Here’s the State of Mississippi traffic and injury liability laws you need. Protect your right to compensation for injuries caused by a negligent driver.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in the State of Mississippi, you may have questions about how the laws will affect your property damage and personal injury claim.
You’re entitled to seek compensation from a negligent motorist whether you were walking, riding, or driving another vehicle when the collision occurred.
In this article, we’ll review the laws most commonly associated with car accidents. For your convenience, we’ve summarized each law and provided a link to the full text of each State of Mississippi statute.
Pedestrian Traffic Laws
Pedestrians and Crosswalks
Pedestrian Control Signals
Crossing at Other Than Crosswalks
Pedestrians intending to cross a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.Title 63-3-1105
Drivers to Exercise Due Care
The driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the driver’s horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or obviously confused, incapacitated, or intoxicated person.
Pedestrians Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance
Mississippi Driving Laws
Obedience to Traffic Control Devices
Driving on Right Side of Roadway
Drivers must drive in the right lane of roadways with the following exceptions:
- When passing another driver in the same direction
- When there is an obstruction in the right lane, such as construction
- Upon a roadway divided into three (3) marked lanes of traffic
- Upon a roadway restricted to one way trafficTitle 63-3-601
Passing On the Left
Driver proceeding in the same direction must pass to the left at at a safe distance and shall remain in the passing lane until it is safe to return to the right lane.TItle 63-3-611
Limitations on Overtaking on the Left
Drivers may drive to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle only if the left side is clearly visible and the overtaking vehicle can return to its lane without coming within one hundred (100) feet of oncoming traffic.
Passing On the Right
Drivers may pass on the right under the following conditions:
- When the driver about to be passed is about to make a left turn. However, the driver attempting to pass on the right must not do so without driving off the pavement of main-traveled portion of the roadway.
- When the roadway has four (4) or more lanes of moving traffic and such movement can be made safely.Title 63-3-613
Following Too Closely
A driver must not follow another driver more closely than is “reasonable and prudent”, having due regard for the speed of other drivers and traffic conditions along the roadway.
A driver of a motor truck (or any motor truck towing another vehicle) must leave at least three hundred (300) feet of space ahead of their vehicle and another motor truck (or another motor truck towing another vehicle).
Drivers and Mobile Electronic Devices
A driver who has an intermediate license or a temporary learning or driving permit, or a driver of a bus with minors as passengers, must not drive while using a wireless communication device, send or receive text messages, unless they are contacting emergency services, a hospital, a physician, or a health clinic.Title 63-1-73
Drivers and Intersections
Drivers Intending to Turn Left at Intersections
Drivers Entering or Crossing a Roadway
While passing a bicyclist on a roadway, a motorist must leave a safe distance of not less than three (3) feet between their vehicle and the bicyclist and must maintain this amount of clearance until safely past the bicycle.
All motorcyclists must wear helmets while riding on roadways. This law does not apply to persons eighteen (18) years of age or older who are riding in a parade and not exceeding thirty (30) miles per hour.
Motorcycles and Headlights
Every vehicle upon a highway during the period from sunset to sunrise (and at any other time when there is not enough light to clearly see a person at a distance of five hundred (500) feet ahead) must be equipped with lighted front and rear lamps.
Driving Offenses and Accident Rules
Any person who drives any vehicle in a careless or imprudent manner, without due regard for the width, grade, curves, corner, traffic and use of the streets and highways is guilty of careless driving. Careless driving is considered a lesser offense than reckless driving.
Alcohol and Minors
Driver’s Duty to Give Information and Render Aid
A driver involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to any person, including other drivers, passengers, and/ or passersby must give their name, address and the registration number of the car they are driving and must upon request, exhibit their operator’s or chauffeur’s license to any person injured in the accident, or to the driver or passengers.
Moreover the driver must render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including making of arrangements to transfer the injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent medical treatment is required.
Accidents Involving Death, Personal Injury, or Substantial Bodily Injury
A driver involved in an accident resulting in injury or death of any person must immediately stop and remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of Title 63-3-405.
