Car Accident Lawyer Serving Hattiesburg, MS
We hope you never have to deal with the pain and stress of a Hattiesburg car accident, but if you do, the Harris Law Firm is here to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Car accidents can range from mild fender-benders that result in minimal property damage to life-changing injuries or fatal accidents.
Fortunately, if you’re in an accident, you don’t need to fear the process of pursuing a legal claim for damages when you have a skilled advocate in your corner. If you have suffered injuries in an automobile collision, a Hattiesburg car accident lawyer from Harris Law Firm can protect your legal interests and help you get the care and compensation you deserve. We use our decades of experience and state-of-the-art technology to deliver the best results to car accident victims across Mississippi.
Common Car Accident Injuries
There are a wide range of injuries that could occur when you are in a car accident. The speed of the vehicles involved, the angle of impact, and your position in the vehicle can all have a big effect on the type of injuries sustained. Some common, but severe injuries may include:
- Broken bones,
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI),
- Internal injuries to organs,
- Loss of limbs,
- Permanent disfigurement,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Neck injuries including whiplash,
- Full or partial paralysis,
- Soft tissue injuries,
- Back injuries, and
If you sustain or suspect any sort of injury from a car accident, you should be seen by a medical professional. Injuries that may seem minor at the time could persist or become problems in the future.
What to Do When You Are in a Car Accident in Hattiesburg, MS
Any accident can be harrowing, from a tap on the bumper to a frame-twisting collision. You need to act quickly to protect yourself. Below are crucial steps you should take after a crash.
Get to a Healthcare Provider Immediately
Your physical and mental well-being are paramount. One of the first steps you should take after a car accident is to seek examination and treatment from a healthcare professional.
Many injuries associated with car accidents are not obvious. You should speak to a provider regardless of how minor your symptoms seem to be to help ensure you have the best chance at full rehabilitation. For instance, whiplash can easily occur in what seems like low-impact, low-stakes incidents. However, many whiplash sufferers have symptoms a year or longer after accidents.
Collect Evidence on the Scene
If you are well enough to stay on the scene, take pictures of the accident and your surroundings. Collect witness information, and keep notes about how the accident occurred. Whatever you can document in the moments immediately after the crash can be crucial evidence to prove your entitlement to damages. If your injuries demand emergency medical attention, have a trusted friend or family member collect this information as soon as possible.
Consult with a Hattiesburg Car Accident Attorney Right Away
If you think that dealing with the aftermath of a crash is a lot, you are right. And effectively proving your case in a courtroom or at a settlement negotiation table is best left to an experienced attorney.
Your attorney should be with you from the beginning so that they can investigate your case, protect you from the tricky claim adjustment tactics of the insurance company, gather the best evidence, and shield you from the stress of litigation. And you need to act quickly because you have only three years to file a car accident lawsuit. Plus, dealing with the legal process to get compensation for accident-related injuries can be incredibly time-consuming.
An at-fault driver should compensate you for all of your losses. A Hattiesburg car accident attorney from Harris Law Firm can fight to ensure you receive the relief you deserve.
File an Accident Report Within 10 Days
You have 10 days to file an accident report with the police if your crash resulted in property damage worth more than $250 or an injury. If you fail to file a report within 10 days, you could be guilty of a misdemeanor. Even without the threat of criminal liability, filing a police report after your accident can be vital to protecting your legal interests. Police reports contain information about how the accident occurred, who the witnesses were, and the characteristics of the other driver. It can also include the responding officer’s impression of what happened and any witness statements. This information can help you build a stronger case against the at-fault driver.
Submit an Insurance Claim
You will likely need to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company when you seek compensation after a car accident. This process often starts by filing an insurance claim. Filing a claim begins an investigation and settlement negotiation process. You do not want to engage in this process without the help of a car accident lawyer in Hattiesburg.
Your attorney should be present when you give any statement to an insurance company. And you should discuss any settlement offer with your attorney to ensure it properly compensates you for your losses. Have your attorney review any documents you receive from an insurance company before you sign. Insurance companies offer low settlement offers and include complicated legal language in their agreements. You do not want to interact with an insurance company without the help of a lawyer.
In a car accident case, you must prove the other driver was at fault and provide evidence of your damages. Evidence can come from the following sources:
- Witness testimony, including your own;
- Accident reports;
- Video recordings;
- Wage records;
- Healthcare records;
- Employment documents;
- Photos; and
- Expert testimony.
You should start gathering this evidence immediately after your accident. Some of this information is easy to collect on your own. Still, a car accident attorney in Hattiesburg is in the best position to help collect the evidence necessary to prove your case.
Take Legal Action
You might be able to receive compensation through a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company. However, insurance companies are notorious for offering too little money when their policyholders cause harm. Have an attorney review any settlement offer you receive. And if a settlement offer is insufficient, you can file a lawsuit to obtain damages that accurately reflect your financial losses, pain and suffering, and emotional trauma. Plus, you can request additional damages if the driver’s behavior was particularly egregious. Remember, you have only three years to sue, so use your time wisely and consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
Hattiesburg Auto Insurance Laws and Liability
Mississippi is a fault-based state that maintains a pure comparative negligence compensation system. Comparative negligence means that a degree of fault is assigned to each party depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Either party can bring a personal injury claim against the other, so long as they were not 100% at fault. The amount of compensation they can be awarded is essentially reduced by their percentage of fault.
Liability auto insurance is required for all drivers in the state. The minimum amount is $25,000 for personal injury and $50,000 if more than one person is injured.
In many cases, these amounts can cover damages, but in others they do not. You are not bound to settlements in these amounts.
Compensation for a Car Accident
The amount of compensation you receive as the victim of a car accident depends largely on the extent of your injuries. There are two types of compensation available.
Economic damages are meant to cover all the actual expenses that you have incurred because of the car accident. These may include:
- medical bills,
- property damage,
- lost wages,
- therapy, and more.
Non-economic damages are the compensation you receive for things that do not have an actual price tag but do impact your life. These can be things like:
- pain and suffering,
- loss of enjoyment of life,
- permanent disfigurement, and
- wrongful death.
How Can a Hattiesburg Car Accident Lawyer Help?
Though it may seem clear as to who was at fault in the accident, insurance representatives will always try to reduce the fault of their customer. This can leave you with a lower settlement than you deserve.
Accepting a lower settlement can leave you in debt and nursing long-term or life-long injuries without compensation. The negotiation process is rarely simple.
You have only 10 days after a car accident to file a written accident report. This record may be crucial to achieving compensation. Individual insurance companies may also have their own filing deadlines.
The statute of limitations to initiate a personal injury lawsuit is three years from the time of the car accident.
Contact a Hattiesburg Car Accident Lawyer at Harris Law Firm
The experienced team at Harris Law Firm understands how difficult it can be to recover from a car accident and how much stress the legal system can cause.
We provide individual attention to each of our clients to make sure that we are knowledgeable about all aspects of your potential case. Not only are we unafraid to confront insurance companies, we are also able to conduct our own investigation of your accident and evaluation of the relief you deserve. Contact a car accident attorney in Hattiesburg, MS today for your free consultation.