Two men were killed and another seriously injured in a terrible car crash in Arkansas earlier this month. The three individuals were in an SUV traveling along Ashley County Road in rural Ashley County, Arkansas in windy and rainy weather with poor visibility when tragedy struck. The vehicle, a Ford Escape, left the road as it attempted to navigate a tight corner. It struck a culvert in a ditch and continued traveling, striking several trees before coming to a stop. Two of the individuals in the vehicle (the driver and one passenger) were killed instantly. The second passenger was left with serious, life-threatening injuries.
These two traffic deaths mark the 457th and 458th this year on Arkansas roads according to one preliminary study of crash data collected from around the state.
Contributing Factors Don’t Necessarily Negate Liability
Car accidents in Arkansas are more common when contributing factors like bad weather and poor visibility come into play. Such conditions not only make it more difficult for drivers to safely negotiate traffic, turns, and hills, but they also can make it impossible for a vehicle to physically handle the drive. Cars are mechanical devices and are subject to the laws of physics. If slick conditions eliminate the friction of tire-on-pavement, a car will slide. If a wind gust hits the side of a large vehicle, the vehicle will act like a sail.However, just because there were contributing factors in a car accident doesn’t mean that the driver is completely off the hook when it comes to legal liability.
Indeed, Arkansas traffic laws are written in such a way that a driver legally has a “duty of care” to operate the vehicle in a safe manner regardless of the conditions in which they’re driving. This duty mandates that drivers:
- Slow down when visibility is compromised
- Drive at a speed that is appropriate for the road conditions
- Keep their vehicle properly maintained (good tread on tires, for example)
- Know when it’s unsafe to be on the road
If a driver fails in any of these aspects, the liability (legal responsibility) for any accident they’re involved in could be shifted to them.
In this tragic case the operator of the crashed car did not survive the impact. However, in similar cases individuals who have been behind the wheel at the time of an injurious car accident have been held financially liable for injuries suffered by passengers. Indeed, that civil liability is enforceable regardless of whether or not criminal charges are filed against the operator.
Tactfully Negotiating Compensation Packages with Friends and Family
Sometimes these are the hardest car accident settlements for victims to pursue because often drivers are friends or family members. Attempting to get fair and adequate compensation from such an individual can place a tremendous strain on personal relationships. That’s why it’s always a good idea to employ the services of a neutral third party.
An experienced car accident attorney in Arkansas can not only come up with an amount that’s fair for both parties involved, but also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf so that it doesn’t become personal with a friend or family member. When it comes to compensation for injuries received in a car wreck, it’s not personal; it’s the right thing to do.
If you’ve been injured in a crash in which someone else was behind the wheel, contact an experienced car accident attorney in Arkansas today. The Pfeifer Law Firm can help you get the help and financial compensation you need, with as little hassle as possible. Contact us online or call 501-374-4440 for your free consultation.