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Accident cases are usually different from one another depending on the type of injuries suffered by the victim and the percentage of fault of each party. While certain cases are settled relatively quickly, most personal injury cases take couple of years or more to settle. When the case moves slowly, it can be quite frustrating for the victim who is in need of the compensation amount. However, trying to rush things may not work in your favor. Personal injury cases consume a lot of the calendar due to the following reasons.

Evaluation of Injuries

In order to determine the full extent and implications of the injuries, a certain amount of time has to pass. Doctors will not be able to provide a correct opinion about the seriousness of the injury, until the condition of the victim has stabilized. Especially, for victims suffering serious injuries, the doctor may take almost a year to form a correct opinion about the extent of injuries.

The doctor will also be able to predict whether effects of the injuries are going to be permanent or not only after a year has passed. It is important to have the injuries correctly evaluated to obtain a fair compensation, and hence responsibilities you should take should not be rushed.

It is also important that you and/or your family buckle down for the long haul. You will probably be paid a decent amount, $20,000 to $75,000, whatever, but you should certainly not spend any of that money until it is registered in your checking account. Do not make assumptions and do not make any promises to any car dealers or real estate agents. You should not be at Best Buy buying any new flat screens because first, you should be resting and second, you do not want to count your chickens until they have hatched.

Legal Process

The legal system can move painfully slow, and a personal injury case, usually goes through various stages including discovery, depositions, pre-trial motions, mediation, and trial. Usually after the discovery and depositions, the two parties will negotiate for a settlement.

When negotiations fail, there will be pre-trial motions and an attempt to settle the case through mediation. If the result of mediation is not acceptable, the case will go to trial. Depending on the complexity of the case, the trial may last from two weeks to even a year or more. After the trial there could be further appeals and motions.

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In certain personal injury cases, the victim could be from out of state, or the party at fault for the accident is from another state. The case could also involve a business entity that is from another state. In such situations, several things are considered before filing the personal injury case in federal court.

Issues of Jurisdiction 

When you are injured in an auto accident while driving in another state, it does not necessarily mean, you need to file your personal injury case in federal court. Before filing a case in federal court, jurisdictional issues might have to be resolved and the value of the case should be above a certain amount. An attorney will usually consider the following aspects before filing a personal injury case in federal court:

$1 o    The claim amount is more than $75,000

$1 o    The parties involved are residents of different states

$1 o    The federal rules of evidence is advantageous to one of the parties 

The country’s constitution provides certain rights to both parties in filing personal injury case according to their convenience. For instance, if the victim has filed a personal injury lawsuit in state court, and the defendant is a business entity with headquarters in another state, then such a defendant has a right to shift the case to federal court, provided jurisdictional and amount requirements are met.

The Wrong Mindset

If you think that you can hit someone in another state and cause a terrible accident and get away with it because you are not from that state or perhaps they are from 2 states over you are seriously incorrect and misguided with this notion. In fact, this attitude may only lead to an arrogant attitude thinking they are not from these parts and they will receive very little help.

This is just not the case. Your local law enforcement buddies, if you are on the same softball team as they are for instance, are not going to side with you in this case. They are going to side with the law and what is right. They know that if they show bias towards someone they know and who lives in their area, the FBI could become involved but before, some sort of state police department could become involved when the victim’s attorney start filing paperwork all over the place.

The local police department does not want to appear bias and unfair so they will do their best to handle the case correctly. No one wants to be investigated by outsiders and no one wants to face unflattering accusations.

Application of Federal Law 

In certain personal injury cases, only federal law might apply, and in such instances, the case has to be filed in a federal court. Such cases can include:

$1 §   Railroad accidents

$1 §   Airline accidents

$1 §   Cruise ship accidents

$1 §   The claim is made against an US agency or government

$1 §   Injuries sustained on federal property

 

Certain injury claims made by seamen that come under the Jones Act can be filed in federal or state court.

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Spinal cord injuries are quite serious, since they can cause a range of traumas and disabilities with the victim. Hence, the type of spinal injury greatly influences the settlement in personal injury case. Here are the main types of spinal cord injuries, and the way they will influence the settlement.

Complete Cord Injuries

These type of spinal cord injuries are the most serious where the spinal cord is severed in two. This will result in quadriplegia or paraplegia, where there is total absence of reflex, sensory, and motor activities below or around the injured site. The settlement amount will depend on the extent of disabilities and the effect it will have on the earning abilities of the victim.

Central Cord Syndrome

In this injury, the central portion of the spinal cord is damaged, and the upper sensory and motor functions are more affected compared to the lower. Seriously injured victims, might be able to move their legs, but their arms might become immobile. The settlement is significantly influenced if there is paralysis.

