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Mississippi's tort laws are stacked against the injured

About 12 years ago, insurance companies in Mississippi lobbied hard for tort reform, and they won. The state's laws were changed to make it more difficult for people who were hurt by negligence to get compensated for their injuries.

The state became one of the first to put a cap on noneconomic and punitive damages in civil lawsuits, which limits the damages a person can receive for pain and suffering, and accidents caused by intentional or illegal acts.

The 2004 reform also put an end to what is called joint and several liability. Now defendants can only be ordered to pay damages respective to the percentage of fault that they were responsible for, which often means accident victims are not fully compensated.

Strict rules were also created to determine where a lawsuit can be filed, and new protections were added for "innocent sellers" in product liability claims and for property owners in premises liability claims.

The reform also changed what information can be presented to juries in civil trials. For example, juries are not allowed to hear whether or not a driver who hit you is covered by insurance.

The result of the reform has been great for insurance companies, but not-so-great for average people who are injured due to no fault of their own. In too many cases, these individuals are left to foot the bill after being injured by someone else's carelessness.

The bottom line is that if you are involved in a serious personal injury accident in Mississippi, then you will need a good lawyer to get you the compensation that you deserve. It takes knowledge and skill in order to make up for the unfairness that the law has created in the state.

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