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Mississippi Court Records

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What is a Tort Case, and What does it Involve in Mississippi?

In Mississippi, tort cases are a means by which the state provides remedies for civil wrongs. They involve individuals or organizations requesting relief or compensation for injuries caused to their person or property due to another’s actions or inactions. The tort case is a means through which the Mississippi state courts balance the rights of individuals and organizations.

These cases are typically addressed based on the types and value of damages caused. The State Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over most tort cases but handle disputes beyond the jurisdiction of other smaller courts. They handle tort claims for more than $200,000, while the county and justice courts handle cases with lesser amounts in controversy. The circuit courts also handle appeals of tort cases from the County, Justice, and Municipal Courts.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What is Mississippi Tort Law?

Mississippi has several laws that apply to tort cases, such as personal injury claims and settlements. Generally, they include Title 95 (Torts) and Title ll (Civil Practice and Procedure) of the Mississippi State Codes. These laws are concerned with redressing civil wrongs done to individuals or entities. It addresses these situations or cases by providing relief and monetary damages as compensation for proved harms. It is a form of restorative justice as it remedies wrongful acts of negligence or intentional harm.

What Kinds of Cases are Covered by Tort Law in Mississippi?

According to Title 95 of the state codes, some cases covered under tort law in Mississippi include:

  • Assault
  • Libel and slander
  • Trespassing
  • Nuisances
  • Medical malpractice
  • Product liability

What are the Differences Between Criminal Law and Tort Law in Mississippi?

The primary difference between Mississippi criminal and tort laws is that the criminal law is concerned with crimes and illegal acts against the state, while Mississippi tort law provides a means to compensate victims of civil wrongs legally. Civil litigation under Mississippi tort law usually involves some compensation for injuries or damages. Still, under criminal law, it results in the guilty defendant facing incarceration and fines, or in exceptional cases, capital punishment. Other differences include:

  • The tort law addresses disputes between private individuals, organizations, or both, while criminal law is not concerned directly with individual victims. Instead, it acts to protect all citizens from such wrongdoing.
  • While both laws emphasize the burden of proof being on the plaintiff, they usually have different categories of plaintiffs. Under tort law, the plaintiff is the private party that files the case, whereas, the state government initiates cases under criminal law. Additionally, under state tort law, the plaintiff is the individual that was harmed and incurred damages, while under criminal law, the plaintiff is the state government and not the victim of the crime. Therefore, in a tort case, the plaintiff has to produce evidence beyond the balance of probabilities (preponderance of the evidence). In contrast, the state government must prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt under criminal law.
  • Under both laws, a court’s decision can be appealed. However, while either party (plaintiff or defendant) in a tort case can appeal the judgment, only a defendant can appeal a court judgement under criminal law.

What is the Purpose of Tort Law in Mississippi?

The primary purpose of the Mississippi Tort law is restoration or restitution. The law recognizes the effects of civil wrongs on affected individuals or organizations and provides a means of compensation. The body of law guides court operations to restore victims of civil wrongs to the condition they were before the injury. It achieves this feat by awarding them damages that will cover losses incurred. Beyond restoration, it holds corporations and individuals that commit these wrongs liable for their actions and misconduct. It deters potential defendants from such wrongful acts and makes it inconvenient for them to be negligent.

What is a Tort Claim in Mississippi?

When another person or company’s negligent or wrongful actions causes harm, the affected individual has the right to file a claim for the damages. Such liability could be personal injuries or financial. The tort claim is a legal demand for remedy. It is a legal means of recovering the court’s relief as adequate compensation for the losses incurred. It becomes necessary after pre-action protocols fail in resolving the dispute between both parties. Therefore the affected individuals can involve the court and litigate the issue by filing a tort claim.

How Do You File a Tort Claim in Mississippi?

Any plaintiff considering filing a lawsuit after suffering damages or injuries should first determine if the defendant is judgment proof. A judgment-proof defendant has no assets to make payment even if the plaintiff wins the case. Regardless of if the defendant has collectible assets and can pay damages, it’s always advisable to attempt to resolve the issue before filing. A tort claim becomes necessary if no agreement is reached.

