Injuries are a part of life. We all will experience some physical pain and discomfort at one point or another. Depending on the severity of an injury, a person could be looking at medical treatment, physical therapy, or even surgery. It is not uncommon for a person to miss a significant amount of work if they are badly hurt. However, if another person caused your injury, you deserve to be compensated for the harm you suffered.
Ken Kieklak is a Benton County, AR personal injury lawyer with years of experience helping injured individuals and their families. The first part of any personal injury claim is understanding your rights and options. Our office is committed to providing vigorous and professional representation while explaining every step of the process. If you believe you have a personal injury claim, call our office at (479) 316-0438 to schedule a free consultation.
Types of Personal Injury Cases in Benton County, Arkansas
People throughout Benton County are injured in various ways. Because no two people are the same, and the circumstances surrounding every injury are different, each personal injury case our office handles is unique and presents its own particular challenges. However, there are a number of typical types of cases our office sees.
Slip and Fall Accidents
While often mocked or played for laughs in TV sitcoms, slip and fall accidents lead to some of the most devastating injuries. This is especially the case if the victim is an elderly individual.
Despite the number of older Americans hurt in slip and fall accidents, younger Benton County residences are also injured when they lose their balance. While a fall might result in a bruise or hurt pride, many falls result in shattered bones or concussions. When a fall is preventable and caused by a slippery floor, broken step, or poor lighting, the property owner or manager could be held liable.
There are thousands of vehicles on the road and highways in and surrounding Benton County. If someone is driving recklessly, drunk, or otherwise ignoring the rules of the road and they cause an accident, they should be held accountable for any resulting injuries or damage. Automotive vehicle accidents occur for many reasons, including fatigue, distraction, carelessness, and even vehicle malfunctions. Whether you were hurt in a car, truck, motorcycle, bus, or were a pedestrian, our Benton County personal injury attorney will fight for the compensation you deserve.
Another important branch of personal injury litigation centers around medical malpractice. We trust that our doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers will make decisions and act in our best interests. When a medical professional or hospital fails to provide medical care that meets the acceptable standard or makes an unjustifiable error, then you have the right to hold them financially responsible for any harm you or a loved one experienced.
In some situations, an injury is not caused by the reckless or careless behavior of a person nearby. Products liability personal injury lawsuits happen when an injury occurs because a company sells a product that is defective, poorly designed, or lacked adequate warnings. Products liability claims can also arise out of other personal injury cases, such as a defective airbag in a car accident.
Often tied to slip and fall cases, a property owner or manager could be held liable for injuries through a premises liability claim. If you are injured because you fell in a grocery store, the manager or store owner could be held responsible if they failed to properly address or warn you of a dangerous condition. Homeowners could also be held liable for injuries that happen to their guests. No matter where you were injured, you should speak with an experienced Benton County personal injury attorney to determine if the property owner or manager could be held liable.
Construction or Work-related Accidents
Workers’ compensation insurance protects most workers in Arkansas if they are injured while on the job. However, workers’ compensation is not always sufficient to cover an injured person’s financial needs – especially if the injury is severe. While workers’ compensation prohibits filing a personal injury lawsuit against an employer, it does not free third-parties, including equipment manufacturers or subcontractors, from liability. Furthermore, in some cases, an employer’s conduct could open them up to liability. If you suffered an injury while working, speak with our Arkansas workers’ compensation attorney to discuss filing a claim and whether you have other options available.
Unfortunately, there are times when the injuries sustained in an accident are fatal. When an individual loses their life due to the negligent conduct of another person or company, eligible surviving family members are entitled to file a wrongful death claim. Depending upon the relationship, a surviving loved one could be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages the deceased would have earned, as well as the emotional pain they suffered because of the death.
Proving Negligence in Benton County Personal Injury Lawsuits
There are times where people are hurt in unforeseeable and unpreventable accidents. However, if you are injured because of the negligence or preventable error of another person or company, you are entitled to seek financial compensation for your injuries.
Prevailing in a personal injury lawsuit based on the conduct of another person or entity requires proving four specific elements to show that the other party was negligent.
Duty of Care
The first element to demonstrate is that there was a relationship between the parties involved in the case that created an obligation, or duty of care, that the defendant owed the plaintiff. If you drive on Benton County roads, you owe every other driver and pedestrian a responsibility to safely operate your vehicle so as not to place others at an unreasonable risk. This obligation includes obeying posted traffic laws, paying attention to the road, and keeping your car in a roadworthy condition. Different obligations exist between store owners and their customers, doctors and their patients, and homeowners and their guests.
