Car wrecks can take away your livelihood, and in extreme cases, even the lives of you or your loved ones. They can leave you with years of physical pain and emotional suffering, and an ever-growing pile of medical expenses.
At Morgan & Morgan, our Jonesboro attorneys understand that automobile accident victims may have questions about their legal rights following a crash. We are committed to helping injured drivers, passengers, and pedestrians understand these rights and how they may be able to obtain compensation to cover damages such as medical bills and lost wages.
You may be able to seek compensation through insurance claims or a lawsuit against a negligent driver. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motor vehicle crash, find out how our attorneys could help by filling out our free case evaluation form today.
Auto Accident Cases Our Jonesboro Attorneys Handle
The attorneys in Morgan & Morgan’s Jonesboro office handle a broad range of auto accident cases. We handle cases involving brain and spinal cord injuries, whiplash, broken bones, concussions, internal damage, back injuries, paralysis, and lost limbs.
Arkansas Car Crash Lawsuit Process: An Initial Investigation
The at-fault party’s insurance company will immediately launch an investigation into the wreck in an attempt to reduce the amount they may have to pay out. While this investigation proceeds, it is important for your attorney to complete a thorough investigation of his or her own.
The strength of your case will ultimately rest on your attorney’s ability to collect and present evidence that illustrates that the other party was negligent and therefore responsible for your damages. In his or her investigation, your attorney may determine whether the defendant:
- Failed to pay attention to their surroundings;
- Drove while distracted;
- Drove under the influence;
- Violated traffic laws; and
- Drove without a license.
Your attorney’s investigation to determine fault may include:
- Reviewing police reports and photographs;
- Interviewing witness statements;
- Reviewing video footage of the crash, if available;
- Researching the history of both parties’ driving records;
- Analyzing your medical reports with experts to determine the most likely scenario of how you sustained your injury; and
- Recreating the scene of the accident.
Evaluating Your Damages
To determine the amount of compensation you will request, and for which expenses, your attorney will work with experts to pinpoint your injuries and project your accident-related expenses. Damages to which you may be entitled include, but are not limited to:
- Current and future medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future earning capacity;
- Property damage;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of enjoyment of life; and
- Loss of intimacy and support.
Creating a Claim
Your attorney will review the information obtained during his or her investigation to create a claim, which will serve as the basis for your lawsuit. It will state your injury and damages, the alleged negligent behavior of the other driver, and request compensation for your damages.
Your attorney will use your claim as leverage for a reasonable settlement or jury verdict. Your attorney will reach out to the other party or parties and attempt to reach a settlement agreement before a lawsuit is filed. If negotiations are unsuccessful, your attorney will submit your claim to the court, thereby starting the official lawsuit process.
Typically, both parties will attempt to negotiate a settlement while preparing their case for trial to keep the case from proceeding to court. If negotiations are still unsuccessful, your lawsuit will proceed to court where your attorney will present your case. The judge or jury will then determine the amount of compensation to which you are entitled, if any.
Handling Discussions With Insurance Companies
Arkansas is a “fault” car insurance state, which means that crash victims are allowed to seek compensation directly from the at-fault party, the at-fault party’s insurance company or their own insurance company. Typically, claimants will first seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
If you are involved in a crash, it is important to remember that these insurance companies are for-profit businesses and may attempt to confuse you or compel you into agreeing to a settlement that is insufficient to cover your losses.
After a motor vehicle wreck, it is also imperative that you do not discuss it or disclose any details with any party — except for your attorney and treating physician. Any statements or comments you make can potentially harm your pursuit of compensation during negotiations or at trial. Your attorney can handle any insurance discussions or negotiations on your behalf.
Proving Distracted Driving
Negligence refers to an individual or entity’s failure to meet the standard level of acceptable behavior which includes paying proper attention while operating a vehicle to ensure the safety of others. In recent years, with the increase in the use of technology, the number of distracted drivers is on the rise.
Your attorney may be able to prove distracted driving by:
- Reviewing traffic camera and video footage;
- Requesting official cell phone records;
- Examining the time of phone usage;
- Analyzing tickets the driver may have been issued prior to the crash;
- Determining where (and if possible, when) a GPS was used; and
- Retracing the driver’s steps to determine whether food or a beverage was purchased.