Before a settlement is awarded to a plaintiff in a personal injury case, there are many factors that are used to determine how much he or she should receive in damages. While serious and life-threatening injuries will often result in a higher payout, there are factors that can actually reduce the amount you are entitled to recover, despite your injuries and losses. What are these factors?
In this article, not only will we address this question, but also explain how a personal injury attorney in Jackson, MS can actually increase your chances of you being awarded the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to collect.
What factors could cause my settlement to be reduced?
It all depends on the type of accident and what your role was in it.
Example of when your settlement might be reduced if you were involved in a car wreck.
- Let’s say you involved in a car crash in Jackson, MS. A distracted driver rear-ended your vehicle as the two of you were approaching a red light, resulting in you suffering head trauma and a few other minor injuries. While it is common for a driver who hits another vehicle from behind to be held accountable for causing the collision, those weren’t the circumstances in this accident. Instead, you were found to be partially liable for a percentage of the accident as it was determined that you were traveling too fast for roadway conditions and didn’t give the driver ample time to stop. Because you played a role in causing the accident, your settlement amount, given you win your case, would be reduced by the percentage of your fault. Therefore, if you were 20% at fault for the accident, the amount you are awarded would be reduced by this amount.
Example of when your settlement would be lowered if you were involved in an accident while riding your bike.
- Now, maybe you weren’t involved in a motor vehicle accident, but instead, were involved in a crash while riding your bike. Let’s say a motorist drove too close to you and hit you while you were riding on the side of the road as the sun was setting. Although bicyclists are legally permitted to share the road, there are certain laws that they must always be in compliance with. Now, let’s imagine you were following all the laws that apply to bicyclists in the State of MS except one. While 63-7-13 of Mississippi’s Bicycle Laws requires that your bike is “equipped with a lighted white lamp on the front thereof visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of at least five hundred feet in front of such bicycle,” yours did not have this light which made it difficult for the driver to see you.
Had your bicycle been equipped with the required gear, the driver may have been able to see you and the accident could have been prevented. As a result of your actions, you could be held partially at fault for the incident and again, your settlement would be reduced by the percentage of your fault.
Let’s assume you were not involved in a motor vehicle accident or one while riding your bike, but instead you were hit while crossing the street.
- If you were hit by a driver while crossing the road in Jackson, MS, and were violating one or more traffic laws at the time of the accident, you could be held partially liable for causing it which could reduce your settlement amount. In the State of MS, pedestrians are expected to cross the road at a designated crosswalk or at an unmarked crossway at an intersection [Source: Mississippi Department of Transportation]. Aside from this law, there are also plenty of other traffic laws that apply to pedestrians and could cost you a percentage of your settlement if you were found guilty of violating one or more of these.
Aside from the examples we have provided above, there are other things that could impact your settlement and cause it to be reduced. For instance, if you provided a statement to the liable party’s insurer and admitted fault to some degree, even if you didn’t have evidence that supported this, the insurer could use this against you and potentially hold you liable for causing the accident.
So, what can you do to avoid having your settlement lowered and instead increase your chances of being awarded the maximum amount of compensation your damages entitle you to? You retain a Jackson, MS personal injury lawyer in who is going to protect your interests, assure you don’t make an unintentional mistake, and help you gather all the evidence you need to prove your innocence. If you would like to connect with a legal expert who can do this for you, contact Ballard Law, PLLC today.
You can reach Ballard Law, PLLC at:
108 S. President Street
Jackson, MS 39201