Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
When a person is a victim of a car accident, there arises a question of who is liable for causing the accident. The laws for determining fault in a car accident can vary from state to state. Understanding your state’s laws can help you create a plan to pursue compensation after an accident. If you or a family member were injured in a car accident, you should consult with an experienced Fayetteville car accident lawyer today. Victims of a car accident in Arkansas should be aware of the state’s fault rules. Fortunately, Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is here to explain whether Arkansas is a no-fault state for car accidents.
How Arkansas At-Fault Car Insurance Laws Work
Arkansas is an at-fault state when it comes to liability for a car accident. This affects how a victim of a car accident can pursue compensation for their injuries. In an at-fault car insurance state, the victim of the car accident can pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier immediately after the accident.
Alternatively, no-fault car insurance states require that a victim of car crash must first pursue compensation from their own insurance carrier. For example, if a victim suffers a broken bone in a car crash in a no-fault insurance state, they will be unable to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver immediately. Instead, the victim must use the personal injury protection provided by their insurance carrier. If the victim’s personal injury protection is not sufficient to cover their medical expenses, vehicle damage, and other related expenses, they may then pursue a lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Under the at-fault car insurance laws instituted by Arkansas, the victim can pursue compensation in various ways from the start. For example, the car accident victim can initially request compensation from the negligent driver’s insurance company, or they can turn to their own insurance company. If the victim believes neither option will cover the expenses for their injuries and financial losses, they can also choose to file a personal injury lawsuit.
To learn more about how to prove negligence in a car accident lawsuit, you should continue reading and contact an experienced Arkansas car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Arkansas Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
Many personal injury lawsuits are based on a theory of negligence. For a plaintiff to recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must meet the requirements set by the “modified comparative negligence” rule that was adopted by Arkansas.
The modified comparative negligence rule allocates fault for an accident by using percentages. For example, a jury or judge may decide that a plaintiff was 5% negligent for an accident while a defendant was 95% negligent. If a plaintiff is found partially at fault for a car crash, the damages awarded to the plaintiff will be reduced by the percentage of their negligence. For instance, the plaintiff in the previous scenario would lose 5% of their damages due to their role in the car accident.
Note, however, that Arkansas also uses the 50% rule when allocating fault. This rule states that if a plaintiff’s level of fault is equal to or more than 50%, the plaintiff cannot recover damages for their losses at all. The 50% rule can be frustrating as a plaintiff could lose any hope of recovering compensation because of a seemingly insignificant percentage of fault. For example, a jury may decide that a plaintiff is 50.1% negligent, which will bar the plaintiff from recovery.
To avoid scenarios where a plaintiff is barred from recovery, a person must operate their vehicle with care at all times—committing negligent actions like texting while driving or operating a vehicle while fatigued can result in a loss of damages or a total bar from recovering damages. Contacting a Fayetteville negligent driver car accident lawyer could help you in your case.
Proving Negligence in a Lawsuit
While a plaintiff in a car accident case must show how they did not act negligently, they must also show the actions the defendant took that should make them liable for the crash. To prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, a plaintiff must satisfy the following four elements:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care (to avoid driving negligently)
- The defendant breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff
- The plaintiff was injured due to the breach by the defendant
- The plaintiff suffered an injury or other losses that a court of law can compensate
All four of these elements must be satisfied for a victim to be awarded damages. Damages are typically split into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are used for issues like medical expenses, costs of medication, repairs for a vehicle, and similar expenses. Non-economic damages are for pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other losses that are difficult to quantify.
In some cases, a plaintiff may even be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are reserved for punishing a defendant that committed a particularly heinous act. For example, purposely ramming your car into another motorist because they failed to use a turn signal would be a scenario where punitive damages may be awarded.
Contact Our Skilled Arkansas Car Accident Attorney to Discuss Your Case
If you or a family member was the victim of a car crash, contact an experienced Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer today. Personal injury attorney Ken Kieklak possesses over 20 years of legal experience litigating a variety of injury claims, and he would be pleased to work with you. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your claim, contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, at (479) 316-0438. Ken Kieklak may also be contacted using our online submission form.
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