Car Accident Lawyer in Conway, Arkansas
As with other states in the U.S., there are specific laws that affect car accidents in Conway, Arkansas. Below, we look at the time period to file a lawsuit after an accident, how to determine who is at fault and how that affects a lawsuit or settlement, what happens with a government car or employee is involved, and other valuable information road users should know when they are involved in a car wreck. If you or a loved one has been injured in a wreck in Conway, Arkansas, you may need the benefit of an experienced local car accident lawyer.
What are the Time Limits for Car Accident Lawsuits in Conway, Arkansas?
In the state of Arkansas, plaintiffs have three years to file a lawsuit if they are hurt in a car wreck or if their property is damaged in an accident. The three-year period begins on the date of the incident. Should the plaintiff fail to file a lawsuit within the three-year time limit, the plaintiff may be prevented from filing a suit. The best move is to involve an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as is possible.
This statute of limitations affects how long a person has to file a court case in the state, but it does not affect how long they have to file an insurance claim. A victim’s insurance policy contains all the details on the insurance provider’s deadlines for claims. However, after an accident involving property damage or injury, it is better to file the insurance claim as early on as possible after consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer. This can help protect the person’s legal options by giving them the time needed to file a lawsuit should settlement negotiations stall or fail.
What is the Comparative Fault Rule in Conway, Arkansas?
If a plaintiff takes a car accident case to court, both the plaintiff and the other driver must present evidence to a judge or a jury. Depending on what that evidence is, the jury or judge will determine whether the other driver is to blame. It is possible that the ruling states the plaintiff shares some of the blame for the car wreck, which is a prime reason why it is imperative to retain an experienced car accident lawyer before standing before judge and jury.
The state of Arkansas applies the modified comparative fault system to calculate how the plaintiff’s percentage of the fault for the wreck will affect how much he or she will receive in damages. For instance, if a jury decides that the plaintiff’s damages, including car damage and medical bills, amount to a figure of $10,000, and determines the other driver is 80 percent to blame for the incident, under the modified comparative fault law, the court will then reduce the total damages awarded so that the plaintiff receives $8,000, which is the 20 percent fault as ruled by the jury. It should be noted that if the plaintiff is considered to be responsible for causing the car wreck, in a percentage of up to fifty percent higher, he or she may not recover any compensation from the other driver.
The comparative fault rule should not prevent those injured in a car accident in Conway, Arkansas, from considering taking a car accident case to court. A plaintiff should discuss the situation with a skilled Conway car accident lawyer who will advise the client on his or her options.
What Compensation is Available for a Conway AR Car Accident?
The damages that a victim can recover depend on his or her types of injuries and losses. Some of the most common kinds of damages that occur in a car wreck include:
- Medical expenses, including past and future medical costs
- Property damages – including damage to the car and other property and, in some instances, costs to repair the damaged vehicle
- Mental pain and suffering – the state allows injured parties to recover damages for mental anguish and pain and suffering
- Lost wages – these are damages that can be recovered to compensate past and future loss of income
- Punitive damages – these are damages that are awarded if the defendant is found to operate the vehicle with reckless disregard or intentionally caused damages and injuries.
Accidents Involving Government Workers and Government-Owned Cars
Whether it is county, town, city, federal or state, it is difficult to sue the government. Government entities are protected under a doctrine called sovereign immunity or governmental immunity. Over the years, the laws have established situations where plaintiffs can sue and cannot sue the government, including accidents caused by a government employee.
In most instances, citizens have a right to sue the person who is legally responsible for the injuries suffered in a car wreck. The victim is entitled to be made whole by the wrongdoer, which means seeking compensation for damages and injuries. But, it can be difficult to sue government officials such as firefighters, ambulance drivers, mail carriers, and police officers, even if they are to blame for the incident.
What is Sovereign Immunity in Conway, AR?
Incidents that involve government cars are governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The act provides a limited waiver of the sovereign immunity when government employees are negligent within the scope of employment. In fact, the government can only be sued in instances where the U.S. entity, is a private person and would be accountable to the plaintiff according to the law where the accident occurred.
What Is Governmental Immunity Concerning Car Accidents?
