As undesirable as they are, car accidents are unfortunately part of modern life and society. There are few things as terrifying and emotionally traumatizing as the sounds of twisting metal and shattering glass as two speeding vehicles collide. In short, the seeming commonality of car accidents does not make the experience any less harrowing. Furthermore, despite great leaps in passenger and driver safety, serious or catastrophic injuries can still occur. And tragically, in some cases, fatal injuries are inflicted.
If you have suffered a serious injury in Rogers, Arkansas due to the recklessness or carelessness of another person, you may be able to hold them accountable for your losses. Ken Kieklak of the Kieklak Law Firm can represent Arkansans who have suffered a catastrophic injury or who’s loved one has been wrongfully killed. Ken has represented severely injured people for more than 20 years. He can put his experience to work for you and hold responsible parties financially accountable for your life-changing injuries. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call (479) 316-0438 today. You could also schedule an appointment with our experienced Rogers, AR car accident lawyer by using our online submission form.
Common Reasons for a Rogers, AR Car Accident
Accidents can occur for many reasons. Many times, multiple factors combine and greatly increase the likelihood of a collision. While the following is not comprehensive, here are a few of the more common factors that give rise to both minor and severe accidents:
- Distracted driver
- Texting driver
- Poor visibility
- Rain or other adverse weather conditions
- Reckless driving
- Failure to signal lane changes or turns
These are but a few of the reasons why serious car and truck accidents occur in Arkansas and beyond. Another factor that often increases the odds of a serious accident is drivers who fail to account for the characteristics of other vehicles and the resultant changes to driving behavior. For instance, large commercial trucks are common in the area around Rogers. Drivers who fail to realize that 18-wheelers are unable to stop as quickly as a smaller vehicle and are less maneuverable may take risks that make an accident inevitable.
How Common are Car Accidents in Rogers, Arkansas?
The latest statistics that have been made available by the state of Arkansas revealed that that were 1,086 crashes or vehicle collisions in Rogers in 2011. These crashes produced 495 injuries in 398 separate crashes. While there were only three fatal accidents in Rogers in 2011, 5 people lost their lives. One of those three fatal accidents involved drugs or alcohol. 57 of the 398 total crashes involved either drugs or alcohol.
Rogers is located near several major highways. The high speed of travel typically means that when accidents occur, the injuries are severe, or the driver or passenger is killed in the wreck. Major highways in or nearby Rogers include US 49, Route 62, US 71, Route 94, and Route 12. Furthermore, due to Rogers’ close proximity to Bentonville, there is a high volume of freight and commercial truck traffic on US 49 and local roads. The presence of these large vehicles also often means that when accidents do occur, the injuries are typically catastrophic.
Type of Car Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries are often severe due to the high speeds that can be involved. While injuries of all varieties and severities are possible, certain types of injuries occur more frequently than others. Some injuries that are frequently reported after a car accident include:
- Whiplash – Whiplash injuries are one of the most frequently reported following a car accident. A whiplash injury occurs when there is a rapid change in forces that are applied to the head and neck. The impact of the car accident and subsequent rapid change in speed and direction can often cause whiplash. Symptoms of whiplash include nausea and neck and back pain.
- Simple or complex bone fracture – Bone fractures can be simple, where there is only bone damage, or complex, where there is significant damage to soft tissue. A compound fracture occurs when the broken bone is so severe that it punctures the skin. In contrast, a hairline fracture or fissure fracture occurs when there is a crack in only the outer layer of the bone.
- Spine injury – Injury to the spinal column, vertebrae, or discs can result in severe back and neck pain or even paralysis. Others with a spinal injury often experience a loss of sensation in their arms and legs.
- Burn Injury – Car accidents can also resulting in burn injuries due to vehicle fire, chemical burns, or friction burns. 1st degree burns can be very painful, but 3rd degree burns can be life-threatening and require extensive medical treatment.
- Injury to internal organs– One or more severe traumas can cause organ damage or internal bleeding. Without proper treatment, these conditions can often be fatal. The potential for internal injuries emphasizes the need for medical care following an accident.
