Mississippi Insurance Law – Part 8

Mississippi Insurance Law – Part 8 MISSISSIPPI Insurance-Related Law  — An A to Z Guide Here’s the next post sharing our 2016 update.  If you like a full copy or have any questions, please email or call. Salvage Title Law Salvage titling is governed by Title 35, Part 7 of the Mississippi Administrative Code.  See also § 83-11-551 (alternative procedure to obtain salvage tile or parts-only certificate).   Seat Belt Defense Evidence that a plaintiff failed to use a seatbelt may not be used to prove contributory negligence.  Miss. Code Ann. § 63-2-3. However, there are other instances in which the non-usage may be relevant.  For example, the defendant may properly introduce evidence as to whether the plaintiff was using a seatbelt at the time of the accident in order to establish facts concerning the causation, nature, and extent of injury.  In these situations the judge will consider whether:  the evidence of the non-usage has probative value other than proving negligence of the plaintiff; whether the prejudicial effect substantially outweighs the probative value; and whether other evidentiary rules permit the introduction of the evidence. Estate of Hunter v. General Motors Corp., 729 So. 2d 1264, 1269 (Miss. 1999). See also, Driver Safety Laws. Settling Claims See Releases. Spoliation of Evidence Spoliation of evidence is not an independent cause of action in Mississippi.  Richardson v. Sara Lee Corp., 847 So. 2d 821, 824 (Miss. 2003). Mississippi case law holds that the destruction of evidence results in a negative presumption or inference against the party who destroys the evidence.  Thomas v. Isle of Capri Casino, 781 So.2d 125, 133-34 (Miss. 2001).  The Mississippi Supreme Court has held that where a (medical) record required by law to be kept is unavailable due to negligence, an inference arises that the record contained information unfavorable to the defendant, and the jury should be so instructed.  Delaughter v. Lawrence County Hosp., 601 So.2d 818, 822 (Miss. 1992). See also, Estate of Perry ex rel. Rayburn v. Mariner Health Care, Inc., 927 So.2d 762 (Miss.Ct.App. 2006). Statutes of Limitation Negligence Most negligence actions are governed by a 3 year statute of limitations which runs from date of accident/injury.  Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49. The statute provides for a “discovery rule” but only for latent injuries and diseases.  If a person has such a latent injury or disease, then the statute does not start to run until the person discovers, or by reasonable diligence, should have discovered, the injury.  Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49 (2). UM context A cause of action against an insurer for uninsured-motorist benefits is subject to a 3 year statute of limitations.  Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49.  The limitations period, however, does not always start at the date of the accident or injury.  Instead, it commences when the insured knew or should have known that the tortfeasor was uninsured or underinsured.  Montgomery v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Ill., No. 2011-CA-00225-COA (Miss. App. March 20, 2012).  The statute begins to run when it can be reasonably known that the damages suffered exceed the limits of insurance available to the alleged tortfeasor.  Jackson v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 880 So. 2d 336 (Miss. 2004). Receipt by an injured insured of an accident report reflecting that the alleged tortfeasor possesses no insurance provides reasonable knowledge that damages suffered exceed the limits of insurance available for purposes of running the statute of limitations.  Montgomery v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Ill., No. 2011-CA-00225-COA (Miss. App. March 20, 2012). Tolling/Agreement The Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled that statute of limitations cannot be lengthened by agreement.  This prohibition against tolling agreements applies to any statute of limitations in Chapter 15 (where most limitation periods are found, including the general negligence statute), but not to limitations in other chapters of the code.  However, the courts will look to determine whether a party is equitably estopped from asserting the statute of limitations under the circumstances.  Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-5.  Townes v. Rusty Ellis Builder, Inc., No. 2011-CA-164-SCT (Miss. October 4, 2012). Continued promises of payment can create a situation where the court will find that a carrier waived the statute.  See Douglas v. Parker Elec. v. Mississippi Design and Devel. Corp., 949 So.2d 874 (Miss. 2007).  However, simply continuing to negotiate has been held insufficient to toll or waive statute. Intentional Torts Many intentional torts, including intentional infliction of emotional distress, are governed by a 1 year statute of limitations.  Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-35. Malpractice Medical malpractice actions have a 2 year statute of limitations which runs from when the alleged action or omissions occurred, or when with reasonable diligence might have been first discovered.  Notice must be given 60 days prior to filing of the suit which will ext

Source: Holcomb Dunbar Mississippi Insurance Law – Part 8 – Holcomb Dunbar

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