It’s not often that victims and their family members get the justice they deserve after hit and run motorcycle accidents in Arkansas. Arkansas has relatively few cameras in public areas and on traffic lights fixtures when compared to more urbanized areas of the country. That makes identifying and tracking down at-fault drivers much more difficult. Accident investigators have to rely on eyewitness testimony and physical evidence (such as tire impressions) left at the scene of the crime in order to focus in on potential suspects. However, sometimes, when all the pieces fall into place, justice is served. Such was the case last month when a motorcycle accident in Little Rock, Arkansas ended in tragedy.
A young man was riding his motorcycle along Asher Avenue in Little Rock when he was struck and killed by a Cadillac Escalade. He was ejected from the bike and the motorcycle burst into flames. The SUV drove off after rolling over the victim and sped away. Eyewitnesses to the motorcycle accident called emergency services but the victim had passed away by the time EMTs arrived.
The witnesses were able to describe the car and told investigators that it had crossed the center line and into the oncoming travel lane seconds before colliding with the motorcycle. Police officers were able to use this information to track down the SUV and the driver. The woman was arrested and charged with multiple crimes including vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.
Criminal Charges Do Not Negate Financial Obligations
Many victims (or the surviving family members of deceased individuals) may think that when a hit and run driver is apprehended and charged with a crime, that the legal system has delivered justice. And while that’s partially true, criminal charges—even those which result in penalties and incarceration—do not fulfill an at-fault driver’s obligation to the victim. Indeed, those drivers may also be found liable for the financial impact of a motorcycle accident in Arkansas, not just the crime.
Civil law is completely separate from the criminal justice system. While judges and juries may sentence at-fault drivers to jail or prison terms and lay financial penalties upon them, those individuals can also be responsible for delivering financial compensation to the victims of their crimes or the surviving family members of those victims.
There are two main avenues through which victims can seek that compensation: insurance claims and civil lawsuits.
Insurance claims are generally easier to win, take less time and effort, and will cover the financial impact of most accidents and injuries. Payout amounts (and limitations) are often legally determined and based on cases that have occurred in the past. There may be a certain amount of negotiation involved in securing a suitable insurance payout and victims may not be able to get the total amount of compensation they’re entitled to without the help of a motorcycle accident attorney in Arkansas.
Civil lawsuits, on the other hand, are designed to help victims if insurance companies refuse to pay out—even if the driver they’ve insured is deemed to be at fault for the accident. A lawsuit would provide the opportunity for the victim to demonstrate the financial impact of an accident on their lifestyle and provide evidence showing that the defendant is indeed responsible for that impact.
These cases can also assist if the limitations of an insurance policy are too low to cover the total financial impact of an accident. For example, many insurance policies have a standard limit of $500,000 for bodily injury claims. If the victim suffers abnormally severe injuries requiring extended hospital stays, multiple surgeries, and therapy after the fact, the financial impact of their recovery could shatter that limitation. In such instances, a motorcycle accident lawsuit in Arkansas court would provide the victim an opportunity to seek compensation directly from the at-fault driver. If successful, the court case could result in direct monetary payouts and could even necessitate liquidation of the at-fault individual’s concrete assets such as second homes, automobiles, recreational vehicles, and more.
Getting the Legal Help You Need
Regardless of whether or not an insurance payout is “enough” to compensate you or a loved one after a motorcycle accident in Arkansas, you owe it to yourself to speak with an attorney before making any final decisions. A free consultation can help you learn just how much you’re likely to get from an insurance claim, how much you could actually be entitled to, and the likelihood of winning a case should you choose to file a civil lawsuit.
The legal team at the Pfeifer Law Firm can help you get the expert advice you need and the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call 501-374-4440 today to schedule your consultation. The consultation is free, and you don’t owe us anything until we recover for you. After-hours appointments are also available.