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Articles Posted in Car Accident

If you or a family member has been injured in a motorcycle accident in Arkansas, chances are the last thing on your mind is the machinations of the state’s legal system. You’re pouring all your effort into recovering from your injuries one day at a time. But there are important factors which can determine the long-term outcome of your recovery that must be addressed as soon as possible. Chief among them is determining who exactly is at fault. This has a tremendous impact on your ability to provide a stable financial situation for yourself and your family following a devastating motorcycle crash.

Motorcycle Accidents in Arkansas are Increasing

There were 79 fatal motorcycle accidents in Arkansas in 2015 according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). That number represents a 25% increase over the previous year’s figures and makes 2015 the deadliest year for motorcyclists since 2010 (and the second deadliest since way back in 2006). To put these numbers in perspective, deaths caused by motorcycle accidents in Arkansas represent over 13% of all traffic fatalities even though there are only 91,000 bikes registered as opposed to almost 950,000 automobiles. And it’s estimated that for every fatal motorcycle accident there are between 3 and 10 non-fatal accidents which leave riders suffering from serious, long-lasting injuries.

Determining fault in an Arkansas car accident is not always a straightforward affair. While some accidents lend themselves to simple explanations of what happened, others present a much less clear situation.

Normally, police or other investigative authorities will survey the scene of an accident for evidence that can help them determine what caused a car accident and who was at fault. Of course, this may mean collecting physical evidence from the scene of the accident, and it may also include noting skid marks, checking cell phone records, and surveying nearby homes and businesses for video surveillance.

As video technology has increased over the years, the price of high-quality surveillance systems has significantly dropped, making them more affordable for homeowners and business owners. While owners of these surveillance systems are not likely thinking about catching an accident on tape, police can request video that may be able to help them determine what happened in the moments leading up to a serious accident.

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Proving an Arkansas personal injury case against another driver is not always as straightforward as it may seem. In some cases, this is because determining what happened in the moments leading up to the accident is difficult to impossible, given the injuries sustained by the parties or a lack of available evidence. In other cases, however, it may be relatively easy to determine who was at fault for the accident, but proving that they can be held legally responsible can be an issue.

Government Immunity

Accidents involving a government employee can present particular difficulties for victims. This is because as a general rule, government entities and employees are entitled to immunity from personal injury lawsuits. However, in some situations, government immunity does not apply to an employee’s actions. For example, if the government employee is not acting within the scope of their employment, immunity may not attach. Similarly, if a government employee’s actions are intentional or especially reckless, immunity may not apply. Determining whether immunity attaches is highly dependent upon the surrounding circumstances of the accident.

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Earlier this month, the Arkansas Court of Appeals issued a written opinion affirming a trial court’s decision to deny all post-trial motions in a car accident case in which the jury found in favor of the defendant, despite the fact that the defendant admitted that he caused the accident. Ultimately, the court held that due to the conflicting evidence presented, the jury was free to find that any injuries the plaintiff sustained were not caused by the defendant’s negligence.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a rear-end accident in July 2009. The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the defendant, who was the motorist who rear-ended the plaintiff. The defendant admitted that he was at fault for causing the accident but claimed that he was not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

Both the plaintiff and the defendant testified. The plaintiff explained that he was on his way to the gym when he was rear-ended by the plaintiff. He explained that after the collision, he had to “brace” himself to keep his head from hitting the steering wheel. He also reported that his vehicle sustained minor damage in the collision. On the day following the accident, the plaintiff went to the hospital, and a doctor ordered an x-ray. The plaintiff was prescribed painkillers and engaged in a three-month course of physical therapy. The plaintiff was seeking $10,000 in lost wages as well as compensation for his medical expenses.

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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.

In 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 ›

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 ›

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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