While many of us think that a serious injury will not happen to us, the unfortunate fact about life is that injury can happen to anyone at any time. While injuries that we cause to ourselves can be painful, we can accept them more easily because they were our own fault. However, injuries caused by another person’s carelessness or recklessness can be extremely difficult to cope with.
When someone is unexpectedly injured, they experience many different adverse effects. Medical treatment and physical recovery are often painful and expensive. Additionally, a severe injury could result in days, weeks, or months of missed work. If another party’s negligence caused your injury, our Rogers, AR personal injury lawyers are there to help you deal with insurance companies or hold the responsible party liable in court.
Do not let an injury derail your life or place you into a financial crisis. If another person or company caused your injury, you have rights and options. You need an attorney with experience and a willingness to aggressively fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, at (479) 316-0438 to discuss your legal options during a free consultation.
Damages Available in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Rogers, AR
While the exact amount of potential damages will depend on the injury, circumstance, and many other factors, there are certain types of injuries that are typically available in personal injury lawsuits. The category of these damages is typically termed compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are further split into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are simply the financial losses you suffered because of your injury. An obvious example of monetary damages is your medical expenses, including co-pays, deductibles, medication costs, and even parking and travel expenses to and from doctor’s appointments. If your injury was severe enough to keep you out of work, you are also entitled to recover your lost wages. Lost wages are not limited to the time you missed when you were recovering from your injury or were receiving medical treatment. Depending on the length of your recovery and the severity of your injuries, you could be award compensation for lost future earning capacity.
A common phrase people hear when discussing personal injury lawsuits is “pain and suffering.” Unlike your economic damages, you will not have receipts or bills to prove the amount of pain and suffering you experienced because of your injury. Nonetheless, you are entitled to seek compensation for these and other intangible non-economic damages. Our Rogers personal injury lawyer will work closely with you, your family, friends, and healthcare providers to evaluate conditions such as anxiety, mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In addition to compensatory damages related to your injury, a court could award punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct was grossly negligent, malicious, or intentional. Unlike damages directly connected to the severity and impact of your injury, punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant and deter any future conduct. These types of damages are rare but could be significant.
The foregoing is only a selection of the types of damages you may recover following a severe injury caused by another person. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can provide insight into the types and amounts of damages you may be entitled to.
Tax Obligations for Damages Recovered
Typically, if you received a jury award or insurance settlement to recover medical expenses or pain and suffering, the compensation is not taxable. However, if you received money to cover your lost income, it is taxable. Additionally, and financial compensation awarded through punitive damages is also subject to taxes. Furthermore, any monetary awards based on discrimination, libel, or intentional tort, are also taxable.
If you are awarded a lump sum payment from a general verdict, it could be difficult to determine how the compensation was allocated between your various damages. A settlement or award should be clear in distinguishing between taxable and nontaxable compensation. Our office will work to ensure that a settlement or judgment will be unambiguous in its terms. If you have any questions regarding your recovery and your tax obligations, contact our Rogers, AR personal injury attorneys.
Time Limits on Rogers, Arkansas Personal Injury Lawsuits
Yes, there is a statute of limitations that applies to personal injury actions in the state of Arkansas. The time limit for you to bring a personal injury lawsuit is three years from the date of the injury. A statute of limitations is imposed because it encourages people to bring their claims against another person or business or lose them. This mechanism to encourage people to come forward contemporaneously serves to increase the likelihood that matters are decided before evidence is lost or destroyed and memories of the events fade. Furthermore, limiting the time period the suit can be brought during ensures that liability is limited and does not exist in perpetuity.
While three years appears to be a long time, it can slip by quickly. This is especially the case if you are negotiating with an insurance company. Furthermore, you should contact our Rogers, AR personal injury lawyers as soon as possible. If you hesitate, valuable evidence could be lost or unavailable.
Types of Cases Our Rogers Personal Injury Attorney Handles
Ken Kieklak can address a broad array of accidents, injuries, and litigation. While there are some common factors present in nearly every personal injury case, the type of accident will significantly impact how a case is handled. For example, our Rogers personal injury attorneys will have to approach a car accident case very differently than a medical malpractice claim. Below are just a few of the types of cases our office untaken over the last couple of decades.
Automotive Vehicle Accidents
Unfortunately, car accidents are a part of life. Luckily, in many cases, these are minor inconveniences and fender-benders. However, if you were seriously injured in a car accident, you should be compensated for your injuries. Automotive vehicle accidents in Rogers are not limited to cars. People throughout the area are hurt in motorcycle, truck, and bus accidents. In some cases, the injured victim is a defenseless pedestrian.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Probably the most common type of accident that results in a civil lawsuit is a slip and fall. While many people lose their balance and do not suffer a serious injury, some do. Property owners have a legal responsibility to ensure their properties are free from known hazardous. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your fall and injury, a building owner, manager, landlord, and even a homeowner could be held liable for your damages.
Some of the most devastating injuries and complicated ligation arise from medical malpractice cases. Some negligent conduct is evident, such as leaving a surgical tool behind after a procedure. However, because medical complications are not unforeseen, proving medical malpractice is challenging. You need our experienced Arkansas medical malpractice attorneys representing you or your loved one.
People in Rogers, AR expect the products they purchase to function the way they are intended. If something is broken, a dissatisfied consumer usually has the option of exchanging the product or receiving a refund. However, when a product is defective and causes an injury, you could have the right to sue the manufacturer or another party in the chain of distribution.
Unfortunately, some injuries suffered in Arkansas are fatal. If you lost a family because of the negligence or intentional conduct of another party, you could have the right to file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death actions are filed on behalf of those family members who were adversely impacted by the death and by the estate of the deceased. If you lost a loved one, contact our Arkansas wrongful death attorneys to discuss your options.
