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Can I Sue If My Loved One Was Killed In a Truck Accident?

Can I Sue If My Loved One Was Killed In a Truck Accident?

Losing a loved one in a tragic truck accident is a harrowing experience. In addition to the emotional devastation, families often face significant financial hardships when a provider is suddenly taken away. If your family member was killed in an 18-wheeler accident in Mississippi due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. A skilled Mississippi wrongful death accident lawyer can help you through this challenging process and fight for the justice your loved one deserves.

Our Mississippi personal injury lawyers help you navigate the complexities of your legal case. Call us today at (833) 626-2857

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims in Mississippi

In Mississippi, a wrongful death occurs when someone is killed due to the “wrongful or negligent act or omission” of another party. This can include fatal accidents caused by truck driver error, trucking company negligence, defective vehicle parts, etc. Mississippi law allows certain surviving family members to bring a wrongful death claim seeking damages from the responsible parties.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Mississippi?

The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is responsible for filing the wrongful death claim.

 This is typically the executor named in the will or an administrator appointed by the court. The personal representative brings the lawsuit on behalf of the estate and any eligible surviving family members.

If there is no personal representative, Mississippi law outlines a hierarchy of family members who have the right to file a wrongful death suit. 

The eligible parties, in order, are the surviving spouse, surviving children, surviving parents, and surviving siblings. No other relatives, such as grandparents or cousins, have the right to bring a wrongful death claim in Mississippi.

Suppose the deceased person has no surviving family members who fall into the above categories. In that case, the wrongful death claim can be brought by someone who can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased. This might include an unmarried partner or a stepchild not legally adopted by the deceased. They would need to demonstrate their financial dependence on the court.

It’s important to note that only one wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. The goal is for all eligible surviving family members to work together, either joining in one suit or having one family member represent everyone’s collective interests. An experienced Mississippi truck accident attorney can help coordinate this process.

What Damages Are Available in a Mississippi Wrongful Death Case?

A wrongful death claim is meant to compensate the deceased person’s estate and family for their losses stemming from the death. Mississippi allows the following types of damages to be recovered:

  • Medical expenses related to the deceased person’s final injury or illness

  • Funeral and burial expenses

  • The deceased would have likely earned lost wages and benefits if they had lived.

  • Pain and suffering endured by the deceased before they died

  • Loss of care, companionship, guidance, and support the deceased would have provided to family members

Some damages, like medical bills and funeral costs, are intended to repay the estate for costs incurred. Lost wages are also paid to the estate and distributed to family members. However, damages for pain, suffering, and loss of companionship are paid directly to eligible family members.

In some cases, courts may also award punitive damages if the defendant’s actions were willful, wanton, fraudulent, or grossly negligent. Punitive damages punish the wrongdoer and deter similar misconduct, rather than compensate the family.

Proving Negligence in a Fatal Truck Accident Case

To win a wrongful death case involving a commercial truck crash, your Mississippi truck accident lawyer will need to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your loved one’s death. Several different parties could potentially be liable, including:

  • The truck driver  

  • The trucking company

  • The owner of the truck

  • Third-party contractors

  • The company that loaded the truck’s cargo

  • The company responsible for truck maintenance and repairs

  • Manufacturers of faulty vehicle parts

Proving negligence requires demonstrating four key elements:

  • Duty: The defendant owed the deceased a duty of care to avoid causing them harm.

  • Breach: The defendant breached this duty by acting or failing to act in a way that a reasonable person would in a similar situation.  

  • Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of the fatal accident.

  • Damages: The breach of duty caused damages to the deceased person and their surviving family members.

Truck accident cases are complex, often involving multiple liable parties and federal trucking regulations. A skilled truck accident lawyer can investigate the crash, gather evidence, hire expert witnesses, and build a strong case on your behalf.

The Importance of Acting Quickly

It’s crucial to speak with a Mississippi personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if you believe you have a wrongful death claim. Mississippi has a 3-year statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits, meaning you must file a suit within 3 years of the date of death in most cases. If you miss this deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case. The sooner you consult with an attorney, the more time they will have to investigate and build your case before the statutory deadline expires.

In addition, critical evidence can be lost or destroyed over time. Trucking companies are only required to keep certain records for a limited period. An attorney can send a spoliation letter notifying the company of your claim and demanding they preserve all potentially relevant evidence. Acting quickly helps ensure that substantial evidence is available for your case.


  1. How long does a wrongful death truck accident case take in Mississippi?

The timeline varies, but Mississippi wrongful death lawsuits often take around 1-3 years to resolve. Complex cases involving multiple defendants can sometimes take longer. Your truck accident attorney can give you a better estimate for your specific situation.

  1. Can I still file a wrongful death claim if my loved one was partially at fault for the truck accident?

Mississippi follows pure comparative negligence rules, meaning you can still recover damages even if your loved one was partially to blame. However, your total damages would be reduced by their assigned percentage of fault. So if they were found to be 30% at fault, your damages would be reduced by 30%. A skilled truck accident lawyer can help minimize your loved one’s fault attribution.

  1. What if the truck driver died in the accident, too? Can I still sue their estate?

Yes, you can typically bring a Mississippi wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party’s estate if they also died in the accident. You would name the personal representative of their estate as the defendant. Remember that other parties, like the trucking company, may also share liability.

  1. How are wrongful death settlement funds paid out?  

Once a settlement is reached, your attorney typically sets up an estate for your deceased loved one if one has not already been established. The settlement funds are then paid to the estate. From there, the personal representative distributes the funds to beneficiaries (surviving family members) according to the terms of the will or Mississippi’s intestate laws. Your attorney and the estate’s executor will handle this process.

  1. How much does it cost to hire a Mississippi truck accident lawyer?

Most reputable Mississippi personal injury attorneys handle wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay no upfront costs, and your attorney only collects a fee if they secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf. The fee is typically a percentage of the total recovery, often around 33-40%. You may be responsible for additional costs like court filing and expert witness fees.

Work with a Truck Accident Lawyer

Losing a loved one in a devastating rig accident is never easy, but you don’t have to navigate the complex legal system alone. Remember, you only have a limited time to file a claim in Mississippi, so it’s essential to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to start the process. 

With their knowledge and resources, a skilled lawyer can handle the legal heavy lifting so that you can focus on healing and honoring your loved one’s memory. Mama Justice Law Firm offers a free consultation to discuss your legal options for fair financial recovery. Call us today at (833) 626-2857!

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