. Once the time period has expired, your right to file a lawsuit for compensation injuries is gone.
In South Carolina, a person seeking to pursue a personal injury claim must do so within three years of the date of the accident. While it may seem like an ample interval to get the ball rolling, the process of preparing and filing a lawsuit and other procedures to collect initial evidence may take longer than expected. This makes it highly advisable to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after you’ve been the victim of an accident.
Call Law Office of William J. Luse For Help
Car accidents can have a devastating impact on your life and the lives of your loved ones. Car accidents caused by drunk drivers can exacerbate the pain and frustration you feel as the victim.
When you’ve been hurt in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, reach out to Law Office of William J. Luse for help. Don’t let a drunk driver off the hook without any repercussions for their actions. Regardless of whether the drunk driver is ultimately held criminally liable, you have the right to hold them financially for the injuries they caused you.
Contact a Myrtle Beach car accident lawyer who will fight for your right to compensation while treating you and your family with respect and compassion. Call the Law Office of William J. Luse at (843) 839-4795, fill out our email response form, or chat with us online to set up your case evaluation.