- Multiple injuries or death – In many cases where a high-speed accident occurs, the driver and passengers may suffer multiple, severe injuries. These injuries place a great deal of stress on the body and its internal organs. When the injuries are particularly severe, there is an increased risk of the victim succumbing to them.
Unfortunately, many other types of injuries can also occur due to auto accidents. While no safety device is 100% effective, drivers and passengers should always wear their seat-belts and follow all recommended safety guidelines. In particular, the use of a seat belt is highly correlated to improved survival rates when an accident occurs.
What Steps Should I Take If I’m in a Car Accident in Rogers, AR?
If you are in a serious car accident in Rogers or, quite frankly, anywhere, your first concern should be your own well-being. That means if your vehicle is still functional and able to be moved out of a travel lane, please take that step. Moving your car out of harm’s way can prevent secondary collisions that cause additional injuries to you and to others. If your vehicle can’t be moved, assess your surroundings. If it is safer to leave the vehicle, please do so. But, if you must cross multiple lanes of high-speed traffic, it may be safer to remain in the disabled vehicle. If and when you are able to reach safety, you should call 911 for emergency assistance if you or others have suffered serious injuries.
Assess Your Injuries
If you were injured in a car crash, you should take the time to seek medical attention for your injuries. When speaking with a medical practitioner for treatment, you should inform them of how you received your injuries. This will help assess the severity of your injuries, which will be vital when it comes time to calculate damages for your case.
Failing to understand the extent of your injuries could lead to issues in the future. For example, if you believe that you only sustained mild injuries, you could later discover that you need more medical attention after the car accident case has concluded.
Exchange Information with Negligent Driver
If you are able, you should also take the time to exchange information with the negligent driver that struck your vehicle. When speaking with the driver, you should request the following information:
- The name and contact information of the driver
- The insurance company that insures the driver’s vehicle
- The make, model, and license plate of the driver’s vehicle
If the driver that hit you were operating as a commercial driver at the time of the accident, such as an Uber or Lyft driver, this would also be valuable information that could help your case.
If the other driver is hostile and does not wish to hand over the information above, you should avoid engaging the driver and contact law enforcement. You should also not attempt to pursue the driver if they try to flee the scene of the accident.
Collect Evidence of the Car Accident
You should also take the time to collect any evidence that may help you prove that the other driver was responsible for the crash. For example, detailed photographs of your injuries could help the court understand the extent of your injuries. The following is other pertinent evidence that could help you prove your personal injury lawsuit:
- The intersection where the accident occurred
- Whether the other driver violated a traffic signal
- Any weather that may have contributed to the accident
- The damage to your vehicle
- Details of how the accident occurred (e.g., another motorist was texting)
Additionally, if you have any witnesses that observed the accident and that are willing to provide you with a statement, you should take the time to collect their contact information.
Contact Your Insurance Carrier
After the car accident, you should inform your insurance carrier of the crash as soon as possible. As Arkansas is an at-fault state for auto accidents, your insurance carrier will likely contact the opposing insurance company to request reimbursement for the accident.
At this point, you could be contacted by an insurance claim adjuster from the opposing insurance company. When speaking with this representative, you should be aware that they do not have your best interest in mind. As a result, the representative may ask extensive questions that intend to diminish the value of your claim and possibly cause you to take some or all of the responsibility for the accident.
Suppose the insurance policy selected by the negligent driver is not sufficient to pay for your injuries and other losses. In that case, you may have to file a car accident lawsuit against them to recover damages.
To learn more about filing a lawsuit against a negligent driver, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Rogers car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Should I Report my Rogers, AR Car Accident Case?
If you are in a serious car accident, there is a fairly high certainty that you will be required by state law to report the accident. Even if you are not required by law to report the accident, it may still be advisable to call the local police on a non-emergency number to come to the scene, assess the cause of the accident, and complete a police report. When dealing with the insurance company, a police report is often a useful piece of evidence and a negotiating tool.
