Rainwater, Holt & Sexton | Injury Law Blog

Do you know what the most dangerous driving maneuver is?

by Mike Rainwater | March 9th, 2017

Driving a vehicle is an everyday activity for most people. While it can feel like we’re on autopilot when getting behind the wheel, we’re actually making decisions and adjustments every second to keep ourselves, our passengers and other vehicles safe. Even for the most experienced driver, there’s one maneuver that is the most dangerous: left hand turns.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that close to half of the 5.8 million car crashes in the U.S. are intersection-related and the majority of those are the result of making a left turn. In addition, a study by New York City transportation planners found that left turns were three times as likely to cause a deadly crash involving a pedestrian.

Why are left-hand turns dangerous?

Left-hand turns are dangerous because of the many factors a driver must take into account before making the turn. The driver is assessing many variables, and the slightest distraction or miscalculation can be deadly. Left-hand turns are made dangerous because:

  • The vehicle making the turn is crossing the opposite lane and disrupting the flow of traffic
  • The driver is watching for pedestrians and bicyclists in the crosswalk
  • The driver is gauging the speed and distance of oncoming cars

In addition to your own driving, a left-hand turn requires that you be vigilant of the movement of oncoming vehicles and pedestrians.

How to Make Left-Hand Turns Safer

Staying safe in an intersection during a left-turn requires paying close attention to the conditions around you. Stay alert, pay attention to distracted pedestrians and don’t turn until you’ve noted oncoming vehicle’s speed and actions and have gauged a safe intersection for you to make your turn.

If you live in Northwest Arkansas and have questions or concerns about a car accident you have experienced, contact a Fayetteville car accident lawyer at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton for a free consultation.

Monthly Charity Winner – Orphan Door

by Richard Atkinson | March 9th, 2017

Orphan Door DonationThe February vending machine charity donation goes to a group working to help improve the life of orphans in Guatemala through a Conway fundraiser. The fundraiser is a fairy tale princess tea for kids and families that benefits The Orphan Door and the Eagle’s Nest International children’s home in Guatemala. Adoptions from other countries are not allowed in Guatemala, so many orphans will never be adopted, which leads to a financial burden on those trying to care for the children. We are glad this money will go to such a great group working with orphans in a country closed to adoption.

Our monthly charity giving is one of our favorite things to do. Each month employees nominate and vote on a charity in the community they would like to help. Throughout the month employees “donate” by buying snacks and drinks that the firm subsidizes. All the proceeds from the snacks are then matched by the firm. We are honored to have such great employees that not only pick out wonderful organizations, but also help by donating all month long.

RHS Supports the ALS Walk

by Richard Atkinson | March 8th, 2017

ALS Walk Check

As part of our continuing commitment to honor the legacy of our late partner, Stephen Holt, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton is excited to give $5,000 to the ALS Walk. The walk is the biggest fundraising event of the year for ALS Association of Arkansas.

Stephen passed away on January 28, 2014 after being diagnosed with ALS the previous summer.  We saw firsthand the toll that ALS can take on someone’s body and Stephen fought hard to stop its progress. Ultimately there is no cure for ALS.  That is where great organizations like ALS Arkansas step in and provide care for patients and families that so desperately need it.  We quickly realized ALS Arkansas and Rainwater, Holt & Sexton will be forever linked.  It is an honor to continue Stephen’s legacy through supporting an organization that was with him every step of the way.

Each year a large team from RHS participates in the ALS Walk. It serves as a great opportunity to educate everyone about the disease and about the life the Stephen lived. We look forward to another great time at this year’s ALS Walk.

This year’s ALS Walk is on Saturday, April 8 with check in beginning at 9:30 and the walk starting at 10:30. If you would like to be involved or donate you can do so on the ALS Arkansas website.

How to Safely Drive in the Rain

by Mike Rainwater | March 7th, 2017

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are more than 950,000 car crashes every year due to wet pavement. In fact, the likelihood of an accident in the rain is greater than that of a crash in snow, sleet or ice. The National Highway Traffic Administration found that 46 percent of weather-related crashes are due to rainfall, while only 17 percent are due to snow or sleet. Reduce your chances of a rain-related accident by keeping these tips in mind.

