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What Is a Mississippi Wrongful Death Lawsuit, and Can I File One?

May 12, 2021

Wrongful death lawsuits are a way for grieving families to recover the financial compensation they need and deserve after a loved one dies in a way that wasn’t their fault. This can include car crashes, truck wrecks, motorcycle accidents, a slip and fall, or other unintentional “accidents.”

Wrongful death claims can also include death due to the intentional, malicious actions of another person. In either situation, surviving family members should not have to pay for funeral expenses or medical care themselves, suffer from the strain of lost wages, or have their pain and suffering go unrecognized.

In this blog, we outline things you should know about wrongful death claims, what makes them unique, and steps to rebuild.

6 Things You Should Know About Mississippi Wrongful Death Claims

Filing a wrongful death claim is a big step. Here’s what you should know about them.

1. Not Everyone Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Mississippi

In Mississippi, only certain people can file a wrongful death lawsuit. They include:

  • Surviving spouses
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Estate representatives

Unfortunately, this excludes unmarried partners and others who are not estate representatives from filing suit. If you have questions about your situation and want to talk to an experienced attorney about your options, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

2. There Are Time Limits on Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Different rules guide when to file a wrongful death lawsuit, depending on how your loved one died. These rules are called the statute of limitations. If negligence caused your loved one’s death (for example, a drunk driving crash), you have three years to file a claim. If they died because of someone’s intentional or violent actions, such as in an assault and battery case, the statute of limitations is one year.

3. What Situations Warrant a Wrongful Death Claim?

You can file a wrongful death claim if your loved one or someone whose estate you represent died as a direct result of:

  • Someone’s intentional, harmful actions
  • Someone’s dangerous, risky, or unintentional actions (negligence)
  • A dangerous or defective product
  • A dangerous premises or property
  • Dangerous or harmful medications or food products

4. Start a Wrongful Death Claim by Filing Several Documents

Before you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you might need to open an estate for your loved one. This involves filing paperwork with the probate court and naming a personal representative.

Then, you can initiate a Mississippi wrongful death claim by filing a lawsuit. To do this, you’ll need to submit a written complaint, summons, and a filing fee in circuit court. You’ll also have to serve these documents on the at-fault parties, giving them notice of your legal claims. The complaint provides the person responsible with detailed information and legal grounds for the case, and the summons describes that they are being sued and where the lawsuit will take place.

Because this process requires specific documents and must follow a complex legal process, most people choose to work with a wrongful death attorney.

5. The Value of Your Claim Depends on Your Family’s Situation

No two wrongful death claims are alike, so the value of your case will be unique, based on your family’s unique situation. The compensation included in a wrongful death claim can cover:

  • Your loved one’s medical care and final care before they died
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Lost inheritance
  • Lost services provided
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, or love

These damages include economic losses, which cover the financial toll of your loved one’s death, and non-economic, which cover your emotional losses.

There are limits to how much families can recover for non-economic damages based on your situation in Mississippi. Those limits are:

  • Medical malpractice: $500,000
  • Defective or dangerous products: $1 million
  • Pharmaceutical: $1 million

Additionally, under Mississippi law, a victim, injured person, or their representative can recover compensation for their injuries, no matter how at fault they were in the accident. For example, the insurance company may claim that you shouldn’t get compensation because your loved one was speeding at the time of the crash. This isn’t true. If you’re receiving messages saying you’re not eligible for compensation because of your loved one’s actions before they died, speak to a lawyer right away.

6. How Damages Are Distributed Depends on Your Family’s Situation

In Mississippi, if a surviving spouse files the suit, damages are equally divided between the spouse and any surviving children. In the absence of any spouse or children, the damages are divided between parents and siblings. If you’re the legal representative filing on behalf of someone without parents, siblings, children, or a spouse, you are eligible to collect all the available compensation.

If you have questions about your case value, how distribution rules affect your unique situation, how much you may be owed, and what to do next, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. Our experienced personal injury lawyers are ready to help you understand your options and be walking you through filing a wrongful death claim.

What Makes a Mississippi Wrongful Death Claim Unlike Other Lawsuits?

Wrongful death lawsuits are like personal injury claims because they both involve a concept of negligence. If your loved one died because of someone else’s mistake or dangerous choices, to file a successful case, you must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care, they did not provide that duty of care, and that failure caused your loved one to die. A typical example is a drunk driving accident; the driver failed to follow the rules of the road, causing your loved one to die.

Wrongful death lawsuits are unique because they can help grieving families recover financial compensation for other situations. For instance, if a doctor does not diagnose a medical condition correctly, and that misdiagnosis results in your loved one’s death, you could have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.

Wrongful death lawsuits are unique because they can help grieving families recover financial compensation for other situations. For instance, if a doctor does not diagnose a medical condition correctly, and that misdiagnosis results in your loved one’s death, you could have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.

Furthermore, suppose your loved one died because of someone else’s intentional, harmful actions. In that case, a wrongful death claim is meant to provide grieving family members or the estate with the financial compensation they need to rebuild. This is not the same as a civil trial, which is brought by the state and is meant to punish the person responsible for their actions. This distinction is important because a “guilty” verdict in a civil trial does not offer the family or the estate any financial compensation. Unfortunately, many people get the two confused and don’t file a claim of their own, losing the chance to recover compensation because the statute of limitations expires.

An Experienced, Empathetic Attorney Can Help Grieving Families Rebuild

Moving on after losing a loved one is incredibly difficult. If they died because of someone else’s mistake, it could be even more challenging.

Our team has over 30 years of experience standing up for families and demanding fair compensation after the worst happens. Financial compensation can’t bring your loved one back, but it can help you move on, rebuild, and avoid worrying about how you’ll pay your bills or take care of your financial needs.

RELATED: Don’t Fall for These 5 Common Insurance Company Tactics After a Truck Accident

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Fighting for Families for Over 30 Years

We know how important family is, which is why we fight so hard for survivors after the unthinkable happens. We have a winning track record, a reputation for aggressive tactics, and the years of experience it takes to win on our clients’ behalf.

We’d love to speak with you if you have questions about your case and what to do next. Our firm is proud to offer everyone a free, private, no-strings-attached case assessment so we can get to know you and offer no-nonsense legal advice. Get started today by calling 228-888-8888, or complete this brief form today.

References:

MS Code § 11-7-13 (2013).

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

 

 

 

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