Millions of individuals who are involved in a car accident in our country every year. Nearly half of them suffer a permanent disability of some kind. Those disabling injuries lead to serious impairment of normal function, including paralysis and neurological deficits. In 2019, more than 500 people died in a car accident on Arkansas roads.
Traffic Accidents are a Major Concern for Arkansas Residents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States for individuals between the ages of 8 and 34. Regrettably, a fatal car accident takes place every 12 to 15 minutes in America. Sadly, car accidents remain one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reported that in 2019, approximately 38,800 people lost their lives in car accidents. Around 4.4 million people suffered injuries requiring medical attention.
While these numbers decreased from 2018, car accidents remain a major source of pain and suffering across the nation. Further, while the national average decreased, Arkansas car accident fatalities increased by 3% from 2018 to 2019.
Anyone can be a victim of a car accident. If you suffer injuries in a car accident, our Fort Smith car accident attorney is ready to help you.
Fort Smith Major Roadways
Fort Smith, the second-largest city in Arkansas, is one of the two county seats of Sebastian County. With a population of more than 86,000, Fort Smith is easily a major transportation hub for the surrounding cities. The city is located at the intersection of two major interstates and surrounded by the Arkansas River on three sides.
Fort Smith sits southwest of where Interstate 40 and the future Interstate 49 intersect. The new Interstate 49 will extend south to join Interstate 30 in Texarkana, Texas. Two other major highways also run through Fort Smith – US 71 and US 64.
When Would you Need a Fort Smith Car Accident Attorney?
For many clients, the trauma of personal injuries suffered as a result of a car accident is something you want to move beyond as quickly as possible. Physical injuries and property damage are usually a great source of stress that disrupts your life. The length of time it may take to resolve your car accident claim will be dependent on several factors.
A skilled Fort Smith car accident attorney can provide you with support and guidance through this difficult time. Your attorney can help answer your questions, provide you legal advice, and represent you in settlement negotiations or court. Hiring a qualified attorney can help take the pressure off and allow you to focus on your health and getting your life back to normal.
We’ll take care of everything else.
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Causes of Car Accidents in Fort Smith
The reality is, with car accidents, the worst threat you face on the roadway is usually other drivers. Their negligence accounts for more accidents and more deaths than anything else. The trouble is, there are so many different ways that others can drive negligently, and all of those ways are extremely dangerous.
Car accidents usually occur when one or both drivers act carelessly or recklessly while driving.
The most common types of behaviors that lead to car accidents include:
- Driving too fast for conditions,
- Driving while intoxicated,
- Failing to stay in the lane,
- Failing to yield the right of way,
- Distracted driving,
- Overcorrecting or oversteering, and
- Driving while fatigued.
Although some car accidents are unavoidable, such as those caused by unpredictable road conditions, drivers can prevent many car accidents by taking more precautions while driving.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can cause serious, sometimes permanent, injuries that may affect you for the rest of your life.
The most common car accident injuries include:
- Head injuries,
- Back and spine injuries,
- Abdominal injuries from seat-belts, and
- Scrapes, cuts, and bruises.
When cars collide at high speeds, your car will suddenly change direction or speed. This sudden movement causes drivers and passengers to collide with the walls or steering wheels of their car. Traumatic brain injuries can occur when someone hits their head on a hard object during a crash.
This sudden movement can also cause whiplash in the neck and spine. Whiplash can cause long-term muscle and ligament injuries or tears, requiring ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation.
If you are involved in a car accident, you should immediately seek medical attention. Your injuries may be more severe than you think and require more extensive medical treatment to avoid future pain and suffering.
Distracted Driving Accidents in Fort Smith
Distracted driving occurs any time a driver engages in behaviors that take their attention away from the road.
Unfortunately, with the rise in cell phone use, distracted driving accidents in Fort Smith and across the country are on the rise.
Common causes of distracted driving include:
- Cell phone use,
- Eating while driving,
- Talking or interacting with passengers, and
- Changing the radio dials.
