November 25th, 2015
Closed head injury (internal brain injury without any visible injury to the head) followed by post-concussion syndrome is the most common serious neurological disorder in the United States today.
The Important Vantage of the Personal Injury Lawyer: Without timely recognition, brain injury victims may never receive proper treatment/rehabilitation for the physical, cognitive and psycho-social impairment which follows a brain injury. A personal injury claim that is quickly settled may overlook brain injury and related damages. The personal injury lawyer is, more often than not, the first/only professional to be in a position to view all facts and symptoms circumspectly. The personal injury lawyer should, therefore, educate himself or herself in the complicated and sophisticated area of head trauma and disorders associated with brain injury.
The Silent Epidemic: Victims of head injury can suffer brain damage without having sustained skull fractures, coma, or loss of consciousness. Many head-injury victims are treated only at the emergency room, a time before the victim manifests obvious signs of post-concussive syndrome. There are usually no medical pictures of the brain injury. Victims generally have trouble remembering the accident, and may be unaware of the effects of the brain injury. Disturbing short-term and potentially long-term problems caused by closed head injuries are often not recognized by the medical care providers, since they are treating the obvious physical injuries caused by the trauma. Subtle symptoms later voiced by a victim may be dismissed as a degree of hypochondria.
These are reasons why TBI is call the “the silent epidemic.”
Post-Concussion Syndrome: Persons suffering so-called “mild” brain injuries can enjoy complete recovery from the physical symptoms associated with their injury, but still suffer serious cognitive and psycho-social consequences. Post-concussion syndrome usually follows mild to moderate head injury and usually involves some of the following symptoms: headaches; lack of coordination; muscle spasticity; paralysis; dizziness; tinnitus; seizures; speech, hearing, vision, tactile and olfactory dysfunction; memory deficits; concentration problems; slowed thinking and problems with perception, sequencing, judgment and communication, including impaired reading and writing skills; emotional and behavioral dysfunction; fatigue; loss of empathy; depression; anxiety; sexual dysfunction; lack of motivation and emotional volatility, including excessive laughing or a general difficulty in relating to others. Common complaints include problems with organizing thoughts, keeping track of things, selecting the right word in speaking, functioning in a job as well as before, difficulties in getting along with family and friends, learning and retaining new information, and difficulty in finding the way from place to place. Other symptoms include double vision, hypersensitivity to light and sound, confusion and fear in crowded places, and an overall feeling of confusion and agitation.
The Important Role of Informants: Informants are lay witnesses who know the victim and are in a position to complete the personal injury lawyer’s “Summary of Symptoms”
Brain Injury Fact Sheet, which is a “before and after” snapshot of the victim as a person. This information provides the personal injury lawyer information needed to begin the process of determining if the client received a brain injury and has continuing cognitive damage. It also provides the factual basis for beginning the process of obtaining treatment/rehabilitation for the post-concussion disorders. The personal injury lawyer must be prepared to quickly help his or her client obtain the needed testing, treatment, and rehabilitation. Brain rehabilitation treatment is available but only during a short window of time. The process of helping brain injury victims takes time, money, and know-how. Brain injury claims are very difficult, but rewarding when needed help is provided.
November 23rd, 2015
The Thanksgiving holiday is a time when an estimated 46.9 million motorists are expected to be traveling. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when many drivers forget to heed even the simplest of safety precautions, such as wearing a seat belt.
The Little Rock auto accident attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton explain estimates how around 13 percent of drivers and passengers fail to buckle up. These individuals also account for a little less than half of all traffic fatalities.
Experts say that as many as 164 lives could be saved by seat belts this Thanksgiving, which is why law enforcement agencies across the state of Arkansas will be participating in the “Click It or Ticket” campaign over the next several days.
The Arkansas Highway Safety Office says the initiative began November 19 and will continue until the day before Thanksgiving. During that time, law enforcement officials will be focusing their efforts on educating drivers about the importance of buckling up.
Those who are caught without their seat belt on could face stiff penalties as well. An infraction of the law could cost you $25 in fines and the expenses related to court costs.
If you plan to travel in the days surrounding Thanksgiving, the Arkansas personal injury lawyers at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton would encourage you to buckle up each time you get in a car, truck, or SUV. Doing so could not only save you time and money, but it could save your life as well.
November 11th, 2015
No. Most of the time, a personal injury claim is resolved without ever having to go to trial. However, if the insurance company denies your claim, or refuses to offer you a fair settlement, you may have to file suit and go to court.
