Auto Accident

How do I handle property damage after an accident?

by Vincent France | 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.

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Special rules for pedestrians and motorcycles in Arkansas

by Sarah Baber | 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.

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Can I Change Law Firms?

by Cary Graham | 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.

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Free Consultations Provide Peace of Mind

by Cary Graham | April 4th, 2016

At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we offer free consultations to every person who comes through our doors. That might seem like a simple or obvious gesture to some, but to accident victims seeking answers to questions that could potentially impact the rest of their lives, free initial access to an attorney can make all the difference. They’re injured, scared, and unsure of what to do next. Having an experienced attorney listen to their story and advise them on next steps provides much needed peace of mind.

So what does a free consultation consist of? First, we just listen. Even though we’ve helped thousands of injured people in Arkansas over the years, every case is different. Before we can help, we need to hear your story. Then and only then can we advise you as to what you should do. If we feel like our firm can help by representing you in an injury claim, we’ll say so. If we can’t help, we’ll gladly direct you to someone who can.

If you’ve been injured in a serious accident, give our Arkansas personal injury attorneys a call today for your free consultation. There’s no cost or obligation; there’s only help. Don’t wait to get answers. Call today.

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You Are More Than A Number

by Cary Graham | March 28th, 2016

35,000. That’s how many claims an insurance company can process in one day. That’s at least 35,000 people seeking help after an accident. It makes you wonder, where does your claim fall within that workday? Do they even know your name or are you just a number to them?

That’s where we come in.

After an accident, one thing you need more than anything is an advocate on your side. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we’ve been standing up for the injured people of Arkansas for decades. We know how to deal with the insurance company, and we’ll fight tooth and nail to get you fair compensation for your injuries. You’re more than a number. We’ll make sure the insurance company treats you that way.

If you’ve been injured, call our Arkansas car accident attorneys today for a free consultation. Don’t try to take on the insurance company alone. Put our experience to work for you.

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I was in a minor accident, will an attorney handle my case?

by Vincent France | March 23rd, 2016

 

Not all accidents cause totaled cars, serious injuries, or have life changing effects. There are small accidents that can still cause minor injuries, and sometimes these injuries still require medical treatment. In these cases, yes, an attorney at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton will handle your case.

Individuals often ask us how they will get money for pain and suffering in a small accident. It is important to remember that the amount of money you receive for the liability insurance company is often only one piece of the puzzle. We must explore every avenue to get your medical bills paid to maximize how much money you receive. We are very successful in obtaining excellent results even in small cases. If you were injured we want to help you regardless of the size of your case. Here at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton we recognize that every client is important, regardless of the size of your case.

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How do uninsured and underinsured motorist insurances help?

by Denise Hoggard | March 3rd, 2016

There are certain things that you can’t talk about in court.  We operate under a system of rules that are designed to give all parties a fair trial.  One of those rules is that we can’t talk about whether the person or company being sued has insurance to pay for any judgment.  Sometimes, a driver must sue his or her own insurance company to get paid under his or her policy.  In those cases, the jury gets to know about the existence of insurance, since that is what the case is about.  But when another driver hits you and causes you injuries, if your case goes to a jury, the jury won’t be told that there is insurance to cover whatever amount you may be given by them.  Sometimes juries are worried that if they pay you what you deserve, it might have to come out of the other driver’s pocket.   That is rarely the case.

Usually, very few cases go to trial when there is not an insurance policy available to pay for the damages.  Many cases go to trial because the parties don’t agree on how much should be paid to the injured person.  Even though juries are not told about insurance it is usually safe to assume there is insurance there to pay an award the jury thinks is just.

Arkansas requires that all drivers have a minimum of $25,000 in insurance in order to be driving.  But $25,000 may not cover of all the medical expenses, the time off work, any permanent injuries, or future medical expenses that are likely to be incurred because of the injuries.  Even when the limits are higher, it still may not be enough.  For instances, a driver hits you tomorrow and as a result, you lose your leg.  Policy limits of $100,000 would not be enough to take care of your medical bills, your loss of income or maybe even your livelihood, and certainly not the loss of your leg.  To be smart, check with your insurance agent about increasing your own limits and about getting additional coverage that would protect you if the person who hits you doesn’t have enough insurance to pay your damages (underinsured motorist “UIM”) or if the person who hits you violated the law by not having any insurance (uninsured motorist “UM”), or to cover your medical expenses that health insurance won’t (med pay).

