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Thanksgiving DUI Accidents a Serious Risk for Mississippians

Families along the Gulf Coast will soon be gathered together for Thanksgiving, enjoying their time with loved ones and savoring traditional Creole and seafood dishes passed down through generations.

Despite being a favorite holiday on the Coast, Thanksgiving is also known to be a dangerous time of year on Mississippi roadways. Specifically, there tends to be a spike in drunk driving. In far too many cases, families' lives are changed forever because of Thanksgiving DUI accidents.

In recent years Mississippi has seen a 10-percent increase in the annual number of drunk driving deaths.

While Mississippi is now the 22nd state to expand the use of ignition interlock devices to include first-time DUI offenders, the change came after hundreds of preventable tragedies.

In 2013 there were 210 fatal DUI wrecks in Mississippi. That number represents a 10-percent increase from the year before. In fact, DUI fatalities made up more than 34 percent of all Mississippi traffic deaths in 2013.

Victims of drunk driving accidents have legal recourse, including possible punitive damages against the drunk driver.

Under Mississippi law, people injured by drunk drivers may seek compensation for losses, including pain and suffering, medical costs and lost income. Additionally, the law allows for a plaintiff to request punitive damages to send a message that drunk driving is unacceptable to the community.

Punitive damages can double and in some cases triple the amount of compensation recovered by a plaintiff. However, courts in Mississippi make it difficult to reach the punitive phase of a civil trial. A skilled personal injury lawyer is needed to pursue punitive damages and maximize the amount of compensation after a DUI accident.

If you or a loved one has been hurt by a drunk driver, then speak with a personal injury lawyer who is committed to holding drunk drivers accountable.

This Thanksgiving, every driver in Mississippi should take the necessary precautions to avoid driving while drunk. The risk of injury and death is too great not to do the responsible thing, which is hand over the keys, stay put or otherwise arrange for a sober ride.

For more on the legal issues related to DUI wrecks in Mississippi, please see our DUI accident overview.

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