Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
As undesirable as they are, car accidents are unfortunately part of modern life and society. There are few things are 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. And 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 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 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) 251-7767 today.
Why Do Car Accidents Occur?
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, a few of the more common factors giving rise to both minor and serious accidents includes:
- 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 odd of a serious accident are 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 3 fatal accidents in Rogers in 2011, 5 people lost their lives. One of those 3 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 are killed in the wreck. Major highways in or nearby Rogers includes 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 facture 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 in 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 injuries are particularly severe, the death often occurs.
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, use of a seat belt is highly correlated to improved survival rates when an accident occurs.
What Should Steps Should I Take if I’m in a Car Accident in Rogers?
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 it 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.
Am I Required to Report any Accident that Occurs in Rogers?
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 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 one 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 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?
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 the 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.
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 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) 251-7767 or contact us online.