Twenty-five states, including Arkansas, have banned cell phone use while driving. Despite these laws, the NHTSA estimates that in 2017, 3,166 traffic-related deaths occurred due to distractions.
If a distracted driver caused your car accident, you might be entitled to compensation for any injuries or property damage you suffered. You should speak with a Fort Smith car accident lawyer to assess your legal options.
Car Accident Claims in Fort Smith
At the Cottrell Law Office, our car accident lawyer in Fort Smith, Arkansas is a strong advocate for injured victims. If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by someone else, we want to help. Our lawyer has experience in a variety of practice areas, including:
- Truck accidents,
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Rollover accidents,
- Auto defects,
- Speeding accidents,
- Reckless driving,
- Road defects,
- Drunk driving accidents, and
- Insurance claims.
For more information about our practice areas and the types of cases we handle, please visit or contact us today.
Car Insurance in Arkansas
Arkansas follows a fault-based system for car insurance. In other words, if you suffer injuries in an accident caused by someone else, the responsible party’s insurance company must cover the cost of your damages, including injuries and other expenses. Arkansas requires drivers to get minimum insurance coverage for the following:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death;
- $50,000 for total bodily injury or death; and
- $25,000 for damaged property.
Arkansas drivers can buy more insurance coverage to protect themselves in the event of a crash, which is called personal injury protection. However, you do not have to buy personal injury protection insurance since Arkansas is not a no-fault insurance state.
Types of Compensation Under Arkansas Law
Courts calculate compensation by determining “damages” that result from a car crash. Damages are usually divided into two main categories:
- Compensatory damages and
- Non-compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages “make whole” someone who has suffered a loss in a car crash.
Compensatory damages typically include economic costs, such as:
- Medical costs,
- Ambulance rides,
- Hospital stays,
- Lost wages due to injury or debilitation, and
- Ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Compensatory damages also include pain and suffering caused by the car accident.
Pain and suffering damages may include compensation for:
- Emotional distress,
- Ongoing physical discomfort, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Keep all of your receipts and bills that resulted from your injuries. If you don’t, you won’t be able to get compensation. Make copies of everything, and keep them in a safe place.
Punitive damages may also be available. Unlike compensatory damages, courts use punitive damages to punish someone for their wrongdoing. In rare cases, courts will issue punitive damages when an at-fault driver’s behavior is particularly reckless or severe.
Damages can be difficult to calculate. A skilled Fort Smith personal injury attorney understands these calculations. Your attorney will fight for the compensation you deserve.
Arkansas’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury
Arkansas’s statute of limitations says that victims have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. If you do not submit your claim in three years, your case will be dismissed. If this happens, you will likely lose your right to compensation.
However, it is best to discuss your situation with a Fort Smith car accident lawyer before abandoning your claim. Everyone’s injuries and accidents are unique, so there may be exceptions.
What Can the Cottrell Law Office Do For You?
A Fort Smith car accident attorney at the Cottrell Law Office will get you the results you deserve. As our case results reflect, we have obtained verdicts or settlements in car accident cases ranging from $100,000 to more than $300,000 in Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. We handle more than car accidents, though. We also handle accidents involving commercial trucks, motorcycles, defective vehicles, pedestrian collisions, and other types of accident cases. With more than 29 years of experience, we are dedicated to putting that experience to work to provide you with top-quality service and zealous legal representation.
At the Cottrell Law Office, we promise to work as hard as we can to get you the compensation and justice you deserve for your accident. Our Fort Smith, AR car accident attorney is prepared
- Investigate the scene of the accident;
- Determine who was at fault for the accident;
- Gather evidence to support your case;
- File all necessary paperwork; and
- Handle all communication with the insurance companies.
Contact us today for a free case review. We will discuss the circumstances of your case and answer any questions you might have.
Advice About What to Do After a Car Accident
If you were involved in a car accident, you should contact a Fort Smith personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can answer your questions, help you avoid common mistakes, and fight for the compensation you deserve. The Cottrell Law Office is here to help you every step of the way.
Please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation if you have questions regarding car accidents or other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (800) 364-8305.