Personal Injury Lawyers for Mississippi’s Gulf Coast
Every day, avoidable accidents injure numerous Mississippians, disrupting lives and causing pain and suffering for many. When another person’s oversight, mistake, or irresponsible behavior caused or contributed to an injury-causing accident, victims have the right to pursue compensation for their financial, physical, and emotional damages.
At the Gardner Law Firm, our practice is driven by helping people get the money they deserve. Since 1978, we have proudly served the people of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, working tirelessly to help them recover maximum compensation for their injuries. Personal injury is a complex area of the law, and there are numerous factors that contribute to the success or failure of a case. Our lawyers practice almost exclusively in this area, and over the years, we have dealt with nearly every scenario that can arise with this type of case.
Common Types of Personal Injury Claims in Mississippi
Car accidents and truck accidents are the basis for most personal injury claims in Mississippi and nationwide. Many drivers simply do not take proper precautions behind the wheel, and they engage in dangerous driving behaviors. Even when the determination of fault in a motor vehicle accident is fairly straightforward, obtaining full and fair compensation to cover the cost of your injuries can be surprisingly difficult. Our attorneys can help.
We have successfully represented victims who have been injured in all types of traffic-related events, including but not limited to:
- Car Accidents: Passenger cars are the most common type of vehicle, and they are the vehicle that is most frequently involved in crashes. Car accidents are usually the result of negligence on the part of one (or more) of the drivers, a third party, or a combination of factors. Some of the most frequent causes include speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving, drunk driving, and vehicle product defects.
- Truck Accidents: Accidents involving commercial trucks are some of the deadliest that occur on the roadways. When a fully loaded tractor-trailer that weighs in excess of 80,000 pounds collides with a passenger vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian, the results can be catastrophic. Trucking accident cases are some of the most complex types of personal injury claims. There are numerous laws and regulations that govern the industry, and there are multiple parties that could be at fault for an accident, such as the driver, trucking company, the owner or lessor of the truck, the shipping/cargo company, or the party responsible for maintaining the vehicle.
- Motorcycle Accidents: Motorcyclists who are involved in crashes are also at greater risk of serious injuries. When a motorcycle collides with another vehicle or object, those riding it do not have a steel cage to protect them, so there is not much that separates their bodies from hitting the pavement. Motorcycle accidents have been on the rise in recent years, largely because of distracted driving causing motorists not to see motorcycles because of their smaller profile.
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents: Like motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians have very little protection when they are involved in collisions with motor vehicles. This makes them more susceptible to severe injuries and fatalities resulting from an accident.
- Bus Accidents: Accident cases involving large buses have a unique set of dynamics. These cases will typically involve a government entity or private bus company and their insurer, and there are specific steps and procedures that must be followed in order to successfully pursue a claim. For this reason, it is very important to work with attorneys who know how to navigate the complexities of cases like these.
Workplace Accidents: Employees who sustain injuries on the job can file workplace injury claims. The injuries may occur due to malfunctioning equipment, inadequate training, or unsafe working conditions. Workplace injuries that are caused by third parties result in a large number of personal injury lawsuits. In the US, workplace injuries that are not the fault of a third party fall under the purview of the worker’s compensation policy (if the employer has workers’ comp insurance). When an injured employee files a claim, they seek benefits for medical bills, lost income, and other reimbursements.
Medical Malpractice: Patients can sometimes become seriously injured due to medical malpractice or negligence by doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners. When a medical care professional does not deliver competent care, it creates grounds for a medical malpractice personal injury case. Sometimes a healthcare professional may make an unintentional mistake, harming the patient. Irrespective, the patient is left with significant, life-altering injuries. These types of cases are some of the most complex claims, ranging from surgical errors, misdiagnosis, and birth injuries to improper treatment and pharmacy errors.
Construction Injuries: While the construction industry is highly regulated, it still remains hazardous. The physically demanding nature of the job often results in serious injuries. Job sites are usually inundated with dangerous materials, substances, and equipment, besides falling objects and debris. There is always a possibility of someone sustaining injuries at a construction site.
Along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, offshore accidents also occur frequently and give rise to many types of personal injury claims. If you have been injured during the course of working on a barge, fishing vessel, oil rig, or other maritime vessel, please see our offshore injuries page. We can also help if you were involved in a shipyard accident.
In stores, parking lots, restaurants, hotels, and other public buildings, property owners and managers are responsible for your well-being with regards to maintaining a safe premises. If you were injured after slipping on a wet floor, tripping on torn carpeting or uneven flooring, or another situation involving poorly maintained premises, our Mississippi personal injury lawyers can help you win compensation from responsible parties.
Damages Recoverable in Mississippi Personal Injury Claims
When someone suffers an injury that was caused (either totally or in part) by another party, they deserve to be compensated. Compensatory damages for personal injuries can be divided into two general categories:
- Economic Damages: These are direct monetary losses incurred by the victim, such as property damage, medical costs, lost wages (both present and future), and funeral and burial expenses (in the case of a wrongful death).
- Medical expenses. The cost of healthcare is incredibly high, and without a personal injury settlement, you will be left covering those expenses on your own. From the very beginning of your claim, it is important to keep track of everything related to your medical costs. Keep track of medical bills, explanations of benefits, copays, mileage to your doctors’ appointments, and any other documentation of your medical expenses.
- Lost wages. Lost income is common after a personal injury, and it can become a serious issue if you are severely injured. Those with major injuries often run out of paid time off long before they have finished recuperating, leaving them without income to care for their families.
- Property damage. If any of your property was damaged or totaled during an accident, you may be able to seek compensation after a crash. This includes cars, motorcycles, jewelry, and other items.
