July 20th, 2016
Nobody likes a fender bender, let alone an accident involving serious injuries. But car wrecks happen all the time and the motor vehicle insurance insuring against the liability of the at-fault driver is supposed to pay for any damages to the vehicles as well as for any injuries to you. The liability insurance company cannot be implicitly trusted to have your best interest at heart because of the following reasons.
Insurance companies are in business to earn a profit from the money they are paid in insurance premiums. Fundamentally, premiums are income and claims paid are expenses. It is simple math; the smaller the expenses, the more the income. Insurance companies are owned by shareholders who invest for the income.
Insurance companies want to hold onto their cash as long as possible and this is true regardless of who is to blame for the collision. Premiums are collected on the front end, but claims are paid on the back end. In the middle, the premium income is invested. The longer the money is held before claim payment, the more investment income (interest and dividends) the insurance company makes.
Insurance companies make more money by paying less in claims. It’s just business to them. The goal is to pay you as little as is legal. And, an insurance company will do whatever is “legal” to pay you as little as possible.
It is not illegal for an insurance company to wait until you have requested all the compensation to which you are entitled.
It is not illegal for an insurance company to wait until you have figured out the applicable law under which you are entitled to recover money from that insurance company.
It is not illegal for an insurance company to wait until you have presented proof of each and every element of damage you are seeking.
It is not illegal for an insurance company to pay you nothing at all until it gets every single element of the claim approved so that the whole claim can be settled and a release agreement is signed.
It is not illegal for an insurance company to NOT tell you about legal advantages that are due the claimant, such as “the made whole doctrine.”
It is not illegal for an insurance company to NOT tell you that certain medical liens and/or insurance subrogation liens are unenforceable.
It is not illegal for an insurance company to NOT tell you that you have the right to negotiate reductions in enforceable medical expenses and subrogation liens.
It is not illegal for an insurance company to NOT tell you that certain claim expenses are subject to payment by other insurance coverages at a lower rate than demanded by the service provider.
It is not illegal for an insurance to legally string you out so long that you are in a cash flow bind and have to accept less than you are actually entitled to receive.
It is not illegal for an insurance adjuster to NOT tell you something that is in your best interest or to tell you that his or her first duty is to the insurance company and not to you.
An insurance adjuster can be a “nice” person who has treated you in a “nice” manner but still not have a duty to tell you what is actually in your best interest.
An insurance has no affirmative duty to help you beyond receiving information and questions from you, and can simply choose to NOT lie but also NOT tell you what claim adjustment strategy is in your best interest.
Do not be tricked or trapped. The insurance company and the insurance adjuster are going to perform their legal duty – which is owed to the owners of the insurance company.
If you have been injured by the fault of another, the only way you will have an advocate on your side with an affirmative duty owed to you is to engage the services of an injury lawyer.
The ethical duty of an injury lawyer is to “represent [you] zealously within the bounds of the law.”
Things to do after a collision causing you to be injured by the fault of another:
1) Call Rainwater Holt Sexton.
We are Arkansas’ largest personal injury law firm. We are dedicated to helping any person injured by the fault of another. We are zealous advocates for those wrongfully injured. We will work to get all the bills paid and maximize the money that goes into our client’s pocket.
2) Do NOT trust the adjuster, subjectively.
The adjuster works for the insurance company. While he or she may seem like a nice person who wants to help, his or her ultimate loyalty is to ensure the insurance company pays you as little money as possible. Since the adjuster is NOT working for you, the insurance adjuster can actually be called as a witness to testify against you – telling a judge of the facts that you have told the adjuster. Be very careful. Words taken out of context can be misleading and not represent the whole truth.
3) Assume all your communications with the insurance adjuster will be recorded.
Insurance companies often try to take recorded statements from the parties involved. If your statement is recorded, they may try to twist pieces of your statement against you. In general, other than reporting the accident to the insurance company on a timely basis, it is always best to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer and have the lawyer do the communicating with the insurance companies on your behalf.
