When you are driving along in your vehicle, you’re probably mostly thinking about getting where you are going or perhaps something else you have to do that day. What you are very likely not thinking about or expecting is a bumpy jolt and loud thud coming from the rear of your vehicle. At this point, it may become apparent that your vehicle has been rear-ended. As you go through the motions of calling the police and exchanging insurance information, a lawsuit may already be on your mind. If that is the case, you may want to know the basics of Mississippi laws as they apply to rear-end collisions before starting the legal process.
Driving too closely to other vehicles is prohibited by Mississippi law. If you get rear-ended on the road, there is a good chance that the other driver was driving in an unsafe way. On the other hand, if a driver in front of you drives in a dangerously slow way and you rear-end them, they may still be at fault because of their bad driving.
For a free review of your situation, call Howe Law’s Mississippi car accident lawyers at (844) 876-4357.
Rear-End Collision Laws in Mississippi
The law that is perhaps the most on point to rear-end collisions is Miss. Code Ann. § 63-3-619. That law states that motorists are not to follow other vehicles closer than what is “reasonable and prudent.” Essentially, this makes tailgating or following someone’s vehicle too closely against the law. For example, if a disgruntled driver starts following your vehicle less than an inch away, that would be too close to be considered “reasonable and prudent.”
The law, however, is silent as to where the line between a reasonable distance and an unreasonable distance is. Conventional wisdom would point to the traditional “two car lengths” between vehicles. However, certain circumstances, like bumper-to-bumper traffic, make such a thing impractical. Since this is a murky area, you should speak to our Mississippi personal injury lawyers about the specifics of your situation if you were involved in a rear-end collision.
Motor Truck Specific Rules
Under Miss. Code Ann. § 63-3-619(2), motor trucks are not permitted to follow another motor truck within 300 feet. Unlike the general rule, there is a defined spacing requirement for motor trucks under the law. This is a stricter standard than a reasonable and prudent distance.
Vehicles in Platoons
There is also a specific exception for vehicles involved in “platoons.” There are a number of military bases and installations in Mississippi, so this may be more likely to happen than one may initially think. Under Miss. Code Ann. § 63-3-619(3), spacing rules do not apply to “nonlead” vehicles in a platoon. Essentially, the spacing rules only apply to the front vehicle in a convoy. Within a convoy, vehicles can follow each other quite closely.
How is Fault Determined in a Mississippi Rear-End Collision?
One of the most important things in a rear-end collision car accident lawsuit is to figure out whose fault the accident was. This is important because you can only successfully sue parties that were at fault for your injuries. For this reason, it is important for our lawyers to analyze all of the facts and circumstances unique to your accident in order to determine who is at fault and who you should take to court.
Another things to consider is the behavior of other drivers you share the road with. Drivers are considered at fault for an accident when they are “negligent” while driving. In law, the term “negligence” means that someone did not act as a reasonable person should under the circumstances and, as a result, someone got injured. Examples of driver negligence include speeding, running red lights, and, importantly for our purposes, following another driver too closely.
It is also important to remember that a driver who gets rear-ended can also be negligent. For example, suppose you were driving responsibly on the road, when a car in front of you suddenly comes to a grinding halt and your vehicles collide. Here, although their car was rear-ended, their conduct may leave them at fault for the accident.
Who Gets Blamed in Mississippi Rear-End Collision Accidents
Mississippi uses a legal rule called “comparative negligence” for determining levels of liability in accidents. The idea is that some accidents are the fault of more than one party, and sometimes the victim had some hand in causing an accident. However, just because a victim contributed a little bit to an accident happening does not mean that they are unable to get damages they need or deserve. However, per Miss. Code. Ann. § 11-7-15, although plaintiffs can never be barred from recovering damages because they were partially at fault for the accident, their damages can be reduced by the jury if they believe that the plaintiff was somewhat at fault for the accident.
What comparative negligence does is reduce a plaintiff’s damages by a certain amount if they were partially at fault for an accident. For example, if you get rear-ended but are found to be 20% at fault for the accident, you will get 80% of the damages you would otherwise get.
Because your damages can get reduced, it is important that you do not accidentally overstate your role in a rear-end collision during legal proceedings. For example, if you are getting deposed or dealing with an insurance company, even saying something as simple as “it was my bad,” or “I could have done better” can be used to make it seem like you were partially liable. Accordingly, it is best to have our lawyers speak to those parties on your behalf, or at least be present when you interact with them.
Talk to Our Mississippi Car Accident Attorneys Now
Howe Law’s Jackson, MI car accident attorneys are ready to take your calls and discuss your case when you dial (844) 876-4357.