Mississippi’s Penalties for Hit-and-Run AccidentsMississippi Legal News
Auto accidents are fundamentally stressful incidents that can overwhelm even the most poised drivers, especially as they worry about financial penalties, legal consequences, fault, and other such effects of an accident. At times, this stress can overpower a motorist’s rational thought and care for others, resulting in them leaving the scene of the accident. This can have severe consequences for themselves and everyone else involved in the crash; understanding these penalties is vital to minimizing hit-and-run accidents across the nation.
Defining a Hit-and-Run Accident
Negligence and hit-and-runs go hand in hand. Mississippi codes § 63-3-401 through 63-3-407 define motorist responsibilities in the event of an accident, whereupon drivers must:
- Stop, move to avoid obstructing traffic, and then share their names, addresses, vehicle registration numbers, and operator’s/chauffeur’s licenses (when applicable) with one another.
- Arrange emergency medical assistance for any injured parties. At a minimum, this includes a 911 call, but in more severe cases, personally driving an injured motorist to the hospital is expected by law.
- In the event of a collision with an unattended vehicle, drivers must attempt to locate the owner. If they can’t, they need to leave a note in an obvious, reasonable location including contact information and a brief summary of the collision (this can be as simple as “I mistakenly hit the back right corner of your car while pulling out,” for example).
Failing to follow any of those points constitutes a hit-and-run accident, which, contrary to popular belief, can be an honest mistake at times. For example, if you pull over, talk to the other driver, but neglect to provide your vehicle registration number, address, or name before leaving, you’ve just committed a hit-and-run, despite not actually “fleeing” the scene of the accident. Even unintentional hit-and-runs have consequences, so always be careful and thorough in the aftermath of a collision.
The Consequences of Hit-and-Run Accidents in Mississippi
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s research, a hit-and-run accident occurs every 43 seconds, nationwide. These accidents can leave motorists without any source of compensation for their injuries or damages, provided that the hit-and-run driver escapes unwitnessed, which is far from uncommon—especially in the case of collisions with unattended vehicles.
However, when caught, hit-and-run drivers face serious consequences for their reckless, selfish decisions:
- Any hit-and-run accident can result in a revoked license, extensive punitive damages, and a higher attribution of fault during the settlement process, which will translate to yet more financial penalties.
- In the event of a minor collision (involving only property damage and temporary injuries), guilty parties face fines of $100 to $5,000 and potential imprisonment of 30 days to a year.
- Serious hit-and-run accidents (involving disfigurement, mutilation, permanent disability, and death) will net drivers a fine between $1,000 and $10,000, alongside five to 20 years of imprisonment.
If you were involved in a Mississippi hit-and-run accident, the damages of that auto accident are bound to compound with the worries of a lawless driver who fled the scene of your accident, which might have intensified your injuries if you needed immediate medical attention. You deserve better, so give Germany Law Firm PLLC’s experienced personal injury attorneys in Jackson a call today at (601) 401-6884. We can help you prove that a hit-and-run occurred, even if the other driver isn’t caught, and secure you comprehensive compensation in the process.