Mississippi hit and run laws: What happens if you leave the scene of an accident??
- Mississippi hit and run laws: What happens if you leave the scene of an accident??
- When does leaving the scene of an accident become a crime in Mississippi?
Leaving the scene of an accident in Mississippi without fulfilling legal requirements under MS. Code section 63-3-204 is a misdemeanor if no one suffers injury or death. If the former or latter happens, you could be guilty of a felony.
Quick take: leaving the scene of an accident in Mississippi
- Mississippi is a fault state and has a comparative fault rule.
- Leaving the scene of an accident that results in death or serious injury is a felony.
- You have a legal obligation to render reasonable assistance to anyone who needs it.
- Mississippi does not have a vehicular manslaughter statute. You may face prosecution under the state’s homicide statutes.
- You have three years to file a persona injury claim in Mississippi.
- 63-3-405: Duties of driver involved in accident resulting in death or property damage to give information and render aid.
- 63-3-401 Duties of driver involved in accident resulting in injury or death
When does leaving the scene of an accident become a crime in Mississippi?
Mississippi hit and run laws say that whenever a driver is involved in an accident, you must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene or as close to the scene as possible and fulfill the requirements under section 63-3-405.
Section 63-3-204: Duty to give information and render aid.
An accident in Mississippi escalates into a crime if you do not do the following. Note: the victim or property owner may take civil action against you even if you fulfill your legal obligations. fulfilling the requirements may help you avoid legal charges or punitive damages. But it all depends on the facts presented. That said. Below are the legal requirements you must fulfill immediately after an accident.
- Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene or as close as possible without interfering with traffic flow more than is necessary.
- Give your name, vehicle registration number, and address to the struck person or property owner.
- Upon request, exhibit your driver’s license to the victim, occupant in the struck vehicle, or law enforcement agent.
- You must render reasonable assistance to anyone who needs it, including transporting the victim to a care facility.
Note section 63-3-405, reads in part, quote:
“No such driver who, in good faith and the exercise of reasonable care, renders emergency care to any injured person at the scene of an accident or in transporting said injured person to a point where medical assistance can be reasonably expected, shall be liable for any civil damages to said injured person as a result of any acts committed in good faith and in the exercise of reasonable care or omission in good faith and in the exercise of reasonable care by such driver in rendering the emergency care to said injured person.”
Leaving the scene of an accident in Mississippi: Misdemeanor offenses
As mentioned, if an accident in Mississippi does not result in injury or death. Leaving the scene without fulfilling the requirements above is a misdemeanor.
What happens if you strike a parked vehicle in Mississippi? State law requires you to remain at the scene until you exchange information with the struck property owner. If you cannot find the owner, you may leave your information, including your name, address, and vehicle registration number on a note on a conspicuous section of the vehicle or struck property.
Upon conviction, the punishment for misdemeanor hit and run in Mississippi is up to one year in jail or a maximum fine of $5000.
Note, the state may suspend your driver’s license upon conviction.
Leaving the scene of an accident in Mississippi: Felony offenses
Under Mississippi hit and run laws, leaving the scene of an accident without fulfilling the requirements above becomes a felony if anyone suffers death or serious injury. Ms. Code 63-3-401 defines “serious injury” as any injury that results in:
- Damage to facial features including eye, nose, lip, organ, or limbs
If convicted, the felony is punishable by a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison and a maximum fine of $10000.
Mississippi does not have a “vehicular homicide statute”
That is bad news in that if the accident results in death, the driver may face prosecution under the state’s homicide laws. In other words, a fatal accident may result in a murder conviction.
Mississippi DUI hit and run laws
If the driver of a vehicle that strikes another was under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Mississippi. Prosecutors may pursue “Operating Under the Influence” charges, manslaughter charges, or second-degree murder charges.
If the driver acted negligently before the accident, the individual will likely face manslaughter charges. what if the driver intended to harm or kill the victim?
Ms Code Section 97-3-47
“Every other killing of a human being, by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, and without the authority of law, not provided for in this title, shall be manslaughter.”
In short, you will face manslaughter charges if your actions place another person at an unreasonable and unforeseeable risk of death or injury, whereas you will face homicide charges if the accident was intentional.
Manslaughter in Mississippi is a felony punishable by up to twenty years in prison and a minimum fine of $500.
If the driver had a motive, the charges escalate into homicide.
How long do I have to report a car accident in Mississippi?
After an accident in Mississippi, you have ten days to submit a written accident report. Failure to submit a report is a misdemeanor.
What is a reportable offense in Mississippi?
If the resulting damage exceeds $250, or if anyone suffers injury or death. You must report the accident within ten days. While at the scene, you should contact law enforcement via the quickest means possible.
How is fault determined in Mississippi?
Note that Mississippi is a “fault” state. Consequently, if you are responsible for causing the accident, you are liable to pay damages. If you are the victim, you may file a claim with your insurer, the “at fault” party’s insurer, or file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
You may take civil action to recover medical bills, lost wages, and so on.
It is also worth noting that driving without insurance in Mississippi is a misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine and driving privilege suspension for up to one year or until you demonstrate to the court that you have insurance.
Mississippi “pure comparative fault” rule
Mississippi’s pure comparative fault rule allows the claimant to recover damages even if the individual was partly responsible for the accident.
Ms. Code 11-7-15 “contributory negligence no bar to recovery of damages: jury may reduce damages.” Reads quote:
“In all actions hereafter brought for personal injuries, or where such injuries have resulted in death, or for injury to property, the fact that the person injured, or the owner of the property, or person having control over the property may have been guilty of contributory negligence shall not bar a recovery, but damages shall be diminished by the jury in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the person injured, or the owner of the property, or the person having control over the property.”
What is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in Mississippi?
- Hit and run, property damage above $250: misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $5000 and up to one year in jail.
- Serious injury/death: felony, punishable by up to twenty years in prison and a $10000 fine.
- DUI hit and run, felony, up to five years in prison for a first offense, license suspension or revocation, and a maximum fine of $100000.
Note. A conviction for all the offenses above will result in license suspension or revocation.
What is the statute of limitations on accidents in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, you have three years to file a personal injury claim starting from the date of the accident. The same period applies to wrongful death claims starting from the time of death.
What to do after an accident in Mississippi?
Whether you are the driver or victim. It is in your best legal interest to do the following after an accident:
- Stop and remain at the scene until you exchange information with the struck person, struck property owner, or law enforcement official.
- If the vehicle results in death or injury or if it was transporting hazardous materials, do not move it until when instructed to do so by emergency workers or investigating officers.
- Never admit fault. It is up to the court and investigators to designate fault.
- Collect evidence, witness testimonies, and contact information.
- Do not threaten or cause the other party to fear for their safety.
- Immediately contact law enforcement if the collision is a reportable accident.
- Contact your attorney if the accident results in death or serious injury
Leaving the scene of an accident: Defenses
During the trial. Prosecutors will have to prove that leaving the scene was intentional. Because of that, a lack of awareness of your involvement in an accident is a possible defense. Other defenses include:
- You left the scene to get help or to transport an injured person.
- You feared for your safety,
- The struck person suffered no injury.
Remember, you may use what the other party says at the scene in your defense. For example, if the individual says that he suffered injury or admits fault. You may use that.
We recommend contacting a defense attorney immediately. If you are the victim, keep records of treatment and anything else you may need to file a claim.
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