Hurt by a drunk driver, who is to blame?

Hurt by a drunk driver, who is to blame?

Hurt by a Drunk Driver

Certainly, a person who becomes intoxicated and causes an accident may be sued by someone Hurt by a Drunk Driver for his or her own wrongful act in doing so. But, in addition, the company or person who provided the alcohol may have liability as well.

In Mississippi, the sale of beverages containing alcohol is heavily regulated. To sell alcohol, a person or business must be licensed by the Alcoholic Beverage Control division of the Mississippi Department of Revenue.

The licenses come with important limitations on the ability of the seller of alcoholic beverages. A seller may not sell, give or furnish alcoholic beverages to:

  • any person “visibly or noticeably intoxicated.”
  • any person under the age of 21.
  • any person who is a “habitual drunkard.”

What Happens When a Seller Violates the Rules?

If a seller violates these rules, and if the person who received the unlawful alcoholic beverages becomes intoxicated and causes an accident, then the injured party may sue the seller (in addition to suing the intoxicated person who caused the accident). This is known as “dram shop liability.”

Note, however, that if the person who received the unlawful beverages becomes intoxicated and injures himself, the seller cannot be held liable for his injuries.

Mississippi Social Host Law

Mississippi also has a law governing “social hosts” and minors. A social host is someone who allows others to come under their property to attend a party. As few as two people can make up a “party”.

The law makes it illegal for an adult who owns or leases private property to allow a party to (i) take place or (ii) continue if the adult becomes aware that a minor at the party obtains, possesses or consumes any beverage containing alcohol.

Although the statute does not specifically provide for a lawsuit against the landowner by a person injured by an intoxicated minor, it seems quite likely Mississippi courts would recognize such a right.

As a result, if you injured in an accident caused by an intoxicated person, you should try to obtain as much information as possible as to where and how that person became intoxicated.

If you or someone you know is hurt in a car wreck because of a Drunk Driver, call 601-202-1111 today.

Pepper & Odom Law Firm

571 Highway 51, Suite B. Ridgeland, MS 39157


Original content by: Attorney Craig Panter of Panter Law Firm