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If you purchased uninsured motorist coverage with your auto policy, then you can use that to seek compensation for your damages. Uninsured and underinsured coverage are optional in Arkansas, but your agent must have offered it to you. With an uninsured claim, your own insurer becomes your adversary and your car accident lawyer still has to prove that the uninsured driver negligently caused the accident and that you suffered injuries and other damages.
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You pay nothing out-of-pocket. Personal injury cases are taken by lawyers on a contingency basis, or a percentage of the gross settlement or award that is spelled out in our written contingency agreement with you. If we recover nothing, then you pay nothing. In complex injury cases, attorneys will usually ask for a higher percentage because the case will require much more expense, resources, work and skills. Also, in some cases the percentage is determined by statute or state law.
It depends on the degree of liability of the other party, your own conduct, how serious your injuries are, how they affect your life, your ability to work and earn an income, the reasonableness of your medical care and costs, and if your injury will be permanent, among many other factors that are considered in evaluating a claim. Of course, what insurance is available is also a consideration. No two cases are exactly alike, and no attorney can or should guarantee that you will receive a certain amount.
You are entitled to economic or special damages that include your medical expenses, property damage, and income loss. You can also collect general or non-economic damages for your pain and suffering against the responsible party, and for how your injuries have diminished your enjoyment of life. Emotional distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, embarrassment over scarring or disfigurement, insomnia, development of an addiction to pain medication, and other trauma are also part of your damages. If the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious, malicious, or grossly negligent, you could be awarded punitive damages as well.
Few injury claims are clear-cut as to who is at fault, and there may be other parties who were responsible. But even if another party admits liability, you can harm your case by talking to adjusters and investigators and unknowingly making comments that could place some fault on yourself or that minimizes your injuries. There are also issues about the extent or seriousness of your injuries and proof of your damages that insurance companies will question and challenge. There are many factors that insurance companies consider when handling and evaluating claims. Your Green & Gillispie injury lawyer is trained and experienced in these issues and in how to deal with and negotiate with insurance companies.
Talk to a personal injury lawyer who will review the facts of your case and the applicable laws. Usually, if someone or a company acted carelessly or even intentionally in causing your injuries, you can bring a claim against that person or business personally or depending on the nature of the accident, against that party’s auto policy, homeowner’s policy, commercial liability insurance, or the person’s employer if they were on the job at the time. There may be other insurance policies that apply as well.
Yes, and we can help you do that.
Most persons who commit sexual abuse against minors are males and are coaches, educators, medical providers, therapists, nursing home staff, boy scout leaders, babysitters, foster parents, and religious figures. They are usually figures of authority or power. An offender could also be a neighbor, sibling, another student, stepparent, stepbrother or stepsister, or other family member, uncle or cousin.
If your loved one is a victim, we would begin with an investigation of the person, institution or organization that is responsible. In some cases, the state may have already begun criminal proceedings against the offender or is investigating the organization that employed the defendant. In a civil claim, a law firm can notify the responsible organization of the claim and file it in court so that subpoenas can be issued for documents and depositions taken of certain persons who were aware of the abuse or who should have been, and of other persons who were abused. We will also have to obtain various documents and records from you to support your case. Your claim may involve several causes of action such as assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligence in hiring or retention of the offender. For many victims, the court process is part of the healing process.
If the perpetrator was a neighbor, family friend, or babysitter, there may be compensation from the offender’s personal assets and occasionally from a homeowner’s policy that covers intentional acts. If the person was a sports coach, a doctor at a university, a staff person from a daycare center or nursing home, a foster parent, or a priest or pastor, compensation can be sought from the perpetrator’s employer or from the religious institution. If it took place in a foster home, then the county may be held accountable. In many cases, the employer, organization or institution that employed the offender was aware of the abuse but engaged in covering it up, failed to report it, destroyed or concealed evidence, denied it took place, or simply transferred the offender to another location.
Damages are usually for emotional or psychological distress. In some cases, punitive damages can be awarded against an organization that knew of the abuse but did nothing to stop it. Compensation can help victims pay for counseling and therapy in order to put their lives back together. In some claims against institutions or organizations such as schools and universities, daycare centers, the boy scouts, or religious institutions, the compensation can be considerable depending on how long the abuse lasted, the number of other victims, the failure of an organization to report the abuse, the extent and severity of your emotional harm, and available funds. Many victims suffer from fractured family and social relationships, drug and alcohol addiction, an inability to hold a job, and homelessness. Some commit sexual abuse against others or engage in other criminal activity as a result of having been abused themselves as children.
