Money is a major concern in almost every injury case, including car accidents. Injured plaintiffs need to make sure their damages and costs will be covered before they decide to pursue legal action.
The value of a car accident case varies, as damages and injuries may differ across cases. Generally, the more severe your injuries are, the more your case and claims should be worth in court. We should include economic losses, psychological or emotional damages, and possibly punitive damages, depending on the circumstances. In some cases, damages might be limited. While economic losses are only limited to your actual expenses, non-economic damages might have a cap. Similarly, punitive damages cannot exceed certain amounts based on the net worth of the defendant’s assets. There might be various ways in which you can get fair compensation, and the best way depends on what you want and need from your case. A lawyer can help you make an informed decision on how to proceed.
Call our Mississippi car accident attorneys at Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 and schedule a free review of your case to begin figuring out how much you can sue for.
How Much is a Car Accident Case Worth in Mississippi?
The overall value of a particular case largely depends on the damages the plaintiff claims. Damages are comprised of losses, expenses, injuries, and even personal experiences suffered by the plaintiff because of the defendant’s actions. In some cases, courts may award additional damages as a punishment for the defendant’s bad behavior, but these are only available in specific types of cases.
First, our Mississippi car accident lawyers should assess the amount of money you lost or spent because of your car accident. This number will vary from person to person. For some, the financial expenses are through the roof. Others end up losing less money. A good place to begin is the accident and its immediate aftermath.
Did you go to the hospital after the crash? Medical treatment is a major source of financial damages, as medical costs tend to be high. Even a single trip to the emergency room can be very expensive. Not only can you claim the value of any medical bills you have incurred, but you can also claim the value of medical treatment you reasonably expect to receive in the future because of the accident. This is common in cases where injuries are so severe that plaintiffs need long-term care.
We should also assess the cost of your vehicle. Whether it needs a few repairs or a brand new replacement, these costs should be factored into our calculations. On top of that, your injuries might prevent you from returning to work for a while. Your lost earnings might be substantial and deserve fair compensation.
Many damages are not related to money at all. The painful experiences that often come with car accidents can take a huge toll on someone’s life without actually costing them money. Even though these damages are technically “free,” the courts may still financially compensate them.
The accident likely left you with significant injuries and a lot of physical pain. While hospital bills are certainly a part of your damages calculations, the physical pain you experienced should also be compensated. This might include pain from your injuries and treatment, like painful surgical procedures.
Car accidents are known for being traumatic, especially when they are severe and involve extensive injuries. Living through such an experience might affect you mentally and emotionally for years to come. This negative impact on your life should be accounted for in your damages.
When defendants behave in a way that is especially shocking or outrageous, the court may find even greater damages beyond those directly related to your injuries. Punitive damages are meant to serve as a punishment and a deterrent for future wrongdoing.
In Mississippi, under Miss. Code Ann. § 11-1-65(a), punitive damages are only on the table if the defendant acted with malice, gross negligence, willfully inflicted injuries, or exhibited a reckless disregard for the safety of others. This is a very high bar and is considered much more severe than ordinary negligence found in most cases.
Although punitive damages are rare, they may be substantial when awarded. Talk to your Mississippi personal injury attorney about the possibility of punitive damages. Punitive damages might be available if the defendant’s conduct during your accident was outrageous or shocking.
How Damages and Compensation Might be Limited in Certain Mississippi Car Accident Cases
While damages can be substantial in some cases, they are not unlimited. Under the law in Mississippi, certain types of damages are capped by statutes. If your damages exceed these caps, the court may reduce your award to align with these statutes.
Economic damages are generally not limited by statutes. Instead, they are limited only by your actual expenses. If your injuries cost you a total of $1 million, you can claim every single penny of that money in your damages. Non-economic damages are different.
According to Miss. Code. Ann. § 11-1-60(2)(b), non-economic damages in claims that are not part of malpractice cases are capped at $1 million. Should the jury find in favor of an award that exceeds this amount, the judge will reduce it to the statutory limit. This is a real possibility, as juries are not informed about these limits before deliberating.
Similarly, punitive damages may not exceed certain limits based on the defendant’s net worth. The law under Miss. Code Ann. § 11-1-65(3)(a) holds that if the defendant is worth a total of $50 million or less, punitive damages may not exceed 2% of their worth. The highest limit is $20 million in cases where the defendant is worth more than $1 billion.
Call Our Mississippi Car Accident Lawyers to Discuss your Damages
Call our Jackson, MS car accident attorneys at Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 and schedule a free review of your case to begin figuring out how much you can sue for.