Arkansas Injury Lawyer Blog

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With New Year’s Eve approaching, all of us at the Pfeifer Law Firm encourage drivers to phone a friend or a cab company before getting behind the wheel of a car if you’ve had a drink.  Plan ahead before you go out for the evening and line up a designated driver or call a cab if you plan to drink.  There will be many late-night drivers on the roadways leaving parties and driving tired.    Keep yourself and others safe by calling a friend or a cab if you’ve been drinking or just feel too tired to drive.    Here are a few cab company numbers that you can program into your phone before heading out for the evening:

Yellow Cab
(501) 222-2222

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A deadly charter bus crash on the interstate recently took the lives of six people and injured several more in North Little Rock.   The charter bus was traveling from Michigan to Texas when the crash occurred.     It happened around 1:00 a.m. this morning on Interstate 40 in North Little Rock.    The bus reportedly left the roadway and hit the North Hills overpass.    There were 22 people on board the bus at the time of the accident.   Six individuals were pronounced dead at the scene and six individuals were treated at local hospitals.

State Police found that the charter bus collided with one of the barriers on North Hills and proceeded to travel a few hundred feet more before stopping on Interstate 40.     Because the individuals on board were traveling from Michigan to Texas, the Red Cross has stepped in to provide shelter to those on board.    The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) is also conducting an investigation of the facts surrounding this horrific interstate accident. Continue reading

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Did you know that a driver makes 200 or more decisions for each mile traveled? This information was reported by OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. That is a lot of decisions to be made, and quick CORRECT responses require the driver to be paying attention at all times. Research shows that distracted driving is responsible for 80% of wrecks and 65% of near-wrecks. The most common distractions include:

• Talking on a cell phone
• Texting
• Reaching for something inside the car while driving
• Makeup application
• Focusing attention on an outside object as you pass by
• Reading in the vehicle

Texting while driving is blamed for 1,600,000 car accidents a year. Perception is that adults are more likely to text while behind the wheel than teenagers, but regardless of who is texting and driving, this behavior is dangerous and potentially deadly. A study revealed that texting while driving a vehicle is more dangerous than driving drunk, SIX times more dangerous.

In an effort to cut down on distracted driving, some states require that you use a Bluetooth device or speakerphone. Hands-free devices help in the effort, but it cannot prevent cognitive distractions. A driver needs to be paying attention, visually and mentally, at all times.

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We all love fireworks and hotdogs, however, the reason we are celebrating and the courage of the founding fathers should not be forgotten. So here it is taken from the National Archives Website.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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Arkansas dog bite law states that an owner or a person having custody of a dog has a duty to use ordinary care to keep his/her animals from running at large when he/she knows or reasonably should know that such animals are likely to cause injury or damage to others. Arkansas Model Jury Instruction 1601. Further, a person who keeps a domestic animal with knowledge of its dangerous tendencies does so at his/her risk and is liable for injuries and damage caused by the animal. Arkansas Model Jury Instruction 1602.

Against this backdrop, and pursuant to the plain language of these accepted Arkansas jury instructions, an owner and/or a person in custody of a dog may be held liable for injuries caused by an animal. This liability can be twofold. First, an owner or custodian may be held liable under a theory of strict liability for injuries inflicted on a plaintiff if (1) the animal was of a vicious species; or (2) the animal, although domesticated, had dangerous tendencies which were known to the owner. However, an owner or custodian need not have actual knowledge of an animal’s dangerous tendencies or propensities. Notice may be actual or constructive.

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Medical malpractice is defined as:

In treating a patient, a medical care provider must possess and apply with reasonable care the degree of skill and learning ordinarily possessed and used by members of his/her profession in good standing, engaged in the same type of service or specialty in the locality in which he/she practices, or in a similar locality. A failure to meet this standard is negligence.

Medical malpractice happens every day. Doctors and nurses make mistakes that sometimes result in devastating outcomes. A few primary types of medical malpractices cases we handle include:

Childbirth Injuries:

• Failing to anticipate complications arising from the baby being too large or complications from a tangled umbilical cord;
• Failing to properly respond to indications of fetal distress;
• Improper use of a vacuum extractor or forceps;
• Failing to perform a cesarean section when necessary.

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Recently Honda, Toyota, and Chrysler have recalled an estimated 2 million vehicles to attempt a second repair for defective airbags that may inflate inadvertently while the vehicle is running. This recall includes some Dodge Viper, Acura MDX, Honda Odyssey, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Avalon and Toyota Corolla models made between the years 2002 and 2004. NHTSA advised all vehicles that are a part of this recall for faulty air bags have already been included in a previous recall for faulty air bags, but the attempted fix to repair the defective airbags only corrected the problem approximately 85 percent of the time.

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1. If you are talking on your cell phone when driving, your chance of being involved in an accident is increased by 400 percent.

2. According to surveys conducted, male drivers are responsible for twice as many motor vehicle accidents than female drivers.

3. Of the following accidents, side impact accidents, rear-end accidents, head-on collisions, and rollover accidents, the rollover ranks highest for deadly accidents.

4. Individuals aged 16 through 20 are more at risk of being injured in an accident or being killed in a car crash than other age groups.

5. Approximately 40 percent of fatal crashes involved alcohol. That percentage increases by 75 percent if the accident takes place between the hours of 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.

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In Arkansas, bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving. A bus driver is allowed, however, to use a cell phone if the school bus is off the road safely and the parking brake is engaged. When our children are in the care of school personnel, it is reasonable to expect that he or she would be practicing safe driving habits.

According to recent news reports, an investigation was launched regarding a video produced by a student showing a Lake Hamilton school bus driver texting while behind the wheel driving. I read that the superintendent said that the situation was being dealt with as a confidential personnel matter and he would not disclose whether the driver was going to be disciplined for her act of poor judgment.

There are reports in other states of bus drivers texting while driving. In Connecticut, a school bus driver was caught texting while driving. The ensuing investigation revealed that the driver sent and received 1,068 text messages while she was operating her school bus in a one-month period. A Florida student used her cell phone to capture video of the school bus driver texting while driving. At the end of the student’s video, it shows the driver making a sudden move to grab the steering wheel as the bus appeared to drift into another lane of travel.

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In Casteel v. Charter Communications, Inc., No. C13-5520 RJB (W.D. Wash. Oct. 23, 2014), a federal judge in Western Washington denied the employer’s motion for summary judgment under the Americans with Disabilities Act despite the fact that the employee has been unable to work since July 2009.

The employer hired Mary Casteel in September 2007. In November 2008, she fell ill and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She requested and was granted intermittent leave under the FMLA or Family Medical Leave Act. In July 2009, Casteel was diagnosed with a form of cancer and started chemotherapy. She requested a medical leave from July 14 to August 15 to undergo treatment. Her doctor certified that her anticipated return date was August 15. She was not able to return on that date and her doctor extended her return date. Because the company’s policy was not to grant more than two 30-day leaves in a twelve-month period, the employer terminated Casteel’s employment.

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