It happens suddenly, without warning. You’re in a traffic crash and you’re seriously injured. How can you prove that the other driver was negligent and that you’re entitled to compensation? You’ll need a copy of the police report and the help of a Little Rock personal injury attorney.

If you’re injured in a traffic collision on an Arkansas street or highway, acquiring the compensation you need will primarily depend on determining which driver was at-fault for the accident. That may be more difficult than you think.

Multiple parties apart from the other driver may be legally liable for your injuries: the driver’s employer or parents if they own the vehicle; a vehicle or vehicle parts manufacturer; or even a local or state government if a poorly-maintained road was the reason that the accident happened.

You may even be partially responsible for your own injuries. You, the other driver, and the witnesses may provide substantially different accounts of how the accident happened.

How is Fault for a Traffic Accident Determined?

These complications after a traffic accident can make it difficult to establish fault with certainty, and if you’re not advised and represented by the right Arkansas personal injury lawyer, you could be wrongly deemed liable for an accident that you did not cause.

To make certain that fault is assigned to the right party, you should take photos of the accident scene, the damage to the vehicles, and your own visible injuries. If there are eyewitnesses, ask for their names and a way that your attorney can contact them.

Photos and witness statements, especially from people that don’t know you and have no bias, may constitute powerful and persuasive evidence in some personal injury cases. But in most of these cases, the single most important piece of evidence is the written police accident report.

What Are Your Priorities After a Traffic Accident?

Your top priorities at an accident scene are seeking medical attention and calling the police. This will ensure that you get a police report detailing the accident. Ask the responding police officer (or officers) how and when you can obtain a printout of the written accident report.

When the police arrive at the scene, heed their instructions. You need to let the officers do their job without getting in the way or making superfluous comments. Anyone who interferes with officers at an accident scene could be arrested and charged with obstructing an investigation.

After any traffic accident in Arkansas, drivers are required to exchange their personal contact and auto insurance details. If the other motorist is unconscious, intoxicated, incapacitated, or hostile, the officers may be able to help you obtain the contact and insurance details you need.

If You Do Not Call the Police

What can happen if the police are not called to a crash scene? Let’s say you’re involved in an accident, but no one seems to be injured, and the damage to the vehicles is minor. You exchange insurance details with the other driver, and there is no obvious reason to involve the police.

But the next morning, your back hurts, you’re in agonizing pain, and you realize that you were seriously injured in the accident – but there’s no police report. Will you still be able to file a personal injury claim and seek compensation for medical expenses and lost wages?

Yes, you may still file an injury claim, but without the written police accident report, substantial work will be needed to prove your claim, and any compensation you receive will likely be reduced or delayed – if you’re able to receive anything at all.

What Makes Police Accident Reports Important?

Why is the written police report so vital to a personal injury case arising from a traffic collision? A written accident report is often central to an injury case because it’s a professional, objective, third-party explanation of the accident written almost immediately after the accident happened.

Police accident reports include all of the details about an accident: the time and date of the crash, the makes and models of the vehicles, the weather, visibility, road conditions, the names of witnesses, and other important information.

Insurance companies and courts trust accident reports written by police officers because these officers are trained – and are usually experienced – in the investigation of traffic accidents.

How Can a Police Accident Report Help You?

A written police accident report becomes final only after police officers have spoken with both of the drivers, with any witnesses, and have scrutinized the accident site and the damage to the vehicles.

Because most personal injury claims are resolved out-of-court, if a police report even implies that you were injured because the other motorist was negligent, your accident attorney may be able to negotiate a swift and acceptable out-of-court settlement of your personal injury claim.

After Any Accident, You Must Have a Medical Exam

You must seek medical attention at once after a traffic wreck. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been injured, a latent or hidden injury could – in the next several days or weeks – develop into a serious medical condition. There are no exceptions. Obtain a medical exam after any accident.

If you sustain any type of personal injury or injuries in an Arkansas traffic crash because the other motorist was negligent, after you’ve been examined and treated by a medical professional, discuss the case with an Arkansas auto accident attorney before you take any other step.

How Will an Accident Attorney Help You?

The right Little Rock personal injury lawyer will review the evidence, including the police accident report, explain and protect your rights, and fight to obtain the compensation – and the justice – that you need, deserve, and are entitled to by Arkansas law.

This state’s statute of limitations in personal injury cases is three years from the date you were injured. After three years, no legal action can be taken. However, you shouldn’t wait three years – or even three weeks – to speak with a Little Rock personal injury attorney.

What Will it Cost to Exercise Your Rights?

The sooner the case is in your attorney’s hands, the more likely it is that your personal injury claim will prevail. It costs you nothing to launch the personal injury process.

Your first legal consultation is provided with no charge or obligation, and you pay no attorney’s fee until and unless your attorney recovers compensation on your behalf. Do not hesitate to exercise your rights. If you are injured by a negligent driver in Arkansas, the law is on your side.