Title 63-3-405 reads in part that the driver must give their name, address and the registration number of the car they are driving, and must upon request exhibit their operator’s or chauffeur’s license to any person injured in the accident, or to the driver or passengers.
Accidents Involving Only Damage to Another Car or Property
A driver involved in an accident resulting only in damage to property or another car which is driven or attended by any person must immediately stop at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible and must remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of Title 63-3-405.
Accidents Involving Damage to Unattended Car or Unattended Property
A driver who collides with a parked car or who collides with other property which is unattended must immediately stop at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible and must attempt to locate and notify the driver or owner of the damaged car or damaged property.
Once located the driver who caused the accident must give their name, address, and the registration number of the car being driven.
If the driver or owner of the damaged car or property cannot be located, the driver who caused the accident must attach a written note to the damaged property in a conspicuous place giving their name, address, and the registration number of their car.Title 63-3-407
Driver’s Duty to Notify Police Department
The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage totaling five hundred (500) dollars or more must immediately give notice to the local police department or to the nearest sheriff’s office or highway patrol station.
Accident Reports Filed By Police Departments
Every police officer who investigates an accident must forward within six (6) days after completing the investigation a written report of the accident to the department if the accident occurred outside the corporate limits of a municipality, or to the police department of the municipality if the accident occurred within the corporate limits of such municipality.Title 63-3-411
Accident Report Forms
The Department of Public Safety must prepare and provide traffic accident report forms to other agencies, municipal police departments, county sheriffs and other suitable law enforcement agencies or individuals.Title 63-3-415
Driving Under Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance
A driver must not drive after drinking an alcoholic beverage or consuming an intoxicant in an amount which renders the driver incapable of driving safely along roadways.Title 63-11-30
The court must order either the impoundment or immobilization of all vehicles registered to the person convicted for the entire length of license suspension. The impoundment or immobilization begins upon conviction and continues throughout the suspension period.
Ignition Interlock Device
A driver who is guilty of a second or subsequent offense of driving while under the influence of an intoxicant as set out in Title 63-11-30 (below) and who shares a household with other licensed drivers who are dependent on the vehicle must have installed at his or her own expenses an ignition interlock device.
The ignition interlock device must be installed in every car owned or operated by the driver.
An ignition interlock is a device which measures any amount of alcohol contained in a driver’s body. Before starting the car the driver must blow into a tube emanating from the ignition interlock device.
If the device then detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than is permitted by law the car will not start and the violation will be reported to the prosecutor, the probation officer, and/or the judge.Title 63-11-30
Mississippi Injury Liability Laws
Mississippi Dram Shop Law
Mississippi has a modified Dram Shop Law. Dram Shop Law refers to the liability of private social hosts, bars, hotels nightclubs and other commercial establishments who serve alcohol to patrons or to minors for injuries intoxicated patrons or minors cause to third parties such as in car accidents.
A private social host is the host at a private party, such as a wedding reception, a corporate sponsored event, a gathering of friends at a private residence, where alcohol is served not for profit.
Under Mississippi law, it is a violation of the liquor control laws for a social host or a commercial establishment to serve alcohol to a minor, a person under the influence of liquor, or a person known to the establishment or its employees to be addicted to liquor, or a person who announced plans to drive with the liquor in hand.
However, the law stops there. Even if a social host or a commercial establishment is found to have violated the liquor control law, they are not liable for the actions of the intoxicated person.
For violating the liquor control laws, such as knowingly providing alcohol to a minor or selling alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, a social host or a commercial establishment can be fined, and the establishment may lose its liquor license.
For an injured third party to succeed in a claim for personal injuries or property damage against a commercial establishment or social host, the injured third party must file a lawsuit alleging negligence by the establishment or the social host. While presenting a case in court, the injured third-party may cite the violation of liquor control laws by the establishment or the social host.
Financial Responsibility Car Insurance Minimum Limits
In the State of Mississippi, each motor vehicle must be covered by an insurance policy that includes liability coverage of the following amounts for all damages resulting from an accident:
- At least $25,000 per person
- At least $50,000 for injury or death of two (2) or more people
- At least $25,000 per accidentTitle 63-15-43
For information, see the State of Mississippi Auto Insurance Consumer Guide.
