It is only natural to pursue compensation for a car accident that is not your fault. You should not have to shoulder the blame for the actions of a negligent driver. That is why it is important to learn what to do after being involved in a car accident.
Immediately after a car accident, you should take pictures and record videos of the accident scene if you can. These photos and videos will help preserve the scene even after it is cleared away. You should also exchange information with the other driver for insurance purposes. An attorney can help you navigate the insurance process and prepare for a lawsuit. In either circumstance, you must have documentation and evidence supporting your claims for damages. Evidence from the accident, information from police reports, and witness testimony can all help you prove the other driver is negligently liable.
If you or a family member was a car accident victim, contact our experienced Fayetteville car accident lawyer today. Call (479) 316-0438 to arrange a free initial case evaluation with our team.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Arkansas
If you suffered an injury and your car sustained damage in a car wreck that you did not cause, it is important to take steps to ensure that you can prove you were free of any negligence. However, before documenting evidence of the accident, you should seek medical attention for yourself and any other individuals that may have been injured in the crash.
You should also contact law enforcement to assess the accident scene and receive a copy of the police report for your records. You should then take the following steps to help support your legal claim.
Trade Information With the Negligent Driver in Arkansas
It is vital to exchange information with the negligent driver in order to report the claim to your insurance company. In this trading of information, you should ensure you request the following items:
- Names and contact information
- The make, model, and license plate of the vehicles involved
- The name of the insurance company that provides car accident coverage for the negligent driver
When one or both drivers are severely injured, exchanging information at the accident scene might not be possible. Instead, you and the other driver might be immediately transported to the hospital for treatment. This is okay, and you should be able to get information about the other driver from a police report. The police report might even have the contact information for the other driver so you can personally reach out to exchange information after the accident.
If you are reaching out to the other driver sometime after the accident, it might be wise to have an attorney reach out on your behalf. Our Arkansas car accident lawyers can help you contact any other drivers involved in your accident and exchange insurance information.
Document Details of the Car Accident in Arkansas
This is the most important step if you wish to prove that you did not act negligently during a car accident. Thoroughly documenting evidence of the accident can help your insurance company or a jury determine the level of fault that should be attributed to either party. You should ensure you have the following evidence before you leave the scene of the accident:
- Photographs of the damage to all vehicles involved or photos of any injuries
- Evidence of any injuries sustained by you or passengers in your vehicle
- The details of the crash (e.g., intersection car accident or head-on collision)
- Any adverse weather or other circumstances that may have contributed to the accident
All of these details can help recreate the accident to prove that you should not be held liable for the crash. While many pieces of evidence, like photos and videos, can be obtained directly after the accident at the scene, other evidence might come later. For example, our Arkansas car accident lawyers can help you search the areas for security cameras that might have captured the accident on video.
In addition, it is important to keep track of who was on the scene when the accident happened. If other drivers or pedestrians stopped to render aid, they might be used as eyewitnesses in a subsequent trial. Be sure to check the police report for this information because the police might have spoken with people on the scene as part of their investigation.
Getting a Police Report for Your Arkansas Car Accident
After a car accident, you should call 911 immediately. The 911 dispatchers can send the police and emergency medical personnel to help you. It is important to speak with the police when they arrive on the scene. The police will begin collecting information and evidence for their accident report.
If you are injured, it might be necessary to get medical attention first and speak to the police later, but you should make sure you contact the police soon. Our Arkansas car accident attorneys can help you obtain the accident report when it is ready.
Many police departments make their accident reports available online. Our attorneys can help you figure out if your report is available online and what website you can go to to download it. If the report is not available online, there are other ways to get it.
Many police departments will mail drivers their accident reports if they make a request. If getting the accident report in the mail is too slow for your case, you might be able to go to the police station and get the report directly from law enforcement officers.
Once you have the accident report, our Arkansas car accident lawyers can help you review and decipher the information. Accident reports tend to be full of technical and legal terms and codes. To take full advantage of the information available in the report, you should review the report with your lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
Report the Car Crash to Your Arkansas Insurance Company
If you have obtained a copy of the police report and document the evidence of the accident, you can then report the crash to your insurance company. At this stage, your insurance company and that of the negligent driver will begin negotiations to determine who should be liable for the accident.
