24/7 INJURY HELPLINE (479) 783-0036 (800) 871-0036

Frequently Asked Questions

With so much to deal with in the aftermath of an accident, you probably have a number of pressing questions that you will need to have answered. In an effort to shed some light on the legal process ahead of you, our Fort Smith legal team has collected answers to some of the questions we hear the most. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys about your accident in greater detail, please call our Fort Smith offices at (479) 783-0036 or take a moment to complete an online contact form.

What is My Case Worth?

This is one of the first questions we hear from many accident victims. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most difficult to answer. That’s because when most people ask that question, they are still being treated for injuries related to the accident. So, we do not know how much more medical treatment you will need, what your future medical bills will be, and whether you will have permanent injuries from your accident. We will determine the value of your case, but much of it will depend on the amount and extent of medical treatment that you will need. There is one thing that you can rest assured knowing, the lawyers at McCutchen Sexton Napurano – The Law Firm will fight hard to get you every penny you deserve.

How Long Will This Take?

Most accident victims just want to put this entire nightmare behind them and get their lives back to normal – or at least as normal as it can be. Unfortunately, the exact amount of time it will take to resolve your case depends on a number of factors, including how long it will take you to get well and how much medical treatment you will need. To determine the exact amount of time it will take to complete your claim, call McCutchen Sexton Napurano – The Law Firm and get a free consultation. Our lawyers will help answer your questions and get a better idea of the complexities of your unique case.

How long will my personal injury case take to resolve? from McCutchen Law on Vimeo.

When Should I Call A Lawyer?

Immediately! The sooner you call a lawyer, the better. That’s because the longer you wait, the greater the risk of having precious evidence disappear, eyewitnesses start to forget important details and time-sensitive data could be lost forever. Delaying hiring a lawyer can also adversely affect your ability to get the proper medical treatment. By calling The Law Firm, we spring into action immediately to protect evidence and maximize your case’s value. Our legal team is standing by 24/7 ready to help you and your family.

The Insurance Company Offered Me a Settlement. Is it a Fair Offer?

Beware of low-ball offers from the insurance company. Oftentimes, they will waive a small check in front of you in the hopes that you will take the quick money and not pursue it any further. This is especially dangerous if you received injuries in the accident. Sometimes it can take weeks or months for your doctors to fully understand the extent of your injuries. If you take a fast settlement offer from the insurance company, you won’t be able to go back and seek more money to cover the future medical treatment you need to heal your accident injuries.

Can I afford an attorney?

You most certainly can afford a personal injury attorney. Plaintiff’s attorneys like us work on contingency, which is a fancy way of saying we are paid when your case settles. In other words you don’t have to pay me a dime to take your injury case. we get paid when your case settles at the end.

What will you do for me as an attorney?

As your personal injury attorney we will help you get the medical care that you need. We will also see that you get the diagnostic tests like MRIs to determine if your injury is a permanent one. You can also get medical care even if you don’t have any insurance. I have relationships with the medical community in Fort Smith that allows us to get you the care you need. Finally, you will be protected from the insurance company taking advantage of you in the negotiation process as we are an experienced and skilled negotiator.

What Can I Do to Save My Neck in a Rear End Collision?

Adjust the up or down until the center of the head restraint meets the center of the back of your head. This will keep your head from pivoting over the top of the headrest in the collision. Keep your head near the head restraint while you drive. The center of the back of your head should be no further than four fingers from the headrest. Remember to stay alert when you drive.

Do I Have to Sue?

Yes. There is little, if any, correlation between an injury sustained in an accident and the extent of the property damage. Think about it this way, if your car is impacted in a crash, the car’s body crumples in order to absorb the force. So, if your car is hit and doesn’t show signs of damage, the force was most likely absorbed by you – the occupant of the vehicle! This can lead to serious injuries even if your car doesn’t look like it has been in a wreck.

Studies and testing have shown that injury can be predicted based upon whether the occupant of a vehicle has been subjected to certain risk factors in a collision. Our attorneys are trained in recognizing and evaluating the risk factors involved in low speed collisions that result in little, if any visible property damage.

