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Wrongful death suit in fatal DUI accident settled, in part

Early one morning last May, an alleged drunk driver left a bar and hit a 24-year-old pedestrian in Five Points, South Carolina, killing him. The father of the victim filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle as well as his parents, who had loaned him the car as well as money in which to purchase alcohol. During the investigative stages of the lawsuit the bar at which the driver had been drinking was subpoenaed in an effort to obtain credit card receipts as well as security video from the night in question.

The evidence obtained showed that bar employees continued to serve the driver alcohol for several hours even though he was intoxicated. This was in violation of state laws that prohibit the sale of alcohol to an intoxicated person. The video tapes showed the driver was at the establishment for a little over 2 hours and his bar tab reached about $74.00. Reports however indicated the driver was served around $200 worth of alcohol at the bar before he left shortly after 2:00 a.m.

The bar decided to settle the wrongful death suit for $975,000. The wrongful death suit against the driver and his parents is still pending, as is the felony DUI charge against the driver of the vehicle. According to the suit, the pedestrian had the right of way at the time of the fatal accident. The parents were named as defendant in the suit because it was their vehicle their son was driving at the time of the accident. He was driving with a suspended license.

Court documents state that the parents were negligent and responsible in part for the accident because they knew of their son's prior DUI conviction and therefore knew about his alcohol addiction but still allowed him to use their vehicle the night of the crash. The parents also provided him with access to credit cards that he used to support his addiction. The debit and credit cards used at the bar the night of the accident were in the father's name. The plaintiff reportedly offered a judgment for $1.3 million to settle the case against the parents, that offer is still pending.

Source: WIST, "Five Points bar to pay $975K settlement in DUI fatality," LaDonna Beeker, Jan. 26, 2013

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