Additionally, you will likely be contacted by a representative of the other party’s insurance company. This representative will look to flesh out the details of the accident but may also ask questions that are designed to impact your claim negatively. If you are uncomfortable speaking with the representative, you should consider working with a lawyer that can speak on your behalf.
Insurance claims are often complicated, and Arkansas insurance laws are no exception. Arkansas is a sort of hybrid of fault-based and no-fault insurance rules. Generally, injured drivers must file claims with the other driver’s insurance company and prove the other driver was at-fault for the accident to get compensation. However, drivers are permitted, but not required, to add on no-fault personal injury protection policies to their own insurance.
Our Arkansas car accident attorneys can review your accident and insurance to determine how you should file your claim. If you pay for additional personal injury protection insurance, you might have to file a claim with your own insurance.
Contact an Experienced Arkansas Car Accident Attorney
If your injuries and the damage to your vehicle were extensive, you should consider filing a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation. The negligent driver’s insurance may not be enough to cover your medical expenses and repairs to your vehicle. As a result, you may need to seek additional compensation in court.
Alternatively, the other driver’s insurance company might deny your claims or make an insufficient settlement offer. Our Arkansas car accident lawyers can help you show the insurance company that you mean business by filing a lawsuit. In some cases, insurance companies make better settlement offers in the hopes that injured drivers will drop their lawsuits. If the settlement offered by the insurance simply does not cover your damages at the end of the day, we are prepared to help you with a trial and fight for compensation.
To learn more about how liability is determined in a personal injury lawsuit, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Arkansas personal injury lawyer.
Proving a Negligent Driver is Liable for Your Arkansas Car Accident
After a car accident, you should speak to our Arkansas car accident attorneys about what evidence you need to prove the other driver is negligently liable for the crash. Proving negligence requires establishing four important elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. The evidence you need to prove these elements will depend on the circumstances of your case.
The defendant’s duty refers to the legal obligation they owed to you on the road. Drivers typically owe all other drivers on the road a duty of care to drive as safely as reasonably possible under the circumstances.
The breach is how the defendant violated their duty of care. Evidence of a breach of duty could be traffic citations that show the defendant violated traffic laws shortly before the accident. For example, if the defendant ran a red light before T-boning you in an intersection, proof that they ran the light is evidence of the breach.
Causation is evidence that connects the breach to the accident. Even if the defendant breached their duty of care, there must be evidence showing that the breach is the cause of the accident and not some other independent source, like a different driver.
Finally, you must present evidence of your damages showing that they are real and not hypothetical or only possible damages. Things like your medical records immediately following the accident showing you received treatment for injuries will help you prove your damages.
Liability Laws for Car Accidents in Arkansas
To win a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent driver, a plaintiff must show how the other driver acted negligently. Arkansas uses modified comparative negligence rules when assigning fault in a negligence claim.
Under Arkansas law, modified comparative negligence assigns a plaintiff and a defendant a level of fault that can be used to determine an award of damages. For example, a defendant can be assigned 90 percent of the fault while a plaintiff is assigned 10 percent. In this scenario, the plaintiff’s damages will be decreased by 10 percent.
It is important to note that Arkansas has also adopted the 50 percent rule for negligence claims. The 50 percent rule states that if a plaintiff’s fault is equal to or greater than 50 percent, the plaintiff will not be eligible to receive compensation for their losses. For example, if a crash occurred because one driver ran a stop sign while another was making an illegal U-turn, the jury may find that each party held 50 percent liability for the accident.
To avoid having your damages reduced or barred, it is important to supply valuable evidence that can show that you did not play a role in the cause of the accident. Our Arkansas car accident attorneys can help you figure out what evidence you need and where you can get it.
Consult With Our Experienced Arkansas Car Accident Lawyers to Discuss Your Claims
If you were seriously injured in a car crash, call our experienced Arkansas car accident attorney today. You do not have to fight your case alone. To schedule a free case review, call our offices at (479) 316-0438.