car accident

What Kind of Proof Is Relevant in a Car Accident Claim?

If you are injured in a car accident, you may be in pain and you may be overwhelmed. The last thing you are probably going to want to think about is the possibility of a long road ahead to both your physical recovery as well as recovering compensation from the harm you have sustained. Still, the sooner you start to think about and take steps towards pursuing a car accident claim, the stronger your case can be. Here, we will discuss what type of proof will be relevant in a car accident claim so that you can be mindful of it should you ever find yourself in this kind of situation.

What Kind of Proof is Relevant in a Car Accident Claim?

Insurance companies will not just hand over a check after an accident. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. An insurance company will look for any reason to try and deny or devalue a claim. They are businesses and committed to protecting their bottom lines, above all. Do not let lack of proof, or evidence, be a reason for them to walk away from your claim. What type of proof is going to be needed in your car accident claim? Let us start from the beginning, with the accident.

In order to pursue a car accident injury claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver, you must be prepared to prove that their insured was, in fact, at fault and that you were not at fault, nor was anyone else. To prove this, a number of different forms of proof may be relevant. The accident report, for one, will be a central piece of evidence in this analysis. Citations issued to anyone will also likely be relevant. Witness testimony from those who saw the accident occur as well as any photographs of the scene or video footage of the accident, from something like a traffic cam, will also be relevant in this aspect of a car accident claim.

Insurance companies, and judges and juries for that matter, will also be particularly curious about the property damage that was involved in the accident. This is because people usually associate substantial property damage with causing substantial injuries to those involved. Now, we know and doctors know that serious injuries can be sustained even in low property damage cases. The fact remains, however, that high property damage cases will get people’s attention. This is part of the reason why property damage estimates and pictures of the damage sustained in the crash will also be relevant to your claim.

Another central issue to your car accident claim will be your injuries. You will need to prove the injuries and other harm you suffered as a result of the crash. This means that medical records, lab reports, and testimony from your doctor and other medical experts will be relevant to your claim. Testimony from family and loved ones who have witnessed what you have gone through since the accident and how you and your life has changed can also be relevant, especially when considering pain and suffering damages.

Personal Injury Attorney

Personal injury law is filled with details and complexities that can have a substantial impact on the outcome of your claim. The Law Office of Bryce Cook is committed to gathering the evidence needed to present your claim in the strongest possible light so that you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.

spouses and attorney

Will My Spouse Receive Half My Business in a Divorce?

Distribution of marital assets can be one of the most contentious aspects of divorce. There can be a great deal of personal and financial stake in how things are divided. It is no wonder that things can get so heated as this key issue is addressed.  This may be especially true when it comes to the division of a business. Many pour much of their lives into creating and running a successful business. It can not only be a central source of income but also deeply personal. If you are about to go through a divorce, you may be wondering whether your business will be cut down the middle and your spouse will receive half.

Will My Spouse Receive Half My Business in a Divorce?

As an equitable distribution state, Arkansas courts approach division of the marital assets in a way that is meant to be fair, but not necessarily equal. In order to do equity, a number of factors will be considered in the distribution process. For instance, the length of the marriage, the financial contributions of each spouse in the marriage, the non-financial contributions of each spouse in the marriage, and a variety of other relevant factors. In dividing all marital assets, the court will weigh these factors and the totality of the circumstances to try and do equity.

First, however, the property will have to be categorized as separate or marital. If a business was established prior to marriage, it may be viewed as a separate asset, at least in part. The business may be seen as part separate and part marital. This can happen in cases where the business may have been founded prior to marriage but gained in value during the marriage or both spouses made contributions to building and maintaining a successful business.

Considering the fact that so many different factors must be evaluated to do equity and the business may not be considered a totally marital asset or others may hold interest in the business preventing a 50-50 split of the business, it may be the case that the business may not be split down the middle between two divorcing spouses. It may, however, still be subject to division as the court may find both spouses hold an interest in the business.

In order to divide the business, the business must first be valued. There are several different methods employed in business valuation. For instance, the asset approach calculates the business value as the assets minus the liabilities. The market approach, on the other hand, compares the business to similar businesses that have been sold and calculates its value based on that. With the income approach, business records are entered into formulas to project the expected cash flow and profits of the business in order to find the value of the business. In many cases, each spouse will receive a certain percentage of business interests in a divorce. One spouse may choose to sell his or her shares to the other spouse using the value of the business to reach the sale price of his or her shares.

