Tens of thousands of car crashes occur every year in the state of Mississippi, causing tens of thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths. Sadly, the vast majority of traffic accidents which occur could have been avoided had one of the drivers taken care to drive cautiously and with due regard for the safety of others. Insurance company payouts, especially to injury victims who are unrepresented by an attorney, are often woefully inadequate to fully compensate the car crash victims for their injuries. To right these wrongs, the attorneys at the Hancock Law Firm in Ridgeland hold negligent and reckless drivers accountable for their actions, and make sure that negligent drivers and their insurance companies fully compensate accident victims for their medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other legal damages.
Below are some facts about car accidents in Mississippi and how the personal injury attorneys at the Hancock Law Firm can help you if you have been injured in an accident in the Jackson metro area.Mississippi Liability Insurance Laws and Facts
The state of Mississippi requires every driver to carry liability insurance or proof of financial responsibility sufficient to cover $25,000 in personal injury costs to another person, or $50,000 if more than one person is injured in an accident, along with $25,000 in property damage costs. Penalties for failing to carry liability coverage include a $1,000 fine and up to a one-year driver’s license suspension. Yet despite this law, nearly one in every four Mississippi drivers do not carry insurance. With 22.9% of drivers uninsured, Mississippi has the third highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the nation, according to the latest rankings from the Insurance Information Institute.
Fortunately, Mississippi law also requires all insurance carriers to offer uninsured motorist coverage in amounts at least equivalent to the minimum liability amounts required by law. Unless you specifically rejected this coverage in writing when you purchased liability insurance, you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage on your vehicle. With UM coverage, if you are struck by an uninsured driver, you can make a claim with your own insurance company for your damages, up to your policy limits. It is important to keep in mind, however, that just because you are filing a claim with “your” insurance company and not the other driver’s, the insurance company’s interests are still not aligned with yours. They still will try to get away with paying as little as possible, so it is still crucial to have an attorney represent you in a UM claim.
The ways in which a negligent driver can cause an accident are nearly endless. Some of the most common causes of traffic accidents include:
- Distracted driving such as texting or using a handheld cell phone
- Driving under the influence
- Reckless driving
- Fatigued driving or falling asleep at the wheel
- Aggressive driving or road rage
- Failure to stop at a stop sign or red light
- Failing to signal before turning or changing lanes
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way street or divided highway
Insurance companies may be quick to offer an amount to settle an accident claim against their insured, but the amount they offer will be far below what the claim is actually worth and what the accident victim actually needs. Sometimes, instead of offering to settle, they will fight the claim, arguing that the victim was not really injured as seriously as he or she says. They may also argue that their insured driver was not at fault, and they may even go so far as to claim that the injured victim was the one to blame in causing the accident. Any amount of fault they can shift to the injured driver will reduce the amount they have to pay. This is one reason that it is so important to have an attorney represent you. Your attorney will not only fight to prove the other driver’s responsibility but will also defend against claims that you were somehow negligent and contributed to the accident.
Whether the other driver was insured or not, the amount offered by the insurance company may not be enough, especially if you suffered serious injury or long-term or permanent disability. When the insurance company or other driver refuses to pay the proper amount, the burden is on you to prove the other driver’s negligence and fault, and to justify the amount of money damages you are seeking. Having experienced auto accident attorneys on your side is critical to making sure your rights are protected and that you take all the right steps to recover the compensation you need and deserve after an accident.
In Jackson, Mississippi, contact the Hancock Law Firm at (601) 853-223 to discuss your claim and find out how we can help. Your initial consultation is free, and our attorneys do not charge a fee unless and until we recover for you.