How Often Are Punitive Damages Awarded in Mississippi Injury Claims?

Published on Apr 14, 2023 at 1:59 pm in Personal Injury.
How Often Are Punitive Damages Awarded in Mississippi Injury Claims?

A severe injury can seriously and even permanently alter the course of your future, impacting everything from your physical and emotional health to your financial stability. When you’ve been injured because of another person’s or entity’s negligence, it is important for you to understand the compensation to which you are legally entitled.

Mississippi law affords injury victims the right to pursue compensation for their related damages, including lost wages, medical bills, property damage, mental anguish, and more. This compensation can typically be broken down into three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

Economic and non-economic damages are the most commonly awarded compensation. So how often are punitive damages awarded in Mississippi injury claims?

What Is the Purpose of Compensation in Personal Injury Claims?

The goal of a personal injury claim is to secure compensation and a sense of justice for an individual who has been injured or harmed because of another’s actions. In general, personal injury settlements are paid by the at-fault party’s insurer. Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law has helped injury victims in Mississippi secure the compensation they are owed from auto, homeowners, boat, medical malpractice, and workers’ compensation insurance companies.

The compensation you are entitled to will vary depending on the type of accident you were involved in, the severity and extent of your injuries, your financial losses, and more.

Economic Damages

The financial losses you have suffered as a result of your injuries are considered your economic damages. These encompass the calculable monetary losses you’ve suffered both in the past and present, as well as those you are expected to incur in the future. A typical injury claim might involve some of the following examples of economic damages:

  • Lost wages
  • Reduced capacity for future earnings
  • Past, current, and future medical expenses
  • Transportation costs for medical care
  • Property damage
  • Costs of home renovation to accommodate a new disability

Non-Economic Damages

Any non-monetary loss that does not have a direct financial value falls under the umbrella of non-economic damages. Your non-economic damages encompass the other ways in which your life has been impacted by a car accident, slip and fall, or act of medical malpractice.

Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law understands that many of the ways we suffer might not have an attached price tag but still affect our lives in profound and long-lasting ways. For this reason, you have the right to be fairly and justly compensated for:

  • Mental anguish
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability or permanent impairment
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Decreased quality of life

What Are Punitive Damages?

Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages do not seek to compensate an injury victim for any specific damage or loss. Instead, punitive damages are awarded with the intent of punishing the at-fault party.

This means that you are not eligible to receive punitive damages for any loss (financial or not) that you have incurred. The actions of the party who injured you are what determines whether these damages are called for.

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded in Mississippi Injury Claims?

Miss. Code Ann. § 11-1-65 allows for the imposing of punitive damages so long as there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the at-fault party “acted with actual malice, gross negligence which evidences a willful, wanton or reckless disregard for the safety of others, or committed actual fraud.”

The purpose is to deter the person who caused the accident from engaging in similarly dangerous behavior in the future. Being ordered to pay punitive damages also makes an example of that individual, hopefully deterring others from behaving similarly. For this reason, they are also sometimes referred to as exemplary damages.

Punitive damages are generally not warranted in cases involving simple negligence. Simple negligence (also called ordinary negligence) is the easiest form of negligence to prove in a Mississippi injury claim and may refer to actions such as talking on the phone while driving, forgetting to place a wet floor sign after mopping or rolling through a stop sign. These are careless mistakes or errors that are not made with the intent to cause harm.

Punitive damages are imposed when the actions of the at-fault party demonstrated a reckless disregard for the health, safety, and wellbeing of others.

How Often Are Punitive Damages Awarded in Mississippi Injury Claims?

In order to prove a personal injury, premises liability, or medical malpractice claim in Mississippi, you need only a preponderance of the evidence. Unlike in the world of criminal law, civil law only requires that you prove that something is more likely to have happened than not.

To secure the full and fair compensation that you are owed for your economic and non-economic losses, you need only prove that it is more likely than not that the other driver was at fault for your accident and subsequent injuries.

However, for punitive damages, you must provide clear and convincing evidence that the person who injured you acted with intentional malice, gross negligence, actual fraud, or a willful and wanton disregard for your safety. The threshold for securing punitive damages is significantly higher. For this reason, punitive damages are relatively rare in Mississippi personal injury claims.

Whether you’re pursuing compensation for a car accident or a doctor’s error, most injury claims do not involve punitive damages. If you believe punitive damages are called for in your case, be sure to consult with an experienced attorney.

Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law Fights for Biloxi Injury Victims

You deserve to be fully and fairly compensated for what you have been through. If maximum compensation for your case involves punitive damages, we will investigate your claim, collect relevant evidence, speak with eyewitnesses, and build the strongest possible case on your behalf.

For an opportunity to speak one-on-one with a personal injury attorney who cares, please contact our Biloxi law office. We offer free consultations to injury victims and their families.



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