Incomplete Spinal Injuries

Incomplete spinal injuries include anterior and posterior cord syndrome. In anterior syndrome, the front portion of the cord is damaged, resulting in limited paralysis above the site of the injury. Victims might be able to regain certain amount of mobility, but they will not be able to sense temperature or pain, which can increase the settlement considerably. In posterior cord syndrome, most victims are able to retain their sensory and motor functions, but lose the ability of perceiving fine touch and body parts positions.

Damages 

The different types of damages that can be included in spinal cord injury settlement are:

$1 §   Cost of medical expenses and estimated future medical expenses

$1 §   Therapy costs 

$1 §   Cost of in-home medical, health, and assistance services

$1 §   Loss of income and estimated future income loss

$1 §   Pain and emotional trauma

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Unlike many other law areas, personal injury laws are unique. For instance, criminal law is based on penal codes; tax law is based on the federal tax code. However, laws governing personal injury are developed in quite a different way. The main body of personal injury law has developed through decisions of past court cases, which is referred to as legal precedent.

 

Further Authority Provided by State Statutes and Legal Treatises

Apart from legal precedent, the authority of personal injury law is based on state statutes and legal treatises. Most states in the United States have codified personal injury law for their jurisdictions, which are called statutes. On the other hand, legal treatises are authoritative texts or books written on certain topics or subject matters by legal experts. However, even with state statutes and legal treatises, legal precedent will be the main factor used in deciding most personal injury cases. 

Asserting Position through Legal Precedent 

Most personal injury attorneys use legal precedent for asserting their legal stand in their cases. A prior case law can be extensively used for strengthening the case, and can be stated during negotiations or during formal proceedings of the court. For instance, during negotiations for a personal injury settlement, the adjuster, the counsel, or one of the parties involved will often refer to the decision of a similar court case in the past where similar issues were present in the case. A case law is often cited for advancing the party ’s position on issues that involve damages or proving fault.

Disclosure of Case Laws that are Favorable and Unfavorable

Obviously, the party will be citing a case law that is favorable to their legal position on the issue. However, ethical requirements and rules of court require disclosure of unfavorable case law as well, for certain contexts and situations. You just cannot ignore legal history just because it does not assist you in your case. That would be irrational and legally ignorant.

The other side may in turn even prevent some cases that are deemed ridiculous to the court in the first place. If you know that legal precedent and perhaps logic does not suit your case, then this is a case that perhaps should not see the light of day. You may want to settle out of court if you can convince the other side that settling for a low figure is the right move to make to put this case behind them. This is the time to be very humble though because if this does not work out taking this case to court may be a quick victory for the other side.  

And then you and your legal representative realize everything was for naught and you are compelled to walk away with nothing to show for your efforts. Not even gas money! 

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Being an at-fault state, as far as auto insurance is concerned; all drivers in Arkansas have to carry insurance. The insurance laws in the state are fault based, which means the party who is at fault for causing the accident will have to provide compensation to the victim/s for their injuries and damage to property. Since, the party at fault is also insured, the onus of paying the damages shifts to the insurance company of the at-fault driver.

When an Arkansas driver is injured in an accident, he or she can opt to:

$1     File a claim with the insurance carrier of the at fault driver

$1     File a claim with one’s own insurance carrier who will in turn claim reimbursement from the insurance company of the at-fault driver

$1     File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver or his insurance carrier

Auto insurance coverage in Arkansas has the unique characteristic of following the insured person around. This means that the insured person could be injured while travelling in another person ’s car, and can still claim benefits from his own insurance company. Coverage for children is usually connected with their parent’s coverage, and compensation can be claimed if they are injured in an accident while going in their parent’s car or any other car.

In Arkansas, auto insurance is mandatory, and there is minimum coverage all drivers have to carry. This minimum coverage includes:

$1 §   Bodily injury coverage of $25,000 per individual

$1 §   Bodily injury coverage of $50,000 per accident where more than one individual is injured

$1 §   Property damage coverage of $25,000 per accident

The Process

 

These amounts cover the liability of the insured, if he or she is at fault for the accident. Usually, victims claim compensation from their own insurance carriers, who in turn seek repayment from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. 

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Personal injury claims and the application of concerned laws can become quite complicated and sensitive. The victim who has suffered serious injuries will not only face added medical expenses but also suffer physical pain, emotional trauma, and loss of income. Therefore, it is paramount to receive fair compensation from the party at fault, as soon as possible. Personal injury laws differ between states, and here is a short summary of what you can expect in Arkansas.

Where and When You can File a Personal Injury Claim 

Usually, the personal injury case has to be filed in the same jurisdiction where the accident has occurred. This means the case will be subject to the district laws of that area. In Arkansas, the victim is given two years to file a personal injury case, and in case of medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is three years.

The law provides a long time to file a personal injury case because a victim who is seriously injured will know the full extent of his injuries and their implications in his life only after a certain period has elapsed. However, the victim may not wait that long, since medical expenses and lost wages can drain your finances with brevity.  

