Larry Smith Killed, Steven Street Hurt in Logan Co., AR, Accident
Logan County, AR -- January 16, 2017, Larry Smith was killed, Steven Street was injured, due to an accident where their vehicles crashed head-on.
According to the Arkansas State Police, the accident occurred around 2:30 p.m. just south of Booneville.
Initial reports indicate that 49-year-old Smith was driving a Ford Ranger southbound on Highway 23. In front of him, 53-year-old Street was driving a Chevy pickup northbound. The police report states that the pickup crossed over the center line into the path of Smith's vehicle. As a result, the two vehicles crashed into each other.
Smith was fatally injured in the collision and died at the scene. Authorities transported Street to Mercy Hospital with unspecified injuries.
It's unclear if any charges or citations were issued following the crash. Investigations are still underway.
Map of the Area
Whenever people see police reports like this, they're typically under the impression that the facts laid out in the report will convince insurance companies to pay the victims and their families compensation. The truth of the matter is that insurance companies are fully entitled to defend themselves against accusations of liability, and they almost always do.
Time and time again, our firm sees insurance companies do whatever they can to low-ball victims' injuries or try to avoid liability altogether. One of the most common ways they do this is by making the victim out to be complicit in their own injury or death. The reason for this is because a civil jury works to determine the percentage of fault each person is responsible for in an accident. In Texas, if the defendant is found to be at least 50% at fault for the accident, then they have to pay that percentage of the damages. For example, let's say a jury decides a plaintiff's injuries are worth $100,000, and the defendant is 63% at fault. The defendant will compensate the plaintiff $63,000, and the plaintiff will be on the hook for the remaining $37,000 (37%).
However, if the insurance company can convince the jury that the plaintiff is 51% at fault for the accident, then the defendant pays nothing, and the plaintiff is responsible for the whole thing. Seeing these options, insurance companies do whatever they can to shift as much blame to the victim as possible. Using a police report's lack of information to their advantage, they will often come up with as many factors as they can that help them avoid fault.
The best way to combat this is to collect the necessary evidence to convince the insurance company to pay the compensation that the victim and their family deserves. If an insurance company sees irrefutable evidence that their driver was at fault, they won't risk taking the case to trial because they know they'll lose. This accomplishes the goal of getting victims and their families the compensation they deserve quickly. The sooner those affected by a car accident get the compensation they deserve, the sooner they can take the necessary next steps forward.
--Grossman Law Offices