With the third-highest rate of uninsured motorists in the country, Mississippi roadways frequently experience uninsured motorist accidents. But what if an uninsured driver injures you? Who will pay your medical bills? In reality, if the liable driver does not have insurance then you’ll likely need to turn to some other source for compensation. For example, you may be able to recover compensation from your own insurance provider (if you have uninsured motorist coverage), the manufacturer of the car that hit you (if a systems failure cause the crash), or the employer of the driver who hit you (if the driver was working when he/she caused the accident). Additionally, if the driver who hit you was drunk at the time of the accident then, based on dram shop liability, you may be able to recover compensation from the business that served him/her.
Dram Shop Liability
Mississippi’s dram shop liability law (contained in section 67-3-73 of the Mississippi Code) enables a person who has been injured in a drunk driving accident in Mississippi to, under certain circumstances, seek compensation for their injuries from a business that provided alcohol to the drunk driver. The law states that the holder of an alcoholic beverage permit, or their employee, who lawfully sells or serves intoxicating beverages to someone shall NOT be liable for any injury suffered off the licensed premises because of the intoxication of that person UNLESS the permit holder or their employee:
- Caused or contributed to that person’s consumption of alcoholic beverages by force,
- Caused or contributed to that person’s consumption of alcoholic beverages by falsely representing that a beverage did not contain alcohol, or
- Sold or served an alcoholic beverage to that person while they were visibly intoxicated.
In other words, if a Mississippi business that holds an alcoholic beverage permit (think bars, restaurants, liquor stores, etc.) sells or serves alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated and that person then drives drunk and injures someone, that injured individual can then turn around and sue the business that provided alcohol to the drunk driver. But how can you prove that the drunk driver was “visibly intoxicated”? This element of dram shop liability cases can be challenging to satisfy but is often established via witness testimony and surveillance tapes. However, this critical evidence tends to disappear over time as people’s memories fade and surveillance tapes are recorded over. Therefore, if you are interested in filing a lawsuit based on dram shop liability it is imperative that you hire a lawyer to start gathering evidence as soon as possible.
Let Us Assist You with Your Case
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you won’t be able to recover compensation for your injuries just because the driver who hit your was uninsured. If you were injured in a Mississippi car accident that was fully or partially the fault of an uninsured driver Derek L. Hall, PC, The Heavy Hitter is here to help. To discuss your legal options during a free initial consultation with one of our experienced Jackson uninsured motorist attorneys give us a call today at (601) 768-8267.