My Car Shows No Sign of Damage, But I Have Been in Pain Since the Accident. Is it Possible I Was Hurt?

Yes. There is little, if any, correlation between an injury sustained in an accident and the extent of the property damage. Think about it this way, if your car is impacted in a crash, the car’s body crumples in order to absorb the force. So, if your car is hit and doesn’t show signs of damage, the force was most likely absorbed by you – the occupant of the vehicle! This can lead to serious injuries even if your car doesn’t look like it has been in a wreck.

Studies and testing have shown that injury can be predicted based upon whether the occupant of a vehicle has been subjected to certain risk factors in a collision. Our attorneys are trained in recognizing and evaluating the risk factors involved in low speed collisions that result in little, if any visible property damage.

When Do I Need to Get an Attorney Involved?

We recommend contacting us as soon as possible after the accident. Property damage claims are generally settled within the first few weeks after the collision. Hiring us early ensures you get a fair settlement for your property damage claim, we will ensure your storage fees on the damaged vehicle are kept to a minimum. We will work hard to get you the maximum amount of money for your injuries.

Additionally, hiring us early allows us to preserve all evidence that is favorable to you. We are also able to stop the insurance companies from obtaining a statement from you while you are in pain and not thinking clearly due to the stress of the accident and injury. Insurance companies sometimes try to pay less or nothing based on such statements. Early involvement also insures that all documentation necessary to pursue your claim is handled in a timely fashion. When you hire the experienced legal team at McCutchen Sexton Napurano – The Law Firm, we do all of the work, so you can focus on getting better.

Will it Take Longer if I Use a Lawyer?

No, in fact it will probably shorten the amount of time AND you will receive more money in most cases. Hiring us early ensures that we immediately gather and preserve all evidence that works in your favor. We will conduct a thorough investigation and make sure all favorable evidence is secured. We will work closely with your physicians to get the necessary medical documents to pursue your claim and provide these to the insurance company. We can answer your questions to help you get the best possible medical care and to recover from your injuries and get back to work as quickly as possible. By hiring us early, you are less likely to have to file a lawsuit because all of the steps necessary to settle your case will be taken.

Do I Have to Pay any Expense Up Front for You to Represent Me?

No. We invest not only the amount of time needed for handling serious injury cases but also the amount of money needed to properly handle your claim. Unlike many other lawyers, we are not afraid to invest substantial amounts of money to hire the best possible experts that we need to pursue your claim. This may include accident reconstructionists, economic damage experts, medical experts, vocational rehabilitation experts as well as other experts in various sciences. While we recover the cost of expert witnesses when your case is settled or a verdict is obtained, you are not expected to pay any of these expenses, no matter how large, unless and until we make a recovery for you.

I’ve Taken Care of My Car Like it Was a Child, But the Insurance Company Wants to Pay Me Book Value. Can You Help Me?

We understand that book value isn’t enough to compensate for a vehicle that has been declared a total loss in all cases. There are times when your vehicle, which you have treated like a child, is worth more than book value. When there is a gap between what you say your car is worth and what the insurance company says its worth we can help you receive the highest compensation for your vehicle.

How Much is it Going to Cost Me to Hire You?

We charge a contingency fee for bodily injury claims, which means we don’t get paid unless you get paid. When we recover money for you, we get paid a portion of what we are able to recover for you. Our percentage is competitive, but varies with the complexity of your case. In cases involving property damage such as your car and personal injury in an accident, we don’t charge any attorney fees for handling the property damage claim. We don’t believe that it is fair for an attorney to be taking some portion of the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle.

Why do I need an attorney?

You need an attorney because you are hurt, scared, and unsure of what to do. You have never been down this road before and the insurance companies want to take advantage of that fact. We have walked this road many times with folks just like you and have protected our clients and their families. Even if your case is one that we cannot help you with, I will take the time to explain what you need to do in order to handle it yourself. Helping you is an honor and a privilege.

What if I Have Collision Insurance Coverage?

