$144 Million Wrongful Death
$120 Million Dangerous Drugs
$20.4 Million Fraud
$2.3 Million Brain Injury
$1.6 Million Fraud
$1.5 Million Truck Accident
$1.2 Million Fraud
$1.0 Million Injury

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Work Hard for Clients; Play Hard with the Family.

Motor-vehicle collisions cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, medical expenses, and property damage. At the individual level, a single traffic fatality costs society $1.4 million, while a survivor who sustains critical injuries might cost the nation $1 million. That doesn’t mean, however, that car accident victims are automatically entitled to a seven-figure payout. If you were hurt in a wreck, the potential value of your claim will depend on the circumstances. This is something that always comes up in our attorney-client conversations and it quite often defies an easy answer at the beginning of a case.  At Coxwell & Associates, we do the best we can to let a client know upfront what he might be able to recover, but as stated earlier, sometimes you must wait until the client reaches maximum medical recovery. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest factors that influence car accident settlements and verdicts:

  1. The Severity of the Injuries

Mr. Mullins, arguing in Court
Truck accidents tend to cause extensive—and oftentimes catastrophic—damage. In fact, it’s not uncommon for victims to incur tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost income, property repairs, and other unexpected costs. In the legal system, these are called special damages, as opposed to damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, ect. Unfortunately, insurers use all kinds of strategies to deny or at least devalue such claims. One of the most common defenses asserted by insurance companies is to argue that the claimant has failed to mitigate their damages. Defendants in these cases are only responsible for covering the losses for which they are liable. If a claimant’s own negligence exacerbates their injuries and increases their damages, the insurance company might refuse to pay for 100 percent of their losses. If you were hurt in a large truck crash, here are a few steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of facing a dispute over the mitigation of damages:

  1. Following Medical Advice

 
It’s not uncommon for doctors to advise injured patients to stay home from work and to limit their physical activity. You should be diligent about following all such orders, so the opposing party is less likely to argue that your own negligence has inhibited your medical recovery. I personally think people respect other people who fight against all odds and try to make the best out of life even if they are severely injured. Always follow your doctor’s orders. But if your doctor permits a type of physical activity, then you are free to try and perform the activity.

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Merrida Coxwell arguing a point in Court.

Impaired motorists are responsible for nearly 30 traffic fatalities around the country every single day. If a drunk driver is to blame for your loved one’s death, your family may have grounds for legal action. While filing a wrongful death claim won’t undo the tragedy you have suffered, it could yield the financial means to put your life back together in the wake of the loss.  In America, recovery of damages is the only way the legal system can make up for the harm experienced from a crash or other type of personal injury. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about such claims:

1. How Can I Prove Liability for My Loved One’s Death?

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This is not a question asked just by people who have a premise liability claim. It is a question asked by everyone who has been injured. The more serious the injury, the more often the question is asked. This is most likely due to the fact that serious injuries lead to more catastrophic costs and expenses for people. When people cannot work they need income to replace lost income. Sometimes, the insurance companies know this so they attempt to play the delay game. Delay the case and if the attorney for the injured person is not aggressive, the insurance companies hope they will settle their case for less. It is up to the attorney to prosecute the case as quickly as possible.

At Coxwell & Associates, we practice aggressive prosecution of cases for our clients when they have been injured. Of course, clients must understand that the legal system is at times slow. For example, if you are waiting on the client to reach maximum medical recovery and be released by the doctor, there is only so much you can do until the client is released. Other times you might be waiting for the test results from experts. There are 100 things that might cause a delay in a case that is beyond the control of the injured person’s attorney. Irrespective of these delays, a good personal injury attorney is going to be well-known by the insurance lawyers. We have had difficult cases resolved quickly, sometimes before a deposition is taken, and other cases that end up going to trial. 

Let’s turn our attention now to premise liability cases. If you were hurt on someone else’s property and you intend to file a premises liability claim, you may be wondering how long it will take to resolve the case. After all, the damages are probably adding up fast. While there’s no set timeline for resolving such cases, a seasoned personal injury attorney can give you an idea of what to expect after evaluating the circumstances. By applying experience, relevant statutes, and applicable precedents, your lawyer can predict how long the proceedings might last.

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If you are injured in an auto crash in or around the City of Jackson or any part of Mississippi, my answer is NO unless you are in a crash that involves absolutely no injuries. You need to realize that it can be difficult to know if you have injuries for several weeks or months in some instances. I have been involved with clients in cases where a ruptured disc was not located until several weeks and even months after an auto crash. I recall a close friend who was in a crash in Florida. He was examined at a medical clinic in Florida and told he had no medical problems. As the weeks passed his shoulder kept hurting and aching. When he went to an orthopedic clinic in the Metro area the doctor discovered a torn rotator cuff. I have repeatedly said don’t even think about resolving an auto crash until you are 1000% certain you have no injuries.

