In this article, we'll take a look at the different Mississippi laws that could have an impact on a slip and fall settlement or lawsuit in the state. We'll being with the time limits for bringing a slip and fall lawsuit to court in Mississippi. We'll also look at how Mississippi resolves cases in which the injured person is partly to blame for the slip and fall accident, and how the procedural rules change if a Mississippi slip and fall case involves a government agency or employee.
In Mississippi, you have three years after a slip and fall accident to file a lawsuit in the state's courts. The clock for this three-year time limit (which comes from a law called a "statute of limitations") usually begins running on the date of the accident. If you don't file your lawsuit within three years, you'll almost certainly be barred from bringing it at all.
This three-year time limit only applies to cases filed in court. It does not affect an insurance claim you might file against the property owner who was responsible for the slip and fall. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to file any insurance claim as soon as possible after the accident (and the insurance company may require that you file the claim within a "reasonable time" anyway). That way you have plenty of time to take the matter to court (or threaten to do so) if settlement talks stall.
Each state has its own rules for determining the result in a slip and fall case when the injured person is partly at fault for the accident. Mississippi applies a "pure comparative fault" rule in these shared fault situations.
Here's an example of Mississippi's "pure comparative fault" rule in action. Suppose that you're at the mall one day. You see a great display in a store window, and you're so busy trying to read the signs as you walk toward it that you don't see a puddle of spilled nacho cheese on the floor in front of you. You slip in the cheese and fall. Since you were injured in the fall, you decide to file an insurance claim or a court case. The insurance adjuster or jury examines your claim or the evidence in your case and decides that your total damages -- including lost wages, medical bills, and all the other costs of your injury -- total $10,000. The adjuster or jury also says, however, that you were 20 percent at fault for the accident (for not watching where you were going), and the mall was 80 percent at fault (since it failed to clean up the spill within a reasonable time).
Under Mississippi's pure comparative fault rule, you are entitled to a reduced amount of damages that subtracts the percentage of fault assigned to you. Here, that means $2,000, representing your 20 percent of the fault, is subtracted from the $10,000 total, leaving you with $8,000.
Because Mississippi uses a "pure" comparative fault rule, the math is the same no matter how much fault is assigned to you. For example, if you were found to be 90 percent at fault in the example above, you could still technically recover $1,000, or the $10,000 total minus $9,000 representing your 90 percent of the fault.
Slip and fall claims against a state or local government in Mississippi follow a unique set of rules. For instance, these rules apply if you slip in a public library or trip on a broken floor tile while touring a state building.
Claims against any unit of government in Mississippi should be filed directly with that unit of government. Most cities and counties provide filing information on their websites, like this example from the City of Jackson Risk Management Division. Claims against the state should be filed with the state's Attorney General, according to the Mississippi Tort Claims Act.
You have 90 days to file a claim against a state or local government in Mississippi after a slip and fall accident. If you do not file your claim within 90 days, you may lose your chance to receive compensation from any government agency or employee who may be responsible for your injuries.