In Mississippi, if you are injured in a car accident involving an uninsured or underinsured motorist, there are special laws that apply to your injury claim. If you have uninsured motorist insurance (“UM”) then you can collect from your uninsured motorist policy. If you are hit by someone that is underinsured, there is another set of laws that apply to your underinsured motorist insurance (“UIM”). An underinsured driver is someone that does not have enough insurance coverage to compensate for all damages involved in your injury claim. The state minimum limits in Mississippi for liability coverage are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. This means that by law all drivers in Mississippi must have at least that much insurance. However, $25,000 per person coverage hardly helps pay the bills for someone that is injured in a car wreck that has $100,000 in medical bills. The injured individual hopefully has underinsured motorist coverage.
One of the most important features of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is stacking. In Mississippi, you can generally stack coverage. There are some situations where you cannot stack coverage, which becomes complicated. Whether a policy is stackable depends on whether the injured individual is a Class I or Class II insured, a question that will be examined in a later blog series. Stacking works as follows: you have 4 vehicles on your auto insurance policy with $25,000 per person/ $50,000 per accident uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If the policies stack then you actually have $100,000 per person, $200,000 per accident coverage. The difference between per person and per accident comes into play as follows: The at fault driver’s policy is $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident bodily injury liability coverage. Two individuals are injured in the wreck. They both have $15,000 in medical bills. Each injured individual can collect, at most, $25,000 for their claim. And if both collect $25,000, then the full $50,000 per accident coverage is exhausted.
Another important feature of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in Mississippi is the “set off”. The set off works as follows: You are hit by someone that has $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident coverage. You have $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident uninsured/underinsured coverage. You have $50,000 in medical bills and pain and suffering. Your UM policy gets a credit or setoff for the $25,000 per person coverage the at fault driver carried. Therefore, you only have $25,000 UM coverage in this situation. Where this often becomes a problem is in the case where the at fault driver carries $25,000 per person liability coverage for bodily injuries and the injured individual/victim carries $25,000 UM coverage. In that instance the injured individual has effectively no UM because the $25,000 liability sets off the $25,000 UM resulting in $0.
Hopefully this article has helped you understand the nuances of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. We encourage everyone to examine their UM/UIM policy and make sure they have enough coverage. If you have been injured in a car wreck and have questions regarding the insurance coverage involved in your collision, give our office a call today, we’ll be happy to help you.
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Attorney Jonathan Franco discusses how to place a value on a back injury case, specifically for permanent partial and permanent total disability. Permanent partial disability with a back injury means you can go back to work even though you have permanent restrictions. Permanent total disability means you've lost your ability to work for life. The value of a back injury workers comp case is largely determined by comparing your wage earning capacity before and after the accident. A person who makes $30 an hour before an accident and then can only make $10 an hour after an accident has a high value case. A person that could make $15 an hour before the accident and $15 after the accident, has a much smaller claim.
Attorney Jonathan Franco discusses why it is important to have an attorney that specializes in 18 wheeler accident cases. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations set the safety standards for over the road drivers. If your attorney is not familiar with these regulations, then you may have the wrong attorney on your case. There are specific rules that apply to how long a driver can continuously operate a vehicle. There are also specific rules on maintenance for vehicles. This video discusses how an attorney can subpoena the correct documents regarding the trucking company and their driver that can help you win your case.
Attorney Jonathan Franco discusses how your preexisting injury can impact your car accident case.
On Tuesday April 10, 2018, the lawyers at Haug & Farrar resolved a workers comp claim for six figures after a mediation. A mediation in a workers comp case is where the injured worker, his/her lawyer, the employer/insurance company's lawyer, an adjuster for the insurance company, and a mediator sit down in one office for a number of hours and attempt to resolve an entire dispute and reach a settlement. This typically takes at least a few hours but usually no more than half a day.
The mediator is a neutral lawyer with vast experience in workers comp whose goal is to help the parties settle the case. The mediators' job is to help facilitate a settlement by making the injured worker and the insurance company realize the strengths and weaknesses of their cases. The parties typically open the mediation in the same room but then break out into "caucuses" in separate rooms. The mediator then communicates settlement offers back and forth and gives the parties insight into what the other sides' position is or what the mediator believes the case may settle for. The ultimate goal for the mediator is to make the parties meet in the middle and reach a settlement. Here are the facts on why a mediation might be your best option if you were injured on the job and have a workers comp claim:
Workers comp cases often take years to resolve. The injury happens, you have to treat with doctors until you are released. If the insurance company won't make a reasonable settlement offer, you have to set the matter for trial. If you get a good result at trial the insurance company will likely appeal. The appeal goes to the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission. Depending on how the Commission rules, the case could be appealed again from the Commission to the Mississippi Supreme Court. The Mississippi Supreme Court will likely send the case to the Mississippi Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals will likely take 9 months to a year to rule on the case. Therefore, the entire process from injury to appellate court ruling could take 3-5 years.
