Were you or a loved one injured due to someone else’s negligence? Read these 3 personal injury tips, then call our Mississippi lawyer today.
There’s a term that comes up almost daily in law practice, especially for those of us who practice in personal injury. Increasingly, over the last several years, it’s a term that the general public has gotten very familiar with— pre-existing condition. We’re used to hearing that term in the context of health insurance. Most everyone knows or has heard of someone whose health insurance claim has been denied because of a preexisting condition. Likewise, we know that people with preexisting conditions sometimes have difficulty getting access to health insurance. It comes up often in my practice that a client comes in, who has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or bad conduct, and they ask how their preexisting condition impacts their claim under Mississippi law.
To look at it from another angle, oftentimes, we have clients who come into us with a claim or an injury who have tried to resolve it on their own with the insurance company of the person who is responsible for causing that injury, and the insurance company wants to devalue their claim because of an alleged preexisting condition of that person. Folks often ask and want to know how that impacts their claim. Here’s the reality of preexisting conditions under Mississippi law, and really the laws of most states.
When a person does bad conduct or a person makes decisions and acts in a way that hurts someone else – what we call negligence – they take that person as they find them. It’s called the eggshell rule in some states; the thin skull rule is what it’s referred to in other states.
I have handled multiple cases like these over the last few years, and I’m working on some now. Take the example of an older person, a retired person, who is still very active in their life but maybe has arthritis, maybe they’re in their 60s or 70s, or they’ve had prior back surgery. They have a preexisting condition in the sense that their back is not as strong as it once was, or their knee or their hip isn’t as strong as it once was, or they’ve had prior injuries, but they’re still active and able to drive. Well, if a drunk, distracted or irresponsible driver comes along and runs a red light or stop sign and hits that elderly person’s car, causing new injuries to that back, hip, or knee where they’ve had problems, or that exacerbates or brings back the problems that they previously had with that back, hip or knee, the person who caused that wreck is responsible for those exacerbated, worsened, or new injuries. The preexisting condition is, in some instances, a side note. Ultimately, the person who caused that injury takes their victim as they find them.
Frankly, what we have learned is to not be afraid of preexisting conditions in our clients. We embrace them because our clients are who they are. Our clients are the victim, and the guilty party has to take our victim the way that they found them. If they made a preexisting condition worse, if they brought back an old injury that our client had previously recovered from, if they added new injuries on top of it, then they have to be held responsible for that under Mississippi law, and under the laws of most states. An experienced trial lawyer who works on personal injury cases on a regular basis will know how to work up the case to make sure that the client is fairly compensated for those injuries, regardless of whether a preexisting condition is present.
If you have a personal injury claim, Brad Morris Law Firm is here and available for consult regarding your preexisting condition or any other claim that you may have. We’ll try to answer your questions.
We’ve recently had a couple of cases that we were able to resolve for fair value, or what I would say are top dollar for our clients. One was a death case involving a tractor trailer truck; another, a medical malpractice case. In both of those cases, what became central to us getting top dollar on those cases were the experts that we retained in those cases. Expert witnesses are very common in personal injury cases. Since our practice is headquartered here in Mississippi, we’re particularly attuned to that fact because in Mississippi you have to have an expert consult on your case before you can even file suit in a medical malpractice case. You need an attorney who is experienced in medical malpractice cases, who has worked those types of cases before, and who knows the nuances of these cases. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting an attorney who potentially misses key steps like that. For instance, in a medical malpractice case, you would have an expert review the case and acknowledge to the attorney that there is a basis for bringing the claim before you even are able, under our statutes, to go file suit.
Those statutory requirements aside, experts can be very important in proving up your cases. Here in our firm, we use experts regularly in a number of ways to prove our cases across the board. For instance, in the car wreck and tractor trailer case that I gave earlier as an example, we brought in crash reconstruction experts. We use some of the top experts here in Mississippi on our cases, sending them to the crash scene to survey it, pull in the information and then reconstruct what happened in that wreck. This can show scientifically how and why the defendant in that case was responsible for the wreck and how that led to the injuries or sometimes death of our clients. That information is critical in addressing the liability issues in a case so that you remove doubt about liability and get to a place where you show the defendants are absolutely liable. You do that through expert reports, expert testimony and the science that they bring— hard science.
Similarly, in medical malpractice cases, you want an expert in that field. This expert will work with you getting ready for trial and building up the case so that you show the science and demonstrate what the defendant did wrong in the case. The reality is developing these relationships with experts and understanding how to manage experts takes time and experience. It takes a trial lawyer who has been there before to do that the right way.
It also requires significant expenditure, so one of the things you want to look for when you’re consulting with or talking with potential attorneys on your potential personal injury claim is if this firm has the means and the ability to go out and hire top notch experts to pursue your claim. Are they willing to do that? Do they have the budget and the capability to get the experts they need to prove up the case and get top dollar, versus someone who may cut corners or may not be able to afford the very best? Other types of experts often get involved in cases, preparing exhibits, visuals, or videos that demonstrate what happened, or the nature of the injury that the client had. Also, we regularly use economic experts to show the true value of the harm and damages that our client sustained.
These are just some of the examples of how experts, when used by experienced, competent trial lawyers can really help drive not only the success of your case, but the value of them. We try hard to do that and do it in the right way. I’m Brad Morris, here at Brad Morris Law Firm. We’re always available for a free consult. If you have a personal injury case and believe that our help or additional experts may be able to help your case, we’re here to consult with you on that and try to answer your questions.
I was recently on the phone with a potential client here in north Mississippi. We were discussing their potential case. It was a tough case involving someone who had lost a family member as the result of someone else’s bad conduct and negligence. I won’t go into the details of that case, but suffice it to say the spouse who was bringing the potential claim was confused about whether or not they had a case. They had heard about people having claims for emotional distress or their emotional loss and asked me if it’s true that in Mississippi you can recover for emotional distress. I think that is a great question that a lot of people— because of what you see on TV or hear from others— may not be sure about, and it’s a question that I thought we could address here.
The answer to that question is, yes, you can recover in Mississippi in a personal injury claim for your emotional distress. That can result from what we call pain and suffering—the pain that they go through as a result of that injury, or the suffering that they go through as a result of that injury. This pain and suffering is and should be compensable under our law. It can also go to the emotional distress that’s tied to the loss of a loved one, as in the case that I was referencing, where a spouse had died as a result of someone else’s negligence. The spouse who survives and their children – and there could be other members of the family, depending on the situation – under our law are entitled to compensation, not just for the lost earning capacity of that individual, not just for the economic loss of medical bills and those types of things, but for the very real emotional loss of having someone torn from you before their time as a result of someone else’s bad conduct.
The short answer is, yes, under our law here in Mississippi and in most states, you can recover for that emotional loss. The key in doing so is having an attorney and a law firm that deals regularly in these types of claims for personal injury and wrongful death, who knows how to work up the case to get you the correct value, the true value, the top dollar for those emotional losses. It’s not enough just to say that you had them and to make a claim for them, it has to be proven. It’s only with the right experience and working up the case and putting in the sweat equity and working up the case properly that you get that value that you deserve for those very real emotional losses.
As always, we are here at Brad Morris Law Firm are available to consult on your case, if you have any questions, and to get you answers.
Were you or a loved one injured due to someone else’s negligence and have questions about our 3 personal injury tips?
Contact the experienced Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Brad Morris Law Firm, PLLC today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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