A threat to the safety of other road users or society at large is punishable in Mississippi with probation, jail terms and hefty fines. If you injured someone by making an avoidable mistake, the court might hold you accountable, depending on the circumstances of your accident, and you may be responsible for paying the victims compensation for their damages and injuries.
How Mississippi law defines reckless driving
Mississippi vehicle code defines reckless driving as “driving in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.” This includes:
- Driving at an excessive speed
- Failing to yield right of way
- Going through red lights or stop signs
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Following too closely
In Mississippi, reckless driving is a criminal act, and one can face jail time of up to six months in addition to financial penalties, depending on the severity of the offense. Moreover, motor vehicle accidents that result in serious bodily injury or death of another motorist may lead to additional charges, such as negligent homicide, assault and battery, among others.
How a civil lawsuit works in reckless driving cases
If you’re involved in a reckless driving lawsuit, the injured party will have to prove that:
- You were operating your vehicle recklessly at the time of the accident.
- The other person suffered damages because of your actions.
- The amount of damages claimed is reasonable, and medical professionals or repair shops can prove their estimate.
- You were the cause of the damages.
If you meet these four conditions, the court will determine whether you are liable for the damages and how much compensation you should award the injured parties. If found liable, you may be responsible for paying medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages incurred.
Just because someone files a lawsuit against you doesn’t always mean you’ll suffer the harshest penalties or that you are liable to pay damages. There are several defensive strategies you can use in a reckless driving case. For example, if you can prove the other party was negligent too, the court can reduce or dismiss their claims against you. You can also claim contributory negligence – this happens when the injured party did something wrong before or during the incident, such as not wearing a seatbelt.