In the settlement we reached Tuesday, the claimant was injured in 2016. He finished treating in 2017. The entire case was resolved in 2018 for a figure that is likely more than a judge would have awarded at trial. That is the beauty of settling a workers comp case at mediation.
Call us today if you sustained a serious injury on the job. Our workers comp lawyers represent injured workers across the Mississippi Gulf Coast including but not limited to Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Gautier, and Pascagoula.
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Often times workers who are injured on the job hesitate or do not file a workers comp claim because they are worried that they will be fired or retaliated against by their employer. First, it is completely free and confidential to call our firm about a workers comp injury. Your employer is not going to find out that you called us. Therefore, there is no way you can be fired for just talking with us about your claim. We will likely give you legal advice on your claim even if we can't take your case. If it is a claim where we think we can help you then we will lay out of plan for pursuing the case and give you legal advice on the workers compensation system.
Next, we've found that employers are hesitant to fire workers that are represented by attorneys. Employers know that Haug & Farrar knows the law. If an employer's termination of a worker violates that workers' constitutional rights, then the employer could face an Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") lawsuit. Therefore, we find that generally, an employer is less likely to fire a worker that is represented by a lawyer. Just last week we filed a federal lawsuit against an employer for firing a worker in violation of that workers' constitutional rights. This lawsuit was covered by local and regional media outlets. Therefore, employers will think twice before they fire you when they know we represent you.
Finally, you have to ask yourself the question: Do I want to work for an employer who is going to fire me because I was hurt on the job and filed a workers comp claim to get the benefits I am entitled to by law? We understand that jobs are not easy to come by and that you have to be able to put food on the table for your family. However, if an employer is going to fire you for starting a completely justified workers comp claim, then perhaps that employer does not deserve you.
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Jonathan Franco discusses which state has jurisdiction over a workers comp claim that happens outside of Mississippi. If you live in Mississippi, work in Mississippi, but are injured in another state, you may be wondering whether you have a Mississippi workers comp claim. This video blog answers that question. Ocean Springs workers comp lawyer Biloxi workers comp lawyer Gulfport workers comp lawyer
No Health Insurance? Getting medical treatment for orthopedic and spine injuries after your car accident.
Attorney Jonathan Franco discusses how you can receive medical treatment after you've been in a car accident even when you have no health insurance. Many Mississippians have no health insurance. If you are injured due to another persons' negligence and you have no health insurance, your claim and health can be in jeopardy. A delay or gap in medical treatment is one of the top factors in devaluing your car accident claim or injury case. Additionally, you are hurt and need medical treatment! An injury attorney can get you to orthopedic spine specialists and neurosurgeons who will treat you on a lien basis with no money up front. This allows you to get the treatment you need and keeps your car accident or injury claim alive. Ocean Springs Injury Attorney Ocean Springs Car Accident Lawyer Biloxi Car Accident Lawyer Biloxi Injury Attorney Gulfport Car Accident Lawyer Gulfport Injury Attorney
Attorney Jonathan Franco discusses how a personal injury attorney can make sure your future medical needs are met in a catastrophic injury case. Clients with permanent spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, amputations, and paralysis often need future medical treatment such as MRIs, prescription medication, surgery, physical therapy, handicap accessibility, etc. Our attorneys in catastrophic injury cases often hire an expert witness known as a life care planner. The life care planner is a nurse or a doctor that will review your medical records and any deposition testimony from your treating physicians. The life care planner will render a report that lists all your future medical needs and how much these needs will cost over your life expectancy. Our Ocean Springs injury attorneys will fight to make sure your future medical needs are considered and provided for in a settlement or in a verdict. Ocean Spring injury attorney Biloxi car accident lawyer Ocean Springs car accident lawyer
Attorney Jonathan Franco discusses things you should or should not do after you've been involved in a car wreck. Car accident lawyer Ocean Springs Car Accident Lawyer personal injury attorney car accident lawyer Biloxi, Mississippi