Mississippi Personal Injury Law
Statutes of Limitations: The amount of time you have to sue whoever caused your injury or damage.
- Personal Injury – 3 years from the discovery of the injury
- Damage to Personal Property – 3 years
- Medical Malpractice – 2 years from the discovery of the injury, but not more than 7 years after the act
- Legal malpractice – 3 years
- Other professional malpractice – 3 years
Where to Sue:
- Personal injury claims under $3,500 - Mississippi Small Claims Court (a division of each Mississippi Justice Court)
- Personal injury claims between $3,500 - $200,000-Mississippi County Court
How to Sue:
Small Claims Court:
- Forms: Declaration and Affidavit. Visit the Mississippi Justice Court in the county in Mississippi where you intend to sue to obtain a Declaration and Affidavit form that is specific to that Justice Court.
- Where to file: To file your small claims suit, bring the Declaration and Affidavit to the clerk of the Small Claims Division of the Mississippi Justice Court where the defendant lives or where you were injured.
- How to notify the defendant (service): A sheriff, deputy sheriff, or person over the age of 18 with no interest in the case should hand the Declaration and Affidavit to the defendant. Service may also be made by mailing the Declaration and Affidavit to the defendant by first class mail.
- Proving the defendant was notified: The person serving process should make return of service to the clerk of the Small Claims Division promptly.
- Attorneys: Mississippi Small Claims Courts permit legal representation.
- Appealing a small claim: Appeals to the Mississippi Circuit Court by either side within 10 days of the entry of judgment are permitted.
Mississippi County Court: It is strongly advised that you discuss your case with a Mississippi personal injury attorney, because if you file your case incorrectly you could lose the case, have the court dismiss your case, or be subject to fines.
- Forms: Civil Case Filing Form; Complaint; Summons.
- How to File: Bring the Civil Case Filing Form and Complaint to the clerk of the Mississippi County Court where you intend to file your claim. Pay the filing fee. The clerk will issue a Summons, authorize the Summons and will have the Summons delivered to you for service on the defendant.
- How to Notify the Defendant: The Complaint and Summons must be served on the defendant by a sheriff, deputy sheriff, or a non-party, disinterested in the case, over 18. In the alternative, you can mail the papers to the defendant by first class mail.
What to Do if You Are Being Sued:
- Time to respond to a Summons in Mississippi: 30 days.
- Get in touch with a lawyer if a plaintiff has sued you for an injury. If the plaintiff's injury happened at your residence or place of business, inform your insurance company. Be advised that if your insurance company covers the incident which caused the injury, your insurance company may supply a lawyer for you.
What to Do if a Judgment Was Entered Against You:
You will be in default if you fail to answer a Summons and Complaint in Mississippi within 30 days. The court can then enter a default judgment against you and order you to pay what the plaintiff contends that you owe. If you think that your being in default is a mistake, you should contact an attorney to help you set aside the default judgment.
- Time to Set Aside a Judgment in Mississippi:
- A Mississippi County Court can set aside a default judgment for surprise, mistake, misconduct of an adverse party, fraud or misrepresentation, not more than 6 months after entry of the judgment.
- A Mississippi County Court can also set aside a default judgment if the judgment if void.
Ways to Collect Your Judgment:
- Success in your Mississippi personal injury suit is just the first step. You must then collect your money judgment from the debtor. If the debtor refuses to pay, it is possible to get a lien on the debtor's property, or to garnish his bank account or wages. You should consult a Mississippi debt collection attorney for help in collecting your judgment.