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Arizona Auto Accident Laws & Resources

If you have been in a car accident, you have important rights under Arkansas auto accident laws. Arkansas roadways are among the most dangerous in the country. According to the Arkansas State Police, there were 282 car accident fatalities in Arkansas during the first 6 months of 2020. That’s a 16% increase from 2019.

Many residents may be unfamiliar with Arkansas auto accident laws. This means successfully navigating the claims process can prove challenging. In this guide, we will discuss some important Arkansas auto accident laws. These laws may be important to your case. For more information about your rights under Arkansas law and to determine what your case might be worth, contact an experienced Arkansas auto accident lawyer today.

Comparative Negligence in Arkansas Auto Accident Cases

Arkansas is an at-fault state. This means that at fault drivers are responsible for covering losses such as medical bills and property damages. Drivers in Arkansas maintain liability insurance to cover losses that other drivers incur.

Arkansas auto accident laws follow a modified comparative negligence standard. Under Ark. Code Ann. § 16-64-122, a party injured in a car accident can recover damages from any party that was more at fault for the accident. But damages will reduce by his or her percentage of fault for the accident.

For example, suppose you are in a car accident on Interstate 30 in Arkansas. You suffer significant injuries. Subsequently, you file a lawsuit against the other driver and his insurance company. The jury finds that you are entitled to a total damage award of $150,000. However, you were 20% responsible for the accident. Your damages of $150,000 will reduce by $30,000 (20%) for a total award of $120,000. If you were more than 50% at fault for the car accident, however, you would not be able to recover under Arkansas auto accident laws.

Arkansas Auto Accident Laws Statute of Limitations

The Arkansas statute of limitations sets forth the amount of time that a party has to file a lawsuit. This limits a person’s ability to recover damages for injuries suffered in a car accident. Under Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-105 you must file a lawsuit within 3 years from the date of the car accident. If you fail to file your lawsuit by the deadline, it will likely result in a case dismissal.  At this point, you will be unable to recover damages through the courts.

The Arkansas statute of limitations does not apply to a settlement with the insurance company. In other words, there is no deadline for reaching a settlement. But if you fail to settle by the time the statute of limitations deadline has passed, the insurance company has little incentive to reach a settlement. This is due to the fact that you lack recourse through the court system.

Missing the deadline set by the Arkansas statute of limitations can prevent you from getting the settlement you deserve. Hiring an experience Arkansas auto accident lawyer can help you to protect your rights.

Arkansas Auto Accident Laws for Accidents Involving Uninsured Drivers

When it comes to uninsured drivers, Arkansas has one of the highest rates in the country. Studies show 19.3% of all drivers not having car insurance. If you are in a car accident in Arkansas and the other driver does not have insurance, you have several legal options:

  • Sue the other driver. You can file a lawsuit naming the other driver as the defendant. But collecting on any judgment may prove difficult if he or she does not have assets. 
  • Sue a third party. It is possible that a third-party is at-fault for the accident. For example, the other driver may have recently had new brakes installed that failed. This could potentially allow you to sue a third-party.
  • File an uninsured motorist (UM) claim. If you have UM insurance, you may be able to seek compensation from your insurance company.

Arkansas Minimum Insurance Liability Coverage Amounts

In Arkansas, each motor vehicle must have liability insurance. The minimum insurance liability coverage amounts are:

  • $25,000 for property damage caused by the driver of the insured vehicle
  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death in a car accident
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury or death liability

Note that the above are minimums. You are free to purchase an insurance policy with higher coverage limits. Higher coverage limits will protect you from personal liability. This is important in the event that you are at-fault for a serious car accident resulting in substantial damages.

The at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other damages to the injured parties. However, your insurance company will not pay for your injuries unless you purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. As a practical matter, PIP coverage of at least $5,000 comes with every insurance policy but a policyholder can cancel this.

In Arkansas, drivers also have the option to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. While not mandatory, UM coverage is good to have. In the event you are in a car accident in Arkansas with an uninsured driver, you can collect from your insurance company up to the policy limit.

Penalties for Driving without Car Insurance in Arkansas

In Arkansas, it is illegal to drive a vehicle without proof of insurance. Those caught driving without insurance face the following penalties:

  • Mandatory fine of $50 to $250 for the first offense. The responding officer may remove your license plates and give you a temporary bumper sticker. This allows you to use your car for 10 days. If you submit proof of insurance before the 10 days is up, your fine will be waived and your plates returned.
  • Mandatory fine of $250 to $500 for the second offense. Like the first offense, the responding officer can remove your plates and give you a temporary bumper sticker. If you provide proof of insurance within 10 days you will get your plates back but will have to pay the minimum fine.
  • Mandatory fine of $500 to $1,000 for the third offense. Conviction of a third offense is a Class C misdemeanor in Arkansas, punishable by up to 1 year in jail. After conviction, you cannot reinstate your driving privileges until you have completed your sentence.

