No one expects to be in an auto accident, so being unprepared is understandable. What’s even more worrisome is: Nearly everyone involved in the insurance claims process handles insurance claims for a living. Car accident lawyers describe situations like this as an “imbalance of power” because, the victim in a car wreck claim is almost always the least experienced person participating in the claims process, but have the most to lose. Car wreck victims are often at the mercy of “experts” who do not have their best interests at heart.
As you read this article, please keep in mind that Roberts Wilson, P.A. Injury Lawyers “contingency fee” compensation model forces us to keep the client’s best interest at heart throughout the life of your case. So, you never have to question it! Simply put, we don’t get paid unless your case is successful! This type of attorney-client relationship ensures that we will work hard to achieve a fair and just result for each and every one of our clients.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Mississippi
Auto accidents can be caused by any number of issues ranging from speeding to drunk driving to bad equipment. In our Mississippi auto accident practice, the biggest cause of accidents we see is distracted driving. For instance, many of our clients are victims of rear-end accidents and these are almost always caused by a combination of speed and inattentiveness. Another way rear-end accidents happen is when someone pulls out into traffic without paying attention to oncoming traffic. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to the worst outcomes. It’s also one of the ways in which a rear end accident can be blamed on the driver who was rear-ended as opposed to the other way around.
Faulty equipment is another cause of accidents we often see. For instance, a person’s tail lights might not be working or a tire might fail and cause the person to leave the road and hit a tree. Another place we see faulty equipment play a role in car wrecks is when it is raining. It is extremely important to make sure your tires are not “bald” when you are driving in the rain because it is far easier to hydroplane with bad tires than it is with good ones. Hydroplaning can also be avoided by simply slowing down.
Though there are numerous things that can contribute to the cause of an auto accident, impaired driving and text messaging are two of the biggest we see. These are two surefire ways to increase the chances that you will be in an auto accident so we mean it when we tell people to please don’t drink and drive and don’t text and drive.
Common Injuries After a Car Accident
We frequently see similar injuries in auto accidents but the most prevalent are neck and back injuries. For instance, “Whiplash” is caused by the forceful, rapid back and forth movement of the head and neck. Whiplash can even be caused in low-speed accidents and the severity of the injury depends on each individual rather than speed at which the crash occurred. We see serious injuries at low speeds and we see people who are in high-speed accidents come out relatively unhurt. Every person is different though and every case must be evaluated individually. There is no “one size fits all” analysis in a car accident claim.
Mississippi Car Accident Law
Mississippi, like all states, has its own set of rules and regulations when it comes to auto accidents and how they are handled before or after they go to court. At our office, we generally always give the insurance company an opportunity to settle a claim before we file a lawsuit but knowing the law and the pitfalls of the law is of utmost importance. The law will make or break your case so knowing it is essential. I would add that we run into insurance adjusters that do not know the law in Mississippi rather frequently and in these situations, a victim who is relying on an insurance adjuster to give you the correct info can be a costly mistake. Some of the different areas of the law are discussed below:
Statute of limitations
Every case must be carefully analyzed to determine its statute of limitations. Mississippi has three different statutes of limitations
- One (1) year for state and municipal governmental entities
- Two (2) years for cases against the United States of America (like postal carriers)
- Three (3) years for private vs. private person or entity.
There are two rules that we encounter more than any other in our practice:
- To be legal, a person must carry at least $25,000 in liability coverage.
- In Mississippi, a person can “stack” their applicable uninsured motorist coverage which means you may have more uninsured motorist coverage than you or the adjuster thinks you have. This determination requires careful analysis of your damages and your insurance policies by an attorney.
Mississippi is a Comparative-fault state
This means a victim can still recover even though they may have done something that contributed to the cause of the accident. Often, this is speed and speed on a victim’s part can also reduce their recovery. Slow down!
Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Car Accident?
As we said earlier, the least experienced person involved in a car wreck claim is usually the victim. This means going it alone puts you at the mercy of people who may not have your best interests at heart. Here are some of the things insurance adjusters are not likely to tell you because the law does not require them to:
- Their policy holder’s side of the story
- Their policyholder was impaired or texting and driving.
