On this page, we will provide an overview of the relevant points of Arkansas law in personal injury cases. We will also look at the average settlement value of personal injury cases in Arkansas.
Arkansas 3-Year Statute of Limitations
In Arkansas, similar to other states, there is a legal deadline known as a “statutes of limitation” governing the initiation of personal injury lawsuits in court. The general rule under Arkansas’s statute of limitations is 3 years from the date the claim accrues, but there are many exceptions to this rule.
The General Rule: Three-Year Window from the Date of Injury
For the majority of injury cases in Arkansas, individuals have a three-year timeframe to file a lawsuit in court (Ark. Code § 16-56-105). Typically, this three-year countdown commences from the date of the injury. However, there are circumstances where the SOL time period does not begin from the date of the injury.
Exceptions to the 3-Year SOL
Besides the general three-year rule, Arkansas has specific deadlines for certain types of cases.
Intentional Torts: For cases involving intentional harm, like assault or slander, you have one year from when you were hurt to file a lawsuit. Ark. Code § 16-56-104. This applies to claims like assault and battery, slander and defamation.
Medical Malpractice: In medical malpractice cases, you usually have two years from when the malpractice happened to file a lawsuit. But if the victim was a child or if something was left in their body during surgery that wasn’t discovered right away, there might be different deadlines.
Wrongful Death: In cases where someone dies because of their injuries, you have three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, if the person responsible is convicted of serious crimes like murder, there’s no time limit to file the lawsuit.
The Discovery Rule
When determining when a deadline under Arkansas’ 3-year statute of limitation expires, the most important questions is when does the 3 year SOL period begin to run. Like most other states, Arkansas courts have adopted what is known as the “discovery rule” for establishing when the SOL clock starts ticking on a personal injury claim. The discovery rule holds that the SOL period begins to run when the plaintiff first discovered that they might have a legal claim, or when a reasonable person would have first discovered that they might have a claim.
Arkansas Follows Modified Comparative Negligence
Arkansas follows a version of comparative negligence known as modified comparative negligence. According to this rule, if you’re found to be less than 50% at fault in an accident, your portion of the fault reduces the damages you can receive. However, if you’re deemed to be 50% or more responsible, you won’t be able to collect any damages (Ark. Code § 16-64-122).
Here’s an example to illustrate this concept: Suppose you were involved in a car accident with someone named Jack. You filed a lawsuit against Jack, alleging that his negligent driving caused the accident. Jack, on the other hand, claims that you were also at fault and seeks damages from you.
After a trial, the jury determines that your total damages amount to $100,000 and that you were 30% responsible for the accident and Jack was 70% at fault. In this scenario, because you were found to be 30% at fault, you can collect 70% of your $100,000 in damages, which equals $70,000. Jack’s auto insurance company will issue you a check for that amount.
Arkansas Mass Tort Claims
There are a number of national mass torts or “class actions” that involve hundreds of Arkansas plaintiffs, including claims our law firm is handling across the country:
- Hair relaxer lawsuit: recent evidence has shown that long term use of chemical hair relaxer products (most commonly used by African American women) can cause uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine fibroids, and other conditions. This has prompted hundreds of women to file hair relaxer lawsuits.
- Camp Lejeune lawsuit: A new law allowed individuals exposed to the toxic water at the Camp Lejeune marine corps base in North Carolina to file claims for compensation.
- Paraquat Lawsuits: Paraquat is a commercial grade herbicide used in farming. These lawsuits allege that years of chronic exposure to Paraquat can cause early onset Parkinson’s disease.
Arkansas Personal Injury Verdicts and Settlements
Below are summaries of reported settlements and jury verdicts in various recent personal injury cases in Arkansas. These cases provide a broad sample of the potential value of these cases in Arkansas.
$32,000,000 Verdict (2024): A teenager, while experiencing a mental health crisis and armed, was fatally shot by a police officer in an Arkansas city. The family’s wrongful death lawsuit focused on the fact that despite the teenager not posing an immediate threat—he did not point the weapon at officers, discharge it, communicate with them, or attempt to escape—he was shot after starting to lower the gun from his head. The defendants tried to focus on the personal life of the teenager and his family, including attempts to access sealed juvenile records, which probably did not help with the jury who awarded the family a $32 million payout.
$15,000 Verdict (2023): The plaintiff was driving through a shopping center parking lot when she was struck by the defendant. The plaintiff said the collision occurred when the defendant was attempting to back out of a parking spot in the parking lot, and the rear of the defendant’s vehicle struck the passenger side of the plaintiff’s automobile. The plaintiff said she suffered personal injuries, which included torn spinal ligaments, due to the collision. Liability was admitted by the case went to trial on damages.
$2,055,594 Verdict (2023): Plaintiff underwent a bronchoscopy and guided biopsy at a VA medical center. He said he returned to the emergency department days later with fever, chills and fatigue, a sepsis protocol was not activated though he had a suspected infection, and he was discharged. The plaintiff reportedly was taken to the emergency department days later with additional symptoms, including cough and chest pain, was diagnosed with mediastinitis with retropharyngeal abscess, underwent multiple surgical procedures, and was post-operatively diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis. The plaintiff brought an action under the Federal Tort Claims Act asserting negligence in the performance of the bronchoscopy, resulting in an infection.
$306,584 Verdict (2022): The plaintiff was traveling in a vehicle on an interstate bridge when they were required to stop. The plaintiffs said while stopped, their vehicle was struck in the rear by a tractor trailer operated by defendant. The plaintiffs claimed that they suffered unspecified injuries and they sued both the truck driver and the trucking company. The defendants admitted liability but disputed the nature and extent of the plaintiffs’ claimed injuries and damages.
$4,715,062 Verdict (2022): Wrongful death case was brought against VA medical center in Fayetteville alleging that a pathologist incorrectly found a prostate tissue sample to be benign. The plaintiff subsequently died from prostate cancer and the lawsuit claimed that the pathologist was a drug abuser who was intoxicated when he reviewed the sample, resulting in a delay in diagnosis.
Contact Us About Arkansas Injury Cases
If you have a personal injury case in Arkansas we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 800-553-8082 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.