Are You Automatically at Fault if You Rear-End Someone in Arkansas?
Not many people think about being involved in a car accident. However, thousands of people end up injured in car crashes around the country every day. Unfortunately, Arkansas has seen its fair share of collisions over the years. Rear-end accidents are some of the most common types of vehicular accidents in the U.S. While it may not sound as dangerous as other types of car crashes, they still carry the potential for devastating injuries. You may wonder if you are automatically liable for rear-ending another person in Arkansas. Our Fayetteville, AR car accident attorney, Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, invites you to keep reading as we expand on this question.
Who is Liable for a Rear-End Collision in Arkansas?
Most people believe car drivers who rear-end the vehicle in front of them are automatically liable for the accident. A driver may fail to keep their distance or make sure they have enough space between his car and the car in front. Under such circumstances, you can make the case that the other car was at fault for the car accident in Arkansas. However, not every rear-end collision is automatically caused by the car following from behind. There may be situations where the rear-ended driver may have played a significant role in their crash.
Even though all odds may be against the following driver, the alleged “liable” party may argue he had no alternative. Suppose you are driving your car behind another vehicle on the road. All of a sudden, the driver in front slams their brakes, causing you to rear-end him or her. In this particular circumstance, the rear-ended driver may be partially liable for the crash. Therefore, you might not be entirely off the hook for the collision. In this case, you would probably share the liability for not keeping a safe distance.
Things can be very different if you crash into a person backing up from a parking spot. In this circumstance, the driver backing up is responsible for making sure there is no oncoming traffic. The safety responsibility shifts towards the driver in reverse since incoming cars have the right of way. The front driver might be liable if they leave their vehicle parked on a curb, or in the middle of the street.
What Are Some of the Most Common Rear-End Accident Injuries in Arkansas?
For many people, rear-end collisions may sound like mild accidents where the only result is a fender bender. However, these accidents can lead to severe – and sometimes deadly – injuries. The following represent some of the most commonly seen injuries in rear-end collisions:
Head injuries are common in rear-end collisions. When a person gets rear-ended, he or she can lose control over their body and can hit their head against different parts inside their vehicle. Head injuries, in some cases, can be mild and require minimal recovery time. However, severe head injuries can lead to debilitating, life-threatening conditions. In severe cases, these injuries may require costly medical procedures and continuing medical assistance.
Neck injuries are also common in car accidents, especially in rear-end crashes. The most common type of neck injury is known as whiplash. This injury happens as a result of a sudden, forceful back and forth movement of the head. It is also known for causing neck stiffness and pain, tingling sensation in the hands, and numbness in the fingers. This type of injury may take weeks or months to heal fully.
Back injuries are amongst some of the most severe and discomforting injuries any person can sustain in a car accident. A person can suffer debilitating conditions, like quadriplegia and tetraplegia, based on the severity of the damage and the location of the hit. Back injuries can require costly medical procedures such as surgery and continuing medical attention.
Proving Negligence in a Rear-End Collision in Arkansas
A rear-end collision victim must prove the defendant’s negligence to obtain compensation. The plaintiff is responsible for establishing your negligence. To be found negligent, the plaintiff must show you owed a legal duty. The plaintiff may argue that you owed her a duty to drive safely and keep a safe distance between both cars. Second, she will try to establish that you breached your legal duty by creating a link between your “negligence” and her losses. Finally, the plaintiff will try to prove that she suffered lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
The preponderance of the evidence must show these elements, and the plaintiff must persuade the court that you were “negligent.” If the plaintiff fails to show that you were allegedly negligent, you wouldn’t have to respond for her losses.
A plaintiff can receive compensation proportional to their percentage of liability under Arkansas law. This legal doctrine is known as “contributory negligence.” For instance, if the court awards $100,000 to a plaintiff, but she’s found to be 40% negligent, she would receive $60,000 instead. However, if the plaintiff is found to be 51% or more liable for her accident, she may not be able to recover anything.
Arkansas Rear-End Accident Attorneys Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident in Arkansas, our Arkansas personal injury attorneys can help. Backed by years of experience, we have developed the necessary skills to fight for the compensation you deserve. Our Fayetteville, AR personal injury attorney, Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, understands how difficult dealing with the aftermath of a crash can be. For this reason, we work tirelessly to fight aggressively and strategically in your name. Don’t go through this challenging time on your own. Put our experience, skill, and dedication to work for you during this trying time. To learn more about our services in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (479) 316-0438.
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