First, we recommend making a claim with your own insurance company. Your insurance company, who wants to save as much money as possible, may assist you in filing the property damage claim with the other driver’s insurance company.

How Do I File a Property Damage Claim?

You need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, if one has not been submitted. The name and insurance policy is generally on the accident report. In order to contact that insurance company, you can locate the right number to call in a local phone book or from an Internet search. As a last resort, you can call the Arkansas Insurance Department at 1-800-282-9134 for more information.

How do I Determine the Amount of My Property Damage?

If the vehicle is drivable, take it to a body shop and obtain a written estimate. We recommend having two estimates on any claim.

If the vehicle is not drivable and you have collision coverage, your insurance company will send an adjuster to the vehicle to determine the amount of damage.

If the vehicle is not drivable and you do not have collision coverage, you should attempt to have an auto body shop inspect the vehicle to provide you with an estimate.

How Can I Determine If My Car is a Total Loss?

If the repair costs of your vehicle are 70% more than the value of your vehicle, it is considered a total loss. You can determine the value by visiting nada.com or kbb.com.

What If My Car is a Total Loss?

If the vehicle is a total loss, and the insurance company uses someone other than NADA or Kelley Blue book you should ask how it was determined. Some insurance companies will use CCC Information Services to provide the value of your vehicle. Have them put this information in writing and present it to you. Be prepared to challenge the value of the vehicle if another company is used.

The best method is to obtain a written statement from an automobile dealer (preferably the one where you purchased it) stating the value of your vehicle before and after the accident. Have this information in writing and supply it to the insurance company.

What If the Insurance Company Uses “CCC Information??? to Value My Car?

After your vehicle is totaled in an accident, you will have to prove its cash value in order to get reimbursed by the insurance company. CCC Information Services is a company that most insurance companies prefer to use to value your vehicle. They can get you a written copy of the valuation, often called a “CCC Valuescope” report. You should compare that valuation to other services like NADA (https://www.nada.com/). That’s because CCC values are often well below NADA valuations. That’s why the insurance companies like them so much – they help save them a lot of money!

CCC provides a valuation based on what it claims are comparable vehicles. These will generally be vehicles of the same type, same year, comparably equipped in the same geographical area. Call the listed telephone numbers on the CCC valuation to see if comparable vehicles are available for purchase. If they are not available at the time, you need to inform the insurance company of this.

If you are told a comparable vehicle is several hundred miles away, you should challenge the vehicle as not being comparable. It would be unfair for you to travel the distance without being compensated both for your time, and your expenses to retrieve the comparable vehicle.

What About My Other Damages?

In addition to the cost of repair, you may be entitled to additional damages.

Sales Tax if Your Vehicle is a Total Loss. If your vehicle is a total loss, you are entitled to the value of sales tax on your vehicle. The easiest way to determine sales tax is to call the Revenue Office, https://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/office-locations/. Ask for the amount of sales tax you’d pay if you were purchasing a vehicle equal to the estimated value of the damaged vehicle.

Loss of Use. You are entitled to compensation for the number of days your vehicle cannot be used. If the damage was minor and you can continue using it until repairs are made, then the loss of use will be from the time the car goes in for repair until it is finished. If the vehicle is a total loss, then you are compensated for the value of the vehicle. Most insurance companies will arrange for a rental car at no cost to you, rather than agreeing to pay a value for loss of use.

It can be difficult to determine the value of lost. So, just in case you need to file a lawsuit to obtain rightful compensation, we recommend a keeping a written record of the daily cost of a car rental. We recommend you using Enterprise Rent-A-Car, as it appears to be the most widely used car rental agency for insurance claims in Arkansas.

What If the At-fault Driver’s Insurance Company Sends Me a Check?

We strongly caution DO NOT cash the check until all repairs are complete. Often initial repair estimates are inaccurate because not all damage is visible to the naked eye. ONLY if you have WRITTEN documentation that the insurance company will pay for the “hidden” damages should you consider cashing the check. We recommend however, you wait until all the work is complete.

