If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident, there’s a good chance your life has taken an unexpected turn. While you might be facing an uphill battle to reclaim your life and peace of mind, there is also the issue of damages.
When you’ve been harmed due to the negligent or careless acts of another party, you have the right to file a claim for full and fair compensation. When it comes to filing a personal injury case, most people want to know “How much is it worth?” This is a difficult question to answer since each case is unique.
What is a Mississippi Accident Case Worth?
Even though some insurance companies will try to tell you differently, there isn’t a computer program that is used to figure out how much your case is worth. In truth, no two cases are worth the same amount of money since no two situations are exactly alike. There are, however, several factors that will be used in determining the outcome of your case, which includes the full extent of your losses (damages).
Who Was at Fault?
Accidents are, by their nature, unexpected and often tragic. But, it’s important to have a clear picture of who was at fault when calculating damages. In some cases, this more evident than in others.
For example, if you’re sitting in your parked car and a drunk driver hits you head-on, fault is relatively clear cut. On the other hand, if you were visiting a business and slipped on an obvious puddle, there could be questions raised. While the business had an obligation to keep the premises reasonable safe, they may try to claim that you were partially at-fault for failing to avoid a clear hazard.
Partial fault is important in personal injury cases, because Mississippi follows the standard of pure comparative negligence. This means that your amount of damages is going to be reduced by the degree to which you were at fault, unless the case settles first.
In the second example involving the puddle, let’s assume that a jury finds that you were 10% at fault and the total damages were $50,000. In this case, you would only be able to collect $45,000.
What Were the Damages Involved?
There are two general types of damages that may be awarded in a personal injury case; compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are meant to compensate you for financial and other losses resulting from the accident. Compensatory damages can be broken down further into special (economic) and general (noneconomic) damages.
- Special damages are losses that are financial in nature. They include damage to personal property, medical expenses and bills, lost wages, and diminished earning capacity. These damages can include current and future losses, and these are often fairly straightforward calculations.
- General damages are losses that are more intangible in nature. These are more difficult to put a dollar figure on, so they are the source of many conflicts relative to accident cases. General damages can include areas such as physical pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. Because it is difficult to quantify these losses, some states have put limits on recoveries for noneconomic damages. Mississippi law limits these damages for most personal injury cases to $1 million. Non-economic damages are limited to 500,000 in medical malpractice cases.
Punitive damages are different than compensatory damages. While they are still paid to you, they are meant to punish the defendant for either intentional harm done or grossly reckless behavior. While Mississippi hasn’t placed a cap on punitive damages, the requirement is that they must be “appropriate.”
Calculating Damages in a Mississippi Accident Case
Similar to many other states, Mississippi accident attorneys use a multiplier to calculate the appropriate damages in personal injury cases. The first step is to determine the economic, or general damages in your case. That figure is then multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on the circumstances of your case. For a relatively minor accident and injury, the multiplier might be 1.5, and a more catastrophic accident would use a multiplier of either 4 or 5.
Speak with a Biloxi Personal Injury Attorney
The value of your personal injury case depends on a variety of factors, and winning an accident case in Mississippi is never a simple matter. Even when fault is clear, insurance companies with deep pockets will do everything in their power to undermine your case and minimize their payouts.
If you want to know how much your personal injury case might be worth, we invite you to speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys. At Reeves & Mestayer, we provide a free case review to every client and will give you our thoughts on a preliminary case strategy. Call us today at (855) 558-2977 to schedule an appointment at your convenience.