Jackson Drunk Driver Accident Lawyer
Roughly forty years ago, under pressure from the federal government and advocacy groups, Mississippi authorities launched an extended crackdown against drunk drivers. This crackdown included tougher laws and more aggressive law enforcement tactics. Yet despite all these efforts, alcohol still causes about a third of the fatal car wrecks in Mississippi. The victims who survive these wrecks usually must deal with head injuries and other serious injuries.
The experienced Jackson drunk driver accident lawyer at Keith B. French Law knows what it takes to obtain maximum compensation in these matters. I start by thoroughly reviewing your case and identifying all your legal options. Then, I collect evidence which supports your claim and refutes some common insurance company defenses. Once this foundation is in place, I never stop fighting for you.
First Party Liability
In most cases, the legal limit in Mississippi is .08. A lower limit usually applies to commercial drivers and all drivers under 21. If authorities charge the tortfeasor (negligent driver) with DUI or a related offense, the negligence per se doctrine could apply. Tortfeasors could be liable for damages as a matter of law if:
- They violate safety laws, and
- Those violations substantially cause injuries.
Most law enforcement agencies have mandatory DUI arrest policies. If a driver is legally intoxicated, authorities must take that driver off the road. In most other cases, officers have considerable discretion when it comes to making arrests or issuing citations. So, the negligence per se rule applies in a number of alcohol-related wrecks.
Most people are intoxicated after they have three or four drinks. But alcohol impairment begins with the first drink. This impairment usually includes poor judgement and slow motor skills. Therefore, a number of motorists are not legally intoxicated, but they are too impaired to drive. In other words, for driving purposes, one drink is one too many.
These victims may use circumstantial evidence to establish negligence, or a lack of care. This evidence usually includes the driver’s physical symptoms, such as:
- Odor of alcohol,
- Bloodshot eyes,
- Unsteady balance,
- Slurred speech, and
- Slow reflexes.
In these cases, our Jackson drunk driver accident lawyers must establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. So, a little proof goes a long way.
Third Party Liability
Impaired or drunk drivers often obtain their alcohol from a bar, restaurant, or other commercial provider. So, these establishments are in a unique position. By responsibly selling alcohol, they can prevent these accidents before they happen. Therefore, Mississippi law holds these providers responsible for reckless sales.
Commercial providers are vicariously liable for car wreck injuries if they illegally sold alcohol to someone who subsequently caused a crash. There are basically two types of illegal sales in Mississippi:
- Minors: The worn-out “s/he looked older” defense normally does not hold up in court in these situations. Even if the customer produced a fake ID, that defense might not hold up in court either.
- Intoxicated People: The aforementioned circumstantial evidence is usually admissible here to establish visible intoxication at the time of sale. The same burden of proof usually applies as well.
Packaged alcohol providers, like convenience and grocery stores, could also be vicariously liable for damages. The victim/plaintiff must prove that a wreck was a foreseeable result of the sale.
Vicarious liability theories like the dram shop law are especially important in catastrophic injury wrecks. Most individuals don’t have enough insurance to provide maximum compensation in these situations. Third-party liability gives these victims an additional source of recovery.
Reach Out to a Hard-Working Hinds County Lawyer
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced drunk driver accident lawyer in Jackson, contact Keith B. French Law, PLLC. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.