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 generally account for a substantial portion of economic damages in an Arkansas auto accident case. Some commonly incurred medical expenses that are recoverable include:
- Ambulance costs
- Physician visits
- Physical therapy and chiropractic care
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.
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:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- 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.
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.