News & Events

Victims of Alcohol-Related Crimes Beware: S.C. Bill 533 Targets Innocent Victims of Drunk Driving

Posted: July 11, 2023

Legislation currently pending before South Carolina’s General Assembly would fundamentally alter our state’s civil justice system and make it harder for innocent victims to pursue justice and be made whole. Our firm is closely watching Senate Bill 533, and in the most recent issue of SCAJ’s Justice Bulletin, Yarborough Applegate attorney Perry Buckner explores what it means for victims.

“While some of the talking points supporting this new legislation may sound rational and benign, this so called ‘SC Justice Act’ will have alarming impacts for victims in our State and the public at large,” Buckner writes. “It will inevitably increase the amount of litigation and lawsuits pursued in South Carolina while lessening civil liability for criminal and reckless conduct.”

S. 533 includes two critical changes to South Carolina’s current tort law, Buckner notes:

  1. It allows non-parties to appear on the jury’s verdict form in every civil trial.
  2. It removes the limited exceptions in our current law that still allow for pure joint and
    several liability for certain situations (e.g. grossly negligent acts or those related to alcohol
    or illegal drugs).

He goes on to enumerate the implications these changes would ultimately have on trials across the state. They include, but are not limited to: a new set of rules that tip the scales in favor of defendants; longer trials and, as a result, increased expenses for all parties; discouragement of settling civil cases, and most notably, innocent victims finding themselves more and more unlikely to be made whole after a life-altering injury or death.

Read Buckner’s full article from the June 2023 Justice Bulletin here.

At Yarborough Applegate, our attorneys have a passion for sharing their expertise with the larger law community, and Buckner’s article is the latest in our team’s continuing emphasis on thought leadership and contributing to leading legal publications.

To learn more about Buckner and his legal practice, view his bio page here.

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