Any accident involving motor vehicles is subject to application of particular laws in the state of Mississippi and elsewhere. Rules of the road are an important consideration when determining who is liable — that is, who was negligent, caused a crash and is responsible to pay for injuries. If you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident, speak with our Mississippi motor vehicle attorneys at (228) 872-8752.
When it comes to obtaining compensation for the injured, experienced, proven effective representation is critical. At Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC, we bring years of experience to the table when advocating for people who have suffered injuries in:
Our clients come from Ocean Springs, Gulfport, Biloxi, Pascagoula and other communities in Mississippi.
How Car Accidents Happen in Mississippi
Car accidents happen to even the most experienced drivers. All it takes is one brief lapse in judgment or an unexpected turn of events and a crash can occur. As you drive, it’s important to be aware of the different factors that could lead to an accident and what precautions you can take. Here are some common reasons why car accidents happen:
Distracted Driving: Taking your eyes off the road for even a second is incredibly dangerous as. Even using hands-free technology, such as texting or talking on Bluetooth headsets while driving, may not be enough, as research has shown that these distractions still split attention away from driving tasks, causing delays in reaction time and increased chances for crashes.
Driving Under The Influence: If you get behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs, reaction times significantly decrease and judgment is impaired, making it harder to react quickly and make good decisions. This can easily lead to accidents, causing serious injuries and often fatalities.
Speeding: Speeding is another factor that increases the risk of car accidents. This can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, leading to collisions. It also prevents drivers from being able to stop in time, making accidents more likely.
Fatigued Driving: Fatigued driving remains among the top reasons for crashes, as it often results in dozing off at the wheel. Even if this doesn’t happen, fatigued driving can be so detrimental that it mimics driving under the influence, slowing our reaction times and altering our judgment.
Common Mississippi Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents are a common occurrence on our roads, and unfortunately some of them result in serious injuries. Some of the most common injuries include the following:
Soft Tissue Injuries: These are common and occur when the body is exposed to trauma like impact or jerking motions. The most common areas for soft tissue injuries include muscles, ligaments, joints, and tendons. The stress from the crash may cause these tissues to become strained or torn leading to pain and stiffness in your neck, back, and shoulders.
Closed Head Injury/Concussion: Concussions can happen even if there has been minor contact with another vehicle, as it occurs when your head makes contact with any stationary solid object inside or outside your car. Head injuries can occur even when your head doesn’t hit an object if the force is strong enough.
Broken Bones/Fractures: Broken bones and fractures usually occur when the body is thrown forward or backward against a hard surface such as the dashboard or steering wheel during impact of a collision. They can also occur from crush injuries in an accident.
Fault versus No-Fault States
Understanding the implications of living in a fault or no-fault state is important, as this distinction will greatly impact how car accident claims are handled.
If you get into a car accident in a fault state, like Mississippi – it must be determined who was responsible for the accident, as this will determine who is liable for damages. In these states, you must prove that the other party was negligent and that they caused your injuries. If you can do this, you should be able to file a claim with their insurance company to recover damages. If you can’t agree on an adequate amount of compensation, you can file a personal injury lawsuit.
In no-fault states, your own insurance company covers your costs after a car crash, no matter who was at fault for the accident. No-fault laws may require you to purchase different types of auto liability coverage depending on the state. This most often includes personal injury protection (PIP). PIP pays your medical expenses and some of your lost wages resulting from an accident. No matter which driver was at fault in a crash, both parties turn first to their own insurance companies for coverage.
Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Claim
When making a personal injury after a car accident, it is important to prove that the other driver was responsible for your losses. This involves proving four primary elements:
Duty of Care: The first element you will need to prove is that the other driver owed you a duty of care. In other words, they had a responsibility to drive safely and not put you in danger. All drivers have a duty of care to obey the rules of the road and drive safely.
Breach of Duty: To bring a successful personal injury claim, it is necessary to show that the other driver breached their legal responsibility to drive safely and thus caused an accident. Common examples of such breaches include speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or running a red light.
Causation: Next, you need to show is that the breach of duty caused your injuries. In other words, if the other driver hadn’t breached their duty of care, you wouldn’t have been injured. In the car accident example, if the other driver hadn’t run a red light, they wouldn’t have hit you and caused you to suffer injuries.
Damages: The final element is demonstrating that the accident caused damages. These damages may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. This can be proven through medical records and expert testimony.
A Detailed Investigation Is The Key
Initial consultations with our attorneys are free. Once you decide to work with us, we are ready to hit the ground running with your investigation. We will gather and analyze:
Accident reconstruction reports
Family members’ statements
And other evidence verifying liability, injuries and losses
Compensation You Can Receive After a Car Accident
If you’ve been in an accident, you’re likely wondering what type of compensation you may be eligible to receive. The following are the most likely types of compensation you will receive:
One type of damages that you may be able to recover after an accident is economic damages, which can include lost wages, lost earning capacity, medical expenses, property damage, and other out-of-pocket expenses related directly to the accident. Economic damages are meant to compensate for actual losses due to the accident and can help cover costs associated with medical treatment or repairing damaged property.
In addition to economic damages, non-economic damages may also be available depending on the circumstances of your case. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering from physical injuries as well as mental anguish due to emotional trauma caused by the incident.
It is not always easy to calculate the full extent of damages non-economic for an accident, as they are much more subjective than others. However, they can have a significant impact on victims, so it’s important to take these into account.
Punitive damages may also be available in some car accident cases. Punitive damages are meant to punish wrongdoers for their behavior and deter them from engaging in similar actions in the future. These types of damages require clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s behavior was willful, wanton, or with reckless disregard for the safety of others.
For example, if the defendant was driving under the influence and caused severe injuries in the accident, punitive damages could be awarded. Other instances of particularly reckless driving, like excessive speeding, could lead to an award of punitive damages as well.
Request A Free Consultation With An Attorney
Discuss your motor vehicle accident with an experienced, dedicated lawyer. Learn how we can help you pursue maximum available compensation for medical expenses, lost wage replacement and acknowledgement of your pain and suffering.
Contact Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC today to speak with one of our Mississippi motor vehicle accident lawyers.