Penalties for Leaving the Scene of the Accident in Mississippi
Car accidents can be difficult to deal with, especially right after the incident happens. Fortunately, there are laws in place to help people deal with the event in an efficient manner. When a negligent driver disregards the protocols and leaves the scene, they are committing a crime. If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run, you may have questions about why they did what they did and what will happen to the other driver if they’re found.
Why Do Negligent Drivers Leave Accident Scenes?
While there are no excuses for leaving the scene of a car accident, understanding why someone would can shed light on your circumstances and help you move past the crash faster. Some of the most common reasons include the following:
- Intoxication. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their ability to think clearly is compromised. When an accident happens and they realize what they’ve done, they’re more likely to abandon the scene because they know it’s likely they’ll be arrested when the police arrive.
- Lack of Insurance or License. By law, drivers are required to have an active license and auto insurance. If they are caught driving without either, they could be detained by the police. This may be enough to persuade a reckless person to leave an accident scene without speaking to the other driver.
- Legal Trouble. If a person is in trouble with the law, they may decide to risk running from an accident scene in order to avoid a confrontation with the police.
- Fear or Confusion. When the shock of an accident hit the person who caused it, they may flee the scene because they’re scared or overwhelmed. The law, however, requires that all involved parties remain at the scene until the proper information has been collected.
- Misunderstanding. If two drivers speak to each other after an accident but only one provides contact information, the other driver could be charged with a hit-and-run because they did not follow the law.
Mississippi Hit-and-Run Laws
All drivers in Mississippi need to be aware of the laws that pertain to actions after an accident, so they know what to do in the event they’re involved in a crash. The laws are in place to ensure injured individuals get the medical attention they need and so drivers have the information they need to file a claim with their insurance company later.
- § 63-4-301 – 63-3-423 of the Mississippi Code establishes what drivers are supposed to do at the scene of an accident. If the only consequence is property damage and both drivers are present, they need to stop, move their vehicles to avoid obstructing traffic, and share the following information with each other:
- Vehicle’s registration numbers
- Operator’s or chauffeur’s licenses, if applicable
In the event someone is hurt, any able-bodied driver is supposed to arrange emergency medical care for the injured party. That person cannot be held liable, while acting in good faith, for any civil damages. The same information listed above needs to be shared.
If a driver strikes a vehicle that’s unattended, like in a parking lot, the driver is supposed to stop, attempt to locate the owner, and leave a conspicuous note including their contact information and a brief summary of what happened.
Consequences for Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Committing a hit-and-run is a crime. If a driver does so and is caught, there are a number of penalties they could face. In regard to fines, they could face a fine of no less than $100, but no more than $5,000. Jail time is also a possibility. The guilty party could face anywhere from 30 days to one-year imprisonment.
If a driver commits a hit-and-run that results in death, mutilation, disfigurement, permanent disability or destruction of the tongue, eyes, lips, nose, limbs, or organs, the penalties are more severe. The guilty party could face a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 and five to 20 years in prison. No matter how severe the accident, the person that commits the hit-and-run could have their license revoked.
If you’ve been in a hit-and-run and need compensation to recover from your injuries and other losses, we can help you file a car accident claim. By taking legal action, you’re standing up for your rights and letting the other driver know what they did was wrong.
It can be challenging to seek compensation for a hit-and-run, especially if the other driver is not found. You’ll need a strong legal team to investigate the accident and prove you were wronged. To learn more about how our services can aid in your recovery, contact our office.
What Are the Dangers of Driving Too Slowly?
2019 Law Changes in Mississippi