Articles Posted in Car Accident

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It’s common knowledge that drunk driving is against the law. However, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, each year across Arkansas there are approximately 150 deaths caused by drunk driving. For whatever reason, the fact remains that too many drivers do not see a problem with getting behind the wheel after they have had too much to drink.

Beer TapsIn Arkansas, not only is it a criminal offense to drive while intoxicated, it can also give rise to civil liability for any damage or injuries caused in a drunk driving accident.

In addition, the Arkansas Legislature has done its part to help the victims of drunk driving accidents obtain financial compensation following an accident by enacting what is commonly known as a “Dram Shop” law. Arkansas’ version of a Dram Shop law, located in Arkansas Code Section 16-126-104, allows for some drunk driving victims to seek financial compensation from the vendor that knowingly sold the drunk driver alcohol. In order for a vendor to be held liable, the victim must prove that the establishment knowingly served someone who was either under the age of 21 or “clearly intoxicated.” In many cases, this is difficult to prove and may require a detailed investigation immediately following the accident.

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The death of a driver who was using a driverless automobile is causing great concern as the number of driverless cars reach the road in substantial numbers. Over the past year I have read story after story describing the coming day when driverless cars take over the roads. A fellow attorney and I were just discussing last week whether driverless cars would make the roads safer and would reduce the number and severity of car and truck crashes. Whether safer roads will come or not, it is imperative that car and technology companies make sure their products are safe. I hope drivers do not come to rely on driverless cars and continue to stay alert and careful while driving.

According to the news reports, the driver died because the cameras on the Tesla Model S failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor trailer from the sky and didn’t automatically brake to stop the car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will investigate how Tesla’s Autopilot system performed at the time of the crash. Continue reading

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These fatalities happen because a driver chooses to drive while intoxicated.   A senseless, avoidable act.

Research tells us that an average person will metabolize one 12-ounce beer and one 5-ounce glass of wine  in one hour.   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day an estimated thirty fatalities occur in the United States on our roadways involving drivers who choose to drink and drive.  Tragedies caused by drinking and driving are 100% avoidable.  When a person causes an accident because he or she chooses to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while being intoxicated, that person should be held responsible for any harm they cause another person or family.  The Pfeifer Law Firm represents individuals and their families of those affected by drunk driving accidents.    If you simply have questions, feel free to call us at 501-374-4440. 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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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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Hit-and-run accidents are more common than most of us may think. These types of accidents occur for various reasons, such as the driver having no insurance, the driver being involved in legal issues, the driver leaving the scene out of fear or the driver is intoxicated. Nearly 30 percent of drivers in the United States are uninsured. For this reason, it is important that you carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy, so that you are protected in the unfortunate case that someone who does not have auto insurance or has minimal coverage hits you.

Here are some helpful tips if you suffer a hit-and-run accident:

1. Get details quickly before the driver gets away. Get the license plate number, make and model of the vehicle, color of the vehicle, and any information about the driver that you observe;
2. Call the police and file a report;
3. Get medical treatment if you are injured;
4. Call your insurance company; and 5. Contact a car accident lawyer.

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, get details quickly. Try to get the license plate number, or as much of it as possible, and call the police immediately to report the accident and give them your location. If you have passengers in your car at the time, ask them to get as many details of the vehicle as they possibly can, before the vehicle gets away. Details such as make, model, vehicle color, and driver information will be extremely helpful to law enforcement. Getting the color of the vehicle that hit you will not only be important to law enforcement when they attempt to locate the automobile, but your insurance company will also need this information if you make a property damage claim through your insurance policy to help them determine what damage was caused by the hit-and-run accident and what damage, if any, was previous damage to your vehicle.

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Pedestrian accidents are on the rise. In the past week there have been several pedestrian accidents in the news. Downtown Little Rock is one of many places in Little Rock that pedestrian accidents are becoming more of an issue than ever before. The downtown area is a very highly populated area during rush-hour traffic times, and with more people on foot as they walk to their cars a after a busy workday, coupled with the pedestrian traffic of tourists visiting our beautiful city, it is more important than ever to slow down, put our cell phones down as we drive, and pay attention to the traffic lights and crosswalks. Pedestrians should feel safe when they enter a crosswalk. Taking our eyes off the road for mere seconds could have devastating results. As we all know, there are many times when pedestrians cross the street in areas where there are no crosswalks, so we can’t assume that just because there aren’t crosswalks in our path of travel that there will be no pedestrians stepping in front of us.

