News & Events

The Importance of Safe Alcohol Service on St. Patrick’s Day

Posted: March 17, 2023

A holiday of revelry, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking occasions of the year. It’s also one of the deadliest times to be on the road.

In the days surrounding St. Patrick’s Day 2020 (March 16 to March 18), more than a third of crash fatalities involved a drunk driver, according to the Department of Transportation. During that same three-day period from 2016 to 2020, a staggering 287 individuals lost their lives in drunk-driving crashes. 

Behind these numbers are families, friends, and communities that will never be the same. 

It’s a reality we are all too familiar with at Yarborough Applegate, and why we commit to addressing the issue not only through our legal practice, but by standing with organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) South Carolina. As part of its ongoing efforts to save lives and prevent injuries, MADD is asking all of us to be a difference maker this St. Patrick’s Day season by pledging our support

Helping Victims Through Dram Shop Law

While it’s imperative that individuals refrain from intoxicated driving—see below for practices that must be exercised every time one drinks in public—licensed drinking establishments and alcohol retailers share a responsibility in keeping our roads safe. 

The safe sale and service of alcohol will always be the first safeguard against drunk driving. When establishments fail to do this, and overserve a customer who drives drunk and injures the innocent, our team at Yarborough Applegate holds them accountable through dram shop law

Our attorneys are well-versed in this nuanced area of tort law, and through it, have helped many deserving victims and their families secure compensation for past and future medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and property damage.  

We’re passionate about spreading the word about dram shop litigation—we’ve even written the book on it—because we know it is an important legal avenue for victims of drunk driving in South Carolina. It’s not uncommon for individuals to believe their only legal recourse after a drunk-driving wreck is through criminal court. But while a drunk driver may have no liability insurance or only state minimum limits (entirely inadequate to compensate a victim of drunk driving), many alcohol retailers are now required by South Carolina law to have a minimum of $1,000,000 of liability insurance for these very situations.  

Make a Plan to Get Home Safely, Every Time

When you are celebrating with alcohol, be it over St. Patrick’s Day weekend or any time of the year, it’s important to keep these things in mind: 

  • When you are drinking, make transportation arrangements with a sober driver: a designated friend, a family member, or a taxi/rideshare driver.
  • Plan ahead. Never wait until you’ve already consumed alcohol to make a smart plan—you may not be able to.
  • See a drunk driver on the road? Contact local law enforcement.
  • If a friend is about to drink and drive, take their keys away and find a sober driver for them.
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