What is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Mississippi?

Question

What is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Mississippi?

Answer

Before we jump into the details of the law in Mississippi, we should explain that a “statute of limitations” is a state law that puts a time limit on your right to go to court and file a civil lawsuit after you have suffered some type of harm. These deadlines vary depending on the kind of case you want to file.

Section 15-1-49 of the Mississippi Code Annotated contains a “catch-all” three-year statute of limitations that will apply to almost all lawsuits arising from a vehicle accident.

So, that means if anyone was injured in the crash -- including a driver, passenger, motorcycle rider, bicyclist, or pedestrian -- or had their vehicle or other personal property damaged, they must get their lawsuit filed against any potential defendant within three years. For these injury and property damage cases, the three-year “clock” starts running on the date of the accident.

If someone died as a result of the car accident, and their family member or a representative of the estate wants to file a Mississippi wrongful death claim, against the person responsible for the crash, the same three-year deadline applies, but the “clock” starts running on the day of the accident victim’s death (which could be later than the date of the accident itself).

Keep in mind that regardless of the basis for bringing the lawsuit -- whether it’s an injury, a death, or just damage to a vehicle -- the success of the case will almost certainly hinge on your ability to prove that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of the crash. Learn more about Proving Fault for a Car Accident.

It’s crucial to understand and abide by the statute of limitations as it applies to your situation. That’s because if you try to file your lawsuit after the statute of limitations deadline has already passed, the defendant is sure to ask the court to dismiss the case, and the court is very likely to agree that a dismissal is appropriate.

From a strategy standpoint, you always want to make sure you have plenty of time to file a lawsuit, even if you’re pretty sure you’ll reach a car accident settlement. If you have all of your options open -- and the other side knows it -- you’ll have more leverage during settlement talks. So if the three-year deadline is approaching, it may be time to talk with an experienced Mississippi car accident attorney.

by: David Goguen, J.D.

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