Gulfport Car Accident Attorney
For the last few decades, Mississippi has consistently been among the deadliest places in the country to drive a motor vehicle. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the Magnolia State has led the nation in traffic fatalities (per 100,000 residents) for all but three years since 1999; and each year, hundreds are killed, and thousands are severely injured in car accidents throughout the state.
For those who suffer serious injury in an auto accident, it can be a life-changing event. The injury can keep you out of work for several weeks and even months, and this combined with skyrocketing medical bills can produce a major financial hardship. On top of all that, these injuries can cause major physical pain as well as the stress and anxiety of wondering when things will be back to normal again. When an accident occurs because of the negligence or reckless actions of another party, those who are injured through no fault of their own deserve to be compensated.
At the Gardner Law Firm, we have over four decades of experience successfully representing clients injured in car accidents in Gulfport, Ocean Springs, Biloxi, and communities throughout Southern Mississippi. Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of personal injury law, and we fight hard to obtain full and fair compensation on behalf of each client we serve.
Insurance companies almost always try to settle accident injury cases for far less than they are worth. We know the common tactics that insurers typically use to try to diminish the value of a claim or deny it all together, and we know what it takes to effectively counter these tactics and obtain the most favorable result possible. We are strong litigators and skilled negotiators. When possible, we look to secure a settlement that fairly compensates our clients for their injuries. However, if the other side is not willing to be reasonable, we are prepared to pursue full damages at trial and upon appeal (if necessary).
Why Do So Many Car Accidents Happen in Mississippi?
The reasons for the high number of auto accidents in Mississippi are complicated. The National Safety Council (NSC) suggests that they can be put into two different buckets; things you can control and things you cannot control.
The predominant factor that we cannot control is that Mississippi is the fourth most rural state in the country, and the vast majority of traffic fatalities occur on rural roads (in Mississippi, that number is 98%). Rural roads are more dangerous for number of reasons:
- Speed limits are usually higher than roads in urban and suburban areas;
- Rural roads are typically less forgiving and not as well kept as roads in the urban and suburban areas;
- Rural roads tend to be further away from hospitals and other medical centers.
The factors that can be controlled are the traffic laws that are on the books and how well they are enforced. Compared to the rest of the nation, Mississippi’s laws are very lax, which means that the consequences for various types of driver negligence are less severe than in other states.
Here are some of the most common ways that driver negligence contributes to car accidents in Mississippi:
- Driving while Intoxicated: Whether driving drunk after a night of gaming and complimentary drinks at one of the Gulfport casinos or just coming home from a bar outside of a Biloxi, DUI-related crashes account for approximately 30% of all traffic-related fatalities in Mississippi. When someone makes the poor (and often fateful) decision to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink, they put themselves and everyone else on the road in great danger.
- Distracted Driving: Mississippi motorists have far more distractions today than ever before. Texting while driving and other forms of electronic activity while behind the wheel are especially hazardous, because they command the driver’s full attention. Most drivers understand that texting while driving is a dangerous practice, but a large percentage of them do it anyway.
- Driving too Fast for Conditions: When driving on winding rural roads during times when it is dark, there is inclement weather, or both, drivers need to slow down to safely adjust to road conditions. Bad weather contributes to many accidents around the state, but a lot of them could be prevented if drivers were more cautious and drove at a safe speed.
- Disobeying Traffic Laws: A large number of auto accidents in Mississippi happen because drivers simply fail to follow the traffic laws. Examples of common traffic violations that lead to accidents include speeding/excessive speeding, running stop signs and stoplights, failing to use a turn signal, failing to yield the right of way, and various forms of reckless driving.
- Drowsy Driving: A sizable number of motorists get behind the wheel when they are drowsy or fatigued. Drowsy driving is especially common among commercial truck drivers and others who drive for a living and put in long hours on the road. In the worst cases, a drowsy driver can fall asleep behind the wheel, greatly increasing the risk of a motor vehicle accident. But even if they don’t fall asleep, their reaction times are slower, and drowsy drivers often fail to see other vehicles, motorcycles, or bicycles that enter their blind spot.
Some car accidents are caused by a vehicle that is unsafe to drive because of a defect. Vehicles or vehicle parts can be defective in some way in how they were designed or how they were manufactured. One common example is a brake line failure that happens because of faulty vehicle parts and prevents a vehicle from stopping in time to avoid hitting another vehicle, object, or person. When this is a case, it may be possible to bring a product liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, distributor, or anyone else in the vehicle supply chain.
Damages that Can be Recovered in Mississippi Car Accident Cases
As mentioned earlier, auto accidents can result in serious and catastrophic injuries. These injuries are often more than just physical, there is also emotional trauma that is usually attached to it. As such, damages may go beyond compensation for actual monetary losses such as medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, property damage, and funeral and burial costs. You may also be able to recover damages for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, psychological distress, diminished quality of life, and loss of consortium.
In some rare cases in which the actions of the party responsible for your injury were especially egregious, punitive damages may be awarded to “punish” the wrongdoer and help deter them (and others) from engaging in similar actions in the future.
Mississippi imposes a cap on both non-economic and punitive damages. In most personal injury cases (with the exception of medical malpractice), non-economic damages are capped at $1 million. Punitive damages are capped using a more complicated formula that is based on the defendant’s net worth.
Speak with a Seasoned Gulfport, MS Car Accident Attorney
At the Gardner law firm, we understand that a motor vehicle accident can be a traumatic event for injury victims and their families, and we work hard to make the legal process as smooth and seamless as possible. We take care of everything from start to finish, handling all the complex legal tasks so you can focus on your recovery. Throughout the process, we provide frequent updates on the progress of your case, and we are always available to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.
If you are in Gulfport, Biloxi, Pascagoula, or anywhere along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, call the Gardner Law Firm today at 228-436-6555 to schedule a free consultation and case assessment. You may also send us a message through our online contact form.
We handle all personal injury cases on a contingency basis – you only pay attorney fees if we win your case