Mississippi perennially ranks among the highest of all states for the rate of automobile deaths per capita. More than 600 people died in crashes in 2019 alone, and thousands more were treated for injuries.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you might be wondering how to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and any additional pain and suffering. The injuries and financial costs often cause extreme stress on not just the victims, but their loved ones as well. If you’ve been in an accident, you should talk to an experienced Mississippi personal injury attorney who can explore your options for pursuing an injury settlement. Compensation may not completely repair the damage caused or return your loved one to you, but it may help ease the financial strain.
The Stutzman Law Firm, PLLC has helped hundreds of car accident victims and their families in Flowood, Brandon, Clinton, Pearl, and Richland, Mississippi, and anywhere else across Rankin County seek justice for their injuries. Attorney Ronald E. Stutzman, Jr. believes in holding those who have acted negligently accountable for the victims that they hurt. If you have been involved in an accident, don’t wait. Call or reach out today to schedule a free case consultation.
Mississippi is considered an at-fault state for car accidents and insurance coverage. This means that the negligent driver will be responsible for all losses, including property damage, bodily injury, and wrongful death.
If you are in a crash, you can file a claim with your insurance company if you have medical payment benefits or underinsured or uninsured driver coverage. You can also file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance bodily injury coverage to seek compensation for your injuries. If you are unable to settle your claim, you also have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to seek a judgment from a jury.
Auto owners in Mississippi are required to carry liability insurance coverage with at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per incident.
Although these are the minimum amounts required by state law, the negligent driver’s policy may have higher coverage against which you can file a claim. You can file a claim for up to the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. If those limits have been reached and the amount received is still not enough to cover your damages, you also have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit to obtain a judgment greater than the policy limits — however, the driver will need to own assets and have the financial means to pay more.
You should file a claim against the at-fault driver’s car insurance and with any applicable coverage of your own within days after the crash. However, you have three years from the date of the accident to settle a claim with the negligent driver’s insurer or to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against them. It’s important to remember that this statute of limitations runs three years from the date of the crash, not from the date you began or received treatment for your injuries. If your loved one died as the result of their injuries, the statute runs three years from the date of death.
Mississippi follows a comparative negligence rule that stipulates that each driver involved in an accident is assigned a percentage of fault that corresponds with their liability for the accident. Each driver can pursue a claim against the other for damages, but those damages will be reduced by the level of fault that has been assigned to them in the accident.
For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for an accident and the other driver is 80% at fault, whatever compensation you are awarded will be reduced by 20% to account for your level of fault in the accident. Therefore, if a jury awards you the other driver’s bodily injury liability limits of $100,000, you will only be eligible to receive 80%, or $80,000, in compensation.
If the decedent would have been eligible to file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver had they survived, then the decedent’s loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Family members, including the surviving spouse, children, parents, grandchildren, and siblings of the deceased may file a wrongful death action in Mississippi, as can the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Any settlement or judgment will be divided in an order that gives priority to the spouse and children.
If there is a spouse but no children, the spouse will receive the entire award. If there are children and a spouse, the award is divided equally among them. If there are children but no spouse, the award will be divided equally among the children. Parents and siblings receive awards only when there is no spouse and no children or grandchildren.
Insurance companies are motivated to deny claims because doing so saves them money. From the moment you file a claim, they will work diligently to discount the negligence of their insured and to attribute fault to you or your loved one. A seasoned personal injury attorney knows how to investigate the circumstances of a car accident, document evidence, and build a case for compensation. Your attorney should have a successful track record of fighting aggressively for justice for their clients.
For nearly 20 years, that is precisely what Ronald E. Stutzman, Jr., has done for car accident victims and their families in Rankin County, Mississippi, including the areas of Flowood, Brandon, Clinton, Pearl, and Richland. As an accident victim himself who tried to fight an insurance company on his own before attending law school, Ronald E. Stutzman, Jr. believes no one should have to face that battle alone. So if you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, contact The Stutzman Law Firm, PLLC today to schedule a free consultation.
If you have been injured in a car accident or someone you love has been incapacitated or killed due to the negligence of another driver, you deserve just compensation. Personal injury attorney Ronald E. Stutzman, Jr. is here to protect your rights and help you fight for the justice you deserve — so don’t wait. Call or reach out today to schedule a free consultation.