4) Don’t be afraid to tell the insurance company you will go to court
Actually, about 90% of all claims are settled by agreement with no lawsuit ever being filed. While nobody wants stress of having to take a claim to court, it is advisable that you start out the claim process with the I-will-go-to-court-if-I-have-to mindset. This is a benefit of being represented by an experience personal injury lawyer. The insurance company will know up front that you will insist on a fair offer. Our firm represents injured persons on a contingent fee basis, which means that you will owe us nothing unless we recover money for you. The insurance industries own statistics tell us that the presence of an experienced injury lawyer can loosen the insurance company’s purse strings and make it more willing to settle for a reasonable amount.
If you’ve been injured by the fault of another, let Rainwater Holt & Sexton Injury Lawyers help you weather the storm!!
July 18th, 2016
If there’s one thing we can’t stand, it’s an unfair fight. That’s why many of us at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton became lawyers, because we knew that thousands of folks in Arkansas each year are thrust into a fight with an opponent that holds all the cards. Winning that fight on their own can be difficult, if not impossible. That opponent is the insurance company, and believe us when we say that they know how to win.
That’s why so many folks turn to us after a serious accident, because they know facing the insurance company alone can mean less money for their injuries, leaving their family in a financial crisis. Placing the experience of Rainwater, Holt & Sexton on their side evens up the fight. We stand up to big insurance everyday on behalf of our clients, and we’re prepared to do the same for you.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, give us a call for your free, no obligation consultation. Our experienced Arkansas car accident attorneys will immediately begin investigating your case. Let us work to get it for you.
July 5th, 2016
Everybody knows the impact drunk driving can have on Arkansas families and communities. According to a recent study, alcohol consumption was a factor in more than 30% of all fatal car accidents. That’s thousands of deaths every single year. However, alcohol isn’t the only dangerous impairment for drivers. Fatigued driving-related crashes and deaths are on the rise, and if you get behind the wheel fatigued in Arkansas and cause an accident, you could be prosecuted for it.
Arkansas Senate Bill SB 874, proposed by Senator Jason Rapert, was put into law in 2013. It states that any driver in Arkansas who causes an accident and hasn’t slept in the last 24 hours will be prosecuted as impaired. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we don’t venture into politics often, but we have witnessed the devastation impaired driving can cause. In this day and age, there are too many transportation alternatives available to justify ever getting behind the wheel impaired, and that’s why we hold those who do accountable for the injuries they cause others.
If you or someone you love has been injured by an impaired driver, give our Arkansas car accident attorneys a call immediately for a free consultation. We’ll fully investigate the at-fault driver to determine the cause of the accident and fight to get you maximum compensation for your injuries. The safety of our community is important to us, and we’re ready to protect it at all costs.
June 13th, 2016
The current generation is easily the most electronically-connected ever. It seems like every teenager has a cell phone these days. Once used only for emergencies, cell phones have become a social lifeline for teens—one they won’t easily let go of, even while driving. Unfortunately, that infatuation with their phones could cost them their lives.
Every year, distracted driving kills thousands of people in the U.S. and leaves many more seriously injured. According to Distraction.gov, more than 400,000 people were injured and more than 3,000 were killed in car accidents where distracted driving was a factor. Of course, distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phone use alone, but the vast majority are, which is why you should speak with your teenager about the dangers before they get behind the wheel.
Here are 3 tips for when you do have the conversation:
- Give them the facts. Distraction.gov is a great resource for parents seeking facts about distracted driving. Do your research and share the facts with your teenager. For instance, five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road when texting, which is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
- Make it law. Telling your teenager not to text and drive isn’t the same as making it a requirement to keep their driving privileges. Make it simple for them. If they text and drive, they lose their car.
- Set a good example. Practice what you preach. If you forbid your teens to text and drive, you shouldn’t either…ever.
If you’re a parent of a teenager, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton encourages you to have a conversation about distracted driving with your teenager. It could save their life.
May 24th, 2016
Most athletes growing up have a special shelf in their bedrooms reserved for trophies. Whether for little league baseball or high school track & field, these trophies serve as a lasting symbol of the commitment they made to the sports they love and the excellence at which they played them.
