Mississippi Wrongful Death Lawyer
A family member’s unexpected death is a horrible tragedy, which is made worse when someone else’s negligence causes their death. In the wake of this tragedy, you may be questioning how to move on and handle new expenses, such as funeral and burial expenses. In some cases, you might be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. While no amount of compensation will bring back your loved one, this compensation can help pay off death-related expenses and help your family work through your unexpected financial hardships. Wrongful death claims are complicated to pursue, which is why you want a skilled Mississippi wrongful death lawyer on your side.
At Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC, we understand what a horrible and stressful time your family is going through. We provide compassionate yet aggressive representation. We will be there to help you through the whole process, but we aren’t afraid to stand up to the defendants and their insurance companies to get your family the justice you all deserve.
What is a Mississippi Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death law in Mississippi is closely connected to personal injury law. In both wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits, a party can be eligible to file a civil lawsuit in order to seek compensation for injuries that resulted from another party’s careless or reckless behavior, or from another party’s actions. Yet the two types of claims have some key distinctions. With a personal injury lawsuit, the person who is actually injured is the one who will file the civil lawsuit. Differently, with a wrongful death lawsuit, the injured person is not alive to file a claim on their own behalf. Accordingly, Mississippi law allows another party to step into the deceased’s shoes in order to seek compensation from the liable party.
Wrongful death claims can be filed for many different types of fatal accidents or injuries, including, for example:
- Motor vehicle accidents;
- Medical negligence;
- Product defects; and
- Certain types of workplace injuries.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim in Mississippi
Various types of damages may be available in a Mississippi wrongful death lawsuit, including but not limited to the following:
- Funeral expenses for the deceased;
- Medical bills incurred by the deceased prior to death;
- Deceased’s pain and suffering;
- Deceased’s lost wages; and
- Loss of the deceased’s companionship (for a surviving family member).
Most wrongful death cases in Mississippi have a damages cap for certain types of damages, which may be set at either $1,000,000 or $500,000 depending upon the kind of injury involved in the case. To determine if a damages cap could affect your claim, you should seek advice from a lawyer.
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Mississippi
In some states, only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, also known as the executor, can be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Other states only permit certain surviving family members to file these types of claims. Under Mississippi law, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate or the deceased’s surviving spouse, parents, children, or siblings can be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, it is important to be clear that only one wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. If multiple parties want to file a claim, they may be able to join together as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
To file a wrongful death lawsuit, it is also critical to ensure that your claim is filed before the statute of limitations runs out. For most wrongful death cases, there is a three-year statute of limitations, but some cases involving intentional assaults have a much shorter statute of limitations to consider.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Mississippi?
Only eligible family members are entitled to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit when someone dies. These individuals are the surviving spouse and/or surviving child. In some situations, the estate’s personal representative can bring a claim or the deceased’s surviving parents or siblings.
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Like other types of personal injury claims, you only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit for wrongful death in Mississippi. In most cases, you have three years from the date of death to file a lawsuit. Certain circumstances can alter the deadline, most notably medical malpractice or claims against the government. Do not attempt to figure out the filing deadline on your own. Speak with an attorney as it’s the only way you can ensure the deadline won’t be missed.
Damages Available in a Mississippi Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When an eligible family member files a wrongful death claim, it’s for financial damages. That differs from any criminal charges that may be pending against the defendant. If they are found guilty in a criminal trial, the judge may order restitution to be paid to you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you are successful, you could be eligible to receive:
- Cost of funeral and burial services;
- Medical expenses before the victim died;
- Property damage;
- Loss of support and companionship;
- Lost wages and benefits the deceased would have earned; and
- Pain and suffering surviving family members experienced.
If there are allegations of willful misconduct or gross negligence, you could be eligible to receive punitive damages. There is no guarantee that the court will award punitive damages, but there is a possibility under certain circumstances. Punitive damages are meant to punish and deter someone from engaging in the same behavior again.
Contact a Mississippi Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, speak with our Mississippi wrongful death lawyer to learn how we can assist. Contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC today to schedule an initial consultation.