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Fort Smith Pedestrian Accidents Brain Injury Attorneys

Fort Smith Pedestrian Accidents Brain Injury Attorneys

The Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA) calls walking “the most basic, inexpensive and environmentally friendly form of transportation.” Even Arkansas residents who do not have access to a car, public transportation, or even a bicycle can transport themselves to work, school, stores, and hobbies by walking. For many, walking is a hobby on its own, allowing people to slow down and enjoy the world around them.

For many Arkansas residents, however, the benefits of walking are heavily outweighed by the risks. A pedestrian hit by a vehicle can suffer serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries.

Even a mild traumatic brain injury, such as a mild concussion, can cause lingering problems with memory, mood, and concentration, as well as physical symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Moderate and severe brain injuries can cause permanent disabilities that require lifelong care. Those who suffer brain injuries may need to take time away from work – or may be permanently prevented from working again.

If you or someone you love has suffered a brain injury in a pedestrian accident, don’t wait. Talk to the experienced Arkansas brain injury lawyers at The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield today.

Pedestrian Accident Brain Injury Statistics

Walking on US public streets is becoming more dangerous, even as driving becomes safer. Pedestrian deaths in the US have risen in the past ten years even as overall traffic deaths have declined, according to the GHSA.

Between 2010 and 2019, pedestrian deaths increased by 46 percent, while all other traffic deaths increased by only 5 percent. Today, pedestrian deaths account for 17 percent of traffic deaths in the US – up from 13 percent in 2010.

Arkansas saw a 17 percent increase in pedestrian deaths in just one year. In the first six months of 2019, 30 pedestrians lost their lives in Arkansas, according to GHSA statistics. In the first six months of 2020, 35 pedestrians were killed in accidents.

Arkansas also has a higher overall rate of pedestrian accidents than the national average. In 2015, Arkansas recorded 17.83 pedestrian accidents per 100,000 residents, compared to a US national average of 10.92 accidents per 100,000 residents.

In 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ranked Arkansas seventh in the United States with a pedestrian death rate of 2.67 per 100,000 people. Thousands more pedestrians suffer injuries each year on Arkansas roads, especially in urban areas like Little Rock.

Why Do Cars Collide With Pedestrians?

2022 was one of the deadliest years for pedestrians in Little Rock. In the first eight months of the year, Little Rock had 26 fatal pedestrian accidents, according to a THV11 news report.

Over half of these accidents occurred in the southwest part of Little Rock. The Little Rock Police Department (LRPD) listed several reasons that cars are more likely to collide with pedestrians in this part of the city – and in other parts of Arkansas as well.

Pedestrian accidents are more common when:

  • There are no crosswalks to help control traffic or alert pedestrians when it is safe to cross.
  • There are no sidewalks to give pedestrians a place to walk that is separated from traffic.
  • Higher speeds on roadways increase the risk for pedestrians because drivers have less time to see a pedestrian and less space to stop before a collision happens.
  • Lack of streetlights or other lighting makes it more difficult for drivers to see pedestrians until it is too late.

These safety measures help reduce the risk of accidents. Yet they don’t guarantee safety. A 2022 pedestrian accident in the Meadowcliff neighborhood of Little Rock left two people with serious injuries, even though they had been walking on a sidewalk at the time of the crash.

Common Pedestrian Accident Brain Injuries and Medical Treatments

Traumatic brain injuries are among the most expensive and difficult injury types to treat. Pedestrian accident brain injuries can include:

  • Closed head injuries, in which the brain is damaged within the skull.
  • Concussions are a form of closed head injury most often caused by a blow to the head.
  • Penetrating injuries, in which an object pierces the skull and damages the brain.

To diagnose a brain injury, doctors may use imaging tests like X-rays, CAT scans, or MRI images. Medical treatment for these injuries may include surgery, medications to control brain swelling, and lengthy periods of rest, rehabilitation, or therapy.

