A personal injury lawsuit can arise under a variety of circumstances. When a person is injured due to the negligence of another person, they should be aware of their rights to pursue a claim against that negligent party. However, it may be prudent to seek the aid of an experienced attorney when filing a lawsuit in Arkansas. If you or a family member was injured due to the negligence of another, consult with an experienced Fayetteville, AR personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is dedicated to providing you with the legal representation that you need to pursue your personal injury lawsuit. We understand how an accident can affect your life, and we are here for you in your time of need. Personal injury attorney Ken Kieklak is here to discuss how to file a personal injury lawsuit in Arkansas.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Step by Step in Arkansas
An injury case starts with the accident or injury itself. The very first point in your case will be what you do at the time of the accident. If you simply ignore the injury and tell any at-fault parties that it isn’t a big deal, then return to your day, it is likely that you will not have the information necessary to know whom to sue. Furthermore, if your injuries go without medical treatment, you will not have proof that they occurred on the same day as the accident, let alone proof that they were caused by the accident. This means that the first things you should do after an accident are…
- Report the accident to the police or the owner of the property where you were injured so that an accident report can be made.
- Seek medical treatment to start treating your injuries and to document any injuries you sustained in the accident.
- Get the contact information for any at-fault parties or witnesses so you know whom to file your claim against and whom to call as witnesses.
After that, call an Arkansas personal injury lawyer to start working on the case, as there are many other steps that you will need their assistance for:
Filing the Claim in Court
In many cases, injury victims assume insurance claims will be enough to cover their injuries. In some cases, this is true, and our attorneys can help you file an insurance claim instead. However, when insurance companies fail to cooperate with negotiations or refuse to pay full damages for your injuries, you need to turn to the courts.
When you file your initial claim, you will submit a “complaint” that lays out the “prima facie” case. This means clearly stating the facts of what happened to you and how those facts show that the at-fault party breached some legal duty they owed you, causing your injuries.
Notice and Service
To properly file a case against a driver, a property owner, a product manufacturer, or some other responsible party, you will need to notify them of the case and “serve” them with the proper paperwork. This gives them notice of the case against them and an opportunity to respond – something that is absolutely necessary for due process.
To properly serve a defendant, Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4 requires that an approved person deliver a copy of the court summons and the complaint to the defendant. The court can authorize people to be process servers, or the sheriff’s department can deliver the documents. Sometimes certified mail can also be used. Your lawyer can help make sure that your case is filed and that the defendant is properly served so that you can proceed with your case.
Once you file your case, you should expect a response from the defendant. Usually with the help of their insurance company and a legal team, the defendant will submit paperwork to deny the allegations and try to get your case against them thrown out. It often requires multiple rounds of court submissions and sometimes in-court hearings to get past these initial stages without having the case thrown out. If the case survives these initial rounds – which it should if you have a strong case – then the case can progress to evidence exchange and, eventually, trial.
Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney for a Lawsuit in Arkansas
Many people are concerned about how they can seek compensation after being injured in an accident. For example, if a victim of a car accident or a slip and fall injury in Arkansas cannot get the compensation they need from an insurance claim, they could file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent person that caused their injury.
Get Help Filing
To file a personal injury lawsuit, a claimant must draft a complaint and file it with an appropriate court of law that is authorized to adjudicate the lawsuit. For example, if your car accident occurred in a different county than the one you reside in, you may have to file your claim with a court in that county.
Additionally, there are various requirements that must be met for a complaint to be accepted by the court. For example, if the court believes that a plaintiff did not properly state their claim, the complaint could be denied and will have to be corrected. This can be a tedious process for a potential plaintiff that may have to deal with various other problems caused by the accident.
Fortunately, a victim of a car accident does not have to file their case alone. An experienced Fayetteville, AR car accident lawyer could help alleviate their concerns. Our firm understands the many reasons that a victim may avoid hiring a lawyer. However, there are a variety of benefits that a lawyer can provide for you.
