Car accident victims can experience short-term, long-term, and even life-long and altering consequences. Car accidents can range from minor “fender benders” to major accidents resulting in severe injuries and even the loss of life.
If you have suffered a serious injury in a car accident, or if a loved one has been killed in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Compensation typically attempts to make you whole by awarding money for damages. Our Fort Smith Arkansas attorneys will work to obtain compensation for your pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of services, damage to property and other losses.
Unfortunately, car accidents occur more often than anyone would like. Individuals and families are left devastated when a loved one is injured. You need an aggressive attorney that will fight for your compensation – whether it is negotiating a settlement offer with an insurer or arguing your case in front of a jury. To review your car accident claim, contact GKD Law at (479) 316-0438.
Common Car Accidents Injuries in Fort Smith
Car accidents are by their nature very traumatic events. That is because when two cars collide there are thousands of pounds of metal, glass, and plastic colliding with another object or objects that also weigh thousands of pounds and are made of metal, glass, plastic, and possibly other materials. Some of the most common car accident injuries seen on the road include:
- Whiplash and neck injuries– Whiplash and neck injuries are some of the most common injuries in a car accident. These injuries are the result of the sheer amount of force that is behind a car accident, which causes the muscles and nerves in the neck to be strained past their normal range of motion. However, despite their commonality, neck injuries can be some of the most painful injuries one can experience. Symptoms from a neck injury, such as whiplash, can range from mild to moderate and even to debilitating. Some victims will only experience minor pain and swelling, while others may suffer from more severe injuries such as cervical dislocation and disc injuries. In addition, these injuries may indicate that the brain has sustained some trauma.
- Spinal column injuries– A spinal cord injury of any degree can be catastrophic to a person. These injuries result when displaced or dislodged bone fragments, disc materials, or ligaments bruise or tear into the spinal cord. These injuries tend to be disastrous as any damage to the spinal cord can severely affect or completely severed nerve connections from the brain to the rest of the body. Damage to this delicate structure can result in loss of function in some or all extremities, loss of feeling in some or all extremities, and or death.
- Traumatic brain injuries– The brain serves the all-important function of controlling the body. In addition to being the seat of our ability to think, the brain also controls many biological processes that we do not think, such as breathing and regulating our organs. Brain injuries are unfortunately common in a car accident due to the jarring nature of the accident itself.
While these are some of the most common injuries, there are many others that a car accident victim will typically suffer, including facial injuries due to broken glass and airbags, back injuries, and nerve damage.
What Causes Accidents on Fort Smith Roads?
Car accidents are rather common types of accidents on the road. Many accidents can be attributed to drivers being impatient or driving too fast. Accidents on Fort Smith Roads can happen for many reasons, however, some of the most common reasons for an accident include:
Road Surface Conditions – Road surface conditions contribute to a substantial amount of auto accidents every year. When the roads are wet, icy, or when driving conditions are not ideal, drivers should extend a certain degree of caution. However, according to reports issued by the Arkansas State Police Department wet and icy road conditions lead to almost twenty percent of all accidents.
Alcohol – Everyone knows that you should never operate a motor vehicle or get behind the wheel after you have consumed alcohol. Yet, there are hundreds of thousands of accidents all over the country that can be attributed to drivers drinking and driving. The Arkansas State Police Department reported that in 2013, there were over 3,300 accidents that were caused by drivers who had consumed alcohol or other intoxicating substances.
Careless driving – Careless driving is perhaps the biggest contributor to accidents on Fort Smith Roads and indeed throughout Arkansas. As stated in the Arkansas Transportation Code Section 27-51-104(b)(1)-(8), the following acts by constitute as careless driving:
- Improper or unsafe lane changes on public roadways;
- Driving onto or across private property to avoid intersections, stop signs, traffic control devices, or traffic lights;
- Driving in such a manner, or at such a speed, so as to cause a skidding, spinning, or sliding of tires or a sliding of the vehicle;
- Driving too close to, or colliding with, parked or stopped vehicles, fixtures, persons, or objects adjacent to the public thoroughfares;
- Driving a vehicle which has any part thereof, or any object, extended in such fashion as to endanger persons or property;
- To operate any vehicle in such a manner which would cause a failure to maintain control;
- To operate or drive a vehicle wherein or whereon passengers are located in such a manner as to be dangerous to the welfare of such passengers; or
- To operate a vehicle in any manner, when the driver is inattentive, and such inattention is not reasonable and prudent in maintaining vehicular control.