If you receive adequate compensation and your vehicle is paid for, your claim will then be closed and you will not have to file a lawsuit. However, if you did not receive adequate compensation, you will have to move forward and file a lawsuit.

How Do I File a Lawsuit?

Arkansas law does not permit you to sue the other driver’s insurance company. Instead, if the at-fault driver’s insurance company does not pay for your damages and you desire to pursue a claim, you must file a lawsuit against the negligent driver.

If the amount of damage to your vehicle is $5,000 or less, you can file the suit yourself in the Small Claims Division of the District Court. When filing in the Small Claims Division, once again, it is extremely important to fill the document accurately and file with the Small Claims Division and NOT the Civil Division of District Court.

You can find more information regarding Small Claims Court at:

http://courts.arkansas.gov/documents/small_claims_info.pdf

Arkansas Code Ann. § 16-17-706 states that small claims lawsuits for property damage must be in either the county where the accident occurred or where the other driver lived at the time of filing.

If there is more than one district court in the county, you should contact the district court to determine the geographical jurisdiction (what court covers that area) to make sure you are filing in the correct court.

It is pertinent to note that if you are suing in Sebastian County, the Small Claims Division of the Fort Smith District Court covers Fort Smith only. If your claim arose in Sebastian County anywhere outside Fort Smith, you will file at the Small Claims Division of the Greenwood District Court.

How Do I Prove My Damages?

If you are planning to introduce an estimate or written statement from a car rental agency, it is always best to have the person who prepared the estimate or statement at Court ready to testify and to be cross-examined about the validity of the estimate. If the person cannot appear in Court, you can prepare an Affidavit for the records of the business which prepared the estimate or statement. If the estimate or statement is a business record, Arkansas Code Ann. § 16-46-108 (Small Claims Form), must be prepared and signed under oath in front of a Notary Public. This document must be filed with the Court two weeks before trial. A copy of this document must also be provided to the Defendant.

As the owner of the vehicle, Arkansas law permits you to give your opinion as to the value of the vehicle. The Judge does not have to agree with your opinion, but it is your right to offer it. If the Judge questions you in regards to your statement of the value of the vehicle, you can review the case of Zhan v Sherman, 323 Ark.172,913 S.W.2d 776 (1996).

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Fort Smith driver crashes into local coffee shop

Local coffee shop on Rogers Ave., the Coffee Cup, is under construction after a driver… Read More

The Need for an Autopsy in Medical Negligence Cases

If you have lost a loved one and suspect that their death was the result… Read More

Arkansas one-vehicle accident causes three deaths

The Arkansas State Police reported a single vehicle accident that occurred on July 18 at around 8 p.m.,… Read More

Two separate crashes cause two fatalities in Arkansas

The Arkansas State Police has reported that there were two fatalities on state roads just… Read More

Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries

If your baby was born with an arm that doesn’t work, please contact our office. … Read More

Fort Smith Superintendent Testifies Regarding Mascot Decision

Fort Smith School District superintendent Benny Gooden recently testified for two hours in a Sebastian… Read More

“Operation Seeing Red 2” initiative results in over 400 traffic citations

The Fort Smith Police Department officers issued 428 traffic citations over the course of three… Read More

Attorney Joey McCutchen Hosts “Rally for the Rebels”

Next Friday, attorney Joey McCutchen is hosting “Rally for the Rebels” at Southside High School.… Read More

Race car driver and fans hurt in NASCAR accident

An accident during the last lap of the Coke Zero 400, an annual NASCAR Spring… Read More

Rally for the Rebels

Where:  Southside High School Football Stadium Date:  Friday, July 24th Time:  6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. I… Read More

Attorney Joey McCutchen speaks to The City Wire about school board vote

A July 2 article in The City Wire featured an interview with attorney Joey McCutchen… Read More

Church van rollover causes injuries in Van Buren

At least one minor was airlifted to a hospital following the accident of a church… Read More

Fatal car accidents in Arkansas

Arkansas Online reported several accidents that happened on June 13 in the state, including the… Read More

