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My Loved One Was Killed by a Drunk Driver. What Happens Now? 

The Stutzman Law Firm, PLLC Oct. 26, 2022

Drunk Driver Behind the WheelDrunk driving is among the major causes of traffic accidents, injuries, and fatalities in Mississippi and across the United States. The death of a loved one can be extremely painful and emotional, especially if it was caused by a drunk driver. 

Thankfully, Mississippi laws allow surviving family members to seek compensation for their loved one’s unexpected death through a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. An experienced Mississippi personal injury attorney can enlighten you about how to file a wrongful death claim when a loved one is killed by a drunk driver. 

The attorneys at The Stutzman Law Firm, PLLC, have the diligence and expertise to support and advocate for your family’s best interest during such a difficult period. Attorney Ronald E. Stutzman, Jr. and his trusted legal team will fight compassionately for your legal rights, identify the liable party, and help you seek fair compensation for your loved one’s death. The firm is proud to serve clients across Flowood, Clinton, Brandon, Richland, Pearl, and Rankin County, Mississippi. 

Criminal Charges in Mississippi  

In Mississippi, a drunk driver who causes someone else’s death may be arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter. This is a felony offense punishable by between 5 and 25 years in prison, criminal fines and fees, probation, community service, driver’s license suspension, and other devastating penalties. Besides the criminal penalties, the surviving loved ones of the deceased person may be entitled to bring a wrongful death action against the defendant. 

Why File a Wrongful Death Claim?  

Wrongful death can be described as a death which occurs when a person’s legal fault, negligence, or intentional act causes another person’s death. In such situations, a wrongful death claim may be brought by the deceased person’s surviving family members. Here are some reasons to file a wrongful death claim: 

  • To seek financial justice on behalf of the deceased person 

  • To provide much-needed financial security and support to the surviving family members 

  • To hold the responsible party liable for their wrongful or negligent actions 

  • To make sure such an unfortunate incident doesn't happen to another family or person 

If you have lost a family member to a drunk driver's wrongful actions, you need to reach out to a skilled personal injury attorney immediately. Your lawyer can review every detail of your unique situation and guide you through the Mississippi wrongful death claims process. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Mississippi?  

Under Mississippi's wrongful death law, the following individuals may be eligible to bring a wrongful death claim in the state: 

  • The surviving spouse of the decedent 

  • The decedent’s surviving parents or children 

  • Any surviving siblings of the decedent 

  • The personal representative or executor of the decedent’s estate 

The wrongful death action must be commenced within three years from the date of the death. An experienced attorney can help determine the liable party and ensure that you file your wrongful death claims within the specified time limit. 

Liability for Drunk Driving 

Depending on the events leading to the incident and other surrounding circumstances, any of the following parties or entities may be held liable for the drunk driving-related death: 

  • The drunk driver who caused the death 

  • The decedent’s parent or legal guardian for their negligent entrustment 

  • The establishment that served the drinks to the intoxicated driver (dram shop liability) 

  • The employer if a drunk employee caused the incident while performing the duties within the scope of their employment 

  • The host who served alcohol to a minor responsible for the drunk driving accident (social host liability) 

A skilled attorney can seek to identify the responsible party and help recover fair financial compensation for your loss. 

Damages Available 

The following damages may be recovered through a wrongful death claim in Mississippi: 

  • Medical bills related to the decedent’s final injuries or illness 

  • Lost wages and benefits 

  • Payment for destroyed or damaged property 

  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses 

  • Emotional distress and mental anguish 

  • Loss of the decedent’s companionship, comfort, society, guidance, and consortium 

  • Loss of the decedent’s services, care, protection, and assistance 

  • Punitive damages to serve as additional punishment to the at-fault drunk driver for their egregious behavior or gross negligence 

An experienced Mississippi wrongful death attorney can help you file your wrongful death claims and attempt to recover the maximum possible compensation for your loss. 

Experienced Guidance Every Step of the Way  

Losing a loved one to a drunk driving accident can be difficult and overwhelming. Such an unexpected loss can affect you mentally and financially. In addition to criminal charges against the at-fault party, you may be eligible to recover deserved compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. The Stutzman Law Firm, PLLC, is committed to offering skilled legal guidance and compassionate representation to clients in their wrongful death cases. Attorney Ronald E. Stutzman, Jr. can evaluate and investigate every aspect of your situation and seek to prove that the defendant's wrongful actions caused your family member’s death. 

If you have lost a parent, spouse, child, or another family member to a drunk driver's wrongful actions, you may seek fair financial compensation. Contact The Stutzman Law Firm, PLLC, today to schedule a simple case assessment with an experienced wrongful death attorney. The firm is proud to serve clients across Flowood, Clinton, Brandon, Richland, Pearl, and Rankin County, Mississippi.