Many people are killed because of car accidents each year in Mississippi. In some cases, victims do not succumb to their injuries right away. Rather, they spend a period of time enduring excruciating pain while receiving treatments for the harm they suffered.
Fortunately, survival actions may be filed to recover payment for damages suffered by victims between the time of their injuries and their deaths. There are several types of damages that may be compensated through survival actions. These types of claims are different from wrongful death lawsuits which serve to compensate family members for losses they personally suffer because of their loved ones’ deaths.
In the aftermath of a deadly crash, get help from our experienced Mississippi car accident lawyers at Howe Law by dialing (844) 876-4357.
Survival Actions vs. Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Mississippi
There are two types of claims that can be filed after a fatal car accident in Mississippi. During a free case review, our Mississippi car accident attorneys can determine whether you can file either of the following:
First, a survival action may be brought against the at-fault driver for damages sustained by the victim between the time of their injury and their death. These claims are brought on behalf of the deceased and may be filed by their spouse, parents, or siblings. If there are no eligible family members available, then the case may be filed by the personal representative for the victim’s estate.
Mississippi’s survivorship law establishes a unique deadline for filing these types of claims. According to Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-55, you will typically have one year after your loved one’s death to file a survival action. Failure to file your claim on time can cause you to miss out on financial compensation.
There are several types of damages that can be recovered through a survival action. For instance, the plaintiff may obtain payment for any medical bills incurred by the victim between the time of their injury and death. Furthermore, if the deceased had to miss work while receiving treatment, any lost income they incurred may also be compensated. Other economic losses like funeral bills and burial expenses may also be compensated by filing a survival action.
Additionally, there are multiple non-economic damages that can be accounted for. You may file a survival action to recover payment for the physical pain and emotional suffering your loved one endured between the time of their car accident and their passing.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
On the other hand, wrongful death lawsuits intend to compensate specific family members for the losses they suffer because of their loved one’s death. Unlike survival actions, wrongful death lawsuits may be filed after car accidents that result in immediate deaths. They can be brought to court by victims’ surviving family members or personal representatives.
If your loved one was killed because of a fatal car accident in Mississippi, you will typically have three years from the date of their death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Still, you should begin working on your case as soon as you can. As time passes, the evidence needed to support your claim can become difficult to collect and preserve.
There are multiple types of damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death case. For instance, a plaintiff may recover compensation for the lost financial support the deceased would have provided. Furthermore, a wrongful death claim may compensate family members for emotional anguish stemming from their loved one’s passing. The types of damages awarded in your case can vary depending on several factors.
Considering Settlement Offers for Survival Actions in Mississippi
After filing a survival action, the defendant may present you with a settlement offer. If you enter into a settlement agreement, then the defendant will pay you a specific sum of damages in exchange for the voluntary dismissal of your case. There are some advantages to settling early. For example, by avoiding trial, you may save on certain expenses like witness fees and administrative costs. Furthermore, you may obtain payment sooner.
Unfortunately, many defendants try to settle survival actions for less than they are worth. If you do not receive an adequate settlement offer, then you will have to go to trial to obtain the payment you are owed. However, the decision to go to trial comes with a risk. If your case is unsuccessful, you may receive no compensation whatsoever. Therefore, it is important to have experienced legal representation by your side when considering settlement offers in your case.
Can You File a Survival Action if the Victim is Partially at Fault in Mississippi?
There are situations where victims share fault for their fatal accidents. For example, a driver may have been speeding when they were struck by another motorist who ran a red light. In that case, both parties would likely share some degree of responsibility for their accident.
If your loved one shared fault for their deadly crash, you may still be able to file a survival action on their behalf. However, the amount of compensation you recover can be limited. Mississippi courts follow the doctrine of pure comparative negligence when assigning damages in such cases. These means that damages are apportioned based on each party’s percentage of fault.
For example, if your loved one was 20% responsible for their fatal crash and the defendant is 80% to blame, then the defendant will be ordered to pay for 80% of the damages incurred by the victim while you are left to account for the remaining 20%.
In some other states, plaintiffs cannot recover compensation if they are found to be more at-fault than the party they are suing. However, no such rule exists in Mississippi. For example, if your loved one was 60% responsible for their accident, you may still collect compensation from the other party.
If You Have to File a Survival Action in Mississippi, Call Our Law Firm for Help
Seek assistance from our experienced Jackson, MS car accident attorneys by calling Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.