Arkansas Personal Injury Laws & Statutory Rules

The basics of Arkansas personal injury laws - time limits to sue, limits on compensation, fault and liability rules, and more.

If you're involved in a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim in Arkansas, you may be wondering which state laws might apply to your case. In this article, we'll examine some key Arkansas related to injury cases. Keep these in mind whether you're negotiating with an insurance adjuster or heading to court.

Deadlines to File Arkansas Injury Lawsuits

Like every state, Arkansas has its own deadline for filing an injury-related case in court. This law, known as the statute of limitations, gives you three years after an accident to file your lawsuit in court.

Usually, this deadline is set three years from the date of your accident or whatever triggered your injuries. If for some reason you couldn't discover your injuries until some date after the accident, however, the three years may run from this "discovery" date instead of the accident date.

Time Limit for a Claim Against a City, County or Arizona State Government

Where these claims are permitted, the time limit to file a claim against an Arizona government entity is five years. See: Injury Claims Against The Government

The Comparative Fault Rule in Arkansas

It's not unusual for an individual or company, when faced with a claim for compensation, to argue that the injured person is partly or totally at fault for the accident. Arkansas uses a "modified comparative fault" rule in cases where an injured person is found to share some level of blame for causing his or her injuries.

Here's an example of Arkansas's modified comparative fault rule in action. Suppose that you're driving one day, traveling a few miles per hour over the speed limit. As you pass through an intersection under a green light, an oncoming driver makes a left turn right in from of you and hits your car, injuring you. The court determines that you are 10 percent at fault (since you were speeding) and the other driver is 90 percent at fault (since she made an unsafe left turn). If your total damages are $10,000, Arkansas's modified comparative fault rule applies to allow you to collect $9,000, or the $10,000 total minus $1,000 that represents your 10 percent share of the fault.

It's important to note that Arkansas's modified comparative fault rule reduces your damages as long as you are less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. If you are 50 percent or more at fault, this rule operates to prevent you from collecting damages from any other at-fault party.

Arkansas requires its courts to apply the modified comparative fault rule in negligence cases. Don't be surprised, however, if an insurance adjuster also brings up comparative fault during settlement negotiations.

Arkansas Auto Insurance Laws

When it comes to auto accidents, Arkansas is a "fault" or "at-fault" state. Drivers injured in car accidents in Arkansas have several options: they may decide to pursue compensation through insurance companies -- under their own coverage or through the other driver's insurance carrier -- or by filing a case in court.

Owner Liability For Injury by a Dog or Other Animal

There is no specific statute in Arkansas governing personal injury liability for dog bites. Owners will be held liable for injuries caused by their dog (or other animal) if the injured party can show that the owner "should have known" the animal was dangerous. This is known as the "one bite" rule.

No Damage Caps in Arkansas Injury Cases

Damages in injury cases are "capped," or limited, by law in some states. Damage caps limit the amount of compensation an injured person can receive. Many states limit the amount of non-economic or "pain and suffering" damages and/or apply damage caps only to certain types of cases, like medical malpractice lawsuits.

Arkansas has no caps on damages in injury cases. That's because Article 5, Section 32 of the Arkansas state constitution specifically prohibits these kinds of caps.

Arkansas Personal Injury Laws: More Information

Title 16 of the Arkansas Code provides more information on personal injury civil lawsuits in Arkansas.

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