Oklahoma toddler injured in lawnmower accident

A toddler in Davenport, Oklahoma was involved in a freak lawnmower accident when a riding… Read More

Failure to stop causes serious motorcycle accident

Thirty-one-year-old Van Buren resident Nathan Scott was critically hurt on June 12 when a car… Read More

James R. Baber, M.D., J.D., Joins Our Firm as Of Counsel Attorney

announces the addition of attorney James R. Baber, M.D., J.D., Of Counsel. Dr. Baber received… Read More

Joey McCutchen Elected Vice President of Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association

The Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association, a leadership organization with a following of over 800 Arkansas… Read More

Another Successful Car Safety Event

This past Saturday, April 11th, partnered with the Fort Smith Police Department to hold the… Read More

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a… Read More

JOEY MCCUTCHEN – 479-783-0036

Joey McCutchen and ‘s mission is to focus awareness on distractive driving. Mr. McCutchen presented… Read More

New Program to Expedite Treatment for Children

In 2002, 63,000 children under the age of four were involved in automobile crashes. If… Read More

PROJECT CHILD SEAT SAFETY – THE FORT SMITH PAVILION

FORT SMITH, AR – A free child safety seat check station will be open to… Read More

Annual Car Seat Safety Event

On Saturday, April 11, and the Fort Smith Police Department are teaming up to hold… Read More

Railroad Crossing Safety

This past Monday, an Amtrak train hit a 127-ton tractor-trailer that stalled on railroad crossings… Read More

Arkansas. house bill 1907 does NOT help you. Please contact your legislators immediately!

Everyone knows how insurance works. You pay a monthly premium, and in return, your insurance… Read More

Nationwide Vehicle Recalls

Millions of cars with unfixed recalls are on the road and up for sale right… Read More

Names of Minors Blocked on Crash Reports

A new rule put in place for Arkansas State Police requires the agency to take… Read More

Arkansas Senators: Changing the Goal Post

A handful of our Arkansas State Senators are plotting to provide a hefty return on… Read More

Pedestrian Accidents

A recent study conducted this past April by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)… Read More

The Importance of Car Seat Safety

The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) discovered that in the United States… Read More

Slow Down for Children

Last Thursday, December 11th, I was driving down Main Street in Arkoma, Oklahoma, when I… Read More

7th Amendment

Conservative Values

Deer in the Headlights

Last Wednesday night, around 9:00 p.m., I was driving down Massard Road through Chaffee Crossing… Read More

What Is “Full Coverage”?

When I sit down with a new client and ask the question, “Do you have… Read More

Arkansas State Medical Board

When a complaint regarding malpractice or medical error comes before the Arkansas State Medical Board,… Read More

Actions to Take After a Motor Vehicle Collison

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 2.36 million people were injured… Read More

Are You Properly Insured?

In a previous blog, I mentioned the importance of setting up an underinsured motorist (UIM)… Read More

Unsecured Cargo in Arkansas

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that out of a total of about… Read More

Cyclist Killed In Fort Smith Accident

On Saturday, November 8, 2014, a Fort Smith man riding his bicycle was killed after… Read More

Do You Have Med-Pay?

Too many drivers in the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma do not carry “med-pay” coverage.… Read More

Drowsy Driving

Almost everyone who has driven a car before has at some point in his or… Read More

Trucks Take Tumble

As an experienced personal-injury lawyer, I know how dangerous eighteen-wheeler accidents can be. Recently in… Read More

Preponderance of the Evidence

In the United States legal system, there are two standards of proof that must be… Read More

Minimum Insurance Coverage in Arkansas & Oklahoma

Every automobile owner in Arkansas and Oklahoma is required to have liability coverage. Liability coverage… Read More

Joey McCutchen has been hard at work putting together another top notch ATLA CLE

Joey McCutchen has been hard at work putting together another top notch ATLA CLE that… Read More

Attorneys: Law Authorizes Polling City Directors On Agenda Items

Individually polling members of the Fort Smith Board of Directors regarding agenda items is authorized… Read More

