You may already know that if you are injured by a negligent driver, you can hold the negligent driver liable for your damages. This means, if you are successful, you will be compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other costs you suffered as a result of the driver’s negligence.
To see how this works in a relatively simple case, imagine that you are stopped at a stop light when a careless driver comes up behind you and smashes into the back of your car. You are injured and, after consulting with a lawyer, you calculate your damages to total $100,000. You file a personal injury claim against the careless driver, seeking compensation for your damages. The court hears the evidence and determines that the other driver’s negligence was the cause of the accident and the cause of your damages, and orders the driver to compensate you for the full $100,000.
More complex cases
Many cases are not as simple as the one in the example above. In some cases, multiple parties are negligent. Mississippi deals with this type of issue using a legal theory known as comparative negligence.
Imagine you are in a multi-car accident caused by two negligent drivers. You are injured and suffer $100,000 in damages. You file a personal injury lawsuit against both negligent drivers, seeking compensation for your damages.
In this type of case, a Mississippi court may examine the evidence and determine that both the drivers contributed to the accident, but that one driver bears more responsibility than the other. The court determines that Driver A bears 75% of the blame and Driver B 25%. Each must pay you according to their share of fault. Driver A will pay $75,000 and Driver B will pay $25,000.
What if you were partly responsible?
Mississippi’s comparative negligence law allows you to collect compensation if you were partly responsible for the accident. If, after examining the evidence, the court finds that you were 50% at fault in the accident that left you injured, you may recover compensation from another negligent driver, but your recovery will be reduced in proportion to your contribution of fault. If you were 50% at fault, your recovery is reduced by 50%. If your damages were $100,000, the most you can recover is $50,000.
Every accident is different. These cases are highly fact-specific. An experienced attorney can help you understand how the law may apply to the unique circumstances of your accident.