- Noneconomic Damages: These are losses that are more intangible and difficult to quantify, such as pain-and-suffering, emotional distress, diminished quality of life, disfigurement, and permanent injury. In Mississippi, there is $1 million cap on noneconomic damages.
- Pain and suffering. The pain you endure as a result of your injury can leave lasting trauma, and you deserve to be compensated for that.
- Disability refers to any loss of physical mobility or use of specific body parts.
- Disfigurement may refer to the loss of a body part, scarring, or anything that impacts the appearance of your body or its function. Disfigurement often causes substantial emotional damage and causes an individual to spend less time in public or around people.
- Mental anguish. A serious accident may leave you with PTSD, anxiety, or difficulty sleeping.
In rare cases in which the actions of the party responsible for the injuries were willful, wanton, fraudulent, or grossly negligent, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and help discourage similarly egregious actions in the future. Mississippi places a cap on punitive damages using a complicated formula that is based on the defendant’s net worth.
Mississippi law defines wrongful death as a death caused by any real, wrongful, or negligent act or omission; unsafe machinery, way, or appliances; or, the breach of any warranty of fitness of any item intended for human consumption. For all intents and purposes, a wrongful death action arises if the deceased person would have been able to bring a personal injury claim had he or she lived.
You are eligible to bring a wrongful death claim if you are the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, or a surviving spouse, parent, child, or sibling. Damages paid to the estate in a wrongful death case include medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and payments for damaged or destroyed property. Damages paid directly to beneficiaries include pain and suffering, loss of society and companionship, and lost wages and benefits that would have been earned by the deceased.
Deadlines for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Mississippi
All states set limits on the amount of time you have to file a personal injury claim after sustaining an injury. The laws mandating these time limits are called “statutes of limitations.” In Mississippi, you have three years from the date the incident causing your injury occurred to file a claim in civil court. If you attempt to file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, your claim may be denied, and you can be barred from seeking compensation for your injuries.
One exception to Mississippi’s three-year time limit on personal injury claims are claims brought against a city, county, or state entity. Notice of these claims must be filed within one year with the state’s Attorney General, Board of Supervisors, or City representative, which means it is especially important to act quickly if you believe a government employee or agency may be responsible for your accident and resulting injuries.
The Importance of Swift Action in a Personal Injury Claim
When many people learn that the statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits in Mississippi is three years, they believe they have plenty of time to initiate their claim. While three years may seem like a lot of time, it is still important to act sooner rather than later. Personal injury cases can be complicated, and a thorough investigation is required to compile all the facts and evidence and determine the full extent of your injuries.
In addition, many of these claims are against the insurer for the responsible party. In such cases, there is typically a lengthy period of negotiations between the injured party and the insurance adjuster. Oftentimes, insurance companies drag their feet during negotiations in hopes that they can run out the clock, so the injured party no longer has the option to pursue litigation.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Personal Injury Claim?
Waiting to Reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) One of the most time-consuming parts of the personal injury claim process is waiting for your injuries to heal to the point that you reach MMI, or Maximum Medical Improvement. MMI is the state at which your condition is not expected to improve any further and a plateau in treatment has been reached. Waiting until you’ve reached MMI to settle your claim is essential; you may not understand the full value of your claim and the extent of future medical expenses, lost wages, and the like that you may suffer otherwise. Depending upon the extent of your injuries, reaching MMI may take weeks or months.
Initiating the Investigatory Process As your injuries are healing, your lawyer will begin the investigatory process, which is the process of gathering evidence related to your case and putting together the pieces of your claim. Your attorney’s main goal is to prove that:
- The accident would not have occurred but for the negligent actions of the defendant; and
- The damages you’ve suffered are a direct result of that negligence and the accident.
Your attorney will also be tasked with proving the extent of damages you’ve suffered. The amount of time that the investigatory process takes varies on a case-by-case basis. When fault is clear, the process may be wrapped up in a matter of days or weeks. When fault is disputed or there are multiple parties involved, it could take months.
Negotiating Your Claim After you have reached MMI, fault has been determined, and the value of your damages has been calculated, the next step is demanding a settlement award, reviewing a settlement offer, and either rejecting or accepting the settlement. Most first settlement offers should be rejected, as they rarely offer claimants what they deserve. As such, negotiations will likely ensue. Depending upon the value of your claim and how much you’re asking for, negotiations may be resolved in a few weeks or a few years. Claims where more money is involved typically take longer to settle.
Filing a Lawsuit Finally, if your claim is not settled out of court through negotiations, you may file a lawsuit and decide to litigate your case. If so, you can likely expect for your case to take at least another year to resolve, as there are a number of steps and procedures along the way. For example, a lawsuit will involve a discovery process, mediation, and perhaps even a trial. As a note, you must file your suit within three years of the date that your accident occurred.
Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Gardner Law Firm
If you have sustained a personal injury due to another party’s negligence or reckless actions, please contact Gardner Law Firm to schedule a free initial consultation. For more than 40 years, our attorneys have helped individuals and families get the money they deserve from insurance companies and at-fault parties.
In addition to motor vehicle accident cases, we also have a proven track record helping victims who have suffered catastrophic injuries, such as severe burn injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). These types of cases are be far more complicated as they involve extensive damages and insurance companies tend to push back harder and spend more resources to avoid paying the compensation victims deserve. We routinely go up against well-funded adversaries such as large insurers, and we are not intimidated by their vast resources or the common tactics they employ to try and undermine a claim. We also handle railroad accidents.
We handle all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only receive attorney fees if we recover compensation on your behalf