Returning to Work After a Brain Injury

The chances of recovering after a brain injury depend on several factors. The severity of the injury affects how well a person heals, as does the person’s overall health. Access to medical treatment matters as well. In a 2019 study, researchers found that people who suffered traumatic brain injuries in rural areas had worse outcomes than those who were injured in places with access to more medical resources.

Recovery from a brain injury has a significant effect on the injured person’s ability to return to work. When a person is injured on the job, workers’ compensation may also provide some coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, and disability benefits if the injury permanently prevents the person from working again.

Returning to work after a brain injury can be a tough choice. Those with brain injuries are at a higher risk of re-injury for at least one year after the injury, according to a 2019 study. A re-injury at work can make a workers’ compensation case even more complex.

Working With an Experienced Arkansas Brain Injury and Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Brain injuries are complex, challenging medical situations. When a worker is injured on the job or suffers re-injury after going back to work, a brain injury case becomes even more complicated.

Working with an attorney experienced in both personal injury and workers’ compensation law can help you protect your rights. Whether you were injured while working or are re-injured after returning to work, your lawyer can help ensure you receive the compensation you need.

When looking for a lawyer, keep the following tips in mind.

Time Limits for Filing Pedestrian Brain Injury Claims in Arkansas

Arkansas sets a time limit of three years for filing injury claims. A claim that is not filed in these three years cannot be heard in court. For this reason, it’s important to talk to a lawyer as soon as you can after an injury.

Typically, the three years begin to run on the date of the injury. Since several factors can affect how the three years are counted, however, it’s important to talk to an attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you determine exactly how the time limit applies in your case.

Steps You Can Take to Build Your Case

Whether you’ve decided to hire a lawyer or are still making up your mind, you can take steps to save evidence and protect your legal rights.

Gather all the documents related to your accident and injury. Keep them together in a safe place. Paperwork to keep includes:

  • Copies of police reports or work accident reports if you have them.
  • Copies of notes and paperwork your doctor gave you related to your treatment.
  • If you filed a worker’s compensation claim, copies of your worker’s comp paperwork.
  • Copies of medical bills you’ve received or receipts for payments you have made.
  • Copies of paperwork related to sick time or leave from work or lost wages.
  • Any other paperwork or receipts for bills you would not have had to pay if you had not had the accident.

When you hire an attorney, share this paperwork with your lawyer. It will help your attorney build a case for the compensation you deserve.

What Happens in a Pedestrian-Related Personal Injury Claim

Most pedestrian brain injury claims in Arkansas do not go to trial. Instead, the injured person and their attorney negotiate a settlement with any at-fault parties, such as the driver of a vehicle.

Experienced injury lawyers, however, always prepare as if the case will go to trial. By preparing from the start as if they will take the case to court, these lawyers give themselves and their clients the best possible chance to secure a fair settlement or to prove their case to a jury.

Typically, a pedestrian-related brain injury claim follows these steps:

  • Your attorney will investigate your claim and contact other parties, such as insurance companies, to discuss a settlement.
  • You and your attorney may attend settlement negotiations, including mediation, to try to end the case without a trial.
  • Your attorney may file a complaint in a civil court to formally begin the lawsuit process.
  • After a complaint is filed, the case enters a phase called “discovery,” where both sides exchange information. Discovery narrows down the issues in the case. In some instances, information found in discovery pushes the parties toward a quicker, more complete settlement; in others, discovery turns up more complex issues than the parties originally expected.
  • If both sides settle, the court holds a hearing to enter that settlement on the record. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the case may go to trial.

It is important to remember that your attorney can negotiate a settlement offer for you, but your lawyer cannot accept a settlement for you. If an offer is reached, your lawyer will present it to you. You can ask questions, and your lawyer will give you their opinion about whether the amount is fair. But only you can decide whether to accept or reject the offer.

Talk to an Experienced Fort Smith Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you or someone you love has been injured, don’t wait. Talk to an experienced pedestrian brain injury lawyer today.

At the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, our Arkansas legal team is dedicated to helping our clients protect their legal rights and seek the compensation they need after a serious injury. To learn more, contact us today. Your initial consultation with our office is free and confidential.


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