Kansas state law requires drivers to complete an accident report when one of two circumstances are met. First, any accident resulting in $1,000 of damage to a vehicle or other property belonging to any person triggers a duty to file a report. Second, any accident causing bodily injury or death to any passenger or driver also necessitates the filing of an accident report.
Drivers who must file a report can download the Arkansas Motor Vehicle Accident Report (SR-1). Once Form SR-1 is completed, it is filed with the Safety Responsibility Section of the Office of Driver’s Services at the address indicated on the form. While the form must be filed within 30 days, it is often wise to consult with an attorney before filing it. If you are likely to have compensable damages, the attorney can help ensure that you do not inadvertently neglect to include important details or injuries or damages you suffered.
How Does the At-Fault Insurance System Work in Rogers, Arkansas?
Generally speaking, there are two main types of insurance regimes: at-fault and no-fault systems. Arkansas is an at-fault state where the party who is determined to be responsible for the accident is also responsible for the injuries and damages that had occurred. If you are in an auto accident, you file a claim against the other driver’s coverage. The insurance coverage can pay up to the limits provided by the coverage.
The minimum coverage levels for at-fault insurance in Arkansas are currently:
- $25,000 per person for physical injury
- $25,000 per accident for property damage
- $50,000 per accident for physical injury (more than one person)
Coverage levels may increase in the future due to inflation or accident damages.
What Happens If an At-Fault Driver is Under-Insured or Uninsured?
If the driver is under-insured, you can pursue damages up to the coverage limits provided by his or her insurance policy. Then, you may file a lawsuit against the driver. If the driver is uninsured, you may need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, it is often difficult to collect these damages since recovery would be based on the other driver having assets or regular income.
However, Arkansas state law also requires insurers providing auto liability coverage to also offer policies covering accidents with uninsured and under-insured drivers. In the case of uninsured driver coverage, this policy provides coverage for your injuries. If you purchase under-insured driver coverage, the at-fault driver’s policy will cover damages up to its limits. For damage in excess of those limits, your additional coverage will then apply.
When to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Rogers, AR
If you were a victim in a car accident in Rogers, Arkansas that left you with severe or life-threatening injuries, you should be aware that you only have a limited amount of time to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages due to the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations determines the length of time that a plaintiff has to file a particular type of lawsuit in a court of law. Note, however, that the statute of limitations is subject to change depending on a number of factors:
- The state where the case is filed
- The type of lawsuit filed by a plaintiff (e.g., car accident, malpractice suit, product liability, etc.)
- The circumstances of the accident
In Arkansas, a victim of a car accident only has three years to file their case with a court of law. If the victim does not file their case within three years of the car crash, the defendant could move to dismiss the case when it is filed. As a result, the court could dismiss the case with prejudice, which means that the plaintiff cannot refile the case under any circumstances.
If your Rogers, AR car accident case is barred from being filed in a court of law, this could affect a victim in a variety of ways. For instance, the victim may not have other options to pursue compensation for their injuries, damage to their vehicle, and other related expenses. To avoid this scenario, you should consider working with an experienced car accident attorney that could help you file your case on time. Please refrain from estimating the filing deadline for your case, as it could mean the difference between receiving the compensation you deserve or letting justice slip away.
Additionally, while you have up to three years to file your car accident lawsuit, there are few benefits to waiting this long to pursue your case. Waiting nearly three years to file could mean that vital witnesses could pass away or move out of the state. You could also lose vital evidence that may be needed to prove your case.
If you need assistance to get started on your car accident lawsuit, our firm is prepared to work with you.
Put a Rogers, Arkansas Car Accident Lawyer to Work for You
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident in Rogers, Arkansas, the Kieklak Law Firm can fight to hold the negligent, careless, or reckless party accountable. Ken Kieklak is experienced in negotiating with insurers and takes a strategic approach to all negotiations and litigation. To see if our representation is a match for you, call the Kieklak Law Firm today at (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.