Mississippi has several laws that apply to personal injury court cases and settlements. This article looks at a few key state laws that may come into play after an injury.
Like every other state, Mississippi sets a limit on the time you have to file a lawsuit in civil court after an injury. These laws are generally known as "statutes of limitations."
If you're injured in Mississippi, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court. It's important to stick to this three-year time period. If you try to file your case after the three years has expired, a Mississippi court will almost surely refuse to hear your case, depriving you of a chance to seek compensation for your injuries.
You can read Mississippi's statute of limitations in Title 15, Ch. 1, Sec. 15-1-49 of the Mississippi Code.
In some personal injury cases, you may file an insurance claim or court case, only to hear the other side argue that you are partly responsible for the incident on which your claim is based. If you do share some of the fault, it may affect how much compensation you can receive from any other at-fault party.
When fault is shared in a Mississippi injury case, a court will apply Mississippi's "pure comparative negligence" rule. Simply put, this rule means that whatever compensation you are entitled to receive will be reduced by an amount equal to the percentage of your fault.
Here's an example. Suppose that you're rear-ended while sitting at a stop sign one day, but that one of your brake lights wasn't working at the time. At trial, a jury decides that you were 10 percent at fault, while the other driver was 90 percent at fault, and that your total damages equal $10,000. Under Mississippi's comparative fault rule, your compensation will be reduced to $9,000, which equals the $10,000 total minus $1,000 representing the 10 percent of fault assigned to you.
Mississippi courts are required to apply the comparative fault rule whenever fault is shared in an injury case. Don't be surprised, however, if an insurance adjuster brings it up during settlement talks as well.
Some states limit the kinds of damages an injured person can receive in a court case -- for instance, many states cap non-economic or "pain and suffering" damages.
Currently, Mississippi does not cap damages in personal injury cases. The Mississippi Supreme Court has consistently ruled these caps unconstitutional under the state's constitution.
There is no specific statute in Mississippi governing personal injury liability for dog bites. Owners will be held liable for injuries caused by their dog (or other animal) if the injured party can show that the owner "should have known" the animal was dangerous. This is known as the "one bite" rule.
If your injury or accident was caused by the negligence of a Mississippi government employee or agency, you'll need to follow a different set of rules when seeking compensation for your losses. Injury claims against the Mississippi government must be filed within 90 days with the state's Attorney General. Our Injury Claims Against the Government section provides more information about these types of claims.
You can find more information about Mississippi's personal injury laws and procedures by reading Title 11: Civil Practice and Procedure in the Mississippi Code.