The defense will always try to blame the injured person for causing an accident. In years past, the injured party could not recover any award if they somehow contributed to causing the accident. The jury could return a verdict awarding zero dollars if the injured party, called the plaintiff in court, was merely one percent at fault. Courts observed over the years that this rule was very harsh and unjust. Mississippi was the first state in the U.S. to change that rule. The new rule allows for plaintiffs to receive a jury award even if they did something wrong that contributed to their injuries.
The new rule, called comparative negligence, is found in Mississippi’s statutes. The comparative negligence rule applies in wrongful death cases, personal injury cases such as car accidents, as well as property damage cases. The rule says that if the person injured, or the owner of the property or the person who is in control of the property that is damaged did something wrong, then the injured party does not automatically lose. The percentage of fault for which the plaintiff is responsible reduces the jury award by that amount.
The theory is relatively simple in practice. The jury must find a percentage of fault for both the plaintiff and the defendant. The jury assesses damages at the amount proven by the plaintiff. The plaintiff will win the full amount of the award if they jury found the plaintiff did not contribute to the injuries. The jury must reduce the award if they find the plaintiff contributed to the accident or his injuries. If the jury finds that the plaintiff somehow contributed to the injuries, then the jury must reduce the total award by the percentage of fault the jury assigns to the plaintiff. It is possible, under this theory of law, for the plaintiff to be 99% responsible and the defendant 1% responsible for the accident. In that case, the jury would award the plaintiff 1% of the total award.
The defense in every personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage case will blame the plaintiff for their injuries. The defense will claim that the plaintiff did not use reasonable caution to avoid an accident. The defense, most often a lawyer for an insurance company, will argue if the plaintiff was not careful, then the defendant is not responsible for all of the injuries the plaintiff suffered. The argument is designed to keep the insurance payouts lower.
A person should always be careful but given human nature and the various distractions we face in our modern society we can easily slip up. A person can try to remember a few simple rules to avoid contributing to their injuries if they are indeed unlucky enough to be in an accident. A driver must always remain vigilant and follow the rules of the road. Remember to make full stops at stop signs and red lights and yield when merging. Also, you should always use your directionals when turning. Never, ever, drink and drive. Also, you should never text and drive. Try not to use your mobile device at all while driving. If you must use your device, then switch to hands-free mode. Hands-free will help you keep your eyes on the road and not looking down at your cellphone. Pedestrians should bear the same rules in mind. Pedestrians must exercise caution when walking in the street by crossing on the correct light, crossing at a corner, and paying attention while walking and not being distracted by a cellphone.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Fighting For Personal Injury Victims in Mississippi
Having experienced and seasoned personal injury attorneys on your side gives you the best chance of winning the award you deserve. Call the Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys at Gidden Law Firm, P.A. at 601-355-2022 today to learn how years of experience will result in justice for you.