Comparative Negligence (51% Rule)
In Mississippi, the victim in a car accident can sue the negligent driver for compensation. The victim’s liability in causing the accident, their comparative negligence, affects the amount of compensation the victim receives.
If the victim contributed less than 51% of the negligence that caused the accident, then their compensation is reduced by the amount they contributed to the accident.Title 11-7-15
Example of Comparative Negligence (51% Rule)
One morning, Jackson was driving north on his way to work. At an intersection, he pulled into the left turn lane. At the same time, Melanie approached the intersection from the opposite direction. Suddenly, Jackson turned left into Melanie’s lane and their cars collided.
Melanie sustained serious brain injuries and damage to her car, totalling in $100,000 dollars worth of damages.
After their investigation, the police determined that Jackson had failed to yield according to traffic laws. A pedestrian witness told police he saw Melanie looking down into the glove compartment at the time Jackson’s car crashed into Melanie’s. As a result, the police issued Melanie a citation for careless driving.
Melanie sued Jackson for $100,000 and claimed he was 100% at fault for the accident because he did not yield to her right-of-way. At trial, the jury found Jackson liable for failing to yield the right-of-way. However, the jury also found Melissa liable for careless driving and partially responsible for the accident.
The verdict stated Jackson’s negligence equaled 70% of the accident, and Melanie’s equaled 30%. The jury awarded Melanie only $70,000 dollars.
In the event the jury had found Jackson’s negligence equaled 49% of the accident, and Melanie’s equaled 51%, the jury would be barred by law from awarding Melanie any compensation for the damages.
Mississippi’s No Fault Car Insurance
Mississippi prescribes to liability insurance and does not prescribe to no-fault insurance. A driver can file a claim under their own insurance policy, pursue a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy, and/or file a lawsuit against the other driver.
Mississippi Insurance Department
Statute of Limitations
Mississippi has a three (3) year statute of limitations for property damage and personal injury claims. This means if a driver, passenger, or passerby is injured or sustains property damage at the hands of a negligent driver, the victim file a lawsuit within three (3) years.
Small Claims Courts
In Mississippi, victims of car accidents can choose to sue the negligent driver in small claims court. In Mississippi, the jurisdiction of a small claims court regarding personal injury and property damage is limited to a maximum of $3,500, exclusive of filing fees and court costs.
To submit a claim in small claims court, visit the State of Mississippi Judiciary website.
Mississippi Government Tort Claims – Sovereign Immunity
In Mississippi, it is possible to submit a claim against a governmental agency or its employees for personal injury or property damage as a result of negligence on the part of the governmental agency or its employees. The claim must refer to an lawful action on the part of the governmental agency or employee performed in the scope of their duties.
If the injury or property damage occurred as a result of an unlawful action, then the claimant can sue only the person(s) who caused injury or property damage individually. The governmental agency would not be liable.
Example: Government Worker Causes Car Accident
If Melissa, an engineer with the Jackson Planning Department, ran a red light on her way to a worksite and caused an accident, then the City of Jackson would be liable for the property damage and personal injuries caused her.
If Melissa stopped for a few drinks and became intoxicated before heading to a worksite and causing an accident, then the City of Jackson can claim sovereign immunity. Melissa performed an unlawful act and was not acting in the scope of her duties when she became intoxicated on her way to the worksite.
To seek compensation for damages, injured parties would have to sue Melissa personally. The determination of whether or not Melissa was acting within the scope of her duties would have to be decided during a trial.
Mississippi places a cap on a maximum of five hundred thousand ($500,000) dollars on the amount of damages that can be claimed against a government agency or its employees.
A government tort claim must be filed against the governmental agency responsible for the car accident within three (3) years after the accident.
Additional Mississippi Resources
- State Government of Mississippi
- Mississippi Department of Transportation
- Mississippi State Legislature
- Mississippi Code Database
- Mississippi Department of Public Safety
- Governors Highway Safety Association
- Mississippi Bar Association
- National Conference on State Legislature
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