Alcohol impaired drivers cause approximately 10,000 traffic fatalities and hundreds of thousands of injuries per year despite the tragic reality that these types of accidents are entirely preventable. The emotional, physical, and financial hardships associated with traffic accident-related injuries are significant. However, the challenge of obtaining compensation for your injuries can magnify these adverse consequences. Alcohol impaired drivers predictably are more likely to be unlicensed, uninsured, and reckless. Motorists with driving under the influence (DUI) convictions face higher insurance rates if they can obtain insurance at all. According to the Transportation Research Board, approximately 50-75 percent of drunk driving offenders continue to drive even after their license is suspended, which means that they are also uninsured.
Since the monetary recovery in most personal injury lawsuit settlements or judgments is obtained from the insurance company of one or more responsible parties, drunk drivers who are disproportionately uninsured are often “judgment proof.” This term is simply a reference to the basic truism that a favorable verdict by a judge or jury might be a hollow victory if an intoxicated driver has no way to pay. Vehicle occupants injured by intoxicated drivers in Mississippi car accidents often discover that recovering financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages can be difficult, even if the other driver was passed out behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that is three times the legal limit.
Our experienced Mississippi Drunk Driving Accident Injury Lawyers represent many people who must overcome the challenge of obtaining financial compensation from a drunk driver who is uninsured. Sometimes, the uninsured driver will own assets like a home with substantial equity or other property against which a judgment can be enforced.
Given that a significant number of auto accidents caused by intoxicated drivers involve repeat offenders, these habitual drunk drivers typically do not have an abundance of personal assets against which a judgement can be enforced. If an asset search does not reveal that the drunk driver owns real estate or other property, we explore other potential defendants or sources of compensation, which might include the following:
- Business That Served Alcohol to the Drunk Driver: Mississippi has a “Dram Shop” law that permits someone injured by a drunk driver to sue a business like a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol to a motorist who causes a crash while intoxicated. The bar can be liable under Mississippi Code Annotated Section 67-3-73 if the business serves alcohol to a customer who is “visibly intoxicated.” In other words, a bar owner cannot bury his head in the sand and escape liability if he continues to serve alcohol to a customer who is, i.e., falling down drunk and slurring his words.
- Other Motorists: Although the alcohol impaired driver might have been the immediate cause of a crash, multiple drivers often contribute to an accident. Our Mississippi personal injury law firm investigates the potential liability of other motorists that might have played a significant factor in causing a collision.
- Vehicle Manufacturer: Each year, there are millions of vehicles sold to consumers with significant safety defects. When a vehicle has a defect that contributes to the collision, such as an ignition switch that spontaneously rotates to the off position, the automaker might be liable.
- City/County/State: If some aspect of the roadway where the accident occurred was negligently designed, constructed, or maintained, this roadway defect might open the door to suing the public entity responsible for the road.
- Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage of Injury Victim: If the other driver does not have insurance, flees the scene of the accident, or carries insufficient coverage, our law firm might be able to help you obtain compensation from your own UM/UIM coverage. Although many people assume that they do not need a lawyer to pursue a claim against their own auto insurance coverage, insurers increase their profits by underpaying claims.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto collision involving a drunk driver, the compassionate and knowledgeable Mississippi motor vehicle accident lawyers at Porter & Malouf, P.A. are here to help. Call our office today at (601) 957-1173 to schedule your free initial consultation.