No, there is no requirement that the offender be first criminally prosecuted but a conviction or even an investigation of the alleged abuse can help your civil case. The burden of proof in a civil claim is that of preponderance of the evidence or that it is more likely than not that the defendant committed the act. In a criminal prosecution, the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt which requires more substantial evidence that the defendant committed the offense against you. If the defendant is convicted, it usually makes the civil case more amenable to settlement.
There are numerous symptoms that should alert you to possible sexual abuse:
In many cases, the child is reluctant, too fearful, or incapable of expressing the abuse. The child should be referred for medical care and professional counseling and the suspected abuse reported and investigated.
Evidence can be difficult to find in a sexual abuse case unless the victim has physical signs such as vaginal or anal bleeding, bruises on intimate body parts, unexplained injuries by the victim’s caretakers, or there are witnesses to the abuse. If the abuse occurred years ago, an attorney would usually have to find other victims of the same perpetrator with similar stories of abuse. If others had reported the abusive conduct by a sports coach, teacher, doctor, boy scout leader, or clergyman, for example, an attorney could subpoena records from the organization, institution, and police departments to find out if reports of abuse had previously been made or the organization held internal discussions that did not result in any prosecution, discipline or preventive measures. In many cases, we have found that these organizations covered up the accusations, retained the offender in a position of authority, or relocated the person where he continued to abuse others. Psychological records can also reveal common symptoms and memories of past abuse.
Arkansas law is complex when it comes to suing a perpetrator for childhood sexual abuse and/or the institution or organization that enabled the offender. Generally, you have 3-years from the time you turn age 18 to bring a claim. However, there are exceptions. For instance, the statute of limitations is tolled or paused when the perpetrator or the organization that enabled the perpetrator fraudulently concealed facts and information that would have alerted you to your cause of action. Additionally, you are allowed an extension of 3-years for delayed discovery of the abuse or delayed discovery of the effects of the abuse. Oftentimes this is used in cases where a victim repressed traumatic childhood memories. Discovering the effects of the abuse often means discovering the relationship between the abusive act or acts and your injuries. Many victims do not discover this relationship or even realize that they were sexually abused as children until decades after the abuse occurred and only after undergoing psychological counseling or therapy.
Sexual abuse is a term generally used to define sexual contact towards minors or unwanted sexual contact towards adults by a criminal perpetrator, who, most of the time, will be male. Very commonly, a sexual predator is provided access to his victims through an organization with which the predator is involved, such as a church, a school, or groups like the Boy Scouts. Sadly, these organizations often are aware or should be aware of the danger posed by the perpetrator but fail to take steps to prevent him from committing sexual abuse, which makes these organizations also liable. A sexual predator might be a school teacher or educator, a coach, a volunteer mentor, a clergy member, a Boy Scout leader, a foster parent, a medical provider, a therapist, a youth home worker, a pastor, a caretaker, an older peer, or any other person in a position of power or authority who uses their authority and position to commit sexual abuse. Sexual abuse typically involves direct physical contact such as fondling, molestation, kissing, oral sex, and anal or vaginal penetration. It might involve filming or photographing a child engaged in a sexual act; abusing a patient under the guise of medical treatment or therapy; using religious status or standing as a pretext to abuse; using promises, flattery or attention, drugs or alcohol, or otherwise threatening or coercing a child or an adult to engage in a sexual act.
In Arkansas, you generally have 3-years from the date of injury or when you discovered or should have discovered your injury. Persons under 18 when injured generally have 3-years after they turn 18 to file a claim. In some complex cases, you may not realize what caused your injuries until years later but may still bring a claim under some circumstances. Keep in mind that some causes of action, such as intentional torts like assault and battery, only provide a 1-year statute of limitations.
Yes, you are entitled to be compensated based on the degree to which your injury was aggravated by the accident. If it was aggravated by a substantial degree that necessitated surgery, for example, your claim could be significant, though your settlement or award might still be dependent on other factors.
You cannot sue your employer in Arkansas, but you could bring a personal injury claim against an outside contractor or other third–party. If you were driving a company car and another driver caused your accident, you can sue that party. If you were injured by a defective machine or piece of equipment, or by being exposed to toxins at your workplace, you could bring a product liability action against the designer, manufacturer or marketer of the product. Workers’ compensation, though, may have a lien or claim against whatever proceeds you collect in a third-party claim.
You can still collect compensation so long as your own degree of fault is less than 50%. If you are equally or 50% at fault for an accident, you cannot collect anything. Your damages are also reduced by your percentage of fault, so if you have $100,000 in damages but were 40% at fault, you would collect $60,000.