Stay Alert

Stay alert and focused to what’s going on around you – it’s not just your vehicle you need to worry about. Adjust your thinking when conditions become less than ideal.

 Turn on headlights

It’s the law in all states to have your headlights on when visibility is low, and in many states, including Arkansas, headlights are required when windshield wipers are turned on.

 Slow Down

Tires lose traction when driving too fast because of the precipitation. Tires are meant to grip the road, and you lose about one-third of your traction in the rain. Because of this, the recommendation is to reduce your speed by one third when it’s wet and rainy.

 Beware of hydroplaning

This happens when your tires lose contact with the pavement because they’re riding on top of a layer of water. When you hydroplane, gently take your foot off the gas to transfer weight to the front tires and regain contact. Do not turn the wheel – continue to look and steer where you want to go.

 Don’t use cruise control

Don’t rely on technology during the rain. Wet weather can affect the systems’ sensors, and you’re safer using your own reactions to speed changes.

 Make sure your car is rain-ready

Tire tread is very important – tires with 2/32 of an inch of a tread are unsafe. Check your tire pressure, windshield wipers, headlights, taillights and brake lights, too.

If you’ve been involved in a weather-related car accident in Arkansas and want to discuss your situation with an experienced Little Rock truck accident lawyer, contact Rainwater, Holt & Sexton for a free consultation.

Workplace Accident? You Have a Right to Seek Damages

by Mike Rainwater | March 6th, 2017

On-the-job accidents are some of the most emotionally charged types of cases we handle. Why? Because you know the opposing party. After all, your employer and the employer’s insurance company is responsible for your workplace injuries. It’s their obligation to take care of you and your family after a workplace accident results in injuries. When they fail to do so, it is necessary to hold them accountable, even if it is emotionally difficult for you.

That’s where we come in. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton understand that bringing a claim against your employer can be difficult, but we also know that not doing so can put your family at serious financial risk. If you can’t work, you won’t get paid. It’s that simple. It’s completely within your rights as a worker to seek compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained. You will not get rich from workers compensation benefits. You will be doing all you can do to provide for your family until you can get back on your feet again. That’s the right thing to do.

Workers compensation is not a perfect system, but it what the law provides and requires in the event of a workplace injury. Workers compensation is a system developed to help workers, but it also helps employers. It helps workers by providing a system for paying injured workers without regard to fault.  On the other hand, it helps employers by limiting claims against employers and co-workers to a workers compensation claim.  An employee cannot sue his or her employer for negligently causing the employee’s on-the-job injury.  The employee can still sue a third party (someone other than the employer or a co-worker) for negligence that caused an on-the-job injury. Filing a workers compensation claim for an on-the-job injury is what the law requires, all the law permits, and the right thing to do for you, your family, and … your employer. 

If you’ve been injured on the job, call our experienced Arkansas workers’ compensation attorneys for a free consultation. We can help you through the process. We’ll review your case at no cost or obligation. We will work to get your family the compensation you’ll need to fully recover. You don’t want to go through this alone, and you don’t have to. Contact us today.

Are Texting While Driving Laws Working in Arkansas?

by Mike Rainwater | March 3rd, 2017

Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been leading the effort to stop texting and cell phone use while driving. According to statistics from distraction.gov, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in distracted driving crashes in 2014. Text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, making it the most alarming and dangerous form of distracted driving.

Since many texting-while-driving laws are relatively new, there is limited evidence to show if the laws are working, but one study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health examined the effects of texting bans in 48 states from 2000-2010.

The study found that states with primary enforcement laws, like Arkansas, which means law enforcement can pull a vehicle over for the suspicion that they are texting while driving, saw a 3 percent reduction in traffic fatalities.

In states with texting bans that affected young people only, there was an 11 percent reduction in deaths for that age group.

Arkansas Distracted Driving Laws

Distracted driving laws vary from state-to-state. In Arkansas, the following laws apply:

  • Handheld ban for drivers age 18-20 years old (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice (under 18) drivers (Secondary law)
  • Ban on texting for drivers of all ages (Primary law)

A primary law is one in which state troopers can pull over a driver if they see that they are distracted. A secondary law is one in which the driver must be stopped for a primary offense like speeding and not just using a cell phone.

