What Are the Rights of Someone Injured in an Accident?
The sound of screeching tires sliding across the pavement, the smell of burnt rubber in the air, the pit in someone’s stomach after impact, these are some of the sights and sounds that crash victims suffer. Many Americans have felt the full force of a high-speed crash; however, few understand their rights under state and federal laws. This means crash victims know full well the destructive nature of accidents; yet, they do not know how to seek recovery after the fact. At Richard Schwartz & Associates, our goal is to inform people who have been in wrecks of their rights so they can pursue justice through established legal avenues.
The Right to an Attorney
In cop shows, viewers will often hear the phrase, “you have the right to an attorney,” when a police officer is arresting someone. Although the Constitution of the United States upholds that someone charged with a crime has the right to an attorney, civil litigation matters (including personal injury) are different.
There are no federal or state laws in existence today that give someone the right to an attorney in civil matters. This means that if you are attempting to bring a civil lawsuit against someone else, you will have to hire an attorney if you wish to be represented. Therefore, in personal injury lawsuits, you do not have the right to an attorney.
For many people who want representation in a civil lawsuit, they may not have the money they need to hire a lawyer who demands payments up front. However, Richard Schwartz & Associates holds to contingency-free representation. This means our clients don’t pay for our services unless we win their case! When we do win a case for a client, we will take our fees through the winnings, rather than from their pocket. Therefore, our representation pays for itself!
The Right to Seek Damages Under Comparative Negligence
In some states, residents are only allowed to seek damages through contributory negligence. Under contributory negligence, someone who is injured in an accident can only seek damages if the other party was entirely at fault. However, Mississippi’s personal injury laws hold to comparative negligence.
Comparative negligence is the idea that someone can recover damages from someone else’s negligent actions even if his or her actions partially caused the accident in question. This means a plaintiff who is found 40% at fault for an accident can still recover damages from the other party. It is important to note that a partially responsible plaintiff’s recovery amount is affected by their determined percentage of fault.
Let’s create a scenario that would call for comparative negligence:
- Two Mississippi residents collide and cause an accident in the middle of an intersection
- It is determined that the first resident (X) was going 5 miles over the speed limit on impact
- It is determined that the second resident (Y) ran a red light when X had the right of way
- X takes Y to court to recover damages for injuries he sustained in the accident
- After hearing the case, the jury determines that X and Y are both partially responsible for the accident
- X is found 10% at fault for the accident due to his speeding
- Y is found 90% at fault for the accident due to his disregard for the traffic light
- The judge determines that Y must pay X $100,000 for his injuries
- The recovery amount is affected by X’s determined percentage of fault
- Y must pay X 90% of the recovery total (based on his recovery percentage)
- Y’s insurance pays X $90,000 for his injuries
As you can see, comparative negligence is a fair system as it accounts for all aspects of an accident. Rather than determining if someone is entirely at fault, comparative negligence lets the court decide if responsibility should be split between the two parties. Therefore, Mississippi residents have the right to seek damages under comparative negligence.
Have You Been Injured in an Accident?
If you or a loved one have been injured by someone else’s negligence, pursuing a Mississippi personal injury lawsuit may be your best option for recovery. You shouldn’t have to suffer from medical bills, car repairs, and other costs from your accident when it wasn’t your fault. If you are ready to pursue justice, contact Richard Schwartz & Associates!
For experienced contingency-fee based legal representation, call (601) 869-0696 now!