Who was at Fault

Who was at Fault

Mississippi 34th Annual Mock Trial Competition

Who was at fault?

In order to recover damages in a personal injury case such as a car wreck, there has to be someone who acted negligently that caused your injuries. Simply put, it needs to be the other person’s fault. In the legal world this is call ‘negligent’ behavior or conduct.

The legal definition of negligence in Mississippi is: Negligence is doing something that a reasonably careful [person/business/corporation] would not do under similar circumstances or failing to do something that a reasonably careful [person/business/corporation] would do under similar circumstances.

Therefore, negligence can be either an affirmative act or through an omission.

There are different degrees of Negligence.

Some examples of regular negligence are: texting while driving, not signaling before changing lanes, failure to yield right-of-way, failure to keep a proper lookout, excessive speeding, failure to obey a traffic device, distracted driving, driving while impaired, driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, following too closely (also known as tailgating), and reckless driving.

 

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence is negligence of a degree so great that it shows a reckless disregard for the rights of others. Gross negligence is a higher burden to prove then regular negligence. It is often described as conduct somewhere between regular negligence and an intentional conduct.

An example of gross negligence would be firing a gun into a crowed building. Although the shooter did not intend to kill anyone (which would have been intentional), the conduct is so reckless that it shows a disregard for the likely possibility that someone would hurt or killed. In some states this is also referred to as “Wanton” conduct. Wanton conduct implies a reckless disregard for the consequences of one’s behavior or conduct.

 

Different States Have Different Rules

Different states have different legal rules when it comes to how much it can be the other person’s fault in determining whether you can recover damages for your injuries and were in a lawsuit.

 

The Mississippi Rule

In Mississippi, the legal doctrine is called “pure comparative fault”. This means that you can still recover damages even if you are partly at fault for the accident. Contributory negligence on your part is not a bar to recovering damages for your injuries caused by the negligence of another.

For example, if your case is worth $100,000 and you are at 10% at fault, the value of your case would be reduced by 10% leaving you with $90,000. Your damages are reduced by how much percentage you were at fault for the accident.

Another example would be where you have $50,000 in damages, but it was only 10% the other person’s fault leaving you able to recover 10% of the $50,000 which would result in you having $5,000 in damages.

 

The Alabama Rule

In Alabama, the legal doctrine is “pure contributory negligence”. This means that if you are found to be even partially responsible for the accident then the other party cannot be held liable.

Some states such as Georgia follow the legal doctrine of Modified Comparative 50% Bar Rule. This means that the total liability will be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault, as long as the plaintiff is less than 50% at fault.

Nationwide, the most common rule is the “51% Bar” rule. Although there are slight variations in the rule, basically the Plaintiff cannot recover if they are 51% or more at fault. However, the plaintiff can still recover if 50% or less at fault, but the recovery will be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. Twenty-three (23) states follow this rule.

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Injury Lawyers Mississippi & Alabama

Pepper and Odom, P.C. law firm – Save Our Number In Your Phone Now 601-202-1111 Jackson, MS or 205-250-1107 Birmingham, AL