Being injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness is always very upsetting. It’s understandable if your first thought isn’t to hire a lawyer. However, once you’ve processed the situation emotionally and are feeling better physically, it’s wise to contact a personal injury lawyer in Gulfport to discuss your options. In many cases, you will be entitled to recover compensation from the responsible party.
What Damages Are Available in Mississippi Injury Cases?
In Mississippi injury cases, you can recover two types of damages: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are awarded as a way to reimburse you for expenses you incurred as a result of the injury, such as medical expenses, lost income, and future treatment and rehabilitation that might be necessary. Compensatory damages then have two different elements, special damages (economic) and general damages (non-economic).
Special damages are the compensation that you recover as a result of financial losses – ones that can be calculated into monetary terms fairly easily. This usually includes medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and diminished earning capacity. This includes wages you have lost in the past as a result of injuries, as well as income you will lose out on in the future.
General damages include compensation that isn’t easily calculated into monetary terms and doesn’t specifically relate to financial losses you incurred. Rather, it is compensation you receive for some of the mental anguish that the injury caused you, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and more.
Punitive damages are awarded as a way to punish the defendant and deter them and others from being reckless or negligent in the future. It’s very rare to receive punitive damages in an injury case in Mississippi. Punitive damages are only awarded when the plaintiff can show clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with actual malice or gross negligence, which shows a willful, wanton, or reckless disregard for the safety of others
How Are Damages Calculated?
Mississippi, like many other states, uses a multiplier method to determine how much compensation a plaintiff is entitled to. To calculate the damages using this method, you need to determine the total economic damages in your case. How much did you spend on medical expenses? How much income did you lose out on? Once you get those figures, you need to multiply them by a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on how serious your injuries were. For instance, a minor injury where you’re expected to make a full recovery might be multiplied by 1.5, whereas a severe injury with life-altering consequences would likely be multiplied by 4 or 5. This would be the total amount of your damages, including general damages, such as pain and suffering.
For example, if you were severely injured and incurred $50,000 in medical expenses and lost wages, you would multiply that by 5, for a total of $250,000. That would be the total damages you’re entitled to. Ultimately, it’s up to the court (judge or jury) to decide what damages you are awarded, but the multiplier method can be a good starting point.
There is no cap on the amount of compensation you can recover in a personal injury case in Mississippi.
You Can Recover Damages Even If You’re Partially At Fault
It’s also important to understand that even if you’re partially at fault for your accident and injuries, you can still recover compensation if you file a personal injury claim. Mississippi is governed by pure comparative negligence. This means that you are entitled to the awarded compensation minus the percentage amount that you are found to be responsible. For example, you are awarded $100,00, and the court determines that you were 40 percent at fault. You will receive 60 percent of the award, or $60,000.
Calculating damages can be complicated at times, so it’s always wise to contact an experienced Mississippi personal injury attorney as soon as possible.