Arkansas Personal Injury Law and Settlements

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

Unlike most southern states, Arkansas has a three-year timeframe to file a lawsuit in court (Ark. Code § 16-56-105) for most injury cases. 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 Damages Cap

There are no caps on damages in Arkansas, meaning the compensation awarded is not limited by statute, allowing for any amount deemed appropriate by the judge or jury​​.

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 Product Liability Law

Arkansas product liability law encompasses various aspects of liability concerning manufacturers, suppliers, and sellers regarding the safety of products from production to consumer use. In Arkansas, the concept of product liability is broad, holding responsible parties accountable for injuries caused by defective products. This includes manufacturers, distributors, and sellers.

The Arkansas Product Liability Act, specifically AR Code § 16-116-202, outlines the definitions relevant to product liability cases, including what constitutes a “defective condition,” “manufacturer,” and “product” among others. Product liability action includes claims brought for personal injury, death, or property damage resulting from the creation, design, assembly, or marketing of any product​​.

Statute of Limitation for Product Liability in Arkansas

Arkansas follows a statute of limitations of three years for product liability actions, meaning that claims must be initiated within three years from the date the injury, death, or damage occurred. It’s critical to understand that this time frame is strict, and failing to file within this period could result in losing the right to pursue compensation regardless of the case’s severity.

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.
  • 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.
  • Social Media Addiction: These are mostly suicide and self harm cases from excessive social media use targeting the efforts these companies made to get these children addicted to social media.
  • Bard PowerPort Lawsuit: Complications including infections associated with the use of Bard PowerPort devices are leading to litigation.
  • Camp Lejeune Lawsuit: Enabled by recent legislation, individuals exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune are now able to file for compensation.
  • Suboxone Lawsuit: Allegation that the makers of this drug knew it caused tooth decay but did not bother to warn doctors and patients until 2022.

Arkansas Medical Malpractice Law

In Arkansas, when it comes to medical malpractice cases, if the negligence in question is not something a jury would understand without special knowledge, the person bringing the lawsuit (plaintiff) must use expert testimony to prove three key points: what the expected standard of care was, how the healthcare provider failed to meet this standard, and that this failure directly caused the plaintiff’s harm. This requirement is outlined in the Arkansas Code, Section 16-114-206(a).

Here are the key aspects of Section 16-114-206 and the cases interpreting this law:

  1. Expert Testimony Requirement: Plaintiffs must provide expert testimony from a medical provider to prove the standard of care, the defendant’s failure to meet this standard, and that this failure directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
  2. Same Specialty Expert No Longer Required: The expert witness providing testimony no longer needs to be from the same medical specialty as the defendant.
  3. Informed Consent: If the lawsuit claims inadequate information for informed consent, the plaintiff must prove that the medical care provider failed to provide customary information for the consent process, considering the treatment wasn’t an emergency, and compare this with what other providers in similar localities would provide. The law considers if a reasonable person could know the risks, if the injured party knew the risks, whether they would have chosen the treatment knowing the risks, and if withholding information was in the patient’s best interest due to possible adverse effects on their condition.

Proximate Cause in Malpractice Lawsuits

In medical malpractice litigation in Arkansas, the concept of proximate cause can be established through indirect evidence. This type of evidence can be adequate to demonstrate proximate cause when the proven facts are closely related in such a way that a reasonable inference can be drawn.

So if there’s sufficient evidence to suggest a link between the defendant’s negligence and the resulting harm, the matter goes to a jury. The question of proximate causation is treated as a legal issue only in situations where there is no room for disagreement among reasonable individuals.

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.  Blaming the victim and the family is always desperate play and the result was the jury awarding 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.


Contact Information