Dram Shop Liability Under Mississippi Law
Many people around the Biloxi area recall the horrific bus crash that occurred on March 7, 2017: Four people were killed and dozens injured when a bus became stuck at a railway crossing and was struck by an oncoming train. In the most recent development in the incident reported by Biloxi’s ABC affiliate WLOX, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released preliminary findings regarding its investigation into various aspects of the crash. One item of note is that the bus operator’s toxicology examination came back negative for the presence of alcohol or drugs.
In Mississippi, if there’s any evidence that a driver is intoxicated at the time of a car accident, it may trigger the state’s dram shop laws. Here’s what injured victims need to know about dram shop and social host liability, but only an experienced car accident attorney can tell how the laws may apply in your case.
Mississippi Statute on Dram Shop Liability for Businesses
State law provides that no holder of a properly issued permit to sell alcohol can be held liable in the event that a purchaser causes injury, property damage, or death to another person. The statute assumes that the alcohol is otherwise lawfully sold to the individual who goes on to cause an accident, with respect to age restrictions. However, there is an exception to the rule: If the liquor store, bar, or restaurant allows a “visibly” intoxicated person to purchase an alcoholic beverage, that establishment may be liable.
Social Host Liability for Drunk Driving
Mississippi law is similar if the person who serves another individual an alcoholic beverage is in the position of a social host. In other words, someone hosting a party cannot be held responsible for the actions of a guest who drinks and drives, then causes an alcohol-related accident. In the scenario of social host liability, the limitation on liability only applies if the drunk driver is legally allowed to consume alcohol. A social host may still be responsible for paying compensation to an injured victim if the guest is a minor.
Time Limitations for Filing a Lawsuit
Like other states, Mississippi requires a victim to file a lawsuit based upon dram shop or social host liability within a designated time period. This law, termed the statute of limitations, means that you must initiate litigation within three years after the accident that causes your injuries. If you fail to do so, your claim is forever barred by law.
Involved in an Accident with a Drunk Driver? Talk to a Biloxi Car Accident Attorney
Drunk drivers are a threat to everyone on the roadways or sidewalks, and even driving slightly buzzed can lead to an accident. If you’re injured by a driver who was intoxicated because an establishment “overserved” him or her, you have options to recover compensation for your losses. These cases are complex, so it’s important to have a skilled car accident attorney to represent your interests. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Judy Guice have assisted many clients in pursuing restaurants and bars under dram shop liability theories. We can help you, too. Please contact our Biloxi office today to schedule a free initial consultation regarding your case.