TYPES OF INJURIES IN ROGERS, ARKANSAS
The only list longer than the type of cases our office handles is the list of the types of injuries our clients have suffered. Below is just a partial list of the kinds of injuries we have worked on within the past.
- Broken or fractured bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Injuries due to a medical device
- Severe burns
- Loss of sight or hearing due to injury
- Mistaken amputation of a body part
- Loss of limb
Unfortunately, the foregoing injuries and conditions can occur in an accident of any type. For instance, even a relatively simple and straightforward slip and fall accident can result in serious consequences.
Car, commercial truck, motorcycle accidents are also responsible for a significant number of severe injuries and wrongful deaths. While most people may consider an accident to be the sole source of automotive injuries, the GM ignition switch recall and Takata exploding airbags show that a manufacturing or design defect can also be the cause of highway injuries.
Proving Negligence in a Rogers, AT Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you want to be awarded compensation through a personal injury claim, you will have to establish that another party was negligent. While negligence does infer reckless or carelessness, it also has a legal meaning in a lawsuit. While the path to proving negligence will depend on the type of accident or injury, four factors must be shown in nearly every case.
The defendant must have owed the plaintiff a duty of care. This is a legal obligation imposed on the defendant to act in a way to keep the plaintiff free from harm. The exact duty depends on the relationship between the parties involved in the case. For example, a driver who caused an accident owes the injured party a different duty of care than a store owner owes to someone shopping.
Next, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached their duty. To understand this concept, you need to ask what a reasonable person would do under similar circumstances. Again, this question will be tailored to the appropriate parties. For example, in a medical malpractice case, a doctor’s conduct will be compared to the conduct of a similarly trained medical professional who practices in the same field.
Once a plaintiff established that a breach occurred, the conduct must be shown to have caused the injury. This is commonly known as causation and, in many cases, it is not difficult to prove. However, there are times when demonstrating a link between negligent conduct and the injury is challenging, especially in medical malpractice cases where positive outcomes are never guaranteed.
Finally, a plaintiff must show that they suffered actual harm or damages. Damages could range from bills for emergency care to lost hours at work. If you suffered a serious injury, then you have incurred quantifiable damages.
Comparative Negligence in Rogers, AR Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury claims arise for many different reasons. As stated above, our Arkansas personal injury lawyers handle car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and falls, and everything in between. Every case is unique and presents its own challenges. One issue that is prevalent in many cases is that fault is not limited to just the defendant. Sometimes the injured plaintiff contributed to an accident. Arkansas courts follow a modified comparative negligence rule to address this problem.
When the fault is beyond dispute, such as a drunk driver rear-ending a car stopped at a traffic light, the defendant will likely be held solely responsible for the accident. However, there are times when a plaintiff is also found to be at fault. For example, if your car was side-swiped by a drunk driver and you were texting at the time, the accident might have been avoidable. A jury will be tasked with assigning a percentage of fault to each party involved in the accident. In this case, the drunk driver might be found to have contributed 80% to the accident while you are found to be 20% at fault. Any award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Therefore, if a jury awarded you $100,000 in damages, you would only receive $80,000 because of your role in the accident.
The above example is a calculation under the comparative negligence theory. However, Arkansas follows a modified comparative negligence rule. This means that if a plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, they are prohibited from receiving compensation from the defendant. Our Arkansas personal injury lawyers will not only work to prove that the defendant was to blame, but they will also defensively argue that you were not at fault.
Rogers Personal Injury Claims and Insurance Companies
When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you will likely be filing a claim against the defendant’s insurance company. Whether it is a car accident or a product liability case, the defendant’s insurance provider will be paying your damages.
To avoid litigation, insurance companies will often offer quick settlement agreements. Their adjusters and attorneys know that injured victims are facing medical expenses and lost income. When someone is not working and has a pile of medical bills, and insurance check could appear to be a welcome windfall. However, there are strings attached. If the settlement offer is not enough to cover all your medical treatments or if you are out of work longer than anticipated, you are prohibited from seeking further compensation. Part of the settlement process is releasing the insurance company and defendant from any future liability. You should not accept a settlement offer without speaking with our experienced Rogers personal injury attorneys.
Valuing Your Claim
Before you consider accepting a settlement, you need to know what your claim is worth. Our office will thoroughly review your case to come up with a good faith estimate. However, valuing a claim takes time, especially when someone has suffered a severe injury. Without an extensive medical prognosis, it is impossible to know what treatments and therapies might be required in the future. Furthermore, if you cannot return to work or if your earning capacity has been significantly limited, you should be compensated appropriately. If you do not know what your claim is worth, it is impossible to know if a settlement offer is fair.
The Legal Strength of Your Case
Another critical factor a pragmatic Arkansas personal injury lawyer will deal with is determining the legal strength of your case. Some personal injury lawsuits settle because the facts slightly favor one side over the other. If a defendant is clearly responsible for your injury, an insurance company will likely offer a more reasonable settlement to avoid costly litigation. Similarly, if your case against the defendant is questionable or if your behavior substantially contributed to your injury, accepting a settlement, even though it might appear low, could be your best option. Our firm is realistic when evaluating the legal strength of your claim and will advise you accordingly. Our goal is to obtain the best result possible, given the facts of your case.
Our Rogers, Arkansas Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You
If you have suffered a serious injury because of another person’s recklessness or carelessness, Ken Kieklak can fight to hold them accountable for your injuries. For more than 20 years, Ken Kieklak has been dedicated to hard-working Arkansans. To schedule your free and confidential consultation with one of our Rogers personal injury lawyers, call (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.