Personal Injury Attorneys You Can Rely On
At Kilpatrick & Philley, our attorneys focus their practice on personal injury law and the areas it encompasses. We understand the injuries’ impact on our clients and their families. We have dedicated our practice to helping them fight for just compensation.
When you need a Mississippi accident attorney, you can rely on Kilpatrick & Philley for skilled legal guidance and aggressive representation. We have helped clients throughout Mississippi with cases ranging from automobile accidents to medical negligence and malpractice. No matter what your injury is or what caused it, our team at Kilpatrick & Philley can help you fight for the financial compensation you are owed.
When It Comes To Personal Injury, We’ve Seen It All
Almost everything has the potential for an accident. Our personal injury lawyers have seen hundreds of personal injury cases and know how to help you in your unique situation. Our goal is always to pursue what is in your best interests and push to ensure that you are receiving the compensation you need to heal and move forward.
We can help with personal injury cases involving:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Wrongful death
- On-the-job injuries and workers’ comp
- Defective products and products liability
- Insurance bad faith or denial
- Maritime and Jones Act injuries
- Premises liability
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home negligence
- Oil spills
- Boating injuries
- Catastrophic injuries
- Mass tort litigation
- “Roundup” toxic exposure claims
Our Ridgeland personal injury attorneys understand that navigating the legal process can be overwhelming, especially during physical recovery and undue financial hardship. If you have lost a loved one due to an accident or negligence, the grief can be debilitating. That’s why we provide compassionate legal service, open, honest communication and personalized guidance throughout the process.
Assessing The Financial Value Of A Case
Usually, the first question on a prospective client’s mind is “What is my personal injury case worth?” This is a difficult question to address, as each case is different and has a different set of facts. Despite the belief of some insurance companies, there is no computer program that you can input all your case information into and have it spit out an answer to the question of what your case is worth.
No two cases are exactly the same, and as such, no two cases are worth the exact same amount of money. Some factors our Jackson personal injury attorneys consider when assessing a case include:
Who Is At Fault?
Who is at fault is a question of whether liability (fault) on the part of the other party is clear, or on the other hand, whether there is evidence that you somehow contributed to the accident or your injuries. If the other party was clearly at fault, say a drunk driver collided with your vehicle while you were parked, then that would likely increase the value of your case, given that liability will be easier to prove and there is a real possibility of punitive damages. However, what if you were hit by an elderly teacher on the way to school who had never been involved in any accident before and was truly apologetic? Do you think that impacts the value? You bet. Why? It’s because the ultimate decision-maker(s) of what your case is worth is a jury. Each of those scenarios will impact the decision of a jury in awarding damages to the injured victim. It’s human nature. In the last example above, the teacher appears to be a credible witness and comes off very humble. Juries, like most people, are forgiving.
The Damages Involved
In every personal injury case, you have what are termed “hard” economic damages; these damages are also called your “special” damages. These are medical expenses, lost wage-earning capacity and property damage. You can calculate these damages based on the bills and expenses that you receive. However, you also have more intangible damages, which include things such as pain and suffering, physical disfigurement, mental anguish and emotional distress, and physical impairment; these types of damages are more subjective and are left to the sole discretion of the jury to determine. These damages depend on the evidence the jury hears, the credibility of the witnesses who testify, how the jury perceives those witnesses and the particular facts of your case.
There are several factors that can impact whether you recover these damages:
- How seriously injured were you?
- How quickly did you seek medical treatment following the accident?
- Were you a compliant patient according to the doctor’s recommendations? Did you make the appointments and work toward returning to work?
- Do you have any preexisting injuries, i.e., did you have a similar injury in the past?
- Can you document and articulate your pain and suffering?
- Can others testify as to what impact this had on your life?
- Are the jurors sympathetic to you, and do they like you?
Whether a jury likes you as a person and can relate to you without really knowing you has an impact on your credibility with them. A jury that likes you is more likely to empathize with you.
The Case’s Jurisdiction And Venue
Although where the accident happens is beyond your control, where your case is filed can have an impact on how much your case is worth. Just as different counties vote differently in elections, juries in different counties can award different amounts of money for the same case. Some juries are more conservative than others. An experienced trial attorney will know the reputation of different counties and can advise you accordingly.
The Judge Appointed To Your Case
The particular judge you have in your case can also impact the value of your case, even if a jury decides your case. The judge is the referee of the courtroom and makes crucial decisions as to what evidence the jury hears, which can affect the ultimate outcome of your case.
The At-Fault Party’s Insurance And Assets
You have gone through the litigation process and received a favorable verdict. Now, all you have to do is request the check, right? Wrong! Even if a jury renders a verdict in your favor and awards you damages, you still have to collect the money awarded, which can require further litigation. If the responsible party has enough insurance to pay the verdict, this will not be a problem. However, many times you will find the responsible party does not have sufficient insurance to pay the total value of your case. Over 25% of the drivers in Mississippi have no insurance, even though it is illegal to drive without insurance. When they have no insurance, you have to look to other avenues to receive compensation. Such avenues include the personal assets of the wrongdoer and even your own insurance policy to see if you have uninsured motorist coverage as well as explore other avenues of recovery. This is where an experienced attorney makes a difference.
Liens And Subrogation Rights Of The Insurance Company
Although you may receive a certain monetary sum either through a jury award or settlement, that does not necessarily reflect the amount of money you will take home. For instance, if an insurance company or governmental entity pays your medical expenses, they are entitled to seek reimbursement for any amounts paid on your behalf by the party legally responsible for the accident. In the case of personal injury claims, there are certain liens or rights of subrogation you need to be aware of.
Below is the list of liens or rights of subrogation that usually arise:
- Health insurance subrogation claims
All major health insurance companies have a contractual right of subrogation. If the health insurance carrier pays your medical expenses as a result of an accident you were in, then it has a right to recover the amounts it paid from the other party responsible for your injuries. Usually, the insurance company will put the insured on notice of their liens, so you must be attentive to this notice and forward it to your attorney.
- Workers’ compensation lien
This type of lien is a “statutory lien” in Mississippi. By statute, the employer or workers’ compensation insurance company is subrogated to your rights for the amounts it paid on your behalf. In other words, if the workers’ compensation carrier has paid your wages and medical expenses while you were injured, they can recover the amounts paid on your behalf from a third party responsible for your injuries.
- Government liens (V.A., Medicare, Medicaid)
The general rule is that if the government paid for any portion of your medical care, the government has a right to be reimbursed if you recover any money for your injuries from another person. If the Mississippi Division of Medicaid has paid any portion of your medical care, it is very important that you put them on notice early in the litigation or else you could be held liable for double the amount owed if you settle your claim without their involvement. The same holds true for a Medicare lien, except that the federal government enforces it.
As you can see, evaluating and valuing a particular case requires experience and a lot of knowledge. The insurance company of the other party has adjusters and attorneys with the experience to make sure the insurance company is well protected. Without an experienced attorney on your side, you will be at a serious disadvantage if you try to handle your claim yourself.
Further, various liens and rights of subrogation are a legal minefield for the uninformed. That is why you should look to an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to guide you through this process, not one seeking a “quick settlement” before the facts of the case are known.
You Don’t Have To Fight Alone – Contact Us Today
No one deserves to suffer, especially because of someone else’s actions. If you face the life-altering consequences of another person’s negligence, a criminal charge or insurance bad faith and denial, Kilpatrick & Philley is here to help you fight for what you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation online or by calling 601-707-4669.