What Damages can You Claim?

In Arkansas, the victim can claim compensation for:

$1 o    All medical expenses related to the injuries suffered in the accident, including cost of medical care at home

$1 o    Lost income and potential loss of future income

$1 o    Compensation for pain and suffering

 

The state laws also allow a jury or court to give a verdict awarding punitive damages along with the compensatory damages. However, for punitive damages, it must be proved that the defendant was exceptionally negligent, indifferent, or willfully caused the accident.

Time to Send a Message

Personal injury cases in Arkansas can be resolved through a mediation process, with a third party acting as the mediator. If negotiations and mediations fail, the case goes to trial and the result here is unpredictable but if you believe in your case and your attorney is supporting you then perhaps this is the route to take. If the other side is being delusional and obtuse they have the most to lose.

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Our Arkansas Personal Injury Law Firm has a strong history of
helping folks with legal matters!

Our office will handle the entire process and negotiate with the
 adjuster  to get you compensated for your injuries. If property
   damage, workers' compensation or social security disability
     become involved, we handle that, too. We negotiate, settle,
       or file the case in court.

       If you'll give us a chance to help, we'll get on it right away.
        If you can't come to us, we'll go to you. We're looking
         forward to meeting you.
 
 
 
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FAQ


 Will the person who caused my injury be punished?

Not in the traditional sense of the word. Defendants in civil actions for personal injury do not receive jail terms or criminal fines as punishment. Those are criminal sentences, and personal injury cases are civil actions. However, in some cases, juries and courts can award what are called “punitive damages,” which are designed to punish defendants who have behaved recklessly or intentionally against the public's interest. The goal in ordering the payment of punitive damages is to discourage such defendants and others from engaging in the same kind of harmful behavior in the future.

 When will I get my settlement?

A personal injury lawsuit can average 2 to 3 years, but keep in mind that each case is unique, therefore one cannot predict the amount of time needed to bring you your settlement. Just keep moving forward in your lawsuit and make sure that your lawyers and their staff are getting the job done.

 What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?

It depends on whether the person died as a result of injuries from the accident or from unrelated causes. If a person injured in an accident subsequently dies because of those injuries, that person's heirs may recover money through a lawsuit known as a wrongful death action. Also, even if a person with a personal injury claim dies from unrelated causes, the personal injury claim survives in most cases and may be brought by the executor or personal representative of the deceased person's estate.

 What should I bring with me for my meeting with a lawyer?

You should provide a lawyer with any documents that might be relevant to your case. Police reports, for example, contain eyewitness information and details about the conditions surrounding auto accidents, fires, and assaults. Copies of medical reports and bills from doctors and hospitals will help demonstrate the extent and nature of your injuries. Information about the insurer of the person who caused your injury is extremely helpful, as are any photographs you have of the accident scene, your property damage, and your injury. The more information you are able to give your lawyer, the easier it will be for him or her to determine if your claim will be successful. If you haven't collected any documents at the time of your first meeting, however, don't worry; your lawyer will be able to obtain them in his investigation of your claim.

 How soon after I am injured do I have to file a lawsuit?

Every state has certain time limits, called "statutes of limitations," which govern the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. In some states, you may have as little as one year to file a lawsuit arising out of an automobile accident. If you miss the deadline for filing your case, you may lose your legal right to damages for your injury. Consequently, it is important to talk with a lawyer as soon as you suffer or discover an injury.

 What is “negligence"?

The critical issue in many personal injury cases is just how a "reasonable person" was expected to act in the particular situation that caused the injury. A person is negligent when he or she fails to act like an "ordinary reasonable person" would have acted. The determination of whether a given person has met the "ordinary reasonable person" standard is often a matter that is resolved by a jury after presentation of evidence and argument at trial.

 How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

First, you must have suffered an injury to your person or property. Second, you should consider whether your injury was someone else's fault. It is not always necessary to have a physical injury to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Some personal injury claims could be based on a variety of nonphysical losses and harms. In the case of an assault, for example, you do not need to show that a person's action caused you actual physical harm, but only that you expected some harm to come to you. You also may have a case if someone has attacked your reputation, invaded your privacy, or inflicted emotional distress upon you.

 Why use a personal injury lawyer?

When you are hurt in a wreck, you have lost more than the cost of your medical expenses. Injuries affect your work, your leisure and your family. In other words, injuries can affect your whole life. It is important for you to obtain fair and reasonal compensation for the damage to your life which is caused by a personal injury.


Personal injury lawyers understand how injuries impact your life. Personal injury lawyers help you to understand the law concerning personal injury damages and they help to negotiate a reasonable settlement with insurance companies. If the insurance companies will not be reasonalbe, then personal injury attorneys help you tell your story to a jury so the jury will be able to provide reasonable compensation.


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