Car accidents can cause serious injuries to all drivers involved as well as to pedestrians nearby. One of the main causes of car accidents across the United States is driving over the speed limit. Speeding gives drivers less time to react to changes around them when they are driving, so the chance of a car accident happening because the driver cannot avoid a collision or other problem increases. Because speeding is known as risky behavior while driving, many plaintiffs may be wondering if the fact that they were speeding will have an adverse effect on any car accident lawsuit they choose to pursue.
In Mississippi, there are laws governing how fast a motor vehicle is allowed to go on any given stretch of road. This is to be expected. Speeding can affect car accident lawsuits in two main ways. First, it can be used as a potential cause of your accident against the defendant if you can prove that they were speeding. Second, if you were speeding, the defense may be able to use it against you to hurt your case and lower your damages.
For free help with your case, call Howe Law’s Mississippi car accident lawyers at (844) 876-4357.
Speeding Laws in Mississippi
Mississippi has two kinds of speeding laws, called “absolute” speeding laws and “basic” speeding laws. When our Mississippi personal injury lawyers look at your case, we can try and figure out if you or the defendant violated either kind of speeding restriction and work towards making the strongest case possible for you.
Absolute Speeding Laws
Absolute speeding laws in Mississippi are laid out in Miss. Code. Ann. § 63-3-501. What this law does is set the maximum speed in most circumstances on Mississippi state highways at 65 miles per hour. Note here, however, that the Federal speed limit for highways is 55 miles per hour, and this supersedes state law in this area. The law does allow for the speed limit to be increased under certain conditions. The state has the option to increase the limit to 70 miles per hour for portions of the interstate highways or on any 4-lane highway in the state. On toll roads, the speed limit cannot exceed 80 miles per hour.
In some instances, absolute speed limits can be further modified by the state government. For example, under Miss. Code. Ann. § 63-3-503, government entities may set the speed limit for certain areas of the highway below the standard 65 miles per hour if the area is not safe to drive through at higher speeds.
Similarly, the absolute speed limit can be set much lower in residential areas so that it is safe to drive per Miss. Code. Ann. § 63-3-511.
Basic Speeding Laws
Basic speeding laws in Mississippi are found under Miss. Code Ann. § 63-3-505. Essentially, this law requires motorists to slow down in situations where it makes sense to. The law specifically calls out cresting a hill, crossing an intersection, turning around a sharp curve in the road, or other “special hazards” that may be present. Moreover, drivers cannot exceed 45 miles per hour on any roadway when there is inclement weather or poor visibility. This could be anything from heavy rain and fog to a snowstorm or, more recently, thick smog from wildfires.
Speeding Defendants in Mississippi Car Accident Claims
When a defendant speeds and causes you injury in a car accident, you can sue them in court to recover damages. When you sue someone for your injuries in a lawsuit, you have to satisfy four “elements” or parts of the claim. You have to prove that the defendant had a duty of care to you, that they breached that duty, that their breach of duty caused your injuries, and that you were injured. The fact that the defendant was speeding can be used by our Hattiesburg car accident lawyers in your case to satisfy three of those elements.
First, drivers have a legal duty to follow the speed limit. Sometimes, duty can arise out of a general duty to not hurt other people. However, in this instance, there is a specific duty not to speed because the law says so. Second, speeding is by itself a breach of duty because it violates that law. Finally, speeding can certainly be argued to be the cause of a car accident. Speeding makes it harder to react to what is going on while driving and can make sudden bumps and jolts throw the car off course much more than it otherwise would have if a driver hit, say, a bump in the road while driving at an appropriate speed. Both of these things could be the cause of a car accident and, as a result, the cause of your injuries.
Contributory Negligence in Mississippi Car Accident Claims Involving Speeding
If you were speeding when you were injured in a car accident, the defense may try to use that fact against you in your case. Mississippi uses a framework for personal injury lawsuits called “pure comparative negligence.” This is outlined in Miss. Code. Ann. § 11-7-15. Comparative negligence is a legal framework that lets a defendant argue that the damages they should pay the plaintiff ought to be lowered because the plaintiff themselves was negligent. However, Mississippi law does not allow the fact that you may have been partially negligent by speeding to prevent you from recovering any damages whatsoever. That being said, what is allowed is for the jury to take into account the fact that you were speeding and diminish your recovery accordingly.
Talk to Our Mississippi Car Accident Lawyers About Your Case
Howe Law’s Hattiesburg personal injury lawyers are ready to give you a free case analysis when you call (844) 876-4357.