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we have a similar shelf reserved for the accolades our firm has earned over the years. Take a look at our homepage when you get a chance. About halfway down, you’ll see little circular icons that represent the national legal organizations that have recognized our firm for its accomplishments. Organizations like the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum—an organization that showcases the less than 1% of firms nationwide that have secured multi-million dollar verdicts for their clients. Or the Best Lawyers in America—the oldest and most respected peer review publication in the nation.
We showcase these accolades for one reason—to give you the confidence of knowing if you call our firm, we’ll do everything within our power to get you the best results in the least amount of time. We’re proud of our accomplishments and the reputation they have afforded us, but we’re not the type of firm to rest on our laurels…not while your case is yet to be won.
If you’ve been injured, give our Arkansas award-winning personal injury attorneys a call today. You deserve to have an experienced law firm on your side, and we’d be honored to represent you.
May 11th, 2016
You were injured in a wreck that was not your fault. You are hurt, scared, mad, and more than a little confused as to why you are getting the bills when you were innocent in all of this? The bills you can handle, but A LIEN??!! What is this document you just received and why are you getting it in the first place?
The first thing to do is calm down. The lien may look scary and sound like you’re going to start being garnished, but that is almost never the case. What really happened is the the medical facility who provided you care has simply placed themselves in line for payment directly from the at-fault party. They certainly have a right to be paid for the services they rendered. This lien is notice to all parties involved (you, your attorney if you have one, and the liability insurance carrier) that a bill exists which needs to be paid. Your name is on that bill since you received the care, so the lien exists against the potential proceeds you might recover from the at-fault party.
A.C.A § 18-46-105 outlines the requirements of a valid medical, nursing, hospital or ambulance lien. This statute is very specific and must be followed precisely in order for a lien to be enforceable. In reality, many of the “liens” we see have not strictly followed the statute and are probably invalid, but it’s still important they are dealt with to ensure peace of mind for our injured clients. The injury attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton are well-versed in how to read these documents and will counsel you the steps necessary to protect you and your settlement proceeds.
May 4th, 2016
When two drivers get into an accident, they typically exchange insurance information so the at-fault party can pay for the damages with the help of his or her liability insurance provider.
But what happens when the at-fault party is a hit-and-run driver who leaves the scene before you can get their name?
First of all, leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, so report the incident to the police immediately.
Even if the identity of the hit-and-run driver is not learned, there is still a good chance that you can recover for his or her negligence. That is one purpose of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage and your personal-injury-protection (PIP) medpay coverage on your own policy.
These types of coverage are often optional. In Arkansas, you can waive the purchase of this important insurance coverage but it must be done by signing in writing. State laws vary on exactly what is included in that coverage. And, your own insurance company has the prerogative to deny your claim by asserting that the hit-and-run driver was not liable to you. This can be done in a variety of ways, including: i) alleging that the collision was partly your fault and ii) alleging that the vehicle that caused the collision never made actual contact with your vehicle.
This is why it’s extremely important to have a detailed police report if you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident and to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to deal with the insurance company. Stay at the scene and call the police to make an on-site report of the collision facts. Call Rainwater Holt & Sexton for help.
While you may be covered by your own insurance policy, there is no such thing as a guarantee when it comes to settlement terms. If you’ve been injured, Rainwater Holt & Sexton will help you navigate through the insurance claim process, making sure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
April 27th, 2016
The moment an accident is over one of the most common things to do is get out and look at the car. Why? Because everyone is worried about their property damage. Fixing a car that has been in an accident can be expensive and take a long time. There are several important things to remember when handling your property damage after an accident.
First, it is important to get the name and insurance information of the other driver, especially if the accident is their fault. If the accident is their fault it will be their insurance company that will be paying for repairs. Along with that it is important to take pictures of the damage at the scene of the accident. The photographs will be helpful in resolving your property damage, and often the photographs can be used to help illustrate how the accident occurred.
If your vehicle is damaged badly enough that it needs to be towed, time can become a factor. Unless you specify a repair shop, often times the wrecker service will tow your vehicle to storage facility that charges fees for each day your vehicle is there. If your vehicle is towed and is at a storage facility, it is important to determine as quickly as possible whether your vehicle is a “total loss” or is “repairable.” The insurance company will make that determination.
