How We Go the Extra Mile to Help Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Last fall, two young artists, Andrew Martinez and Kevin Allende, were severely injured in a car crash. Mr. Martinez survived only a few days before succumbing to his injuries. Witnesses report seeing the other driver, Alejandro Pichardo, driving west in the eastbound lane, at around 60 mph in the 35 mph zone. In addition to criminal charges, Mr. Pichardo now faces a civil suit brought by Mr. Allende for the damages he sustained in the wreck.
In the suit, Mr. Allende alleges that prior to the wreck, Mr. Pichardo had been drinking on the job, at the Bull Ring restaurant. The suit further alleges the restaurant "regularly serves alcohol to its on-duty employees." Mr. Pichardo's brother owned the truck he was driving on the night of the crash and is also named in the lawsuit. It is alleged that he should have known his brother "was prone to drive under the influence of alcohol or otherwise [was] an unfit driver.
Criminal prosecution against intoxicated drivers is an important remedy that serves to punish and detour drunk driving. However, victims, who incur massive medical bills, lost time from work, pain, suffering, and other damages, the available civil remedies are equally important. It is fairly well-known that these victims are entitled to compensation from the drunk driver's car insurance company (or personal assets if he or she was uninsured). The lawsuit brought by Mr. Allende against Mr. Pichardo, seeks damages from Mr. Pichardo's insurance company, his brother who was the owner of the truck, as well as from the Bull Ring restaurant for negligent training and hiring.
It is important that attorneys representing victims of car crashes caused by a drunk driver leave no stone unturned. In South Carolina, it is against the law for a commercial seller of alcohol to serve a patron who the serve knew - or should have known - was already intoxicated. This is a nuanced area of tort law, focused on civil liability in connections with the sale, service, and consumption of alcohol. Damages in such cases serve to compensate victims for past and future medical costs, lost wages, and property damage. In the worst cases, when someone loses their life as a result of a drunk driver, the family is entitled to file a case on behalf of the victim. In 2010, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld a $10 million verdict against The Getaway Lounge & Grill and its owners, after an intoxicated customer caused a severe car crash. See, Hartfield v. The Getaway Lounge & Grill, Inc., 388 S.C. 407 (2010).
In these cases there is a lot on the line. Victims need and deserve to be compensated. These cases are usually fact-intensive and liability is difficult to prove. Time is not on the victim's side. The law requires that these cases typically be filed within three years of the incident. Also, the passage of time can blur witness memories and make it more difficult to collect evidence.
It is important for victims of drunk drivers to retain an attorney knowledgable in this area of the law. Attorney Dana Adkins is proud of having recovered damages on behalf of clients who were injured by a drunk driver. She leaves no stone left unturned in recovering damages for her clients! Call, email, or message us today for a FREE consultation.