Divorce Attorney

Are you going through a divorce and are worried about your business being split apart? Talk to knowledgeable divorce attorney Bryce Cook about your options. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.

personal injury

What Happens at a Personal Injury Trial?

Despite insurance companies being often difficult to work with, most personal injury claims are settled before the need for a full-blown trial arises. There are, however, instances when an insurance company refuses to increase a settlement offer to one that fully and fairly compensates an injury victim for losses sustained due to the action or inaction of the insurance companies insured, the at-fault party. In other cases, an insurance company may outright deny a claim. Denying a claim or undervaluing a claim may occur for a number of reasons. There may be a disagreement as to who is liable for causing an accident. There may be questions regarding insurance coverage. There may be doubt regarding the extent of the damages sustained by the claimant. In any event, if settlement negotiations should fail, you may be heading for a personal injury trial. Here is some of what you can expect to happen.

What Happens at a Personal Injury Trial?

Before trial, the attorney for the injured party will usually send a demand letter making a request to settle a claim with the insurance company for a certain amount of money. Settlement negotiations will usually follow. When settlement negotiations seem to be going nowhere, a lawsuit may be filed. 

Once a lawsuit is filed, the other party will be served and file a response. The often lengthy discovery process will begin. Discovery is, essentially, a fact-finding process where both parties are looking to gain as must information about the other side’s case as possible. Information is gathered through several different means. There are interrogatories, which are extensive lists of questions to be answered by the other side. There are requests for document production, which are requests from one party for the other party to provide them with relevant documentation, such as doctor reports and medical records. There are also depositions that will take place. Depositions allow counsel to interview parties relevant to the case at hand.

After discovery, the parties may try, or be ordered by the court, to try mediation in an attempt to settle the case before trial. At mediation, the mediator, a neutral third party, will try to work with both sides in order to encourage meeting in the middle at a mutually acceptable settlement offer. Should mediation prove unsuccessful, the parties will proceed to trial.

At trial, both sides will present evidence and try to undermine evidence presented by opposing counsel. This evidence will go to the heart of such central issues like liability for causing an accident as well as the extent of damages sustained by the plaintiff. The plaintiff will be working to prove that the defendant was at fault for causing an accident, usually under a theory of negligence, that resulted in injury and other losses to the plaintiff. The defense may fight liability or agree that the defendant was liable for causing the accident, but the injuries or losses sustained by the plaintiff are not accurate. The judge or jury will be tasked with deciding these issues. Either side will have the right to appeal the decision.

Personal Injury Attorney

At Law Office of Bryce Cook, we are prepared to take your claim all the way to court. This is because we will continue to fight for your right to be fully and fairly compensated for your accident injuries. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.


What Do I Do If My Spouse Asks for a Divorce?

Hearing your spouse actually say that they want a divorce can be a harsh reality to face. This can be true whether you were expecting it or not. The actual words being spoken out loud can be a game-changer. As the reality of the situation starts to surface more and more, there are steps you will want to take to protect yourself and help prepare for the road ahead. If you still think the marriage can be saved, and both you and your spouse are willing to put in the work, you may want to ask your spouse if you both should go to marriage counseling. If you both have come to terms with the fact that divorce would be in everyone’s best interests, then now is the time to get things in order.

What Do I Do If My Spouse Asks for a Divorce?

Even in the most amicable of divorces, it can be an emotional time. It marks the end of something deeply personal and the unwinding of otherwise intertwined lives. After your spouse informs you that he or she wants a divorce, it can be all too easy to dissolve into some powerful emotions. Try your best to stay calm. A level head will serve you well throughout the process. Avoid making any sort of promises, especially at this time. Additionally, do not give into any threats your spouse may be making in regards to holding things hostage, such as certain marital assets or child custody arrangements. Instead, focus on retaining trusted legal counsel so you know your rights regarding such matters.

Unless you are in an unsafe situation, consider staying put in the marital home. This is especially true if you have children. If you leave and your spouse stays in the home with the children, a court may see this situation as working out and consider simply staying the course when it comes to custody arrangements

You should also make it a priority to get your finances in order. Take steps to protect your credit. Monitor your credit reports to see if your spouse is racking up sizeable amounts of debt. This debt could very well become yours during divorce proceedings. Should you have joint accounts with your spouse, consider contacting those institutions and requesting joint authorization for any withdraws on an account. This way, your spouse will have to have your authorization prior to accessing anything held in the joint account.