One benefit of hiring an Arkansas personal injury lawyer is that they will handle all aspects of your case from start to finish. Our firm will listen to your story and ensure that it is properly conveyed when drafting a complaint with the court. Additionally, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case. Our goal is to work with you to fight for the compensation you deserve.
There are many other benefits to hiring an attorney to handle your personal injury lawsuit:
- Familiarity with the laws of Arkansas that apply to your case
- Experience with arguing within Arkansas courts
- Various staff members dedicated to working on your case
This is not an exhaustive list. We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about the benefits we can provide. To learn more about when to file a personal injury lawsuit in Arkansas, you should consult with an experienced Arkansas personal injury attorney.
When to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Arkansas
As mentioned, there are a variety of benefits to working with a Crawford County personal injury lawyer. For example, an experienced attorney will ensure that your case is timely filed in accordance with the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations determines the amount of years that a potential plaintiff has to file a lawsuit with a court of law.
The statute of limitations can vary depending on the circumstances of a plaintiff’s case. For example, a general personal injury lawsuit may have a different filing deadline than a medical negligence lawsuit. While the Arkansas Code usually gives victims 3 years to file personal injury cases, injury claims based on medical malpractice only have a 2-year statute of limitations under Arkansas Code § 16-114-203.
If a plaintiff does not file their personal injury lawsuit within three years, their claim could be barred by law. This may happen if the defendant in the case moves for a dismissal of the case due to the violation of the statute of limitations or if the court blocks the case on its own. If the court bars a personal injury lawsuit, it could mean that the victim has exhausted all options to seek compensation for their injuries.
A potential plaintiff should refrain from making assumptions about the statute of limitations for their case. If a miscalculation is made, the potential plaintiff could believe they have more time to file their lawsuit. An experienced attorney can help you determine when the statute of limitations began to run for your case. Additionally, while three years is a generous amount of time to file a lawsuit, waiting too long to file your case could make a firm hesitant to accept your case at the last minute.
Extending the Deadline for Filing an Injury Claim in Arkansas
Although it is better to file your case early, many victims of injuries in Arkansas find out too late that they are entitled to file an injury case. In some cases, the deadline to file can be extended through “tolling” rules. These rules essentially pause the clock, giving you extra time to file your case before the statute of limitations period begins to run again.
In some cases, the “discovery rule” might give you extra time to file your case. This rule essentially says that if you could not have discovered the injury and its cause, you might be able to toll the statute of limitations until it is discovered or should have been discovered. In the case of foreign objects left inside after surgery, which is one of the most common times this discovery rule is used, you must file the claim within 1 year after it is discovered or should have been discovered.
Fraudulent concealment can also toll the statute of limitations. Again, this usually comes up in cases involving medical negligence where the doctor gave a false reason for continued pain or discomfort instead of revealing that there were complications or instances of negligence. Once you discover the true cause, the statute of limitations can begin running again.
Minors and Disabilities
The last way that statutes of limitations can often be extended is for a disability or for minors. In Arkansas, anyone who is “insane” when the injury happens or anyone who is under the age of 21 can wait until that condition goes away before the statute of limitations starts running. This means that anyone injured before they turn 21 can wait until they turn 21 to file a civil personal injury case. Similarly, people with disabilities can wait until the disability is cleared before the deadline starts to run.
Medical malpractice cases involving minors often have intermediate deadlines to file depending on how young the child was when the injury occurred. These rules often require that the case still be filed before the child’s 11th or 19th birthday, so talk to a lawyer about medical malpractice cases involving minors.
Don’t Wait to File
Even though some of these rules might give you more time to file, it is still important to talk to a Bentonville, AR personal injury lawyer quickly and start building evidence to make sure that your case can be submitted and that there is enough evidence to win the case once you file it in court.
Consult with Our Experienced Arkansas Personal Injury Attorney to Discuss Your Potential Claim
If you were a victim of a severe accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Personal injury attorney Ken Kieklak has litigated a variety of personal injury claims over the course of his 20-year career, and he would be honored to fight for you. You do not have to fight your case alone. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your claim, contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, at (479) 316-0438. You can also contact the firm by using our online submission form.
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