Careless driving leads to accidents every day in Arkansas. According to the Arkansas State Police, there were almost 19,000 accidents that were connected to a driver being careless.
Steps to Take After a Fort Smith, AR Car Accident
Whether you realize it or not, preparing a personal injury claim should begin moments after a car accident happens. Even though your priority is taking care of your injuries and seeing your passengers’ well-being, there are several steps you should take to protect your rights.
Call the Police
If you are in an accident where someone has been injured or if vehicles need to be removed from the road, you are obligated to call the police. However, our Fort Smith car accident lawyers advise calling the police in most cases. The police will ensure that medical personnel is dispatched to the accident scene and cordon off the area. Law enforcement will also serve as one source of information concerning the accident, collecting the names and information of those involved in the crash along with witness statements. The preliminary investigation of the accident will be conducted by the responding officer or officers – who will prepare and file an accident report with their findings. Police will also issue citations if any driver violated a traffic law, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. All this information is valuable to our Fort Smith can accident attorneys.
Chances are you have a cellphone with a camera. If you do, and your injuries permit you to do so, you should take photographs of the accident scene. Include various angles of all the vehicles involved in the crash. You should also get a few panoramic shots that show the entire crash site if possible. Photos will help our crash investigators piece together what occurred and could serve as evidence to present witnesses to jog their memories.
Talk to Witnesses
You and every other driver will be asked to give a statement as to what occurred. If you had any passengers in your car, they could be asked as well. Unfortunately, testimony from anyone involved in the accident who has a personal interest in the outcome of the crash investigation is not always useful. However, impartial witnesses could serve as critical evidence if there are conflicting accounts from the accident victims. The police report could contain the names and contact information of eyewitnesses. However, some could have left early and it takes some time to get a copy of the report. The sooner our Fort Smith car accidents can speak with a witness, the better. If you gather their names and emails, our office will do the rest.
Seek Medical Attention
In some car accidents, a victim does not have a choice – their injuries require immediate emergency attention. However, many people walk away from accidents with minor cuts and bruises. Nonetheless, you want to see your doctor as soon as you can make an appointment. If not your doctor, you should go to an urgent care center or emergency room.
The effects of a car accident could take days or weeks to come to light. Symptoms from soft tissue or muscle damage are not always obvious. Lingering neck and back pain might not start until days after a crash. You want to make sure you can connect any injury you have or experience later to the accident. To prove this link, you need medical documentation. Waiting weeks or months to see a doctor could jeopardize a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance settlement.
Call Our Fort Smith Car Accident Attorneys
Under Arkansas law, you have three years to file a personal injury claim arising from a car accident. However, that does not mean it is a good idea to wait months or years to contact an attorney. As discussed above, to increase your chances of success, you should begin building your personal injury lawsuit immediately after an accident occurs. This includes calling our experienced Fort Smith car accident attorneys.
Damages Available in a Fort Smith, AR Car Accident Lawsuit
When an accident victim files a personal injury lawsuit, they are seeking damages. Damages is a legal term used to describe the monetary compensation available to a person who has been hurt due to someone else’s negligence. Typically, damages available if you were injured in a car accident come in two varieties.
Economic damages are the financial losses someone experiences because of their injury. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you could be rushed by ambulance to an emergency room for treatment and receive necessary surgery. All this costs money and you or your insurance company are obligated to pay any incurred medical expenses. Through a personal injury lawsuit, the defendant could be held financially responsible for these and other expenses.
Another significant economic damage is lost income. If your injury requires months of hospitalization or rehabilitation, you could be out of work for a long time. The defendant could be held liable for the income you have lost and will lose in the future.
Our office will collect bills, statements, receipts, and work with financial analysts if necessary to calculate the full scope of your economic losses.
People experienced more than just economic losses after a car accident. The pain and suffering associated with an injury could fill every day with agony and prevent you from doing many of the things you loved. You are entitled to seek monetary compensation for these more subjective damages. Non-economic damages include anxiety, depression, insomnia, humiliation, fear, and the loss of enjoyment of life, among other more indefinable harm. Because of the subjective nature of non-economic damages, they are more challenging to calculate and support with evidence.
Injured in a Car Accident? Look to Our Fort Smith, AR Car Accident Attorneys for Help
If you have suffered a serious injury, be sure to seek medical attention immediately. Then to schedule your free and confidential consultation, call our Fort Smith, Arkansas car accident lawyers at (479) 316-0438 or contact our firm online.