A Rainwater, Holt & Sexton personal injury attorney is able to file a personal injury lawsuit and see you through the discovery stage of your case all the way to trial. Likewise, a personal injury attorney is able to help you present your claim to the insurance company, before filing suit, in a manner that will maximize your recovery. The more familiar your attorney is with your case from the start, the better they can help prepare your case for a personal injury lawsuit if that becomes necessary. Even if you have to file a lawsuit because your claim has been denied or because you are not offered a fair settlement, most cases still settle after filing suit, without ever having to go to court.
When choosing a personal injury attorney, consider their trial experience. You want to be prepared if your case goes to trial and know you are in good hands. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton we have the experience, and are ready to be your lawyer.
November 2nd, 2015
Poorly maintained roadways and inclement weather can both play a role in causing a car accident. Our Little Rock auto accident attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton know firsthand that when the two risk factors combine, the results can be devastating. These results have been most evident across Arkansas during the past several days.
Faded striping and a lack of reflectors are problems that plague many highways and roads in Arkansas. When heavy fog rolls in or rain falls, the lack of roadway maintenance can make it difficult for drivers to see the lanes of the road.
It’s an issue that crews with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department are working to resolve. Unfortunately, Danny Straessle, a spokesman for the department, tells Arkansas Matters that it could be some time before many roadways are repaired.
This leaves many residents wondering what they should do to stay safe on the road. Experts suggest drivers slow down when weather and visibility are poor. Motorists are also being encouraged to report any roads or highways that are in need of repair.
Even when precautions are taken, it’s important to keep in mind that not all accidents can be prevented, and how you handle the aftermath of the crash can be crucial to your recovery. Speaking with an attorney after a crash can help answer any questions you may have about your legal rights and can also provide insight into situations like taking on the insurance company. Learn more about how an attorney can help you by visiting our website.
October 29th, 2015
You may have heard the term “statute of limitations” regarding lawsuits, but not been sure what it meant. Almost all lawsuits have a procedural rule known as the statute of limitations that applies. This rule prevents a lawsuit from being filed after a certain period of time has passed. If that time period has passed, then you may be barred from having that claim heard by a court of law.
Each state has their own statutes of limitations for different types of cases. It’s important to know the statute of limitations for your potential case, because if you try to file outside of the time limit set by your state’s statute of limitations, your case is likely to be thrown out as time-barred.
In Arkansas, the statute of limitations that applies to personal injury cases is found in Ark. Code Ann. Secs. 16-56-101, et. seq. and gives a time of 3 years. For example, if you were in a car accident in Little Rock on September 2, 2015, you would have three years from the date of that car accident to file a lawsuit (until September 2, 2018). There are limited exceptions to this rule, of which an attorney could advise you. It is important to understand that your case does not need to be tried by a court or heard by a jury in that time period. The statute of limitations requires only that you file a lawsuit within the set period of time. However, it’s a good idea to get the claims process started as soon as possible after the accident.
When you have been injured, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton can help you with any questions you may have. It is always encouraged to seek help sooner rather than later.
October 26th, 2015
Our state reports a disturbingly high number of drunk driving crashes on our roads. In 2013, almost a quarter of all fatal accidents involved a driver who was under the influence of alcohol.
The Arkansas car accident lawyers at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton explain that the number of repeat drunk driving offenders is also an issue. Last year, in Pulaski County alone, district courts handled 75 cases involving individuals arrested on Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges for the second and third time.
These numbers are why Pulaski County District Judge, Wayne Gruber, is creating a DWI court. Reports from Arkansas Online explain that programs like this one are known to reduce DWI offenses and prevent offenders from getting behind the wheel while under the influence again—one court is reporting only a “handful” of it’s 70 participants were convicted of another DWI offense.
Those who participate in the program will have their case and personal history considered by the courts before sentencing. Punishments can include rehabilitation, drug and alcohol testing, and counseling.
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we believe preventing drunk driving should be a top priority in our communities. We also recognize that not all accidents can be prevented, especially if the crash is another driver’s fault. That’s why our legal staff encourages all motorists to be aware of the steps to follow after an auto accident.
October 23rd, 2015
Each railroad company has a duty to provide an adequate sight-triangle at all of its railroad crossings. An inadequate sight triangle at a railroad grade crossing renders the crossing defective, unreasonably dangerous, and deadly … and subjects the railroad company to liability for injury or death caused by a train/vehicle collision.
What is the Sight-Triangle? The sight-triangle is the triangle formed by the distance along the roadway from the roadway vehicle to the crossing, the distance along the tracks from the train to the crossing, and the distance along a sight-line from the roadway vehicle to the train.
