After an accident, you may find yourself scrambling to determine who bears fault–and how any contribution to the accident could impact your ability to pursue compensation for your injuries.
But what happens if you contributed to the accident? Can you still recover compensation?
According to Miss. Code §11-7-15, you have the right to recover compensation for injuries sustained by another party’s negligence in Mississippi, even if you contributed in some way to the accident. However, you may have the compensation you can recover reduced by the fault you bear for the accident.
Comparative Fault vs. Contributory Negligence
Some states, including Alabama, have contributory negligence laws. Under contributory negligence laws, if you contribute even a small percentage to the accident, you may not have the right to recover compensation for your injuries at all.
Comparative fault, on the other hand, allows the injured party to recover compensation from the victim who caused the majority of the accident. If you contributed significantly to the accident in a comparative fault state like Mississippi, you may have your compensation reduced, but you will still have the right to recover much-needed compensation for your injuries.
Comparative Fault Examples
Suppose, for example, that you suffer a broken leg in a car accident and require $15,000 in medical treatment, including surgery and physical therapy for your injuries. A comprehensive investigation of the accident uncovers that you bear 10% of the fault for the accident due to distraction. While you can recover approximately $13,500 in damages for your medical costs, you might have your personal injury claim reduced by 10% of the initial amount you might have recovered, had you not contributed at all to the accident.
You may still have the right to recover compensation for other damages, including lost wages and pain and suffering. That compensation, too, will likely be reduced by the percentage liability you bear for the accident.
On the other hand, suppose that you bear 40% of the liability for the accident. The insurance company rules that you bear the lesser part of the liability for the accident, but that you still contributed substantially to the incident. As a result, you may only have the right to recover 60% of the damages you sustained, including your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If an investigation of the accident reveals that you bear more than 50% liability for the accident, the other driver will have the ability to seek compensation through your insurance company, and you will likely not be able to recover compensation for your injuries. You can, however, use MedPay insurance, if you carry it, to help cover the cost of your medical treatments after the accident.
Contributory Negligence Examples
Under strict contributory negligence laws, if you contribute at all to the cause of an accident, you may lose the ability to seek compensation for the damages you sustained in that accident.
In the car accident case above, for example, if you contributed 10% to the accident, you might discover that the insurance company does not provide any compensation at all for your injuries, even though you contributed only minimally to the accident. You might have to use your own insurance coverage, including any MedPay coverage you might hold, to help cover the cost of your injuries.
Fortunately, Mississippi law protects its residents and visitors by providing compensation when another driver causes an accident, even if the victim contributed to the conditions that ultimately caused the accident.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
What to Do If You Bear Partial Fault for an Accident in Mississippi
If you suffer injuries in an accident, and you bear partial fault for the accident, you may find yourself unsure about what to do next. How can you protect yourself and reduce the financial challenges you may face after the accident? Make sure you follow these steps to help protect your right to compensation in Mississippi after an accident.
Report the Accident
Even if you bear partial fault for the accident, make sure you report the accident. In the case of a car accident, that means reporting the accident to the police and waiting for the police to respond to the accident. Even if you bear partial fault for the incident, you will likely still have the right to file a claim, and having a police report on file can make a huge difference in your ability to recover compensation.
Try to avoid accepting liability, even partial liability, for the accident. You do not have to brush off the other driver’s dangerous or negligent actions.
Talk to a Lawyer
Working with a lawyer can help you get a better idea of your rights after an accident, even an accident for which you bear partial liability. If you know that you contributed to a portion of an accident, you may need to talk to a lawyer about how much liability you might bear and how to minimize the impact on your finances.
A lawyer may be able to reduce the percentage liability you have to accept for an accident, which can, in turn, ultimately increase the compensation you can recover for the injuries sustained in your accident.
Notify Your Insurance Company
If you intend to use your insurance to cover any of the damages associated with the accident, you may need to notify your insurance company about your intent. That includes using your MedPay insurance as well as using your comprehensive or collision coverage to help cover the cost of an accident, including an accident caused by a driver without insurance.
Contact a Mississippi Accident Lawyer for Help
If you suffered injuries in an accident in Mississippi, particularly if you contributed in any way to the accident, working with a personal injury attorney can help you protect yourself, including your right to compensation. Do not try to handle an accident claim on your own. Instead, contact Morris Bart to learn more about your rights and to help you protect yourself as much as possible.
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