Drunk Driving Injury Attorney in Biloxi
Chemical impairment contributes to approximately 40% of all motor vehicle accidents in United States each year, and according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 30 Americans die in drunk driving crashes (on average) every single day. After decades of high-profile campaigns raising public awareness to this issue, these numbers show that far too many people still make the horrible and often fateful decision to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink.
The statistics are no better in Mississippi. The Magnolia State has consistently led the nation in traffic fatalities, earning it the label of the deadliest place in America to drive a car. There are many reasons for the high number of traffic-related deaths in the state, and alcohol is most certainly a contributing factor. During the past two decades, thousands of people in Mississippi have been killed in alcohol-related crashes throughout the state.
As with every other state, Mississippi has stiff criminal penalties for those who are convicted for DUI. Offenders can face heavy fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges, and other consequences. But while these penalties might help serve as a deterrent against this type of behavior, they do nothing to help victims who are injured or killed in drunk driving accidents.
Individuals who are hit by a drunk driver are victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. One minute, they are driving along minding their own business. The next minute, they find their entire lives being turned upside down. In the blink of an eye, they are in extreme physical pain, shock, and in some cases, fighting for their lives. Those who find themselves in this sad and unfortunate situation deserve to be fully compensated.
If you or someone close to you was injured in a drunk driving accident, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney, so you are fully informed of your rights and legal options. Before talking to anyone from the other party’s insurance company, call the Gardner Law Firm to discuss your case.
For over four decades, the Gardner law firm has successfully represented individuals who have been injured in car accidents in Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Gulfport, Pascagoula, and communities throughout Southern Mississippi. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of personal injury law, and a proven track record with even the most complex cases. When a motorist is injured by a drunk driver, we perform a thorough investigation of the case and explore every potential legal avenue toward recovering full and fair compensation.
Mississippi Drunk Driving Laws
It is illegal for anyone to operate or control in motor vehicle in Mississippi with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. An individual can also be charged for DUI if the police officer observes various types of behavior, such as driving erratically, slurred speech, and failing a field sobriety test (FST). Drivers of commercial vehicles are guilty of drunk driving if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.04 or higher, and drivers who are under the age of 21 are over the legal limit with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02.
A DUI could be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on how many prior convictions the driver has and other specific circumstances. When a drunk driver causes an accident and subsequent injuries, they may be subject to enhanced penalties over and above what they would normally receive for a standard DUI conviction.
As mentioned earlier, however, a DUI conviction does not provide any restitution for those who are injured because of the negligent or reckless actions of a drunk driver. A separate civil claim must be filed, and monetary damages must be sought. With this type of case, the fact that the driver was legally intoxicated at the time of the accident may constitute negligence under the legal theory known as “negligence per se.”
Under the negligence per se theory, a defendant may be determined to be at fault for an accident simply because of their legal violation – in this case, drunk driving. That said, it is not always guaranteed that an intoxicated driver will be found at fault. This will come down mainly to facts and evidence of the case and the strength of the arguments presented by each side.
Essentially, you will need to demonstrate that the defendant’s criminal violation was the direct cause of the accident and injuries, and this is one of many reasons it is important to work with a lawyer who has specific experience successfully pursuing these types of cases.
Dram Shop Liability Claims in Mississippi
There are some cases in which the driver may not be the only one who may be held responsible for a drunk driving accident. Under Mississippi dram shop laws, individuals who are injured by a drunk driver could pursue a claim against an establishment that served alcohol to the driver before he or she got into the accident.
This type of claim is challenging to pursue, however. You must prove that the driver was either “visibly intoxicated” when the establishment provided them with drinks, or that the driver was under 21 and not legally allowed to drink. Meeting the “visibly intoxicated” standard will usually require the testimony of eyewitnesses, and of course, any video evidence that can be captured is extremely helpful.
Mississippi also provides for social host liability claims, but only when alcohol was served to a minor under the age of 21 who causes a drunk driving accident. Unfortunately, the host of a private party or event (i.e., social host) cannot be held liable for providing alcohol to an individual who is 21 years of age or older, no matter how “visibly intoxicated” they were.
Speak with a Knowledgeable and Compassionate Mississippi Drunk Driving Accidents Lawyer Reckless
Being injured at the hands of a drunk driver can be life-altering event, and during this difficult time, you need a strong advocate in your corner who is willing to look out for your interests and fight for every dollar of compensation you deserve. At the Gardner law firm, we understand the enormous physical, emotional, and financial pain drunk driving accident victims and their families have to endure, and we do everything possible to make the legal process smooth and seamless. We work closely with our clients, and we handle all of the complicated legal tasks, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back on track.
If you are in Ocean Springs, Gulfport, Biloxi, Pascagoula, or anywhere along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, call the Gardner Law Firm today at 228-436-6555 or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment.
We handle all personal injury cases on a contingency basis – you only pay attorney fees if we win your case