There is an exception to governmental immunity, and that is vehicle liability when employees of the government are involved in car wrecks. These usually include fire trucks rushing to put out a fire, emergency vehicles, for instance, police pursuits, or even ambulances rushing through intersections to transport a patient to the hospital. Further, non-emergency accidents are possible, such as being rear-ended by a public-school bus or even side-swiped by a city works truck.
When it comes to proving driver responsibility and fault, the threshold tends to be a great deal higher when bringing a lawsuit against the government than what is required in any other accident case with a private individual. Cases that involve emergency vehicles are even more complex. The rules tend to differ when there is a real emergency. In such instances, the government is given significant latitude to respond. However, even the level of latitude can differ depending on whether or not an emergency vehicle had its lights and sirens on in a way that allows emergency personnel to respond while preserving the safety of the public.
How do I File a Claim Against the Government?
If a plaintiff wants to seek compensation from the government for damages caused by a government employee, they should first file an administrative claim with the government entity, be it state, federal, county, or city. Typically, government entities afford very little time in which to file an administrative claim, usually 30 – 180 days. It is imperative that this deadline is met, or the plaintiff may lose his or her right to recover damages.
Some government departments have a special claims form that can be filled out and returned to the clerk’s office of the agency responsible for the accident. However, plaintiffs may have to insert a dollar amount on the form to settle the claim. If a settlement figure is required, it is important to carefully calculate all the damages the plaintiff may be entitled to recover as they could be limited to the amount they write done in future lawsuits.
If the claim is denied, the government entity will send the plaintiff a letter. But, the plaintiff can still file a lawsuit against the government in a court of law. The letter will inform the plaintiff of how much time they have to file the lawsuit. Lawsuits against the government tend to be complicated and involve an array of technical procedures to be followed and deadlines to be met, so it is a good idea to consult a car accident lawyer.
What are the Car Insurance Requirements in Arkansas?
State law requires drivers to carry specific kinds of car insurance along with minimum amounts of insurance coverage.Since Arkansas is an at-fault state, drivers who are injured in car wrecks in the state have a number of options: they can seek compensation through insurance companies – under their own cover or through the other driver’s insurance provider – or they can file a case in court.
To fulfill insurance requirements, drivers must have liability auto insurance to pay for property damage or injuries to another person resulting from an accident the insured may cause, and the minimum limits are:
- $25,000 toward property damage per accident
- $50,000 toward total bodily injury per accident should multiple people be injured in the car wreck
- $25,000 toward bodily injury per person injured
The above liability auto insurance is mandatory in the state, but there are also a few optional coverages drivers can take to financially protect themselves, such as:
- Comprehensive cover – this covers non-wreck-related damages to a car, for instance, those that result from theft, fire, or inclement weather
- Collision – to cover damages to a car resulting from a traffic accident
- Underinsured/uninsured motorist insurance – to pay for injuries or property damage that result from a car wreck caused by an uninsured driver or a driver who does not have enough cover to cover costs.
It is worth noting that while state law does not require comprehensive and collision coverage, the lender of the financed car may require the driver to purchase such insurance.
Drivers in our state may also purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which is sometimes called no-fault insurance. PIP assists drivers with certain costs that arise as a result of an accident, no matter who is at fault for the wreck.
Car insurance companies in Arkansas must offer different types of PIP coverage, with drivers having the option to purchase one or more of the below:
- Lost wages coverage – this helps with wages a driver may lose due to an accident
- Medical payments coverage – to pay for injury-related costs
- Death benefits coverage – to pay for death-related and funeral costs that result from a wreck
What Should Drivers Do After an Arkansas Car Accident?
Responsible drivers must never leave the scene of the incident. It is essential that they provide any necessary help after a car wreck. However, leaving the scene can result in driving privileges being revoked or the suspension of the driver’s license.
Once a driver has stopped his or her vehicle, the driver should pull up as close to the accident as safely as they can and without obstructing traffic. Then, take a moment to assess the scene and be aware of the traffic situation and other possible dangers, such as fire or explosions.
If the driver is unharmed, he or she should make the best possible effort to provide immediate assistance to other passengers, motorists, and pedestrians that are injured. If possible, injured people should not be moved until an ambulance arrives, and 911 should be notified of any injuries or called for medical assistance. If there are no injuries, the driver should inform the local sheriff, police, or the closest law enforcement agency.