So, what is the problem talking with the insurance adjuster for the person who crashed into you? Well, for one thing, the adjuster works for an insurance company and that insurance company wants to save money. Insurance companies learned decades ago that the best way to save money is to pay as little as possible on claims. In America, the only type of compensation the justice system can offer is money damages. The insurance company cannot give you back your health. They cannot return someone’s life that might be lost from a crash. The insurance company cannot restore your ability to work. But the adjuster can save his company money by seeing that your legal damages are as little as possible. The adjuster is not your friend. He or she might be sympathetic to your problems but you are not his boss and you don’t pay him.  Do you think the adjuster will move up in their position by paying the maximum amount in claims? (See my short video on this topic here).

When you talk to the adjuster for the person who crashed into you, it is very likely you could say something that might not be true after you get a complete medical workup. Or you may say something that allows the adjuster to claim you were at fault for the crash. How about a personal example. I was coming down I-55 about to take the High Street exit. There was a man in the left lane that wanted to get over because he did not want to take the exit. Of course, I did not know this. The man did not have his blinker on. He just suddenly slammed into my SUV almost flipping my vehicle in his effort to move into my lane. He admitted it was his fault at the crash scene, but within a day the adjuster was telling me I was at fault. I spent five seconds on the phone with the adjuster before hanging up and filing a civil action. Within three days the adjuster called and asked for an estimate for my repairs. Luckily I was an attorney and could move quickly.

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Mississippi State Prisons and some county jails have been in the news a lot recently. The conditions as seen on television and other media outlets can best be described as abysmal. The word abysmal might be an understatement for the conditions at the Mississippi State Penitentiary.  We won’t go into all the reasons that have contributed to this monumental problem other than to say a lack of money, arising from a lack of interest in people who are incarcerated. This is an unusual attitude from Legislators and the public at large, considering the high rate at which Mississippi incarcerates its citizens. You can hardly talk to a person nowadays that does not have a distant family member or a friend who has been incarcerated. Drugs are of course one of the largest reasons. There is hope that society is seeing the drug problem as a health and mental illness problem now instead of war. The idea of rehabilitation has not driven very many positive changes.

Chuck Mullins, a member of Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, a Jackson, Mississippi law firm, has practiced in the area of civil rights for much of his 25 years of law practice. Back in 1998, Chuck prepared a civil rights case for trial which involved the death of a young man who was out of his mind, high on drugs. When the police arrived, instead of treating him as you would a mentally ill person, they treated him with punches and strikes with their baton-like flashlights. They also sat on this skinny boy causing him to die from positional asphyxia. Merrida Coxwell and Chuck Mullins tried the case and obtained a 2.1 million-dollar verdict plus attorney fees against the municipality. This was little comfort to the mom and dad who deeply loved their boy. Incidentally, the father was himself in law enforcement. Mr. Mullins was able to accept the case and work it up for trial because counties, municipalities, and private prisons can be sued for money damages. Counties and municipalities can be sued under a Federal Civil Rights Statute, 42 U.S.C. §1983. Counties and municipalities can also be sued under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act, but a person cannot sue under the Tort Claim Act if they are incarcerated. And what most people don’t know, including lawyers, is that you cannot sue the State of Mississippi or any State in Federal Court and collect money damages. The State has Sovereign Immunity. This is why attorneys do not take cases for personal injuries against the State of Mississippi. Suits against the State are best left to public service organizations that sue the State for what is called Declaratory Relief.

Currently, Chuck Mullins has about fifteen (15) cases pending against counties or private prisons for individuals who are or were incarcerated and who sustained serious personal injuries. The conditions he has observed would shock even the most cold-hearted person. They often arise from what appears to be the callousness of those in charge. Here is a good and typical example of the types of cases we handle in this area. It comes as a shock and sometimes complaint against us from people when they learn we do not handle every civil rights case. Our practice is limited to cases that involve serious injury. We are mindful and respectful of those cases that do not involve serious injury, but the simple truth is that the legal system is too expensive to try and move a routine civil rights violation through the system. There is an organization in Mississippi that is trying to keep a record of civil rights violations. They are looking for systemic patterns of abuse. We generally direct people with no injury to that organization.