Attorneys McCutchen, Campbell join forces in new law firm

Two prominent attorneys who have been in the news in recent weeks and months due… Read More

College Scholarship Recipients Announced

$39,000 in Coilege scholarship funding has been awarded through the 20142015 Fort Smith Boys &Girls… Read More

Fort Smith sued over efforts to avoid board review of legal billings

A lawsuit filed Tuesday (July 1) is yet another twist in the question over legal… Read More

Review suggests wide budget range for municipal legal services

Comparisons of legal billings among Cities similar in size to Fort Smith show mixed results,with… Read More

The changing of the guard

Every year et our annual convention,the inevitable change in leadership is a bittersweet üme. Werking… Read More

Boating Accidents Can Be Prevented

May 17-May 23, 2014 was National Safe Boating Week. It was observed on Arkansas lakes… Read More

Opponents Of ‘Dark Money’ In Judicial Races Rally At Capitol

LITTLE ROCK – Fort Smith lawyer Joey McCutohen used a red Radio Flyer wagon as… Read More

First Tort Reform, Now Court Reform, What’s Next?

Oliver Diaz was a Mississippi Supreme Court Justice. He was appointed to the Mississippi Supreme… Read More

Joey McCutchen Elected Secretary/Treasurer of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association

LITTLE ROCK – Joey McCutchen of the was elected 2014-2015 Secretary/Treasurer of the Arkansas Trial… Read More

Anytime is the perfect time to talk to children about safety

supports the Take 25 Campaign. During May 2014, Joey McCutchen and members of the will… Read More

Boone County Concerned Citizens to Sponsor Fort Smith Attorney

Area residents desiring to learn more about obtaining information from governmental agencies—and nonprofit organizations which… Read More

Insurance Company Abuse

In 2007, CNN published an article about abuse by the insurance industry. The article discusses… Read More

The Benefits of Medical Payments Insurance

With this blog, I am providing information about medical payments insurance (which is included with… Read More

Nursing Homes and the Arkansas Constitution

The U.S Constitution and the Arkansas Constitution must be honored, valued and defended at all… Read More

Reducing Roadway Fatalities and Crashes of Younger Drivers in Arkansas

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, car crashes are the number one killer… Read More

Does Your Dog Bite? A True Story of Dog Bite Liability

In the scene from the Pink Panther movie shown above, Chief Inspector Clouseau (portrayed by… Read More

Backup Cameras Save Lives

In a recent ABC News report, safety advocate Susan Auriemma talked about the dangers of… Read More

Listening as a Cure

Teen suicide is the third leading cause of death of teenagers. Sometimes we do not… Read More

Don’t Get Bit

As a parent of two small boys, the scare of West Nile Disease is one… Read More

DISTRACTED DRIVING NEEDLESSLY ENDANGERS THE PUBLIC

As a personal injury trial lawyer in Fort Smith, I am surprised each year when… Read More

Tort Reform Violates U.S. Constitution and Our Right to Trial by Jury

H.R. 5- the so called Protecting Access to Health Care Act, passed the house on… Read More

Help Stop Solicitation Madness

If you have been in a car wreck, you’ve probably gotten a mailbox full of… Read More

Thank you for making Project Child Seat Safety 2012 a huge success!

This year’s event was a huge success. See our Facebook link for pictures. We look… Read More

Hope United for Morgan Nick Foundation

Hope United was a fundraiser for the Morgan Nick Foundation on October 25, 2012. A… Read More

What is Med Pay?

Med pay is called medical payments coverage on an insurance policy. This coverage will pay… Read More

Talk to a Lawyer First for Your Own Safety

You’ve been injured in a wreck. Within two days, your phone rings. The caller claims… Read More

We are here to help

When people are involved in a car wreck, they come to see an attorney, a… Read More

Halloween Safety

Trick or Treating should be one of the great adventures of Halloween for kids! They… Read More

The Golden Rule

In a recent interview for the Docket, a publication of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association,… Read More

INSURANCE RUNNERS

When it comes to insurance attorney’s you can only be reminded of “The Runaway Jury”… Read More

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