The most important thing is to remain calm. If possible, the driver should ensure that they are out of danger and not attempt to move if he or she is injured or unable to do so.
What Information Needs to be Exchanged after a Conway, AR Car Accident?
If a driver is involved in a car accident, that driver is obligated to provide certain information to the other parties involved in the incident. Fellow passengers, motorists, and pedestrians involved in the wreck must also share similar information with the driver. It is also a good idea to ask for the information of any witnesses to the incident should they have to testify at a later date.
The most important information to exchange after a car wreck includes:
- Contact details
- License plate numbers of the vehicles involved in the wreck
- Driver’s license number
- Auto insurance information for the drivers involved in the incident
If a driver hits an unattended vehicle, the driver must make an effort to find the owner or driver, and follow the above procedures. If the driver cannot locate the owner of the unattended car, the driver must leave a note with the driver’s name and contact details, as well as a brief description of the bump.
After the dust has settled, the next best step is to make contact with an experienced Conway AR car accident lawyer. An experienced car accident lawyer can provide you the necessary information you need to ensure that you follow the proper procedure after a car wreck without harming your rights to compensation for damages and injuries.
Reporting a Car Wreck to the Department of Finance and Administration
In some instances, drivers are obligated to report the collision to the State’s Department of Finance and Administration. Those involved in a car wreck must complete and submit a motor vehicle accident report no later than thirty days from the date of the occurrence of the car accident if any of the below are applicable:
The collision resulted in an injury or even death
Any damage to property as a result of the incident exceeds the amount of $1,000
Should a driver fail to report a car accident to the Department of Finance and Administration, the driver could face a license suspension. Should another driver offer to pay for damages and requests that the accident is not reported to the Department, drivers must still file the report in any of the above situations. Further, drivers must report a car accident even if it was not their fault.
Drivers will be required to demonstrate proof of financial responsibility and the report must include current and detailed information about their insurance coverage. Drivers can request that their insurance provider fill out the relevant part of the form to simplify the entire process. The Accident Report can be filled out online or submitted via postal mail. An experienced car accident lawyer in Conway, Arkansas, can make sure that no mistakes are made in the claim process.
How Does a Car Settlement Work in Arkansas?
If a victim of a car accident has trouble with an insurance claim, they may be preparing themselves for a lengthy court trial. While it may help to prepare for a worst-case scenario, many cases settle, since trials are a risky business where a victim could spend years arguing over a claim only to lose at trial. However, a settlement ensures a guaranteed payout and wraps up the case in an informal manner for a mutually agreeable solution, at which time all parties involved drop the pending lawsuit.
Arkansas does not require mandatory settlement conference prior to trial. But, judges are afforded explicit authority should that require the parties to appear in court for a conference or to discuss informal ways of resolving the case.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident in Conway, AR?
It is impossible to predict how much a case will settle for, or even to calculate an average amount that is not misleading since cases tend to vary considerably in the amount of damages or harm incurred by all involved in the wreck. To determine a fair settlement in a car accident case, the following will be considered:
- Pain and suffering
- Car repairs
- Insurance coverage
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
There Are No Damage Caps in Arkansas Injury Cases
Damages in injury cases are limited, or capped, by law in certain states. Damage caps aim to limit the amount of compensation a car wreck victim can receive. Many states choose to limit the amount of non-economic damages or damages for pain and suffering and apply damage caps to certain types of cases, such as a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Arkansas does not place caps on damages in injury cases. In fact, Article 5, Section 32 of the state constitution prohibits such caps.
Should I Call a Car Accident Lawyer After a Car Accident in Conway, AR?
Dealing with insurance adjusters can be one of the most difficult parts of being in a car accident. Retaining an experienced Conway car accident lawyer can absolve you of some of the hassle involved in handling a car accident claim. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you will be treated fairly by the adjusters. Our experienced car accident lawyer will fight for your right to recover the losses and damages you suffered in the car wreck.
Talk to an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Conway, Arkansas After Your Car Wreck
The experienced car accident lawyer at Denton and Zachary will fight for a fair settlement or litigate, if necessary, while the plaintiff focuses on recovering from injuries. Dealing with the mess a car accident can cause is harder enough. Don’t go at it alone! All it takes is a call to get the experience of the best car accident lawyer in Conway, Arkansas. Contact us today to book a consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in Conway, Arkansas.