If you don’t know whether you have UIM or UM, or additional coverage available for medical expenses, get with your agent.  In your hectic schedule, it is easy not spend much time reviewing policy coverages and just take your agent’s suggestions.  But premiums for higher coverage amounts are usually very reasonable and will leave you better protected against the perils that exist out there. It’s the smart move and worth your time.

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The Everyday Things Can Matter Most

by Cary Graham | February 22nd, 2016

At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we’ve helped hundreds of accident victims get the compensation they deserve. You might think that getting our clients substantial amounts of money is the most rewarding part of the job, but you’d be wrong. Yes, ensuring our clients are able to pay their medical bills or are compensated fairly for lost wages is vital to getting their lives back on track. However, it’s what that money enables our clients to do that really matters.

The impacts of a serious car accident are more than financial. A car accident robs you of the ability to do the simple, everyday things we all take for granted. Things as simple as putting on your shoes without someone’s help, walking to your car without piercing pain, running around the yard with your children. These things were taken from you the moment that other driver hit you. We’ve stood beside enough clients as they go through a lengthy recovery to see how the loss of these simple abilities can take its toll, which makes it even more rewarding when they start reclaiming them.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, call our Arkansas car accident attorneys today. We know what you’re going through, what you’ve lost, and what needs to be done in order to put the pieces back together.

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You Have Less Time Than You Think

by Cary Graham | February 15th, 2016

Statute of Limitations is a legal phrase that refers to a time limit for bringing a certain type of case before a court of law. In Arkansas, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is three years from the date of the event that caused the injuries, such as a car accident. If you’ve been injured, that might sound like you have all the time in the world to decide whether or not to call a lawyer, but you have less time than you think.

Waiting to call a lawyer is one of the worst things you can do after an accident, and here are 3 reasons why:

  • Evidence gets lost and witnesses forget. Let’s say you wait a year before calling a lawyer to represent you in your injury claim. Most, if not all, of the evidence from the accident scene will be gone. In addition, witnesses to the accident may not be able to remember important details that could help your case.
  • Medical bills and lost wages start building up. The longer you wait to call a lawyer, the more financial strain you’re putting on yourself and your family. A serious accident can lead to significant injuries that require continued medical treatment. Who’s going to pay those bills or compensate you for lost wages when you can’t work?
  • The insurance company has a head start. The insurance company will more than likely start building a case against you as soon as they hear of your accident. While you’re spending time thinking about calling a lawyer, the insurance company’s case against you is getting stronger and stronger. The only way to level the playing field is to call a lawyer as soon as possible.

You have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state of Arkansas, but that doesn’t mean you should wait that long to call a lawyer. If you’ve been injured, call our Arkansas car accident attorneys today for a free consultation. We’ll work to get you the maximum compensation in the shortest amount of time.

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Can I get a rental car after an accident?

by Matt Hutsell | February 12th, 2016

Getting a rental car after an accident can be a battle.  The rental vehicle provided should be comparable to the vehicle damaged in the accident. If you were driving a pickup truck, it is not reasonable for your replacement vehicle to be a subcompact. The simplest path is when the at-fault driver’s insurance company agrees to immediately accept liability for the traffic collision. In this case, the insurance carrier will pay until for your rental car until they pay you the fair market value of your totaled car or pay for the complete repairs of your car.

More problematic is when the at-fault insurance company makes no decision at all regarding who is at fault. This state of limbo puts the victim in a bind. Insurance companies usually make no decision when they are not able to reach their driver to obtain their version of the crash. In this case, Plan B is to find out if you have rental coverage through you own insurance company. If you do, they will pay for your rental car while your property damage issues get resolved. Your insurance company will, in turn, fight the at-fault driver’s insurance company to get compensated for the money they paid for your rental car once the issue of responsibility for the motor vehicle crash.  Having a lawyer is often helpful, because that lawyer can apply pressure to the insurance company to be reasonable and make a speedy decision.

If the insurance company is denying fault, then you are forced to use your own collision coverage to repair your property damage and provide you a rental car.  This will likely come with applying your deductible, but you have no other choice.  This situation reveals why it is very important to have your own coverages – you can’t trust the insurance companies to be looking out for you.  You may be able to later prove the insurance company wrong, or win in court, but that result may take a long time.  In a situation like this having a lawyer from Rainwater, Holt & Sexton may be beneficial to get the result you deserve.

In most jurisdictions, you can keep your rental car as long as you are waiting for a check (for reasons that don’t involve your delay) if your car is totaled or a reasonable period while repairs are being made.  Keep in mind that laws are different in each state and different insurance companies have different laws and policies. Call Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, one of our attorneys can help you navigate the whole process and make sure the insurance company is doing everything it can for you.

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