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Experience. Experience. This word dominates websites for careers, professions, and skilled trades. Since the internet has become omnipresent in our lives and marketing is dominated by Google, the word experience has become ubiquitous in daily life. I am half-way through my fortieth (40th) year as an attorney. Over those forty years, I have primarily handled injury cases, criminal defense, and mass tort. Admittedly, for the first sixteen years, I handled almost anything that came in the door, but my focus was always on injury and criminal defense. I am thankful for those sixteen years because I learned how to do almost everything a general practice lawyer can handle. I think this overview of general practice was beneficial as I began limiting my practice to injury and criminal defense. I have practiced all over the Jackson Metro area and throughout Mississippi for my 40 years.

In 1980 when I started people found attorneys by word of mouth. It was in the early 1980s when advertising first started, but it was slow to take hold in the legal profession. In many ways, I liked word of mouth more than I do marketing on the internet, television, or any other medium. In the days before the internet (BI), if you worked hard and put your heart into your client’s case, word got out in the community and people seek you out. But “times they are a-changing.” I accept that marketing is a part of every profession or business now. I have presented a statistic recently stating that 80% of the people who sought out a lawyer looked at the lawyer using Google and looked at the lawyer’s website. So, this brings me to the competitive world of legal services. Nowadays you can see billboards, television commercials, internet ads, and newspaper ads for attorneys. I am not complaining about these forms of advertising. It is a way of life, or I should say the way of law-business now. (At Coxwell & Associates we still consider our law careers as a profession and way of life, but that is another blog for another day). It’s not just local home-grown Mississippi attorneys advertising anymore. Now lawyers from across the nation have reached into Mississippi via the internet and are pushing themselves as the lawyer to hire, even though they live 1000 miles away. I often wonder what would prompt a client to hire a lawyer 1000 miles away, but advertising obviously works because it happens daily.

I think of all the things I see, hear, or read in legal advertising and I always come back to the word experience. As I stated earlier, I am in my 40th year. I have handled multi-million-dollar injury (roll-over and big rig collisions) cases, single million-dollar cases (auto collision and private prison litigation), other cases worth only $10,000.00, cases with one injured party and cases with 2000 injured clients. At Coxwell & Associates, we have worked by ourselves and in teams with dozens of lawyers. We are currently working in three mass tort areas (3M Combat Earplug V2 cases, Round-Up cases, Hernia Mesh cases) with dozens upon dozens of attorneys. Many have become very close friends.

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A vehicle accident can happen to anyone at any time. Injuries sustained from car crashes can have long-lasting effects on all areas of your life. From the pain, suffering, and medical bills to absent from work. Injuries can be devastating. If you or somebody you know sustains injuries following an auto accident, the best choice of action is to enlist the services of a car crash lawyer in the Jackson Metro area. Coxwell & Associates are family-oriented, involved in their communities, and life-long Mississippi residents. They live, work and have a deep interest in their community, unlike some national firms that might only be interested in your business.

Coxwell & Associates understands that your best interest is getting the compensation you deserve if you have a legitimate claim. This is where we come in. We understand the results matter. For this reason, we are dedicated to ensuring successful vehicle accident claims on your behalf.

Extensive research and numerous studies show that personal injury plaintiffs that hire a car crash lawyer are more likely to succeed and receive better settlements than those who choose to represent themselves. The benefit of a civil plaintiff attorney that is knowledgeable, skilled, and diligent is indisputable.

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If you were hurt in a car accident, it’s important that your attorney’s investigation is conducted right away. Essential evidence may be time-sensitive, and there are strict deadlines for filing tort lawsuits. The deadline for taking legal action is usually shorter if the defendant is a government entity.

In Mississippi, the standard statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits arising from negligence is three years. Those who wish to sue a government entity, however, have just one year to commence the proceedings. What’s more, they must notify the appropriate agency at least 90 days before filing their suit.

Although most car accident claims are brought against negligent motorists, there are many circumstances when a government entity could be liable. This may apply to your case if the crash was caused by one of the following:

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The sudden loss of a loved one is always traumatic. Even with the support of close friends and family, the emotional scars can last a lifetime. And if you relied on the deceased for financial support, your family may have to find another way to make ends meet.

If the death was caused by another party’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing, though, it may be possible to recover monetary damages. While you have the option to commence the proceedings without consulting an attorney, this is almost never a good idea. One mistake could be all it takes to jeopardize your claim, and insurance adjusters go to great lengths to minimize the amount of compensation paid out to claimants.

It’s important to remember, however, that not all lawyers offer exceptional representation. Here are a few qualities to consider when hiring a wrongful death attorney: