Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys in Jackson, MS
Holding Drunk Drivers Accountable After a Car Wreck
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 29 people die in drunk driving accidents every single day. Put another way, drunk driving causes a death every 50 minutes. Because alcohol-impaired drivers cannot react as quickly to changing traffic conditions, drunk driving crashes tend to result in more catastrophic injuries than other types of wrecks. In fact, over a third of all fatal crashes involve drunk drivers.
Although it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol, a criminal prosecution may not always give you and your family the justice you deserve after a life-altering crash. At ‘Maggio | Thompson, LLP, our Jackson drunk driving accident lawyers can help you navigate the legal process and seek fair compensation. While drunk drivers can and should be held liable for your losses, there could also be other parties involved in your crash – and our team will explore every possible avenue for recovery.
Mississippi Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
Drunk driving is a rampant problem in Mississippi. According to data from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, drunk driving fatalities represented 16% of total traffic deaths in Mississippi in 2016. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2,560 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in Mississippi from 2003 to 2012.
Other facts about drunk driving accidents in Mississippi:
- The majority of these individuals were males between the ages of 30 and 49.
- Alcohol-involved crashes typically occur on state highways.
- The month of May has historically seen the highest number of fatalities from drunk driving.
- Most drunk driving accidents occur on weekends.
While any car accident can be a distressing event, drunk driving accidents are particularly tragic because they are completely preventable. Far too often these collisions are life-changing or fatal for other law-abiding unimpaired motorists. Habitual offenders make this problem worse, as they continue to put other peoples' lives at risk no matter how many times they are arrested or their licenses are suspended.
How Intoxication Impairs Drivers
When someone drinks, it significantly impacts a number of their abilities. They become more dangerous as they experienced some of the following symptoms:
- Reduced reaction time
- Vision impairment
- Cognitive impairment
The symptoms of drunk driving make it more difficult for drivers to keep themselves and others safe. These symptoms make drunk driving one of the most dangerous actions and cause the most harm.
Who Is Liable for Drunk Driving Car Wrecks?
Under Mississippi DUI laws, drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) higher than .08% may be charged with driving under the influence, and when convicted, these charges often result in jail time and steep fines. For drivers operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), the acceptable BAC level is even lower at only .04%. Even if the drunk driver who caused your crash was not convicted in the criminal justice system, however, they may still have civil liability for your injuries.
To prove a drunk driving accident claim, you will need to establish that the driver’s intoxication directly caused the crash and your resulting injuries. Because drunk driving is such a serious breach of the “duty of care” required of drivers, it will be considered negligent if proven. In some cases, a jury or judge may decide to award additional punitive damages on top of your compensatory damages, as a way to deter future drunk driving. However, it’s important to keep in mind that punitive damages are rare and only awarded in circumstances involving gross negligence.
Can I Sue Under Dram Shop Liability?
In some states, licensed liquor vendors – such as bars, restaurants, or nightclubs – can be held legally responsible for over-serving patrons who then drink and drive. This is known as “dram shop liability,” and under Mississippi law, you will not be able to recover compensation from an alcohol vendor in most cases.
However, you can bring a dram shop claim in Mississippi if you can prove that the defendant was “visibly intoxicated” when the alcohol vendor continued to serve them alcohol. You must also bring your lawsuit within 3 years starting from the date of injury.
Limited Social Host Liability in Mississippi
As with dram shop liability, some states recognize that social hosts who serve alcohol can also be responsible for a later alcohol-related incident. In Mississippi, this “social host liability” only applies if the defendant is a minor (under the age of 21.) If your drunk driving accident was caused by a minor, it is possible to pursue a claim against the person who served them alcohol – even if they were not visibly intoxicated.
Recognizing Drunk Driving
If you see a drunk driver on the road, it’s essential to stay clear of them. Then, you can report the driver you suspect of being intoxicated. Here are some signs that you should look out for that can indicate someone is driving under the influence.
Some signs of a drunk driver include:
- When a driver swerves into other lanes and jerks back into their lane.
- When a driver speeds up and slows down randomly.
- When a driver slams on their brakes erratically, especially without another vehicle in front of them.
- When a driver forgets their headlights when driving at night.
Your Advocates in a Crisis
When you’ve been injured in an accident with a negligent drunk driver in Jackson, there’s nothing that can truly compensate for your pain and suffering. However, obtaining a successful outcome in a drunk driving accident lawsuit can still give you peace of mind about your financial future, by covering all of your financial losses.
Our attorneys can help you pursue compensation for a variety of damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Vehicle or property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death (if a loved one was killed)
Our Jackson, MS personal injury attorneys at ‘Maggio | Thompson, LLP have one goal in mind: Helping you obtain the recovery you deserve after a serious car wreck. Staffed by an award-winning legal team that always returns your calls within the same business day, we’ll act as your advocates in a crisis.
Call us today (601) 265-6869 for a free consultation.