Car accidents can occur for any number of reasons, from mechanical failure to driver error. Sometimes, car accidents occur due to a combination of errors, frequently on the part of more than one party. If you contribute to a car accident, can you still claim compensation?
Mississippi Car Accident Laws and Comparative Negligence
Mississippi is a fault state: that is, liability for a car accident falls on the party that caused the accident, and the party that did not cause the accident can pursue compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. Mississippi also has pure comparative negligence laws that can help when you contribute to a car accident. According to pure comparative negligence law, an injured victim can seek compensation for any injuries sustained in a car accident where the other party contributed to the accident, even by only a small percentage.
However, in either case, the compensation you can recover will be reduced by the fault you bear for the accident.
Suppose, for example, that you contributed, according to the insurance company and the police, 30% to the accident. You have the right to recover compensation for property damage and injuries from the accident, but your compensation will likely be reduced by 30%. Likewise, if you caused 90% of the accident, but the other driver caused 10%, you might have the right to recover 10% of the injury-related damages from the accident.
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How Can You Pursue Compensation for an Accident in Which You Bear Partial Fault?
If you bear partial fault for a car accident in Mississippi, you need to take the same steps you would take to pursue compensation if you did not contribute to the accident.
Report the Accident
First, contact the police and report the accident. You will want a police report that includes as much evidence as possible about the accident to make it easier to later recreate the conditions that led to the accident and provide a better account of your involvement.
Try to avoid brushing off the other driver’s actions or accepting liability for the accident. Keep in mind, however, that you should offer an honest assessment to the police.
Get in Touch with a Lawyer
If you contributed to a car accident in Mississippi, you need a car accident lawyer on your side. Insurance companies can, in many cases, prove difficult enough to deal with when you have clear evidence that the other driver contributed 100% to the accident. When you have a case of partial fault, you may end up arguing with the insurance company for a long time over how much liability you bear and, as a result, how much compensation you can recover for your injuries.
A car accident lawyer can help you:
- Collect evidence that shows who bears the majority of the liability for the accident
- Present a compelling claim that showcases how much compensation you deserve, based both on your financial losses and the actual causes of the accident
- Deal with the insurance company as you manage your claim
Try to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the car insurance company for the first time, especially if you suffered any type of injury in the accident. A comparative fault claim can quickly turn complicated, and having an attorney on your side from the beginning can make a huge difference in your ability to ultimately acquire the compensation you really deserve for your injuries. You may want the lawyer to take over dealing with the insurance company for you from the beginning.
Get Medical Attention for Injuries (and Follow Your Doctors’ Instructions)
Regardless of who caused a car accident or how much compensation you think you may have the right to recover, always pursue medical attention for any injuries you may have sustained in the accident. You may, in some cases, discover that you sustained more serious injuries than you initially thought. A doctor’s full evaluation can make it easier to determine exactly what injuries you sustained and make sure you get the medical treatment you need for those injuries.
A doctor’s report also serves another vital purpose: it proves that your injuries took place in your car accident, which can make it easier for you to obtain compensation for them.
Whose Insurance Company Do I Report the Accident To?
If you bear partial liability for a car accident in Mississippi, you may need to report the accident to both insurance companies. You will need to let your insurance company know about any liability you bear for the accident, especially if you intend to use any of your own insurance to cover damages from the accident. You will also need to pursue compensation through the other driver’s insurance company, which will require reporting the accident.
How does Partial Liability Work If I Carry MedPay Insurance?
Mississippi offers its drivers the ability and right to carry MedPay insurance. MedPay insurance provides compensation for any injuries sustained in an auto accident, regardless of who caused the accident.
If you caused the accident, you can use your MedPay insurance to cover the immediate cost of the medical bills related to the accident. How much coverage you have, and how much you will have to pay out of pocket, may depend on how much coverage you carry. You will likely have to meet a set deductible before your MedPay insurance kicks in.
If another driver caused the accident, you can still use your MedPay insurance. Typically, you will use your MedPay insurance for the immediate cost of initial medical treatment, then pursue additional compensation from the other driver’s insurance company for further medical bills.
That means that in cases where you have caused part of the accident, you can use your MedPay insurance to help you with the initial cost of medical bills. You can then pursue compensation for additional medical bills through the other driver’s insurance company. Typically, the percentage liability you bear for the accident will be subtracted from the compensation you can recover.
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Contact a Lawyer to Learn More About Your Rights after a Partial Liability Accident
If you have questions about your rights or your next steps after a Mississippi car accident, contact Morris Bart for a free consultation.
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