The distracted driving laws in Mississippi primarily focus on texting and driving. However, a distracted driver may be responsible for a traffic accident they cause, even if they are not violating these laws.
When a driver texts while driving and causes an accident, they will likely face criminal and civil consequences. If you suffered injuries in this type of crash, you might have a claim against the at-fault driver regardless of the traffic citations they face.
Understanding the Mississippi Distracted Driving Law
Under Miss. Code Ann. § 63-33-1, no driver in Mississippi may:
- Write, send, or read a text message, email, or similar
- Access, read, or post to a social networking site
- Otherwise use a hand-held mobile telephone to read or write a text-based message
This law does not address making calls or the use of hands-free devices. About half of all states do not ban hand-held phone calls as of September 2021. Only two states do not have laws against texting and driving.
Penalties for Texting While Driving in Mississippi
When a driver receives a citation for texting and driving in Mississippi, they could face penalties that include:
- $100 fine
- Additional penalties for second or subsequent offenses
If they caused a traffic accident, they may receive additional citations for the careless action that directly caused it. For example, if the distraction caused them to run a red light, they might get a ticket for that. In addition, they will face civil penalties such as having to pay for the injuries sustained by victims of a collision they caused.
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Pursuing a Civil Case Against a Distracted Driver in Mississippi
If you were hurt in a crash caused by a distracted driver, you might be able to secure a financial recovery for your injury care, lost wages, vehicle repairs, and pain and suffering. This is possible through a liability auto insurance claim or civil lawsuit.
You should not have to carry the financial burden of an accident that you did nothing to cause. Instead, you can develop a case to prove the distracted driver caused it and seek compensation for the costs and losses you incurred.
The accident report filed by police should include information about any citations they issued, helping you document the other driver’s distractions and other bad behavior behind the wheel. Further evidence could consist of accident reconstruction, a survey of the scene, phone and texting records, video or photos of the accident, witness statements, and more.
Building a Case If the Driver did Not Violate Mississippi Distracted Driving Laws
Texting is not the only distraction that causes crashes. Almost anything that causes a motorist to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off driving is a distraction.
The Mississippi State Department of Health recommends that drivers put their phones away while driving. They do not want drivers to make calls or answer their phones, even using a voice recognition or hands-free device. Even in an emergency, they recommend pulling over and making the call from a safe area.
If making a phone call, talking to passengers, or adjusting the radio causes a crash, the driver may not receive a citation for driving while distracted. However, the victims of the accident can still hold them responsible. Victims will just need to prove negligence and liability.
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How a Car Accident Attorney May Be Able to Help With Your Claim
You may want to work with a personal injury law firm to document your motor-vehicle accident and losses, value your case, and hold the distracted driver responsible. They will handle the investigation into your crash, protecting your rights, proving your case, and filing your claim. Your attorney will negotiate for a fair settlement with the at-fault motorist’s insurer.
You can focus on healing, getting back to work, and spending time with your family while your car accident lawyer takes care of everything else. Most of these cases settle outside of court.
When a lawsuit is necessary, your attorney will handle this as well. Under Mississippi law, Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49, you generally have up to three years to begin a lawsuit. However, some circumstances dramatically reduce the time you have to sue a distracted driver.
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Our Law Firm Offers Free Consultations to Victims Of Distracted Driving Accidents
At the Morris Bart law firm, our team provides free case evaluations and consultations to victims of accidents caused by individuals driving while distracted. We may be able to help you build a case and hold the at-fault driver responsible.
We can also answer your questions about your rights and legal options. We also work on a contingency fee basis for our clients. Our firm has 15 locations. Our Mississippi locations include Gulfport, Hattiesburg, and Pascagoula, but we serve all areas of the state.
Call (800) 537-8185 now to get started. We have someone available to speak with you now.
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