It is known that most injuries from pedestrian accidents usually occur in cities. However, fatality pedestrian accidents are distributed evenly between cities and rural areas. Most fatalities involve males above the age of 25, and the majority of injuries involves males ranging in age of 5 to 14 years. Most pedestrian accidents happen during daylight hours.

It is important that we are aware that pedestrian accidents are becoming more frequent. When you are behind the wheel, please be aware at all times of your surroundings. Your attentiveness just might save a life.

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I am reading more and more about tragic wrong-way accidents happening on the roadways. Today I read in an out-of-state paper of an unfortunate accident in Washington which took the life of a 6-year-old boy and critically injured two others. Recently it was in the news that 11 people died in wrong-way crashes in Tampa, Florida and Pomona, California. It is hard to hear of innocent lives being lost to such a preventable error. Like most, these accidents are avoidable if drivers would pay more attention when they are behind the wheel of a vehicle.

In a 2012 report by the National Transportation Safety Board, it was reported that 3 percent of all crashes are wrong-way crashes and are 27 percent more likely to be deadly crashes. It states that 60 percent of these crashes are caused by a drunk driver traveling too fast. The study also indicates that elderly drivers, 70 years of age and older, were the cause of 15 percent of these types of crashes. The primary cause of wrong-way accidents was found to be vehicles entering via an exit ramp. Often highway design is the problem, with the on and off ramps being next to each other. In an effort to prevent wrong-way crashes, officials suggest lowering the ‘Wrong Way’ signs, making them bigger, adding a second set of signs farther up on the ramp, and installing rumble strips to the pavement so they know they are going the wrong way. And interestingly enough, 78 percent of these types of accidents occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., and most collisions reportedly take place in the lane closest to the median.

If you or a family member have suffered from being involved in a wrong-way accident, it is important to speak with an Arkansas accident lawyer to discuss your claim and rights as soon as possible.

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I recently read an article that discussed an injury lawsuit in which a woman was awarded $1.14 million in a texting and driving accident. According to the article, the Plaintiff suffered extensive injuries, including a minor traumatic brain injury and exacerbation of a lower back pain condition. The Defendant, State Farm Insurance Company, argued that her injuries were not related to the wreck. They also did not admit liability until just before trial.

Texting and driving accident cases are becoming more common. It is important to determine the cause of the auto accident to make a proper claim to a judge and to a jury. As this personal injury case proves, insurance companies often take extreme positions to “wait out” the injured party. It is important that information about the wreck is gathered so that these insurance company tactics are not used to deny the injured person justice. Additionally, we find that insurance companies often argue that the injured person’s medical condition pre-existed the wreck. The insurance adjusters fail to understand or give little weight to the fact that the car wreck often aggravates a prior medical conditions like back pain. Arkansas has a jury instruction that handles this situation. AMI 2203 Measure of Damages-Aggravation of Pre-existing Condition. It reads:

In this regard you should consider the full extent of any injury sustained, even though the degree of injury is found by you to have proximately resulted from the aggravation of a [condition][disease] that already existed and that predisposed to injury to a greater extent than another person. [However, you may not award [him][her] damages for any (pain)(mental anguish)(disability) (__________) which [he][she] would have suffered even though the accident had not occurred.]

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A recent published study pointed out that In the past 10 years, fatal accidents in the state of Arkansas decreased by more than 30 percent. In 2004, more than 700 people died in car and truck crashes. In 2010, that number of auto accident fatalities went down to just more than 560. Last year there was another decline with 473 fatal accidents in Arkansas.

There are many reasons for this decline. These include increased seat belt use, driver education, increase in safety technology, decrease in DWI accidents and a recent change in Arkansas driving law. The study pointed out that the Graduated Driver License (GDL) law was expanded for Arkansas teens in 2009 to help provide a safe environment for young automobile drivers by placing restrictions on when and with whom they may drive. The Arkansas law was designed to allow teens to gain driving experience through the use of restrictions. The Arkansas driving law provides for teen driver’s licenses in three levels: learner’s license, intermediate license and unrestricted/regular license. The different levels allows drivers a staged learning progression. The study found “that significant reductions in crashes and crash-related fatalities were found. This is especially true for the youngest drivers who obtained their intermediate license to drive for the first time without an adult.”

My own law practice involving personal injury cases has seen this decline in teen accidents as well. Car accidents involving young persons can be some of the more difficult cases to handle since kids are involved. However, as the study found, car accident rates and fatality rates are going down for this set of drivers and we should all encourage young people to take part in driving education courses. Teenage driving is one of the exciting milestones in a child’s life and making sure they are safe is paramount.