Archive for the ‘Mississippi Accident Laws’ Category

Mississippi House Rejects Texting Ban

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

As the 2014 session drew to its close, the Mississippi House killed a ban on texting-while-driving.  The argument set forth by Representative Bill Denny of the Mississippi House, who made the procedural motion that shelved the bill, justifying this decision was that texting is no more dangerous than any other distraction while driving.  Those who were pushing for the bill were upset  by the decision to kill the bill because it was a compromise that had started the fines at a low level and classified the offense for texting-while-driving as a civil rather than a criminal one.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Mississippi is one of seven states that allow all drivers to text behind the wheel.  Several states have banned texting for novice drivers while 39 states and the District of Columbia have banned texting for all drivers.  When a person is texting and driving, sending a text takes a person’s attention off the road for approximately five seconds for even the briefest of texts.  During that time, a vehicle will travel the length of a football field when traveling at 55 miles per hour.  That is a significant distance where the driver is not aware of what is happening on the roadway in front of the car.  This is one of the reasons why there are more than one million accidents each year where a cell phone was involved.

The National Safety Council has just released its annual injury and fatality report, titled Injury Facts, which states that the use of cell phones caused 26% of all the car accidents in the country.  This is a slight increase from the numbers released in 2013.  Of the 26% of cell phone-related car accidents, only 5% of those involved a situation where the driver was texting while driving.  Those who oppose bans on texting while driving will view this data as justification for the decision.  However, it is believed that these is a significant under-reporting of texting and cell phone usage by a large number of researchers.

In contrast to the reports that suggest texting and driving is no more of a danger than any other distraction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that that texting is particularly dangerous because it covers all three types of distraction, which are:

  • Visual – removing your eyes from the road;
  • Manual – removing your hands from the steering wheel; and
  • Cognitive – focusing on something other than driving.

The CDC reports that distracted driving involving cell phone use is much higher in the United States than in other countries.  In fact, 31% of American drivers between the ages of 18 to 64 admitted to reading or sending text messages or reviewing an e-mail while driving.  Although Portugal did  reach similar levels, other European nations were less than half that rate.

According to the analysis done by the CDC, young drivers under 20 years old are at a greater risk of getting into an accident while texting and have the highest rate of distracted driving fatalities.  In addition, a young passenger who gets in the car with someone who is texting and driving is almost twice as likely to get in the car with someone who has been drinking than another high school-aged person who does not text and drive, demonstrating a link between the risky behaviors.

Regardless of the dangers of texting and driving, do not be surprised when the person traveling at high rates of speed in the next lane of the highway takes the time to update their profile page – the legislature says that is perfectly okay.

When you or loved ones are injured in a distracted driving accident, there may be a long and difficult recovery ahead of you.  The knowledgeable and dedicated auto accident attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are determined to get you the compensation that you deserve because you were injured when someone did not think the world should wait for news about a haircut or plans for the weekend.  We will work to hold the person accountable for his or her negligent actions.  To set up an initial consultation, call us at (800) 707-9577.  We will only be paid if we recover damages for you.

The Potential Legal Complications of a Multi-Car Accident in Mississippi

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

A multi-car accident is any accident which involves three or more vehicles, including motorcycles, trucks or passenger vehicles. Because there was likely an underlying cause which initially caused the crash, a multi-car crash can be a nightmare on many different levels. Dealing with your insurance company will be much more complex, and you may find it harder to pinpoint who the negligent party actually was, meaning it may be more difficult to prevail in a personal injury case. If you have been involved in a multi-car accident, it’s important to get experienced legal representation as soon as you possibly can.

What Caused the Accident?

The cause of a multi-car accident will likely be the same as in an accident involving two cars. Human error could be a cause of the accident, or it could be attributed to driver fatigue, driver distraction, drunk driving, mechanical failure, inclement weather or sheer recklessness. Many multi-car accidents happen on freeways when cars are driving too fast and too close to one another. When a car stops suddenly way up the road, the cars behind don’t have enough reaction time to avoid an accident.

Who Will Be Liable for the Accident in Mississippi?

Determining the level of responsibility for each driver involved will be an extremely complicated and ultimately incredibly stressful process. Each driver will have a different version of the car crash, and there will be much more data to factor in. A report from the police departmetn is critical even if the police decline to state which driver was at fault. The police report will, at the very least, state the details surrounding the accident such as weather and road conditions, time of day, and approximate speeds the cars were traveling. If it is very obvious who was at fault, then that fact will be in the report.

Comparative vs. Contributory Negligence in a Multi-Car Accident

The fault in a multiple car accident will be determined through either comparative negligence or contributory negligence. If your accident falls under the laws of contributory negligence the person who was hurt in the accident is only be able to receive reimbursement for medical expenses if they did not contribute to the accident in any way. In other words, if you were speeding, therefore could not avoid a pile-up in front of you as a result of that speed, then you would be unable to get compensation. Under comparative negligence, liability for the accident will be weighed according to how much fault can be attributed to each driver, meaning your own damages could be reduced because you were speeding, but you would still be entitled to recover a percentage of the damages.

Whose Insurance Will Cover Your Medical Bills?

Insurance companies will be even more apt than usual to deny claims or point the finger of blame at everybody other than their own insured in a multi-car accident. Remember not to admit fault in a multi-car accident even if you feel the blame was yours. Get medical attention immediately for any injury, no matter how small, as this will weigh heavily when your attorney is negotiating with the insurance companies.

Why Do I Need a Mississippi Accident Attorney?

Sorting out the complicated mess of all the parties involved may involve accident reconstruction, securing witness statements and considerable amounts of investigation. There will be extended communications with the various insurance companies and drivers involved in the accident. While law enforcement personnel may cite the individual drivers if it is readily apparent who was at fault, many times they will simply let the lawyers figure it out. Finding who is at fault can be almost impossible which is why you need an attorney who will defend your rights and aggressively prove your lack of fault or reduce your liability in any way possible. The statute of limitations in multi-car accidents can actually be as short as thirty days, and it is wise to allow your attorney to navigate the complexities and be responsible for meeting critical deadlines.

At Barrett Law, PLLC, a dedicated Mississippi accident lawyer from our law firm is committed to representing Mississippi car accident victims with the compassion and personal attention that has allowed our law firm to develop a leading reputation throughout Mississippi.  We have been helping Mississippi car accident victims in Lexington and across Mississippi for over 75 years so call Barrett Law, PLLC today at (662) 834-2376.