What If I’m Partially at Fault for My Injuries?
Mississippi's Pure Comparative Negligence Law Explained
Mississippi uses pure comparative negligence rules when determining liability and damages in personal injury claims. This rule means your total damages will be reduced in a percentage equal to your liability percentage. The more liable you are for your accident and injuries, the less you can hope to recover.
For example, you were eating a burrito in your car while driving on the highway when a drunk driver crashed into you. After filing your claim, the opposing insurance company says you are partially to blame for the car accident because you were distracting yourself with your food. Later, it is determined that you are 20% liable. Your damages totaled $100,000, so your final award would be $80,000, which is $100,000 minus 20% (reflecting your liability percentage).
Why Filing at 99% Liability Sometimes Matters
Pure comparative negligence rules can seem unfair at times, but they can also be extremely friendly to claimants and plaintiffs in certain scenarios, too. In Mississippi, you can still file an injury claim or lawsuit against the other party even if you are determined to be 99% liable for your accident and injuries. You might think at first that pursuing a claim when the other party is only 1% liable will be fruitless but think again.
Imagine that you were texting behind the wheel when you got into an accident with a commercial truck, driven by a trucker who was adjusting the radio at the time. Your car is totaled, and you are catastrophically injured. The big rig has only been dented and the trucker is unharmed. It is decided that you are 99% liable for the crash.
However, the truck driver’s damages are $1,000 for some basic fender repairs while your damages are $2,000,000 due to the lifelong consequences of your injuries. In this situation, the trucker could sue you for 99% of $1,000, which is $990. But you can sue the trucker for 1% of $2,000,000, which is $20,000 – not a sum that you should just leave on the table. Your maximum recovery, in this case, could be $19,010, which is $20,000 minus the $990 you are found to owe the defendant. Yes, this amount is not much compared to $2,000,000, but every penny counts, especially after being in a severe accident.