Everyone knows that drunk driving is dangerous and against the law. Yet some people still choose to drink and drive without showing the slightest regard for the safety and well-being of others. Every year, hundreds of people are killed, and thousands are injured in drunk driving accidents in Mississippi. Despite the fact that there are strict penalties for drunk driving, the problem still persists.
At Boyce Holleman & Associates, we believe that people who drink and drive should be held fully accountable for their actions. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, we can represent you, hold the at-fault driver responsible for their negligent and reckless conduct, and take all possible steps to make sure you are sufficiently compensated for your injuries and financial losses.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Gulfport, MS drunk driving accident lawyers.
Drunk Driving in Mississippi – A Look at the Numbers
In 2019, a total of 170 people were killed (out of which 11 people were under the age of 21) in drunk driving accidents in Mississippi. Drunk driving fatalities accounted for 26.4% of all accident-related fatalities in the state. The drunk driving fatality rate per 100K population was 5.7, which was significantly higher than the national average of 3.1.
A recent study says that Mississippi is one of the worst states for drunk driving, due to its high per capita drunk driving death rate as well as the fact that the penalties for DUI in Mississippi are more lenient compared to the penalties in many other states.
Why Drunk Driving Is So Dangerous?
Research shows that even a small amount of alcohol can affect a person’s ability to drive. Even a BAC of 0.02%, which is the lowest level of measurable intoxication, can affect a person’s visual functions and ability to perform more than one task at a time (a skill very much needed for driving).
- A BAC of 0.05% can affect a person’s balance and coordination, which can make it harder for them to steer their vehicle and affect their ability to take evasive actions to avoid colliding with another vehicle, pedestrian, or object.
- A BAC of 0.08% can cause short-term memory loss and loss of concentration and affect a person’s judgment, self-control, and reasoning abilities.
- A BAC of 0.1% or higher can significantly affect a person’s driving ability, at which point they might pose a threat to the safety and well-being of other road users.
Types of Injuries That Can Result from a Drunk Driving Accident
The injuries resulting from a drunk driving accident often tend to be serious, as drunk drivers are more likely to drive aggressively and less likely to take evasive actions to avoid crashes. As a result, the force of impact in these accidents can be greater, which in turn can result in catastrophic injuries – ranging from broken bones to amputations, burns, nerve damage, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident in Mississippi?
The parties that can be potentially held liable for a drunk driving accident include:
The Drunk Driver
The primary party that can be held liable for a drunk driving accident is the drunk driver. If a person chooses to drive after consuming alcohol or taking drugs and causes an accident, they can be held financially responsible for the injuries, property damage, and deaths resulting from the accident.
Establishments Serving Alcohol
Under Mississippi’s dram shop law, any establishment that serves alcohol to a person who is visibly intoxicated can be held liable for the damages resulting from the accident caused by that person.
If the drunk driver in question is under the age of 21, and if they were served alcohol at a social gathering or party, the host can be held liable for the damages resulting from the accident.
If the drunk driver was driving someone else’s vehicle at the time of the accident, the owner can be potentially held liable for the accident. It’s particularly applicable to accidents caused by underage drivers while driving their parent’s or any other family member’s car.
If the drunk driver in question was on duty and acting within the scope of their employment when they caused the accident, their employer can be held vicariously liable for the resulting damages. This rule is applicable to accidents caused by people working for food delivery services, parcel delivery services, ridesharing services, and commercial trucking companies.
Vehicle or Parts Manufacturers
If a mechanical defect in the vehicle contributed to the accident, the vehicle or parts manufacturer can be held partially liable – along with the drunk driver – for the accident.
At Boyce Holleman & Associates, we have decades of experience in handling drunk driving claims. We know that in many cases, third parties other than the drunk driver can also be held liable for an accident. We will conduct a thorough investigation to identify all the parties who can be held liable for your accident and try to recover the maximum amount of compensation for you.
Is It Possible to Recover Punitive Damages in a Drunk Driving Claim in Mississippi?
It depends. Under Mississippi law, punitive or exemplary damages can only be awarded in cases where the at-fault party is found to have acted in a grossly negligent manner, with malicious intent, or displayed a blatant disregard for the safety of others.
If the drunk driver who injured you had an extremely high BAC, engaged in risky driving behavior, and caused catastrophic injuries, you might be awarded punitive damages – on top of the compensatory damages that you are entitled to recover under the law.
How Our Mississippi Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Can Help You
Strong Legal Guidance
Our Gulfport, MS personal injury lawyers are well-versed in the state and local laws related to drunk driving accidents. We will provide you with personalized legal counsel and expert guidance, explain the legal options available to you, and be with you at every step of the legal process.
Investigation and Evidence Gathering
We have the resources and expertise to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of your accident. We will gather all kinds of evidence to support your claim – from toxicology reports to police reports, photographs and videos of the accident scene, witness statements, security camera footage, and more.
Drunk driving accidents often involve multiple liable parties – apart from the intoxicated driver. We will work diligently to identify all the parties who can be held accountable for your accident – including the establishment that served alcohol to the driver, the vehicle manufacturer, the driver’s employer, and other parties, if any.
Assessment of Damages
We have experienced attorneys who can work with experts to accurately assess the full extent of the damages you suffered as a result of the accident. From medical expenses to lost earnings, loss of earning capacity, property damage, and the intangible costs of pain and suffering – we will not overlook any aspect of the losses you suffered.
We have access to a large network of expert witnesses – from accident reconstruction specialists to medical professionals, rehabilitation specialists, and vocational experts – who can provide testimonies that can strengthen your claim and establish the liability of the at-fault parties.
If a negotiated settlement is not possible, we will take your case to court. Our skilled litigators can provide strong representation and present your case convincingly to a judge or jury.
Get Legal Help from Trusted Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Mississippi
At Boyce Holleman & Associates, our injury lawyers are dedicated to assisting victims of drunk driving accidents in their pursuit of justice and fair compensation. If you or any of your loved ones have been injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver, we can help you get the compensatory damages you need to get your life back on track.
We bring extensive legal knowledge and over 70 years of legal experience to the table. We have the resources to take on insurance companies and we know how to get them to pay the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 228-863-3142 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation and case assessment.