Restaurant Agrees to Pay $1.1 Million in Wrongful Death Action

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According to the Associated Press, the parent company of a Charleston, South Carolina restaurant has agreed to pay $1.1 million to the family of Quentin Miller who was killed in a drunk-driving accident caused by one of the restaurant's employees.

When a person chooses to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol the bar or restaurant that served that person alcohol can also be held accountable for any accidents that driver causes. Dram shop laws are created to hold bars and others who serve alcohol to a patron liable if that patron chooses to drink and drive and as a result gets into an accident. Establishments have a responsibility in protecting not only their patrons but others whose lives can be affected by the actions of those patrons.

Quentin Miller died in a fiery car crash when Adam Burnell, the assistant manager and sommelier at Husk at the time, struck Miller's car last winter. Burnell rear-ended Miller's vehicle causing it to crash into a concrete barrier and burst into flames, trapping Quentin Miller inside the vehicle on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. Both cars were traveling north on the bridge when the collision occurred around 4 a.m. Quentin Miller was only 32 years old at the time of his death.

Although the Miller family did not name Burnell in the wrongful death action, the lawsuit named the parent company of the bar and restaurant for wrongful death and negligent hiring, retention, and supervision. The petition alleged the Queen Street restaurant was negligent when it allowed the assistant manager to drink alcohol excessively on its premises after hours, and then allowed him to get behind the wheel drunk when he left the establishment.

The general manager of another Charleston restaurant, Mickey Bakst, stated to reporters, "Alcohol kills. Alcohol took a life, destroyed a family, and took another life . . . A young man's career was taken away."

Adam Burnell suffered only minor injuries in the crash and was charged with felony driving under the influence. The $1.1 million settlement in the wrongful death suit will be split between the victim's parents and common-law wife, as well as costs associated with the case and attorney fees.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident as a result of a drunk driver, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-222-7211.

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