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Auto Accidents / August 31, 2016

Who Pays When Construction Causes Car Accidents?

Byram Freeway Accident Kills Three, Wounds Several

Three people have died and several more have suffered injuries in a multiple car accident on I-55 in Byram this past Saturday, August 20, according to MS News Now Jackson. The crash involved seven cars and two 18-wheelers. One of the 18-wheelers exploded, resulting in a conflagration that consumed the area of the accident. Law enforcement officials at the scene believe that the crash, the latest in a series of accidents, may have resulted from ongoing construction on the freeway.

Freeway Construction Contributed to Multi-Car Pileup

WJTV Jackson reports that the exact cause of the car collision is still not completely certain. The vehicles initially collided on the northbound side of I-55 near exit 85. Vehicles continued moving between 50 and 75 yards beyond the location of the actual collision before coming to a rest. Emergency vehicles responded to the accident immediately, but because of the large pileup, they were not able to reach several of the victims whose cars the flames engulfed. Reports indicate that authorities will not be filing criminal charges related to the accident. Byram Police Chief Luke Thompson indicated that since the construction on the freeway began, one accident after another has occurred in the same general area.

If Construction Causes a Car Accident, Who is Liable?

When someone suffers injury or death in a car accident, the person or people who caused the injury are liable for money damages in a negligence lawsuit. If the person responsible was driving a car, they are liable to the extent that they violated the rules of the road or failed to take reasonable care to avoid injury to other drivers or passengers. But what if the accident occurred because of construction?

Whether or not the organization performing the construction is liable for negligence in an accident they cause depends on who the organization is. If the organization is a private contractor, which is common, then they can be liable for negligence if they failed to take reasonable care to avoid an accident that the construction caused. If a state agency (like the Mississippi Department of Transportation) was carrying out the construction, then they might be immune from a lawsuit. This is called sovereign immunity. If the agency is carrying out a responsibility that a specific statute gives them, then they are immune if they are following that statute. If they violate the statute (for example, by failing to follow engineering standards or procedures that the statute lays out), they might be liable for damages.

Is the Construction Contractor Liable for the Freeway Accident in Byram?

In the accident near Byram, it is possible that the group that was carrying out the construction could be liable for negligence. Most likely, a private contractor was performing the construction as part of a contract with the Department of Transportation. In this case, if the private contractor failed to take reasonable care to prevent an accident, and this failure led to the injuries in the accident, then the injured persons or survivors of deceased persons could sue the construction contractor for negligence.

Get Legal Help

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, you need expert legal assistance. Get in touch with an experienced auto accident attorney at Derek L. Hall, PC in Jackson today to get the compensation you deserve.

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