If you have been injured anywhere in Mississippi and consider that you were not to blame for the accident that caused the injury, you may think that you are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person or organization at fault. Injuries can be expensive if you are left having to pay for medical treatment and then there is the worry about your means of employment. If you miss time off work because of your injuries you could end up being seriously out of pocket. The worst-case scenario is that you are so seriously injured that you lose your job altogether. It is wise to understand the limits of the law for personal injury cases.
While a personal injury claim is certainly an important option you will need to discuss the circumstances thoroughly with a Mississippi personal injury attorney before you file a claim. The attorney will run through the details of your case and make certain that there is a good chance of proving negligence, an important prerequisite for having a successful outcome.
Each state has slightly different personal injury laws so it is worth acquainting yourself with some of the limitations that are used in Mississippi as they may have a bearing on your ability to make a claim.
The Limits of the Law
Every state has limits of the law on making a personal injury claim. To be honest, the sooner you make a claim the better. This is not so much because of the statute of limitations but because it is simply easier to establish fault earlier rather than later. Witnesses are harder to find and become less reliable. Evidence that could have been used to support your claim disappears or becomes less useful.
In Mississippi, if you decide to file a claim against anyone other than a government employee or agency you have 3 years from the date of the injury to do so. After that 3 year period, it is highly unlikely that a court will allow you to make a claim unless there are special circumstances. For example, if you only “discover” that you had an injury that did not manifest itself until after three years or, more likely, you develop an industrial disease after a prolonged period the 3-year time limit will be taken from the date of discovery itself.
Note also that if you intend to file a claim against a Mississippi government employee or agency you must do so with the state Attorney General within 90 days of the injury.
Even if you thought that you had nothing to do with the cause of the accident in which you were injured, the person you are suing may think differently. Don’t be surprised if the defendant’s insurer comes up with the idea that you were at least partly to blame for the accident. This is called “comparative negligence.” Of course, you and your attorney will fight the allegation and if you have sufficient proof, you can still claim 100% of what you have asked for. However, if it goes to court over the issue of who was at fault, then there is a possibility that the court will make a ruling about the perceived percentage of fault of both plaintiff and defendant. For example, if it is decided that you were 25% at fault yourself, then you will only obtain a maximum of 75% of what you asked for.
No caps on pain and suffering
In some states, there is a cap on some components of a personal injury claim, or the component is not allowed at all. The cap is usually on what is called non-economic damages. That excludes medical costs, including any future medical costs, as well as lost earnings as these are regarded as “economic” damages.
The main component can be a substantial part of a personal injury claim. It is called “pain and suffering” and quite literally it is compensation for the pain experienced because of the injury and the suffering the injury has caused.
In Mississippi, there is no cap on pain and suffering, but that doesn’t mean the sky’s the limit. Your personal injury attorney will know the level of compensation for pain and suffering that is reasonable because of past experience.