Mississippi, like other states, allows grieving family members to bring a wrongful death lawsuit when a loved one has died through someone else’s fault. Typically, your loved one dies because of the carelessness or recklessness of another person, though you can also bring a wrongful death case when a loved one has been intentionally killed. Mississippi’s wrongful death law has many wrinkles which you should be aware of.
Bringing the Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil lawsuit which you file in civil court. Although the state can prosecute someone for murder, private parties can only sue for monetary compensation for the death of a loved one.
Under Mississippi’s statute, the following can file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Children and any descendants of children
The estate’s personal representative can also file the wrongful death lawsuit. You should check with your loved one’s will to see who he or she appointed as the estate’s personal representative.
Regardless of who files the wrongful death lawsuit, all interested parties can join the lawsuit once it becomes filed. You will need to file paperwork with the civil court asking permission to join, so a lawyer’s assistance is indispensable at filing everything correctly and making the correct legal arguments.
Defining Wrongful Death
You might have a legitimate cause of action for wrongful death when someone’s wrongful act causes the death of a loved one. According to the statute, a wrongful death includes:
- Any negligent, real, or wrongful act
- Any negligent, real, or wrongful omission
- Unsafe appliances or machinery
- The breach of a product’s warranty of fitness
In effect, Mississippi allows you to bring a wrongful death lawsuit when a loved one dies because of the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Dangerous premises
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home neglect or abuse
- Intentional acts, such as shooting, stabbing, or punching someone
Each case is unique, and you should consult with an experienced Mississippi wrongful death attorney to determine whether you have a valid legal claim. If the lawyer needs more information, he or she can conduct a preliminary investigation to determine what caused your loved one’s death.
Civil courts recognize that no amount of money can ever replace a loved one. Nevertheless, courts can’t give you anything else but money, so it is the only substitute available.
In a successful wrongful death lawsuit, the estate can receive financial compensation for:
- Medical costs incurred to treat your loved one during their final illness
- Damage to your loved one’s property, e.g., damage to their car if they were involved in a car accident
- Burial and funeral expenses
Surviving family members can also recover financial compensation for their economic and non-economic losses, such as:
- The value of lost wages and benefits your loved one was reasonably expected to earn
- Loss of companionship and guidance
- Pain and suffering, such as grief, caused by the death of your loved one
The amount of damages can be difficult to estimate. However, the skilled team at Harris Law Firm has several decades of experience in this field and can help assess the amount of compensation available. We will look at your loved one’s education, income, and work experience to estimate the amount of lost wages and benefits they could have earned. We will also help you document your emotional grief and loss of companionship so that you can make a compelling case to the jury.
Mississippi caps certain non-economic damages like pain and suffering, but only in certain situations. For example, if your loved one died because of medical malpractice, your non-economic damages becomes capped at $500,000. Similarly, if your loved one died because of a defective product, then the maximum non-economic recovery amount is $1,000,000. However, economic losses like lost wages and medical care have no cap, regardless of how your loved one died.
How Compensation Becomes Divided
Under Mississippi’s law, any financial compensation awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit will be divided in the following manner:
- If an adult has a spouse and no children, the spouse will receive everything
- If an adult has both a surviving spouse and children, all compensation will be divided equally between them
- If an adult has children but no surviving spouse, all compensation will be divided equally among the children
- If an adult has no surviving spouse or children, then financial compensation is divided equally between parents and siblings
Consider the following example: a man dies, leaving behind a wife, two children, and two sisters. In a wrongful death action, the jury might award the survivors $600,000. Under this example, the man’s wife and two children will receive $200,000 apiece. The surviving siblings will not receive anything. Instead, siblings receive compensation, like parents, only when the deceased does not leave behind a surviving spouse or any children.
Mississippi’s statute of limitations sets a deadline you must meet when filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The state gives surviving family members only one year from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit if an intentional act like assault or murder caused the death. If negligence caused your loved one’s death, you have three years from the date of death to bring a lawsuit.
Regardless of how the death occurred, you should quickly meet with an attorney, who can investigate the case and move to protect your rights.
Speak with a Mississippi Wrongful Death Attorney
Grieving family members need compensation to cover funeral and other expenses, but they also need compensation when the family’s main breadwinner dies. At Harris Law Firm, our team of experienced wrongful death attorneys will carefully build the strongest case possible so that you can take care of your family in the future.
To learn what legal services we offer, schedule a free consultation today. At the consultation, you can explain the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death and ask any questions you have about our experience. Don’t delay. Contact us by calling 877-714-4171 or filling out our online contact sheet.