No matter how responsible of a driver you are, you have no control over the other drivers on the road. Because of this, there’s always the chance you may end up as the victim of a car accident. Automobile accidents can result in devastating consequences for the victim and their loved ones, which is why our Little Rock car accident lawyers at McMath Woods P.A. are dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of handling the aftermath of a wreck.
It’s an unfortunate fact that car accidents are common in Arkansas. According to a traffic crash report by the Arkansas State Police, there were nearly 61,000 car crashes in 2014 – a 4.3 percent increase from the previous year. As a result of those accidents, thousands of individuals were injured and nearly 500 people are victims of wrongful deaths.
The majority of these accidents are directly caused by another driver’s negligence; and while it can be difficult to understand, this means that many of the accidents, accident injuries, and deaths could have been prevented. Whether the collision resulted from distracted driving, drunk driving, or speeding, the negligent party should be held accountable for their actions.
That’s where we come in. Our injury law attorneys provide our clients with comprehensive legal representation to pursue full and fair compensation to aid with recovery and financial burdens. If you or a loved one have been injured or worse in a car accident and are considering seeking legal representation, it’s important to understand why vehicle accidents happen, Arkansas’ car insurance and accident laws, and how you can seek justice with our law firm.
Understanding Why Car Accidents Happen
While car accidents related to the weather and road conditions are not always preventable, the majority of car accidents are. The unfortunate fact is that many accidents are the result of negligent drivers who commit the irresponsible and illegal acts listed below.
Drunk Driving. Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.08 percent are considered to be driving under the influence. Reaction times are significantly slowed, and the brain has difficulty processing information and reasoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 2,000 people were killed in crashes involving drunk drivers in Arkansas from 2003 to 2012.
Distracted Driving. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents in the United States. Distracted drivers may be talking on the phone, texting, applying makeup, or eating. Arkansas prohibits the use of texting while driving, regardless of age. It is also illegal for a driver to use a hand-held device while driving through school and highway construction zones. Drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 are only allowed to use hands-free devices.
Fatigued Driving. Arkansas takes driving drowsy seriously. If a driver decides to get behind the wheel after being awake for more than 24 hours, they can be charged with fatigued driving. In the event of a serious accident, the driver can be found guilty of negligent homicide.
Speeding. Arkansas also takes speeding seriously. The state’s absolute speed limit law means that even if a driver is driving one mile per hour over the stipulated speed limit, they can be stopped and ticketed. This is especially true in school and work zones. Speeding on interstate highways is also very common and contributes to many accidents our state witnesses.
Failure to Yield. Drivers need to understand they do not always have the right of way. When this isn’t understood, accidents can happen. Obeying traffic signals and signs is an important part of being a responsible and diligent driver.
Defective Vehicle or Vehicle Parts. When a car has been manufactured as unsafe or has car parts that are defective or do not function properly should an accident occur, injuries and accidents can result. Some of the most common defective vehicle parts include brakes, tires, transmission systems, seat belts, and airbags.
In the event you’re in a car accident, it’s important to understand what your legal responsibilities are as a resident of Arkansas.
Arkansas’ Car Insurance and Accident Laws
Drivers in Arkansas are required to have liability auto insurance that meets the following minimums:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for total bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
These limits are in place in the event a driver needs to pay for the physical injuries or property damage of another driver.
Under certain circumstances, drivers must report a motor crash to the Arkansas Office of Driver Services within 30 days of the incident. Those circumstances include property damage exceeding $1,000 or the injury or death of a driver, passenger, or pedestrian.
As far as determining fault goes, Arkansas operates under a modified comparative fault law. This means that an auto wreck victim can recover damages if both parties were at fault for the crash, but the amount calculated will correspond to their share of the liability. For example, if you are found to be at fault for only 10 percent of the accident, you could be compensated for 90 percent of damages incurred to your vehicle.
In the event you need to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver or an insurance company, it’s imperative to keep in mind the established statute of limitations. A statute of limitations outlines the timespan you have to file the lawsuit. Arkansas Code Annotated section 16-56-105 sets the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases, including car accident lawsuits, to three years for personal injury and property damage. If you do not file within this time frame, your case can be dismissed.
Contacting Our Little Rock Car Accident Lawyers
If you were involved in a car accident in Arkansas, you need to focus on your recovery first and foremost. If you’re questioning your legal options, seeking representation can bring peace of mind.
Dealing with insurance companies on your own can be difficult, and they may not offer you the best settlement possible after you file your claim. Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, a personal injury attorney will be able to determine what you’re eligible for and how to best handle the case – especially in the event it goes to court.
Injured auto accident victims may be eligible to collect economic and non-economic monetary compensation. In many cases, the negligent party will ultimately be responsible for paying these amounts. As the victim, you may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses related to the accident, lost wages, property damage and loss, and pain and suffering.
Our personal injury lawyers in Little Rock are prepared to advise you on every aspect of your case. To ensure that you receive the results and compensation you deserve, we give your case the time and effort it deserves. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.