Impaired motorists are responsible for nearly 30 traffic fatalities around the country every single day. If a drunk driver is to blame for your loved one’s death, your family may have grounds for legal action. While filing a wrongful death claim won’t undo the tragedy you have suffered, it could yield the financial means to put your life back together in the wake of the loss. In America, recovery of damages is the only way the legal system can make up for the harm experienced from a crash or other type of personal injury. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about such claims:
1. How Can I Prove Liability for My Loved One’s Death?
When it comes to drunk driving-related accidents, the strongest evidence of liability usually includes some combination of the following:
- The results of any chemical tests conducted at the scene or shortly thereafter;
- The official police report;
- Social media posts detailing the drunk driver’s activities prior to the accident;
- Surveillance footage of the impaired motorist before he or she got behind the wheel; and
- Receipts from the establishments that served the drunk driver prior to the wreck.
2. What Kinds of Damages Can My Family Seek by Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?
In the state of Mississippi, eligible relatives of the deceased—typically, the surviving spouse, children, parents, or siblings—may pursue funds for:
Medical bills that accrued while treating the victim’s final injury or illness;
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses;
- Property damage;
- Lost income, benefits, and/or pension distributions;
- Loss of companionship, care, and protection;
- Pain and suffering endured by the victim prior to passing; and
- Mental anguish and emotional distress endured by the claimants.
Depending on the circumstances, your family may also be entitled to a punitive award. Since getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol constitutes a willful and reckless disregard of the rights or safety of others, a judge may deem it appropriate to allow the jury to award punitive damages on top of the compensatory damages.
3. How Long Does My Family Have to Take Legal Action?
In the state of Mississippi, the standard statute of limitations for wrongful death actions is three years. That means your family has three years from the date on which your loved one died to bring a suit against the drunk driver responsible for the accident.
It is also illegal in Mississippi for a bar, lounge, or eating establishment to serve people to the point of intoxication. They cannot serve people under the age of twenty-one. So, it is important for the attorney representing the injured person to look closely at the facts surrounding the accident to determine if some other party may also share responsibility.
Speak with a Jackson Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If your loved one died in a drunk driving accident, contact Coxwell & Associates. We’ve won nearly $300 million for our clients in successful settlements and verdicts. Call (601) 265-7766 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free case evaluation with a wrongful death lawyer in Jackson. Our office is in Jackson and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but we travel throughout Mississippi.