When you are injured in a car accident, you likely have so many thoughts running through your mind. Who is responsible for the accident? How will I pay these medical bills? Am I at fault?
Determining negligence in car accidents can be complex, especially in complicated accidents where who is at fault is not crystal clear. The best way to ensure the negligent party is held accountable is to work with an experienced car accident lawyer who knows exactly what is considered negligence in a car accident. The Mississippi car accident lawyers at Giddens Law Firm are here to help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
So, What Is Considered Negligence In a Car Accident?
The Legal Information Institute defines negligence as the “failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” Negligence is not just how someone acts, but it can also be the failure to act in a way that honors that duty of care.
To establish what is considered negligence in a car accident case, four elements must be present:
- The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff
- There was a breach of the duty
- The plaintiff suffered injury as a result
- The breach caused the injury
Injury can be to the person themselves, to their personal property, or both.
So, in a car accident, the negligent driver is the one who is responsible for your injuries and the accident.
However, in some states, establishing negligence can be complicated as the fault may not fall entirely on one party.
How is Liability Established in Mississippi Car Wrecks?
Mississippi is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that if you are found partially liable for a car accident, your damages awarded will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were involved in a car accident where you incurred $10,000 worth of damages, but you were 20 percent liable, your compensation would be reduced to $8,000.
However, establishing liability is not as simple as looking at each driver’s car and assigning a percentage. To establish liability, a lawyer will review many things including:
- The police report
- Photos, videos, etc. of the accident
- Traffic light cameras, surveillance videos from nearby establishments, etc.
- Timelines of the accident
- Eyewitness and expert testimony
If needed, your lawyer can also call in professionals to recreate the accident to get a clearer understanding of what went wrong leading to the collision.
Further, depending on the extenuating circumstances such as being involved in a collision with a drunk driver or a tractor-trailer, your lawyer may be able to look at additional types of evidence like toxicology reports, previous DUIs, logbook of driving hours, and more.
What Damages Can I Collect Following a Car Accident in Jackson, Mississippi?
As one of the few states that follow a fault system, if you are involved in a car accident in Mississippi, you will recoup the compensation awarded to you from the other driver’s insurance– not your own.
It works in one of three ways. The first is that you file a claim with your own insurance company and from there, your insurance will file a claim with the at-fault drivers’ insurance. The second is to file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance directly. Finally, you can also file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
However, know that if the other driver does not have car insurance, you will have to utilize your insurance to cover your losses.
Once you determine where you are collecting your damages, you can then begin to determine with the help of a Mississippi car accident lawyer what types and how much compensation you can receive.
Common damages you can collect following a car accident include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to recover punitive damages. This is only possible in car accidents where the at-fault driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or acted with gross negligence or malice.
If the car accident ended with death, you or a loved one may also be able to collect for funeral and burial costs, lost pensions, retirement benefits, and damages for loss of companionship.
I Wasn’t At-Fault For a Car Accident. How Long Do I Have To File a Lawsuit?
Under Mississippi Code section 15-1-49, those involved in a car accident have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim with the civil court system to seek damages for any losses.
This includes drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, etc.
The statute of limitations also applies to wrongful death claims in a car accident, however, the time the statute of limitations begins is on the date of the victim’s death, if it is different than the date of the accident. So, if a driver sustains life-threatening injuries the day of the accident, but dies a week later, the statute of limitations begins on the date of death.
It is important to know that if you plan to work solely with the insurance companies, you’ll still want to act quickly in the event your case needs to go to court. If you do not accept a settlement or details emerge and you go through with a wrongful death or personal injury case, you still need to abide by the statute of limitations.
What Should I Do After a Jackson, Mississippi Car Accident?
If you are involved in a car accident in Jackson, Mississippi, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure that you reserved all of your rights to seek legal recourse for the injuries you sustained.
First, you will need to move your vehicle away from the road (if possible) and make sure everyone, including yourself, is okay. From there, call 911 and wait for the police and any medical personnel to arrive. During this time, it is also a wise idea to take photos of the accident and get the contact information of the other driver and any witnesses present.
When the police arrive, give your statement but do not admit fault, simply present the facts as you know them. Finally, be sure to seek medical attention and keep a close watch on yourself and any of your passengers if health conditions change as not all injuries are apparent right away.
Once you’ve been able to gather your thoughts and take care of yourself, call the Jackson, Mississippi car accident lawyers at Giddens Law Firm for legal representation.
Need Help Establishing What is Considered Negligence in a Car Accident? Giddens Law Firm Can Help.
Car accidents happen every day, but when it happens to you, it can seem like the rest of the world stops. Especially if this is your first car accident, you may be frustrated with the situation and not know where you go to begin the claims process.
We are here to help with that. If you are struggling with the insurance companies and need someone to help establish what is considered negligence in a car accident case like yours, our attorneys are here for you. We can help you through the claims process, and even help you in the courtroom if it comes to it.
At Giddens Law Firm, our lawyers will work diligently on your case to make sure you get the proper care needed for your injuries while also taking care of your financial claims with the insurance company. We will help you recover lost wages, medical bills, and associated losses for the pain and suffering endured.
You don’t pay until we win so contact the Giddens Law Firm at 601-355-2022 or by contacting us online.