The Size of the Sight-Triangle Depends on the Normal Speeds: The track speed limit and the roadway speed limit are both important variables in determining if the sight-triangle was adequate for the crossing, because the size of the required sight-triangle will depend upon the normal speed of the approaching train and the normal speed of the approaching roadway vehicle, since a greater stopping distance is required for greater speed.
Obstruction of Sight-Line is a Breach of Railroad Duty: Either a temporary (e.g., vegetation) or a permanent (e.g., pond levee) obstruction along the sight-line from the location of the approaching train to the location of the approaching highway vehicle can limit the field of view and cause a collision which is the fault of the railroad and a breach of the railroad company’s duty to highway motorists.
The Vehicle Driver Cannot Perceive the Danger by Roadway: Without an adequate sight-triangle, the driver of a roadway vehicle approaching a railroad grade crossing is not able to see a train far enough along the tracks to have time to react to its presence and stop the highway vehicle before entering the crossing.
The Railroad Company Knows the Danger: Track speed and roadway speed determine the size of the needed sight-triangle. Since the railroad company knows the track speed, the normal highway vehicle speed, and the geometry of its crossing, the railroad company can calculate the sight-triangle needed for any particular crossing. The railroad company is, therefore, responsible for providing an adequate sight-triangle and for keeping that designed sight-triangle unobstructed, so that approaching motorists can safely cross the track while driving on the highway.
Help prevent an innocent person from being killed at a railroad grade crossing. Report any obstructions of the designed sight-triangle and demand the railroad company to immediately cure any known sight-triangle violation.
October 19th, 2015
The Arkansas car accident lawyers at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton explain that, each year, a large number of Arkansas car accidents are the result of faulty roadway engineering. That’s why one particular stretch of interstate in Arkansas will soon be realigned.
The Washington Times reports that the intersection of I-65 and Arkansas Highway 35 turns at a roughly 70-degree angle, limiting motorists’ sightlines and putting vehicles at an increased risk of collisions. Data indicates there were three fatal or serious accidents at the intersection between 2008-2012. There have been at least five such accidents at the crossing since 2012.
The Arkansas Highway Commission is looking to correct the problem with the road though, by implementing a $750,000 improvement project. Construction crews will skew the road to a 90-degree angle, increasing sightlines and effectively reducing accidents. Research at intersections where similar improvements have been made in the past has shown a significant decrease in accidents.
The legal staff at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton applaud the efforts being made to improve roadway safety at this particular intersection, but we also recognize upgrades to our roads may not prevent all accidents. That’s why it’s important to always be aware of the steps to take after an accident.
October 16th, 2015
Drowsy drivers are as dangerous as drunk drivers, when sleep deprivation causes impairment equal to drugs or alcohol. Two Australian studies demonstrate that being awake for 18 hours produces impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% and 0.10% after 24 hours. A BAC of 0.08% is considered legally drunk.
DWF Compared to DWI: Australian researcher Dr. Ann Williamson of the University of New South Wales found that being awake 17-19 hours roughly equates to a BAC of 0.05%. Australian researcher Dr. Drew Dawson conducted a study and found that a person who had been sleep deprived for 22 hours had a level of impairment comparable to a person who has a BAC of 0.08% and a person who had been sleep deprived for 24 hours was comparable to a person with a BAC of 0.10%. Source: www.cicadian.com/expert.
Maggie’s Law: Research demonstrating the comparability of fatigue impairment and alcohol impairment is the basis of new laws such as Maggie’s Law in New Jersey, N.J.S.2C:11-5, whereby drivers involved in fatal accidents after being awake for 24 hours or more are subject to the same punishment as legally drunk drivers. www.sleepfoundation.org/activities/daaamain.cfm.
The Incidence of DWF: The National Sleep Foundation estimates that about one-half of America’s adult drivers – 51 percent or approximately 100 million people – are on the roads feeling sleepy while they are driving. Nearly two in 10 drivers – 17 percent or approximately 14 million people – say they have actually fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. www.sleepfoundation.org/activities/daaamain.cfm. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that 100,000 police-reported vehicle crashes per year are the direct result of driver fatigue. These crashes result in 1,550 fatalities, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary damages. Source: www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/drowsy_driving1/.
October 7th, 2015
Football…it’s fall, we are all watching. On Sunday afternoon all over the country people tune into NFL games. The games are memorable, but are the commercials?
For many, one recent commercial was memorable and you might have noticed it. The ad was somber, but powerful. Earlier this summer AT&T announced the “It Can Wait” campaign to highlight the dangers of distracted driving. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton we see firsthand the dangers of distracted driving and they can be disastrous.
Take a few minutes and watch the video. If you haven’t already stopped using your phone while driving, please do…for all of us. Remember, no post or text is worth a life.