Jonesboro Divorce Attorney

If your spouse has asked for a divorce, take action now to prepare yourself for what lies ahead. At the Law Office of Bryce Cook, we are here to provide you with trusted legal counsel and support services to help you not only survive a divorce but thrive after divorce. We do this by protecting your best interests and working with you to help ensure you have the tools you need to set up a bright future for yourself after divorce. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.

pedestrians; mother and son at crosswalk

What Are the Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

For 2019, the Governors Highway Safety Association estimated that there were 6,590 pedestrian fatalities for the year. Not only was this a 5% increase from the 6,227 pedestrian fatalities of 208, but it would mean that 2019 was one of the most fatal years for pedestrians in over 30 years. With pedestrian fatality numbers on the rise and even more pedestrians injured in crashes, it seems more important than ever that we talk about some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. Once more people become aware of these causes, we can all hopefully work together to help prevent them from occurring.

What are the Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

Both pedestrian as well as driver behavior can play contributing roles in causing pedestrian accidents. For instance, pedestrians that exhibit reckless behavior such as crossing outside of crosswalks or walking while distracted by things like mobile devices, are often at a higher risk of being injured in an accident. Even those pedestrians who are using sidewalks and crosswalks need to be aware of their surroundings. Paying attention to what is going on around them can literally be the difference between life or death.

Drivers who also display dangerous behaviors also are a major contributing factor in pedestrian accidents. For instance, driving while intoxicated is a common cause of pedestrian accidents. When a driver is inebriated or is under the influence of drugs, this means that his or her judgment is impaired. Reaction time is slowed. The ability to safely operate a vehicle and be fully aware and reactive to surroundings is dangerously diminished. These are all reasons why driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol plays such a common role in pedestrian accidents.

Distracted driving is also a major problem as it commonly causes pedestrian accidents. It only takes a second of removing a driver’s attention from the road for a devastating accident to occur. Drivers are more distracted than ever by their phones and mobile devices. Furthermore, drivers continue to seem to believe that they can safely eat, drink, and engage in extensive conversations all while being able to adequately and safely operate a vehicle. This persistence of multitasking while driving is a common cause of terrible pedestrian accidents.

Inclement weather is also one of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. There is only, however, so much you can blame on the weather. In the event of rain, snow, or other weather-related situations where visibility may be reduced and traction may be difficult to maintain for a vehicle, a driver should respond accordingly. When the weather impairs a drivers ability to safely operate their vehicle, precautions should be taken such as reduction in speed.

Personal Injury Attorney

Have you or a loved one been injured in a pedestrian accident? These accidents can involve life-altering injuries or even fatalities. The Law Office of Bryce Cook is here for you and your loved ones when you need us the most. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.


How Long Am I Expected to Pay Alimony?

Alimony is also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance.” An often highly contentious aspect of divorce, alimony is a court order requiring one spouse to provide financial support to the other spouse either during or after a divorce. The specifics of the laws relating to alimony will greatly vary between states. Furthermore, a court can often have wide discretion in determining the amount and length of an alimony award.

How Long Am I Expected to Pay Alimony

In Arkansas, a spouse may file a petition seeking alimony from a soon-to-be former spouse in order to maintain the same standard of living that was held during the marriage. The state of Arkansas has three types of alimony that can be awarded. First, there is temporary alimony. Divorce can be a prolonged process. On top of this, moving from what may have been a two-income household down to a one-income household can be a financial shock. This may be especially true for the person who was not necessarily the primary earner in the household. Because of these truths, courts have the discretion to order temporary alimony payments to the lower-earning spouse in order to provide financial support while divorce proceedings are pending. The award of temporary support will terminate upon the court entering the final divorce decree.

Rehabilitating alimony, on the other hand, is awarded after the divorce is finalized. It is the most commonly ordered type of alimony in Arkansas and it is only temporary. The goal of rehabilitative alimony is to permit one spouse the opportunity to find a job or secure the necessary training to improve income earning and employment potential by providing financial support. Rehabilitative alimony will usually only cover the projected time period estimated for the spouse to complete the necessary training or job search.

Lastly, there is permanent support. An award for permanent support is becoming increasingly rare. This is even more true for marriages shorter in length. In most cases, a spouse has a better chance of permanent alimony if it was a long-term marriage and the spouse, at the time of the divorce had little to no employment prospects due to being of advanced years in age or of poor health.

The exact length of time a court will order alimony to be paid will vary depending on a variety of factors. One of the primary factors to consider will be the length of the marriage. It is said that a good rule of thumb is that an award for one year of alimony will be granted every three years of marriage. This, of course, can widely vary depending on a number of other factors.