If you are in a car accident and found to be at-fault but do not have insurance, you will be personally responsible for paying injured parties’ damages.

 

Types of Damages in Arkansas Auto Accident Cases

In Arkansas there are several different types of damages that injured parties can recover, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property Losses

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses generally account for a substantial portion of economic damages in an Arkansas auto accident case. Some commonly incurred medical expenses that are recoverable include:

  • Hospitalizations
  • Ambulance costs
  • Physician visits
  • Physical therapy and chiropractic care
  • Medication
  • Surgeries

Arkansas auto accident laws also allow plaintiffs to recover future medical expenses. To establish the costs of future medical treatment, an Arkansas car accident lawyer will hire a medical expert. Car accident victims that are not represented by a lawyer often make the mistake of accepting an insurance settlement that does not include compensation for future medical expenses.

Lost Wages

Those injured in a car accident in Arkansas are often forced to miss time from work. This entitles them to compensation for lost wages. You can also recover damages for a permanent reduction in income. This may be the case if you are unable to return to the same job that you held before the accident. Calculating the full extent of your lost wages can be complex. An experienced Arkansas car accident lawyer can establish your diminished earning capacity. They can convince the insurance company and/or a jury of the extent of your damages.

Pain and Suffering

Under Arkansas auto accident laws car accident victims may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is a legal term that describes both emotional and physical injuries suffered in a personal injury case. Some common examples of pain and suffering include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Disability
  • Physical limitations
  • Chronic pain
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

The amount of pain and suffering damages in an Arkansas car accident case is subjective. The determination depends on the unique facts of the case. An experienced Arkansas car accident attorney can convince the court and/or insurance company of the extent of your pain and suffering. They will ensure that you receive adequate compensation for your injuries.

Property Losses

The at-fault driver is liable for paying for property losses including the costs of repairing your vehicle.

Recovering Damages in an Arkansas Auto Accident Case

If you have been in a car accident in Arkansas, you are legally required to report the accident if:

  • The accident resulted in an injury or death; or
  • There were property damages that exceeded $1,000.

If you are in an accident, you must report it to the Arkansas Office of Driver Services within 30 days following the crash. You will also need to report the accident to your insurance company. The insurance company will work with the other driver’s insurance company to make a fault determination.

The at-fault driver’s insurance company will be responsible for paying for the damages incurred. If you are at fault for the accident, your insurance company will pay for any damage to your vehicle under your collision coverage.

Typically, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will attempt to settle a claim before a lawsuit. The insurance company will often make a lowball settlement offer to take advantage of unrepresented parties. This is why it is crucial to be familiar with Arkansas auto accident laws.

In addition to attempting to settle your claim with the insurance company, you have the option of filing a lawsuit. The lawsuit will name the insurance company, the other driver, and potentially third-party defendants. It may be necessary to file a lawsuit to avoid the expiration of the Arkansas statute of limitations. This preserves the right to file a lawsuit while continuing to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.

Filing a Lawsuit

It may also be necessary to file a lawsuit if the insurance company is unwilling to budge on their settlement offer. By going to trial you may be able to get more compensation from a jury. To recover damages at trial, you must prove that the other party was negligent. From a legal standpoint this means that the other party failed to exercise a reasonable standard of care which caused the accident.

An experienced Arkansas auto accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation that you deserve. This can happen either by negotiating with the insurance company or pursuing your claim at trial.

 

Arkansas Auto Accident Laws Resources

If you have been in a car accident in Arkansas, the following resources can provide you with important information on the next steps.

  • If you have sustained injuries, you will likely want to consult with an experienced Arkansas car accident lawyer to discuss your rights and options. The Lawsuit Info Center can help you find a reputable car accident lawyer with a proven track record.
  • If the police were called, you can obtain a copy of the police report from the local police department. For a complete list of all police departments in the state of Arkansas, click here.

Get Help With Arkansas Auto Accident Laws

Have you or someone you know been in a motor vehicle accident or otherwise injured in Arkansas? Find out how much financial compensation you may be legally entitled to in just minutes with our free online injury Settlement Calculator.

If you need help getting in touch with a lawyer in your area, Lawsuit Info Center can help. Reach out to us today, risk free.