To win a tort claim in court, the defendant must provide clear and convincing evidence to the court. This is achievable by gathering present evidence in support of every element of the claim. These include bills, leases, checks, photographs, expert reports, witnesses, etc. Additionally, while the plaintiff has the right to file a tort claim, there is limited time to do so. In Mississippi, the statute of limitations (Title 15, Chapter 1, Section 15–1–49) for most tort claims is three years from the injury date.

If the claim is against the government, the plaintiff must file tort claims with the state’s Attorney General within 90 days. It will require unique filing procedures from a regular tort claim.

Hence, it is advisable to hire a personal injury lawyer for this process.

Filing

  • Visit the appropriate court and file a petition, also called a declaration and affidavit. According to (Miss. Codes, Title 11, Chapter 9), the relevant court is where the defendant resides or where the incident occurred. Filing in the wrong court can lead to a transfer or dismissal.
  • The Court Clerk will provide petition forms for the complaints in the different types of tort cases tried in Mississippi.
  • Fill out the form complaint and pay the necessary filing and service fee. Parties that cannot afford the fees can file a Pauper Affidavit to waive the charges.
  • The Court Clerk will prepare the summons that will be served on the defendant
  • The plaintiff will provide the address at which the defendant can be served. If the defendant is a business, the summons must be served on the agent that the company appointed for service purposes. This information is obtainable from the Mississippi Secretary of State.
  • The summons and petition will be served on the defendant by the local constable, sheriff, or deputy sheriff.
  • After service, the process server will file a form called a proof of service with the court. This document proves to the court that the defendant has been notified of the claim.
  • After the defendant responds, the Clerk will inform the plaintiff of the day, time, and place for the case trial. Failure to attend court will result in the case being dismissed with prejudice. If this happens, the claim cannot be refiled.

What Does a Tort Claim Contain in Mississippi?

Generally, tort claims can be written or drafted using court forms provided by the state judicial website. The information contained within the document includes:

  • Full names and addresses of all parties involved and their attorney information
  • The injury or harm caused, along with details such as place, date, time, and other circumstances surrounding the event.
  • The amount owed and reasons for believing that the defendant owes money. The plaintiff must include facts and avoid over-inflating the number of damages incurred. This is because the court will only award the amount that the plaintiff can prove.
  • The request for relief.

What Happens after a Tort Claim is Filed in Mississippi?

A court trial usually follows a tort claim, especially when the defendant denies the allegations and files a counterclaim. At this trial, the court aims to resolve the issue by listening to both parties’ arguments, along with the evidence they provide to support their claims.

If the plaintiff misses the trial, the court judge will dismiss the case, and when the defendant doesn’t appear, the court will grant a default judgment to the plaintiff for the amount of the claim, filing, and service costs. Even in this case, the court’s decision is still dependent on if the plaintiff can prove the claim with convincing evidence..

The Mississippi judiciary allows parties that are dissatisfied with the court ruling to appeal the case in a higher court. For example, they can appeal a small claims judgment to the county circuit court within ten days after the judgment is entered into court records.

Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Tort Claim?

A large part of a tort claim is dependent on the financial value of the claim, the nature and extent of the damage, and the party’s involvement in causing the injuries. For this reason, the court usually requests a detailed estimate of the worth of a tort claim. Most private individuals may be unable to provide this information, but a personal injury lawyer can. The lawyer can also handle the complex affairs of the claim and provide adequate legal advice and representation to better argue the issue of liability. This helps the concerned parties secure the maximum amount of compensation for their damages and losses.

Although the burden of proof in a tort case is lower than reasonable doubt, it may still be complicated and technical to prove in court. With facts, the personal injury lawyer is better equipped to prove that the defendant indeed owed a reasonable duty of care to the plaintiff, and that the breach of that duty resulted in the presented legal dispute.

Mississippi Tort law is generally complicated, and a claimant may require an attorney’s assistance to understand and implement the relevant law and procedure adequately. Therefore, an attorney is in the best position to litigate a tort claim adequately.

How Can I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me?

Parties in a tort case have the liberty to self-represent or hire an attorney. Regardless, it is always advisable to obtain some legal representation or advice at least. Interested litigants can visit the Mississippi judicial website to get the required legal help available for their type of case. The Mississippi State bar also offers a lawyer directory and pro bono legal resources to litigants that need free legal assistance.

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