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Mississippi Auto Accident Laws

Mississippi Auto Accident Laws and Resources

If you have been in a car accident, you have rights under Mississippi auto accident laws. Mississippi roadways consistently rank among the deadliest in the nation. In 2019, 643 people died in car accidents in Mississippi. This represents 1.56 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. Sadly, this is the highest rate in the United States.

Many may be unfamiliar with Mississippi auto accident laws. This means navigating the insurance claims process and court system can be challenging. In this guide, we will discuss some important Mississippi auto accident laws. They may be important to your car accident case. You may need more information about your rights under Mississippi law and the next steps to take in your car accident case. Contact an experienced Mississippi auto accident lawyer today.

Comparative Negligence in Mississippi Auto Accident Cases

Mississippi auto accident laws follow a pure “comparative negligence” standard. Under Mississippi Code Section 11-7-15, a party injured in a car accident can recover damages from the other party. But, the damage award will reduce based on the percentage that the victim is at-fault for the accident.

For example, suppose that you sustained injuries in a car accident. You sue the other driver and go to trial. The jury determines that your damages total $100,000. However, they also find that you were 25% at-fault for the accident. Your damages will reduce by $25,000 (25% of $100,000) to $75,000.

In a pure comparative negligence state such as Mississippi, you can recover damages from the other party. This is true even if you are more at-fault for the accident. Returning to the example, if the jury found that you were 75% responsible for the car accident, your damage award will reduce from $75,000 (75% of $100,000) to $25,000.

Mississippi’s comparative negligence standard will also play a role when negotiating a car accident settlement with the insurance company. This is true even if your case does not go to trial. Adjusters from each insurance company will work together to make allocations of fault. Afterwards, determination of fault justifies a settlement amount. Car accident victims that are not represented by an experienced Mississippi car accident lawyer often undervalue their claims. Conversely, they may accept damage awards for less than their cases are worth.

Mississippi Auto Accident Laws Statute of Limitations

The Mississippi statute of limitations sets forth the amount of time that a party has to file a lawsuit to recover damages for injuries suffered in a car accident. Under Mississippi Code Section 15-1-49, you must file a lawsuit within 3 years from the date of the accident. If you file your case after the 3 years are up, the defendant will likely object. They may ask the court to dismiss your case. The court will have no choice under Mississippi law unless an exception applies.

The Mississippi statute of limitations does not apply to the settlement process. In other words, there is no deadline for reaching a settlement with the insurance company. However, do not delay in filing your complaint. After the 3-year period set by the Mississippi statute of limitations, the insurance company has little incentive to reach a fair settlement with you. This is because you lack recourse through the court system.

Missing the deadline set by the Mississippi statute of limitations can have severe consequences. Hiring an experienced Mississippi auto accident lawyer can help you to protect your rights. With the help of a lawyer, you can receive the compensation that you deserve.

Car Insurance Requirements in Mississippi

Under Mississippi auto accident laws, all drivers must maintain liability coverage. They also must carry proof of insurance. The minimum liability insurance coverage amounts in Mississippi are:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person caused by the owner and/or driver of the insured vehicle.
  • $25,000 in liability coverage for property damage caused by the owner and/or driver of the insured vehicle.
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury or death liability caused by the owner and/or driver of the insured vehicle.

Liability insurance covers medical bills, property damages, and other types of damages that the insured driver causes. However damages are only covered up to the policy limits. Under Mississippi auto accident laws, vehicle owners also have the option of posting a bond via cash or security deposit that is equal to the above amounts.

Driving Without Car Insurance in Mississippi

Under Mississippi Code Section 63-15-4, driving without proof of insurance is a misdemeanor. It is punishable by a $500 fine and suspension of driving privileges for 1 year. The suspension may end if the owner of the vehicle shows proof of liability insurance.

Moreover, driving without liability insurance can have serious financial consequences if you are in a car accident. You can be personally liable for any injuries or property damage that you cause.

 
 

Mississippi Auto Accident Laws for Accidents Involving Uninsured Drivers

Statistics show that the state of Mississippi has more uninsured drivers than any other state in the US. 29.4% of all drivers do not have car insurance. So what happens if you are in an accident in Mississippi, the other driver is responsible and they don’t have insurance?

  • You can file an uninsured motorist claim under your own insurance policy. Insurance policies in Mississippi typically include uninsured motorist coverage. The limits you have in place may prevent you from recovering the total amount you need. If you do not have this coverage, you may not be able to collect anything from your insurance policy.
  • You can sue the at fault driver. Under most circumstances, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Keep in mind though that collecting a settlement may be difficult if the driver has little money or assets.
  • You can sue a third party. If there is another party that can be held responsible for the crash, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them. This may be the auto shop that improperly installed the brakes on the other car. Or the owner of the vehicle if the driver was borrowing it.

Recovering Damages in a Mississippi Auto Accident Case

The usual types of damages that you can recover in a settlement fall into two categories. Economic damages are those that affect you financially. These can be proven with bills, receipts, pay stubs. It is easy to calculate a total of economic damages. Non-economic damages are harder to value. These are non-tangible ways in which the accident affected you, such the pain you feel from your injuries, the emotional trauma the crash caused, and the sense of loss you feel after your life changed due to your injuries.

The liable driver or party is responsible for covering the cost of all of your damages. This also means that if you are found to be at fault, you cannot collect a settlement from the other driver. When you file a claim, you can clearly write out what your damages are and how much money you expect to cover them. You may do this in the form of a demand letter. The insurance company might try to negotiate with you, offer you a lower price. You do not have to accept an offer that you don’t think is fair.

Settlements are intended to pay you for the cost of the accident, both financially and emotionally. Having a lawyer working you case could be your best bet to getting the amount of money that you need to cover your damages. If claim negotiations fail, you may need to move onto arbitration or file a lawsuit.

Mississippi Car Accident Settlement Taxes

If you spent time getting a personal injury settlement from a car accident case in Mississippi, you do not want to lose a big chunk of it to taxes. Most people with serious injuries need as much money as possible to pay for medical expenses. The compensation may also cover lost wages and a potential permanent reduction in your income.

The good news is that much of your settlement is probably not taxable at the federal or state level. No matter if you negotiated a settlement or received a verdict award, most of the amount will go to you. The IRS and the state cannot tax portions of a settlement or jury award meant to compensate you for your physical injuries, or emotional distress from your injures. Medical cost reimbursement also is not taxable at either level. This is true unless you took a medical expense deduction on your tax return in a previous tax year.

If you receive a settlement only for emotional trauma, then this would be taxable by the IRS and by the state of Mississippi. Also, if you receive punitive damages, you will need to report this as income at the state and federal level. Punitive damages are to punish the responsible party and are not compensation for damages.

Mississippi Accident Resources

If you have been in a car accident in Mississippi, the following resources can help guide you in the right direction.

Mississippi Car Accident Settlement Calculator

Have you been in a motor vehicle accident or otherwise injured in Mississippi? Find out how much financial compensation you may be legally entitled to in just minutes with our free online Injury Settlement Calculator.

Get Help with Mississippi Auto Accident Laws

If you need further assistance with getting compensation after a car accident, Lawsuit Info Center can help. Call or message us today, risk free. After reviewing your case, we can help you get in touch with a Mississippi car accident lawyer.

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