Regardless of the length of time alimony may be awarded, it will terminate in the event of certain things occurring. For instance, if a spouse receiving alimony payments remarries, alimony payments will end. This is also true if the recipient spouse does not get married, but maintains an intimate relationship with another person with whom he or she lives full time. Additionally, an alimony award will terminate if either spouse to the alimony agreement dies.

Family Law Attorney

For more information on alimony and other important aspects of divorce, the Law Office of Bryce Cook has answers for you. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.

woman considering divorce

The Financial Impacts of Divorce

Divorce often requires a significant period of adjustment. Even if it is quite some time in the making, finalizing a divorce has its own effects. Among the many impacts of divorce to consider and adjust to, the financial impacts are likely to be among the most significant. The financial effects of divorce can have more far-reaching consequences than many will consider at first. It is critical, however, to plan as best you can for these impacts as it will help you on your way to solid financial ground after divorce.

The Financial Impacts of Divorce

Divorce is expensive. There are the court costs. There are the attorney’s fees. It is unavoidable that divorce will come with some kind of bill. The most significant financial costs of divorce, however, can come from other things. For instance, two people running separate households is almost always more expensive than two people living together, carrying the costs of living together. When you divorce, it is likely that you will be covering more costs than you ever were when you were married. This is a big adjustment to make.

As the divorce is finalized, you may find that you are legally obligated pursuant to a court order to pay child support and/or spousal support. While child support and spousal support will have end dates, you could be making these payments far into the future. You will need to establish a budget that accounts for these monthly payments to help ensure that you have the funds available to fulfill your legal responsibility. Should you have a financial change in circumstances, you will need to petition the court for a modification. Until you are granted a modification, it will not matter if your financial circumstances prevent you from making the court order payments, the order is still enforceable and you may incur significant penalties for failure to comply.

On the other side of things, you may be the recipient of spousal support and/or child support payments. If this is the case, you too should have a budget that accounts for these payments. Factor these payments into your monthly living expenses. Additionally, you should be mindful of the fact that these payments will not last forever. When payments stop, will you have enough income to keep covering your costs? If not, you either need to make more money, reduce your living expenses, or do both. If you need to make more money, will you need further job training or education? If this is the case, plan for how you are going to cover the costs associated with this before you begin earning more money.

Family Law Attorney

At the Law Offices of Bryce Cook, we are committed to supporting our clients throughout the divorce process and setting them up for a successful post-divorce life. For more information regarding how to plan for the financial impacts of divorce, we are here to provide you with answers. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.

defendant being cross-examined

How to Prepare to be Cross-Examined

If you have been listed as a witness at a criminal trial, you may be anxious about what to expect on the stand. The side that listed you as a witness, either defense or the prosecution, will be able to question you first on what is referred to as “direct.” After direct, which can actually be a rather lengthy process, you may be subject to cross-examination by the opposite side. Cross-examination is usually an opportunity for the other side to impeach the credibility of a witness and undermine his or her testimony while, at the same time, attempting to strengthen their own case. The thought of your credibility being impeached may be alarming. It is true, cross-examination can lead a person to get defensive fairly quickly. To help you best prepare yourself for cross-examination, we have gathered some tips for you.

How to Prepare to be Cross-Examined

While direct examination can often involve detailed accounts and more of a narrative style of responses to questions, cross-examination answers should be kept short and to the point. You should review those points of your testimony that the other side is likely to bring up on cross. Rehearse those key aspects of your story. Never feel the pressure to make up an answer to a question if you do not know the answer. If you do not know the answer, say you do not know the answer. Not guessing at things and being honest is always the way to go.

Remain calm. Again, it is likely that the attorney questioning you is attempting to impeach your credibility and undermine your testimony. This may lead to some discomfort, to say the least. Do your best to remain calm. Remember, the jury is watching you. Do not feed into the attorney trying to make you look bad. Also, keep in mind that a slight slip up during cross-examination is not the end-all-be-all of things. Your attorney has an opportunity to clear this mishap up on redirect, which is the line of questioning that can occur after the completion of cross-examination.

Body language can also be important when being cross-examined. Whatever kind of body language you had with the attorney on direct should continue through cross. The jury will notice if you suddenly get very defensive, cold, or aggressive when the other attorney begins his or her line of questioning and this will usually not read well for them. Also, be mindful of eye contact. As a general rule of thumb, your eyes should go where the jury’s eyes go. If the jury is looking at an exhibit, you should be looking at the exhibit. If the jury is looking at the attorney questioning you, you should look at the attorney. If the jury is looking at you, you should look at the jury.