If your vehicle is repairable find a repair shop that is willing to repair vehicles that have been in an accident. You will need tell the repair shop where your vehicle is being stored and ask the repair shop to have it towed to their shop. The bills for towing are usually paid by the repair shop and included in the repair shop bill. The sooner your vehicle is out of storage the sooner it will get fixed and you will not have to worry about extra storage fees.
If your vehicle is a “total loss,” you are entitled to the fair market value of the vehicle immediately prior to the accident. Once the insurance company has made you a reasonable fair market value offer, you have a reasonable time (on average less than a week) to accept the offer. After such time, you could be responsible for excess storage fees.
Lastly, you may find that the liability insurance company is not responding or not treating you right. If you find yourself in this situation, consider contacting your own insurance company. Often they are more willing to assist you since you are their customer.
April 20th, 2016
Arkansas is The Natural State, known for having some of the best outdoor attractions in the country. People come from around the world to enjoy our breathtaking sights, and some of the best ways to enjoy all we have to offer is by hopping out of the car and exploring. Whether you are riding along The Pig Trail with the wind in your hair, or hiking and biking in one of our 52 state parks, we want to make sure you are protected in our state. That’s why Arkansas passed legislation which specifically provides extra protections for pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and yes…even people riding in a horse drawn carriage or on an animal.
A.C.A § 23-89-202 Required First Party Coverage states “Every automobile liability insurance policy covering any private passenger motor vehicle…shall provide minimum medical and hospital benefits [up to $5,000 and incurred within 24 months], income disability [70% of the loss of income starting 8 days after the wreck, but subject to a maximum of $140 per week], and accidental death benefits [up to $5,000}…to the named insured and members of his or her family residing in the same household injured in a motor vehicle accident, to passengers injured while occupying the insured motor vehicle, and to persons other than those occupying another vehicle struck by the insured motor vehicle, without regard to fault…”. A.C.A § 23-89-204 specifically addresses Coverage for Passengers and Persons Struck by Insured Vehicle, stating “The coverages provided in 23-89-202 shall apply only occupants of the insured vehicle and to persons struck by the insured vehicle, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, persons in a horse-drawn wagon or cart, and persons riding on an animal, and to none other.”
What does this mean for you? In practical terms it means that as a pedestrian or motorcyclist, if you are hit by a motor vehicle you may be entitled to additional recovery from the at-fault party. For example: Say you are riding your motorcycle and a car turns in front of you and you collide. If that car carries liability insurance you are entitled to recover from the liability policy for damages which include (among other things) bodily injury, medical charges, lost wages, out of pocket expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering. Additionally, under § 23-89-204 you may also be entitled to recover from their first party medical payments coverage or personal injury protection policy. That means you may actually have two open claims against the at-fault driver’s policy.
These laws recognize that people on foot, bike, motorcycle or carriage are more vulnerable to injury than people protected in a car, and therefore deserve added protections to ensure they have a chance at a fair outcome. Of course there are some caveats to these laws, which is why it’s important you hire the right firm who will know to look for all of these possibilities. The injury attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton will investigate ALL coverages you may be entitled to and ensure that you are properly and zealously represented.
April 11th, 2016
Hiring a lawyer after a serious accident is one of the best decisions you can make. However, choosing the right lawyer for your situation can be difficult. There are a lot of personal injury firms in Arkansas. Determining which one can be overwhelming, especially while recovering from serious injuries. What if you choose a law firm and aren’t happy with how they are handling your case? Can you switch law firms in the middle of your case?
The answer is yes.
Over the years, several clients have come to us from other law firms. In those situations, we work with the original firm to make the transition as seamless as possible, often collaborating to an extent with that firm to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Most firms know how important it is for you to feel comfortable with the legal team handling your case and will accommodate a change if you feel it necessary.
If you’ve been injured and need legal representation, give us a call for a free consultation. We have years of experience helping Arkansas injury victims get the compensation they deserve, and we’d love to help you as well. If you’ve already hired a law firm and are looking to make a change, give us a call as well. We’ll review the details of your case to determine how best we can help.