Mississippi uses what’s called a tort system to award compensation in accidents. That means the victim needs to file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Unfortunately, if the insurance company doesn’t offer what seems like a fair settlement or if the liable driver doesn’t have insurance, you may have to sue them.
If you’ve been hurt in an accident aren’t sure what do to, you need to contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury lawsuits. These experts will be able to help you build a case to receive the compensation you’re due. Don’t rush into a decision before talking to your attorney, there can be negative consequences.
The Differences Between an Insurance Claim and a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Generally, when you’re in a car accident, you’ll file an insurance claim first. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will process the claim. During this time, your lawyer may need to step in to negotiate on your behalf so that you get the money you deserve. Generally, though, the process is fairly straightforward.
Here are the steps that the insurance adjuster will take during their investigation:
- Everyone involved will be interviewed.
- Witnesses will give their statements, if necessary.
- The police report will be reviewed.
- The accident scene will be evaluated
- The damage to the vehicles and other property will be assessed.
- Expert witnesses will be called in, if necessary.
- Medical records will be reviewed.
There are two reasons why this investigation is done. First, the adjuster is looking for things that would indicate that the policyholder would be found liable if the case goes to court. Second, they’re looking at how much damage was done. Once they’ve completed this investigation, you’ll move into the negotiation phase.
If an agreement can be reached, you’ll receive a settlement and the case will be closed. If you and the insurance company can’t come to an agreement, you’ll likely have to sue the driver. In Mississippi, you have three years to file a lawsuit from the date of the accident.
Generally, a lawsuit goes as follows:
- You and your attorney file documents to start the process.
- The at-fault driver is served a notice that they are being sued.
- Your attorney gathers evidence that the other driver was at fault.
- You and your attorney gather proof that damages occurred (medical bills, car repair estimates, etc).
- The two sides negotiate and try to reach a settlement out of court.
- If no settlement is reached, the case goes before a jury or a judge.
An article published in the New York Times reports that as many as 92% of all vehicle accident lawsuits are settled out of court.
While there are many similarities in the processes of filing a claim and pursuing a lawsuit, there are differences, too. The major difference is who is in charge of the process. During a lawsuit, everyone must follow established state laws. With an insurance claim, though, the insurance company often sets the rules. This means you may be at a disadvantage when you make a claim.
Seek Legal Assistance
If you have been hurt in an auto accident contact an attorney that has expertise in auto accidents. It is best to contact them right after you leave the doctor and before you speak with the insurance companies. Amanda Daniels has over 10 years of experience in dealing with auto accidents and insurance companies. Amanda will help you get the maximum settlement and get your medical and damage bills paid quickly.
Call (662) 678-8009 to schedule a free consultation with an auto accident attorney in Tupelo.