If you’ve been involved in an accident in the state of Arkansas, you may be wondering how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim and which state laws apply to your case. In this article, we’ll examine some key Arkansas personal injury laws and statutory rules. Keep these in mind whether you’re speaking 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 lawsuit in court. This law, known as the statute of limitations, gives you three (3) years from your accident or injury 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 didn’t discover your injuries until some date after the accident, the three years may run from this “discovery” date instead of the accident date.
The Arkansas Comparative Fault Rule
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.
Example of modified comparative fault in Arkansas
Here’s an example of Arkansas’s modified comparative fault rule in action. Suppose that you’re out driving a few miles per hour over the speed limit. As you drive through an intersection under a green light, an oncoming driver makes a left turn directly in from of you and hits your car head-on, severely injuring you. Because you were speeding, the court determines that you are 10 percent at fault and the other driver is 90 percent at fault (since he made an unsafe left turn). If your total damages are $100,000, Arkansas’s modified comparative fault rule applies to allow you to collect $90,000, or the $100,000 total minus $10,000 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 found to be 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 cases of negligence. Don’t be surprised, however, if an insurance adjuster also brings up comparative fault during settlement negotiations.
Arkansas Automobile 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 their own insurance coverage, 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 and other animal attacks. Owners will be held liable for injuries caused by their dog (or other animal) only if the injured party can show that the owner “should have known” the animal was dangerous based on its previous behavior.
This is what is known as the “one bite” rule, to protect owners against legal repercussion for the animal’s first offense. However, a previous bite isn’t required to hold the animal’s owner liable, if you can provide evidence of aggressive behavior from the animal and evidence of the owner’s actual or constructive knowledge of said dangerous behavior.
If you are injured by a dog or other animal in Benton County, there is a county ordinance that holds dog owners liable for injuries their dogs cause, regardless of whether or not the owner knew the dog would act aggressively. This rule is known as “strict liability”, since no finding of fault on the part of the owner is required.
No Damage Caps in Arkansas Injury Cases
Damages in injury cases are “capped” or limited in some states. Damage caps limit the amount of compensation an injured person can receive. Some states limit the amount of non-economic or “pain and suffering” damages or apply damage caps only to certain types of cases, like medical malpractice lawsuits.
Arkansas has no caps on damages in injury cases. Article 5, Section 32 of the Arkansas State Constitution specifically prohibits these kinds of caps.
Have You Been Injured in an Accident Due to Someone Else’s Negligence?
Don’t wait until it’s too late! Call Bearden Law Group today and schedule your free consultation with an experience personal injury lawyer.