Mississippi law requires that all drivers carry liability insurance. As stated by the Mississippi Insurance Department (MID), the state’s compulsory automobile liability insurance system says you must have electronic or paper proof of your liability insurance policy, which must meet the following minimum amounts of coverage:
- $25,000: for one person’s bodily injury or death caused by the individual who owns or drives the insured motor vehicle
- $50,000: for bodily injury in a single accident
- $25,000: for property damage resulting from a collision
Are There Alternatives to Purchasing Liability Insurance in Mississippi?
According to MID, drivers can satisfy the legal requirements of Mississippi’s compulsory automobile liability insurance law by doing one of the following:
- Posting a bond for the amounts defined in the liability insurance law
- Making a cash or security deposit in the amounts specified in the state’s insurance law
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 537-8185
hat Happens If You do Not Carry Proof of Insurance?
Mississippi police do not have the right to stop you when you are driving to verify you have proof of insurance in your vehicle. However, if law enforcement stops you for some other statutory violation, the officer can ask to see your insurance card.
If you cannot show proof of insurance when a police officer requests it in this situation, you could be fined $1,000. In addition, your driving privileges could be suspended until you (or the car’s owner) can provide a court with proof of insurance.
What Is the Purpose of Liability Insurance?
The state has good reason to require drivers to carry liability insurance. These policies pay compensation to someone who suffers bodily injury or property damage after a car accident. Liability insurance policies protect you, whether you are the at-fault driver or the victim of a negligent driver.
How Liability Insurance Helps the At-Fault Driver
As the at-fault party in an accident, your assets and wages would be vulnerable to seizure in a personal injury lawsuit without liability insurance. Having a policy that covers the state’s minimum requirements will protect you from many types of collisions. However, if you cause a serious accident that results in significant bodily injuries and car damage, you would be personally liable for whatever amount that exceeds your policy limit.
How Liability Insurance Helps the Victim of a Crash Caused By Someone Else
Knowing the at-fault driver has liability insurance should reassure you financial resources exist to cover at least some portion of your medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Of course, the extent to which you will recover damages depends on your ability to establish the other driver’s liability. In Mississippi, this process can get complicated. We will address this later when we talk about “comparative fault.”
The Value of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Mississippi had the highest percentage of uninsured drivers, at 29.4 percent, according to 2019 data from the Insurance Information Institute. These drivers will not have policies against which you can file a third-party claim in the event of a car accident. This could leave you footing the bill for your medical expenses and lost wages—unless you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.
The state does not require drivers to have UIM coverage. However, Mississippi does require insurance companies to offer you this coverage, with these minimum amounts:
- $25,000: bodily injury for a single individual
- $50,000: per accident
- $25,000: property damage
UIM coverage pays for your damages if the at-fault driver in your accident does not have liability insurance, or if their policy’s coverage limits do not cover all your damages.
How Can the Comparative Negligence Law in Mississippi Affect My Claim?
Outside of your liability insurance policy and that of the other driver involved in your accident, another aspect of Mississippi law affects whether you could get an insurance settlement—and how much that settlement could be.
The state’s pure comparative negligence law (Miss. Code Ann. § 11-7-15) means that as a claimant if you contributed to the motor vehicle collision, the amount you can recover for damages decreases in direct proportion to your degree of negligence.
This differs from contributory negligence states, where a claimant might be only one percent at fault for an auto accident. However, because of this contribution to the accident, the claimant will not receive any compensation. In contrast, Mississippi’s comparative negligence law does not bar a claimant from recovering damages if they contributed to a collision. Rather, a claimant can be 99 percent at fault for a car wreck and still recover damages for the one percent that the other party was liable for.
Our Lawyers Will Help You Understand Your Mississippi Car Insurance Policy
Insurance policies can be complicated, and insurers do not go out of their way to help policyholders recover maximum damages after a car accident.
If you suffered an injury in a car accident, lawyers at the Morris Bart law firm can walk you through your policy, explain your options for recovery of damages, and work with the insurer to get you a fair settlement.
Call the Morris Bart law office today at (800) 537-8185 for a free consultation.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
to find a Morris Bart office near you.