Criminal Defense Attorney

At the Law Office of Bryce Cook, we know that criminal trials can be won or lost in the details and that is why we are committed to being steadfast in everything, including witness prep. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the strongest legal support we can. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.

property division

Property Division in Arkansas

One of the biggest issues that needs to be addressed in a divorce is the division of marital property. It can also be one of the most contentious issues. If the divorcing spouses can reach an agreement as to how to divide their property, they have the ability to put it into a written Property Settlement Agreement and submit it for judicial approval. Oftentimes, however, divorcing spouses are unable to reach such an agreement on their own. In this type of case, the judge will determine how marital property is divided. How, however, does the judge decide how the property will be divided? We will discuss more on this here.

How is property divided in an Arkansas divorce?

Arkansas is referred to as an “equitable distribution” state regarding the division of property incident to a divorce. Equitable distribution means that a court will decide how property should be divided based on a standard of fairness. An equitable division does not necessarily mean the division will be equal but should be, above all, fair to the parties in light of the circumstances. That being said, however, there is a presumption in Arkansas law that the marital property will be equally split between the parties. Factors considered by the judge in the division process, however, may merit a derivation from this presumption.

Before dividing property in divorce proceedings, a judge must first determine which property is marital and which is non-marital or “separate.” Only marital property will be subject to equitable division. Separate property will remain under the ownership of the original spouse owner. In most cases, non-marital property is property that was brought into the marriage and it will be kept by the spouse that brought it into the marriage

Once all property has been designated as marital or separate, the marital property will be divided based on a standard of doing equity. In order to equitably divide the marital property, the judge will weigh a number of different factors. Factors to be considered when determining an equitable division may include

  • The length of the marriage
  • The occupation and job skills of each party
  • The health and well-being of each party
  • The income and resources of each party
  • The employability of each party
  • The contributions of each party to both acquiring and maintaining the marital property
  • The federal tax consequences of the proposed division of the marital property

While a judge must weigh all relevant factors, he or she also has discretion when it comes to dividing the marital property. The judge also has discretion when it comes to awarding alimony or spousal support as well as in determining child custody.

Family Law Attorney

Division of the marital property can have a significant impact on both parties to a divorce. At the Law Office of Bryce Cook, we work to ensure that your interests are not only represented, but protected throughout the divorce process. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.

couple going through a divorce

What Are the Requirements for Filing for Divorce in Arkansas?

Are you considering filing for divorce in Arkansas? For so many reasons, divorce can be the best option for you and for your family. Should you reach the conclusion that divorce is the step you need to take to a better future, there are some things you will need to know about. There are basic requirements that must be met in order to file for divorce in Arkansas. We will further discuss those requirements here.

What are the requirements for filing for divorce in Arkansas?

To start, Arkansas has a residency requirement that must be fulfilled in order for a person to be able to file for divorce. Either you or your spouse must have resided in the State of Arkansas for a minimum of 60 days prior to filing for divorce and a minimum of 3 months prior to the final judgment of divorce being entered. 

In addition to the residency requirement, Arkansas law also has a separation period requirement. You and your spouse must have lived separately for a minimum of 18 months prior to divorce. This separation must have been voluntary. It must have only been voluntary, however, for at least one of you. That means that if you moved into your own residence against the wishes of your spouse, then the separation requirement will still be met if it has been at least 18 months in time. This requirement is in place with the intent that people seeking a divorce have really considered the implications of divorce and have made a thoughtful decision on the matter.

If you have fulfilled these basic requirements, either you or your spouse will need to file a complaint requesting that the court grant you a divorce in order for divorce proceedings to be initiated. The person who files the divorce is referred to as the “plaintiff” and the other spouse will be referred to as the “defendant.” You will need to file the divorce in the Chancery Court of the county where you reside if you are the one that resides in Arkansas. If your spouse is an Arkansas resident, but you are not, you will have to file in the county where your spouse resides.

You will also need to specify grounds for the divorce in the complaint. Grounds for divorce are the legally recognized reasons why divorce would be granted and sever the marital relationship. Arkansas, as most states do, provide no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. No-fault grounds only require that the complaint state that you and your spouse have been voluntarily separated for 18 continuous months. This will need to be supported by either a witness affidavit or witness testimony. Should you wish to go forward with the divorce without waiting the 18 months of separation, then you will need to assert fault-based grounds for divorce. This will require that you prove the grounds asserted.

Family Law Attorney

For all of your Arkansas divorce questions or concerns, talk to us at the Law Offices of Bryce Cook. We are here to provide you with trusted legal counsel and support. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.