Breach of Duty
Proving that the defendant owed you a duty of care is only step one. Next, our Benton County personal injury attorney will have to demonstrate that the defendant breached that duty. In most personal injury lawsuits, this is the most difficult part of the process.
If you were injured in a car crash caused by another driver who was texting while driving, then the defendant’s behavior could constitute a breach of their duty of care. A store owner who failed to have an aisle cleaned up after a spill could have breached the duty they owed a customer if the customer slipped and fell.
To further understand a breach of duty, think about what a reasonable person would do under the same conditions. For example, if you are driving in a rainstorm with limited visibility, you might reasonably drive below the posted speed limit. Therefore, in that case, a person who is traveling the speed limit might be violating the obligation they legally owe other drivers. Because a breach often depends on the case’s exact circumstances, our Benton County personal injury attorney will have to gather evidence to support your claim.
The third element you must show to prove negligence in a personal injury case is causation. Causation simply means that the defendant’s breach caused you injury. In some cases, this is straightforward. If you slip in a hardware store and shatter your ankle because a store owner failed to clean up the spill, the owner’s failure to act caused your injury.
Our Benton County personal injury attorney will gather evidence to try and establish that the defendant’s breach of duty is the reason you were injured. Evidence could include pictures of the accident site, surveillance footage, police reports, and witness testimony.
The final element required to prove a negligence case is demonstrating that the plaintiff suffered damages due to the defendant’s conduct. An Arkansas court will have to have a justification to award you monetary compensation. Without quantifiable damages, a defendant will not have to pay you anything. For example, if you fall on a spill in a grocery store that was not cleaned up in a reasonable time but did not suffer an injury, you probably do not have grounds for a negligence claim.
However, if you were hurt, required medical treatment, or missed time from your job, you suffered damages. In addition to financial losses that you are able to calculate, you are also entitled to compensation for your emotional distress. It is important to seek medical treatment immediately after an accident or slight injury to protect your welfare and establish a medical record of your treatment. If you hesitate or choose not to see a doctor, then any injury you have suffered will be more challenging to link to the defendant’s negligence. For instance, if you fall in a grocery store, you could have hurt your back. However, if you delay seeing your doctor, a defense attorney or insurance company will allege that your injury is not related to the fall in the store. Medical documentation two or three weeks after the incident might not be sufficient to win a personal injury lawsuit.
Damages Available in a Benton County Personal Injury Lawsuit
Our Benton County personal injury attorney can discuss what types of compensation are available through a civil claim, though our office cannot offer a guaranteed recovery. However, through years of experience and by thoroughly reviewing the available evidence, our lawyers will give you a good faith estimated value of your claim. This estimation is a valuable tool in deciding whether to pursue your claim in court or attempt to negotiate with an insurance provider.
As stated above, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant was negligent and must provide evidence to substantiate the compensation sought. Typically, there are two categories of damages available in a Benton County personal injury claim.
Economic damages are easy to understand and easy to underestimate. These are the actual financial losses you incurred because of your injury. Some immediate losses that come to mind are medical costs, such as co-pays and deductibles. However, economic damages are much more expansive and include the cost of medication, parking, and any medical treatment or physical therapy you could require in the future. Furthermore, you are entitled to recover your lost wages, including any income you might lose in the future if your earning capacity is diminished.
Nearly everyone is familiar with the phrase “pain and suffering.” An injured plaintiff is also permitted to seek recovery for subjective, or non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. These damages are intangible when compared with a person’s economic losses but are just as real. Our Benton County, AR personal injury lawyer will work to demonstrate that you should be compensated for your mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Both economic and non-economic damages are often called compensatory damages because their intention is to help an injured plaintiff to get back to where they were before the injury. The amounts awarded are related directly to the injury and its impact on the victim. In contrast, punitive damages are designed to punish or deter a defendant specifically because their conduct was grossly negligent. A court would have to find that a defendant acted with willful malice or a complete and intentional disregard for another’s safety. Punitive damages are rarely awarded but could significantly alter the amount of compensation a plaintiff receives. Our Benton County personal injury lawyer will discuss the possibility of punitive damages after reviewing your case.
Call a Benton County, AR Personal Injury Lawyer Who Will Fight For Your Rights
If you are hurt because of another person or company’s negligence, you should focus on healing and let our Benton County, AR personal injury lawyer work for you. Unexpected injuries often result in a financial strain when you are unable to work and are facing mounting medical expenses. An injury also could have a mental toll on both you and your family. Ken Kieklak has been fighting for the rights of Benton County residents for decades. Call (479) 316-0438 to schedule a free appointment to review your case.