Is it lawful for a tractor to cross into a lane of traffic while mowing along a highway without warning or blocking off the lane?

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Is it lawful for a tractor to cross into a lane of traffic while mowing along a highway without warning or blocking off the lane?

I was recently in an accident involving a tractor on a Mississippi highway around 4:45 in the afternoon. The tractor was mowing the median and part of the bush hog was blocking the left lane of traffic. The accident occurred at a point in the road where a driver is blind to what lies ahead over the hill. There were no signs, signals, or cones blocking off the lane of traffic so the tractor could work safely. Although no citations were issued, I fear I am being held responsible. How can a tractor moving at 15 mph infringe on motorists traveling at 55 mph lane of traffic?

Asked on September 9, 2011 under Accident Law, Mississippi

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The issue will likely be based in or determined by negligence. That is, was the tractor operator unreasonably careless in how he was operating, such as by not putting out signs, signals, cones, etc., or not having a flagman or the equivalent, to warn incoming traffic. That is, if it was unreasonably careless in not taking these precautions, the tractor operator may be negligent, and if his negligence caused the accident, that could provide a basis for recovery for other injured or damaged parties, or possibly help to insulate other parties from liability. If you were injured or your property (e.g. car) damaged, you should contact an attorney to help you claim compensation; if you are not going to do that, you probably don't need to do anything unless and until a citation is issued or you are sued--at which point you should retain an attorney to help you. Good luck.


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