No one is truly prepared to be involved in an accident, which is why wrecks can make for frightening and chaotic experiences. While accidents happen for many different reasons, including driver error, it is important to remember that your initial assessment of what caused the crash may not always be correct – there may be facts and circumstances you are unaware of, even if you believe the accident was your fault.
To help ensure you take the right steps after a car accident, including one you believe you might have caused or contributed to, our legal team at Richard Schwartz & Associates can help. Contact us today at (601) 988-8888 for a free consultation.
Mississippi's Comparative Negligence Law
Even if your actions did contribute to the crash in some way, you might still be eligible to recover compensation. This is because Mississippi adheres to a comparative negligence system, which means that your amount of compensation would be reduced by your own percentage of fault if it is determined that you did partially contribute to the accident.
Mississippi operates under a "pure" comparative negligence system, which means that regardless of whether you are deemed 1% or 99% at fault for your injuries, you still have the right to seek compensation.
If you believe you played a significant role in the accident, you may still be entitled to recover damages if another party shares any level of responsibility. This is good news for injured people in Mississippi, since many other states only reward compensation to the plaintiff if they are found less than 50% or 51% at fault (known as the "modified comparative fault" system).
What Should I Do if I Think a Car Accident Was My Fault?
Remember, even if you believe you were partially responsible, there may be other factors involved that you are unaware of. After a car accident, you can help protect your rights and best interests by following the steps below.
Remain at the Scene
Immediately after an accident, especially one that involved vehicle damage, injuries, or death, you are obligated by Mississippi law to stop and remain at the scene. You also need to provide assistance to any victims, when necessary, by rendering aid or calling for emergency medical attention. Failing to do so can result in criminal charges.
Don’t Discuss Fault
Avoiding talking about who was at fault or what caused the accident, no matter how strongly you feel about the situation. Remember, you don’t have all the facts yet about what led to the crash, and discussing or admitting fault can put you in a disadvantageous position if you need to file a lawsuit lawyer.
You might feel that you were to blame, but it might still come to light that the other driver actually did cause or contribute to the collision in some way (such as if they were driving distracted or driving drunk).
Avoid Saying “Sorry”
Apologizing and saying “sorry” is often a natural reaction for people who find themselves bumping into others while walking or milling about, but it is always something to be avoided after a car wreck. That’s because saying “sorry” can be interpreted as an admission of guilt, especially by insurance companies.
Saying "sorry" can be used against you, even if you later learn you didn’t actually cause the wreck or were not entirely at fault. Read more from Richard & Schwartz about "Why You Should Avoid Saying Sorry After an Accident."
Call the Police
Calling law enforcement is a wise decision after an accident, as a responding law enforcement officer can arrive at the scene to gather information, speak with drivers and witnesses, and compile their findings in an objective police report. This report can prove useful in any personal injury or insurance matter you need to handle at a later time
Gathering as much information as you can will aid you in your case. This means exchanging information with other involved drivers (name, contact info, driver’s license, etc.), and taking pictures of vehicle damage and the scene of an accident. If there were things that contributed to your wreck, such as a broken traffic signal or obscured sign, take pictures of that as well.
Call an Attorney
If you were injured in your accident, but have concerns about the role you played and whether you were at fault, you should call an experienced personal injury attorney. By speaking with a proven lawyer like those at Richard Schwartz & Associates, you can better understand your rights and the laws that apply to your case, including comparative negligence.
By conducting thorough investigations into your wreck, including the actions made by both you and the other driver, we can help you understand if you have a right to seek compensation for your damages.
Be Careful with Insurance Companies
You may notify your insurance carrier of any accident you were involved in, but we recommend speaking with an attorney FIRST before discussing details with an insurance company. Unfortunately, insurance companies often pressure clients to accept a settlement that's worth less than what they deserve. Read more from Richard & Schwartz about "Why You Should Avoid Giving a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company".
Contact Richard Schwartz & Associates for Experienced Legal Help
Because every auto accident case is unique, and because there are many factors that can cause a wreck, you should focus on taking the right steps, obtaining the facts, and working with a lawyer who can help you navigate legal complexities. Remember that even if you believe you were partially at fault, you may still have a right to recover damages if the other driver, or another party, contributed to the accident in some way.
Contact Richard Schwartz & Associates today to discuss your accident in a free consultation. Call our office today at (601) 988-8888!