Motorcycle enthusiasts love the thrill of the open road and the feel of the air rushing past. Riding a motorcycle has become a beloved American pastime and a way of life for some. Unfortunately, however, the rate of motorcycle accidents has climbed in recent years. Each year, over 4,500 riders are killed in accidents on the roads, and another 80,000 injured. In Mississippi alone, 58 motorcyclists were killed in 2011. Due to increased vulnerability of motorcyclists, if a motorcycle rider is involved in an accident, the likelihood of injury is an astonishing 96%. If you plan to ride a motorcycle Mississippi, here is a summary of motorcycle accident laws that you should be aware of in the event you are ever in an accident.
Your Responsibilities as a Motorcyclist in Mississippi
You are required by Mississippi law to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on your license before operating a motorcycle in the state. To receive this endorsement you must take both a written and a riding test. If you are new to the state and have a valid endorsement from another state, you should only have to transfer your license; the state will waive the written and riding tests.
Mississippi Code Ann. § 63-7-64 requires all operators of motorcycles to wear a helmet approved by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. While you are required to wear a helmet, eye protection is not mandated.
All motorcyclists in the state must carry liability insurance. The state minimums are as follows:
- Bodily injury (1 person): $10,000
- Bodily Injury (all persons involved in 1 accident): $20,000
- Property Damage: $5,000
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Most motorcycle accidents in Mississippi and across the U.S. are due to the motorcyclist’s lack of visibility. The following is a list of common causes for motorcycle accidents:
- Poor driving conditions
- The motorcyclist is in the car’s turning lane and the care violates the cyclists right of way or does not see him or her
- Head on collisions
- Lane splitting
- Alcohol or drug use
Many motorcycle accident attorneys will tell you from experience that when the accident involves a motorcycle and a vehicle, it is most often due to the fault of the vehicle. Generally, the accident occurs when the vehicle turns into the motorcycle, whether through failure to yield to the motorcyclist’s right of way or simply not checking to see if a motorcycle is in the vehicle’s path.
Your Right to Recovery Following Injury in a Motorcycle Accident
Under Mississippi motorcycle law, negligent drivers are liable and responsible for your injuries incurred as a result of a motorcycle accident. Mississippi is an at fault state, meaning that the negligent party in an accident involving a motorcycle must pay damages under negligence laws. Your claim may be reduced under the principals of comparative negligence if you were at fault to some percentage.
If you are in a motorcycle accident and survive the crash, your best avenue of recovery will be through a personal injury suit. If you are the family of a loved one killed as a result of a motorcycle accident, you can recover through a wrongful death suit.
You have three years from the date of the accident to bring your personal injury suit. In your personal injury suit, you can seek recovery for the following:
- Medical bills- past and future
- Lost wages
- Permanent disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment
- Replacement services
A wrongful death suit based on negligence must also be filed within three years of the victim’s death in the motorcycle accident. The family of a deceased victim may seek to recover the following:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of earnings and benefits
- Loss of inheritance
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of love and companionship
The Giddens Law Firm Can Help
While this summary provides you with a general idea of Mississippi motorcycle accident laws, it is imperative that you consult with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Motorcycle accidents can be complex and require the assistance of a skilled attorney. The Giddens Law Firm has extensive experience representing the victims of motorcycle accidents and their loved ones. Call us today at 601-355-2022 to schedule a free consultation.