Tupelo Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Helping Clients Fight for Maximum Compensation in Tupelo, MS
The year 2020 has had a record-setting number of 5400 fatalities resulting from motorcycle accidents in the United States, with many more accidents resulting in nonfatal injuries and property damage. Mississippi has a clear set of laws and regulations motorcyclists are required to follow in order to stay safe, but unfortunately, accidents involving motorcycles still happen every day – many due to drivers of passenger vehicles and other vehicles on the road. Learn what legal options you may have if you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Mississippi.
What Laws Do Motorcyclists Need to Follow in Mississippi?
There are specific requirements for an individual to legally operate a motorcycle on public roadways in Mississippi. First, motorcyclists need to pass a written test and a road test in order to obtain a Class R endorsement on their driver’s license, showing that they are qualified to safely operate a motorcycle. All motorcycles must undergo an inspection before being allowed on the road.
In some states, wearing a helmet while operating a motorcycle is optional, but not in Mississippi. All motorcyclists and passengers are required to wear an approved helmet in Mississippi. Failure to do so could result in significant consequences, which could include being charged with a misdemeanor and potentially facing fines and even jail time.
It is also worth noting that Mississippi has no clear legislation concerning the practice of “lane splitting”, which is when a motorcycle travels between designated traffic lanes in order to pass larger vehicles or get around slower traffic. Lane splitting is one of the main causes of motorcycle accidents, especially when done by inexperienced motorcyclists. For that reason, some states in the U.S. have decided to make lane splitting illegal in an effort to reduce accidents, but it is neither legal nor illegal to engage in lane splitting in Mississippi. However, if you get involved in an accident while lane splitting, it could count against you when it is time to determine liability for the accident, as the other party may allege you were driving your motorcycle in a dangerous manner and contributed to the accident.
Who Is Financially Liable for My Motorcycle Accident?
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, the damages you may have sustained are usually the responsibility of the party deemed to be mostly at fault for the accident. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers in other vehicles – if that is the case, then your damages may be covered by that driver’s auto insurance policy. You will likely need to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company, and you may need to notify your own insurance company as well.
If your accident involved a commercial vehicle such as a truck or passenger bus, you may end up dealing with additional insurance claims, depending on who owns and operates the vehicle. A collision with a private passenger bus may mean you could be filing a claim against the driver’s insurance as well as an additional claim against the company that owns the vehicle, for example.
Determining liability for a motorcycle accident may not always be a straightforward process, which is why seeking the help of a motorcycle accident attorney shortly after your accident may make all the difference in your case. Your attorney can help you with the steps needed to properly investigate what happened and collect the evidence needed to establish liability and seek maximum compensation for your injuries.
What Happens if My Accident Was Caused by a Manufacturing Defect or Poor Road Conditions?
In some cases, a manufacturing defect may be among the main causes of the accident. A motorcycle or motorcycle part with a design or manufacturing defect may lead to a catastrophic failure even when operated under normal circumstances. If your accident is determined to have been caused by a mechanical or design flaw, it is important to pinpoint exactly what caused it. You may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of that motorcycle, but other scenarios may apply. The defect could be caused by a poor maintenance or repair job, a faulty aftermarket part, and other variables. Your attorney can work with you to see whether your case qualifies for a product liability claim, and which party may be responsible for your damages.
Likewise, many accidents happen due to poor road conditions, such as large potholes, overgrown vegetation on the side of the roads, lack of traffic signs and road markings, and even a road that contains a design flaw. When these issues are present in a public roadway built and maintained by a government entity (such as the state, county or city), you may have a claim against that government entity. In this case, working with an attorney is extremely important as most claims against the government have much shorter deadlines and require specific steps along with strong evidence to prove you have a legitimate claim.
Can I Still Receive Compensation Even if I Am Partially at Fault for My Motorcycle Accident?
Even with all safety precautions, motorcycle accidents can happen and motorcyclists often end up sharing some of the blame for it. In many states, being partially at fault for your accident could potentially mean the end of the road for your claim, as victims who are 50%, 51% or even just 1% responsible for the accident may be barred from receiving compensation. Fortunately, the state of Mississippi follows the pure comparative negligence rule.
The pure comparative negligence rule allows victims to recover compensation for an accident even if they were also at fault for it. There is no percentage of fault that bars an individual from recovering compensation, but the dollar amount you may receive is impacted by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
For example, if you were in an accident with a passenger vehicle that made a left turn without checking for oncoming traffic and collided with your motorcycle, but you were going 20 miles above the speed limit and thus did not have enough time to brake or swerve, it may be determined that you were 40% at fault. You may still receive compensation for your damages, but the court will subtract 40% of the full amount you would receive before you can get a settlement check.
How Can a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help Me?
Being injured in a motorcycle accident is a traumatic event, and you may not know where to turn to hold the other party responsible for the accident. A motorcycle accident attorney can handle all aspects of your case on your behalf, which includes conducting a thorough investigation to determine liability and seek maximum compensation on your behalf. At Rundlett Law Firm, PLLC, our attorneys are dedicated to helping injured motorcyclists in Tupelo, MS and surrounding areas to defend their rights to receive payment for their damages. If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident and want to know if you have a case, our team is ready to assist you and explain all your legal options. Request a no-commitment initial consultation to discuss your case and see how we may be able to help you.