- How much insurance coverage is available
- Who the person that hit you was working for
- Witness statements
How Long Does a Car Accident Claim Take?
Each case is unique and there is generally no way to predict how long a particular case will take. We do our best to have cases resolved in less than 12 months of being hired by the client. Some cases settle sooner and some take longer. It is in everyone’s interest to resolve a case as quickly as possible but one never wants to settle a case prematurely, like before you know the extent of your injuries or all the key facts.
How Much Compensation Can I get After a Car Accident Claim?
Compensation varies from case to case and depends on a number of different factors like whether or not the person was drinking and driving, speeding, driving recklessly and of course the extent of the victim’s injuries. Listed below are some general factors we consider to determine the fair and just value of an auto accident claim.
- Hospital bills
- Future medical expenses
- Punitive damages
- Quality of life
- Missing work
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Other harms and losses
Can I Still be Compensated if I was Partially at Fault?
Yes, you can! As discussed above, Mississippi is a “comparative fault” state which means that a victim can still recover from the other party if they are partially at fault.
Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s Offer after a Car Accident?
At our office, we advise clients and potential clients to make NO decisions and provide NO statements to an insurance company until you have consulted an attorney – Please keep in mind that there are many instances where an accident victim will have a “duty to cooperate” with an insurance company so it is crucial that you seek advice very quickly after a car wreck because your case may depend on obtaining good advice from an experienced car wreck attorney.
- Protecting their interests? Generally speaking, insurance companies are in the business of making money and want to pay as little as possible on personal injury claims. All insurance companies and employees should be approached as if their main concern is the Insurance Company’s “bottom line” and not the best interests of the accident victim.
- On the other hand, a lawyer’s interests and their client’s interests are aligned because of the contingency fee agreement where the lawyer does not get paid unless they are successful in handling a case.
- Common tricks, things they might say
- “You said you were going to be ok the day of the accident, what happened?”
- Leading questions like, “how far over the speed limit were you going?”
- Informal language can get you in trouble
- They will catch you off guard
A car accident lawyer can help you organize your statement and choose your words to properly convey the truth and the facts. People often speak in informal terms and even use terms they do not understand which can confuse matters and harm your case. Under no circumstances should anyone in an auto accident claim tell a lie. A lie can make a great case turn into a terrible case in a matter of seconds so please use caution and get advice before rushing out to give a statement.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
- Contingency Fee Agreement – We do not get paid unless we are successful at settling or winning your case at the courthouse.
- No upfront costs – We advance all expenses which do not have to be paid back unless there is a recovery. Some examples of the expenses we advance are below.
- Medical record costs
- Fees for crash report
- Filing Fees
- Deposition costs
- Accident Reconstruction costs
- Expert witness fees
Benefits of Hiring Roberts Wilson to Handle You Car Accident Claim
At Roberts Wilson, P.A. Injury Law, handling accident and injury claims is almost all we do. All day, every day, our attorneys and staff are helping accident victims in their claims against careless drivers and their insurance companies. Because this is all we do, we get plenty of practice and we are good at it.
Another important factor about our practice is that we are local. With all the attorney advertising on television and everywhere else these days, its sometimes hard to tell whether or not a lawyer is from your community or from out of state. Roberts Wilson, P. A. Injury Lawyers has attorneys licensed in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee but our primary geographical area of practice is right here in North Mississippi. Based in Oxford, we are centrally located to serve our North Mississippi community and can be there before the dust settles when you need help. Our primary service area includes but is not limited to the following areas:
- Holly Springs
- Water Valley
Some important reasons to hire a local attorney:
- A local attorney will be more accessible
- You can ask your friends about us!
- We know the value of your case in your community
- We have a working relationship with local claims adjusters
- We can more easily investigate local accidents because we are “here”
- We can more easily file a lawsuit when it is necessary
Thank you for taking the time to read our webpage about auto accidents. We hope you found it educational and helpful. If you would like to take advantage of our Free Initial Consultation, please call us at 662-533-9111 or visit our online receptionist by clicking the “Live Chat” icon at the bottom of your screen. Someone is available to take your call and help you begin discussing the next steps involved in evaluating your case 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You can also send us a secure message on our contact page.