If you live in Arkansas and have been injured in a distracted-driver accident, contact a Little Rock car accident lawyer for a free consultation.

5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident

by Mike Rainwater | February 28th, 2017

Car accidents are the most common type of personal injury, with the U.S. Census Bureau reporting about 10 million car accidents every year. It’s important to know what to do should you find yourself in the unfortunate-but-common situation of a car collision. Follow these five steps:

 1. Pull over and call 911

Pull to the side of the road and out of traffic, if there’s room, and put on your hazards. Even if there’s not real damage, it’s a good idea to call 911 – and especially is someone has been injured.

2. Exchange car insurance information

Approach the other driver and exchange your car insurance information. The insurance companies – yours and the other driver’s – will contact each other to determine who pays for the damages.

3. Take photos and gather witnesses

Take photos of the scene and damage, and get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. Your insurance company and the police may choose to contact witnesses.

4. Get a police report

If a police officer doesn’t examine the scene and file an official report, the case will turn into your word against the other driver’s. In some states, you can file a police report up to 72 hours later, but naturally the details won’t be as accurate as an on-scene review.

5. Contact a car accident attorney

If you’re concerned that you will not be rewarded proper damages for your injuries, property damage, emotional distress and lost wages, discuss the accident with a car accident attorney. In Northwest Arkansas, the car accident attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton offer free consultations.

Spirit of Arkansas Winner – Women and Children First

by Richard Atkinson | February 22nd, 2017

Women and Children First has been working hard over the last 40 years to help women and children escape domestic violence in Central Arkansas. They work to empower the women and children to live independently and free from domestic violence. They are able to do this through sheltering them during crisis, and helping them through with legal advocacy, social advocacy, support services, education, and community outreach. In 2016 alone Women and Children First assisted 1,030 people with legal and support issues, housed 61 people, and helped 330 children caught up in abusive situations. The work that Women and Children First does in the community for victims of domestic violence is why Rainwater, Holt & Sexton is excited to present them this month’s Spirit of Arkansas Award.

Rainwater, Holt & Sexton is partnered with KATV Channel 7 to present the “Spirit of Arkansas Award.” The award is given to local charities doing exceptional work in the community. To be considered for the Spirit of Arkansas Award, a charity can apply here.

Fatigued Truck Drivers: A Recipe for Disaster

by Mike Rainwater | February 22nd, 2017

Plenty of folks in Arkansas drive big trucks, or are related to someone who does. And, at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton we value Arkansas truck drivers and the contributions they make to our communities. What we don’t appreciate are large trucking companies that put undue pressure on their drivers or push them to the point where they have to drive fatigued. Tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. and carry with it enough force to crush a car in less than a second. Put that kind of weight together with a pressured or fatigued driver, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Truck accident victims in Arkansas shouldn’t have to pay for the trucking company’s negligence. The Arkansas truck accident attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton work to hold these companies accountable for the harm they cause. For the victims, that means going after compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Financial compensation won’t erase the accident from happening, but it can help you move on without a financial burden.

If you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident, call us today for a free consultation. We’ll review your case at no cost or obligation, and do our best to get you the compensation you and your family deserve. We’re ready to help. Contact us today.

WHAT IS AN IMPAIRMENT RATING?

by Laura Beth York | February 20th, 2017

In Arkansas Workers’ Compensation cases, when an injured party gets released by their doctor at maximum medical improvement (i.e. as good as you are going to get), often times the doctor will assign an impairment rating. An impairment rating is a measure of the level of impairment, so the worker, employer, and insurance company can all understand the severity of the injury. In Arkansas doctors must use a book entitled The AMA Guide to Permanent Edition, 4th Edition, to calculate that rating. This book covers every body part that could be injured, including the skin, the spine, the upper extremities, the lower extremities, etc. When the doctor assigns the rating, that rating is valued at a dollar figure. There are mathematical formulas to calculate how much your impairment rating is worth.

Once an impairment rating is assigned, it is important to seek help from an attorney, who can properly calculate the rating and make sure that all the benefits have been paid. Additionally, depending upon the type of injury that was sustained, it may qualify an injured worker for additional benefits. A Rainwater, Holt & Sexton attorney can help to ensure that an injured worker receives all the money and medical benefits that the law allows.

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