Chelsea Hess, a woman from South Carolina who was left paralyzed after a car crash following a night of underage drinking two years ago is suing now the bar for not checking her ID.
Chelsea Hess, now 22, argues a barman should have asked her to show her ID when she ordered drinks at a bar in 2009.
Despite being a year under the legal age to drink, Chelsea Hess spent several hours at Jock’s Sport Grill in Bluffton, South Carolina, where she drank with friends and played billiards.
When Chelsea Hess left the premises at 1:00 a.m. and was driving home her car ran off the road.
Officials say Chelsea Hess, who was not wearing a seat belt, was over the legal drink drive limit.
The woman was ejected from the vehicle and hurled 20 ft suffering catastrophic injuries that left her as a paraplegic.
According to the lawsuit, Chelsea Hess claims the bartender should have asked if she was old enough to buy alcohol or if she was drunk when she was in the bar.
“The bartender failed to attempt to ascertain whether or not plaintiff was already impaired by alcohol consumption when she purchased the alcoholic beverage and made sale to plaintiff even though she was unable to legally purchase the alcoholic beverage, and notwithstanding the possibility that she was already impaired by alcohol consumption,” according to the complaint obtained by the Courthouse News Service.
Chelsea Hess has also sued the Department of Transportation and the town of Bluffton and Beaufort County claiming they had failed to properly maintain the road where she crashed.
The lawsuit says the wheels of her 2000 Mitsubishi car “suddenly dropped off into a large unmaintained area on the shoulder of Alljoj Road, which caused plaintiff to lose control of her vehicle and causing her to roll the vehicle off the side of the road”.
In its response to the lawsuit, Schubert Place LLC, operator of Jock’s Sport Grill, denied Chelsea Hess’s claims.
They said Chelsea Hess was responsible for her injuries due to her acts of “negligence, recklessness, willfulness and gross negligence”.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation also blamed Chelsea Hess, saying the accident occurred due to a number of events for which she bore responsibility, including driving while intoxicated and failing to keep her under control.
Chelsea Hess is now seeking punitive damages that could run into millions and cover the cost of her round-the-clock health care.