A bus accident can cause traumatic injuries. While insurance may be available to cover some costs of recovery, filing a lawsuit in a court of law may be the best way to recover full compensation for things like pain and suffering. However, Arkansas law only allows you a limited time to file your case. If you are severely injured after the bus accident, you may not be well enough to file – but the clock continues to run. Contact an attorney as soon as you can after an accident to begin the filing process and save your case from being filed too late. For a free consultation on your case, contact Fayetteville bus accident lawyer Ken Kieklak today.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
Most court cases that you can file have statutes written in Arkansas’ code that dictate how long you have to file the case. These statutes and time limits are called “statutes of limitations,” and serve multiple purposes.
First, they prevent old, unreliable evidence from coming into court. Some evidence decays over time, and it becomes increasingly unreliable the older it is. Human memory is perhaps the piece of evidence that most strongly fades over time. Much of a personal injury case for something like a bus accident will be based on what the victim, the driver, other drivers, and other passengers testify about the accident. Asking them about the crash mere days after it happens is far more reliable than asking them years after.
Second, it becomes unfair to file a case years or decades after the injury occurs. If someone is severely injured – physically or financially – they need compensation as soon as possible. If you wait too long, it appears you are getting on okay without the compensation. It may even appear that you were okay with being injured, and are intentionally not seeking compensation. Whether that’s true or you are simply waiting until you are healthier, a set time limit removes any doubt from the process.
Along with the second point, setting a deadline also prevents old cases from coming back to haunt people. Rather than the defendant looking over their shoulder for decades, wondering if the lawsuit will be filed, there is only a limited time for them to worry about being sued.
What Deadlines Apply to Filing a Bus Accident Lawsuit?
In Arkansas, the statute of limitations for any personal, bodily injury is 3 years. This covers all types of injury, including car accidents, bus accidents, slip and falls, and any other accidental injury. This 3-year deadline is actually more generous than many states, which only allow 2 years for filing a personal injury lawsuit.
The 3-year deadline only applies to filing your case. This means that you do not need to research your case, gather all evidence, take the case to trial, and achieve a verdict within 3 years. Instead, you merely need the facts related to the claim and the contact information for the parties to be sued. This information is compiled into a “complaint,” which your attorney files at the courthouse. As long as this initial filing is completed within 3 years of the bus accident, your case should not be blocked by the statute of limitations. A Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer can help you figure this out.
Can I Extend the Statute of Limitations for a Bus Accident Case in Arkansas?
The statute of limitations fully blocks a case from succeeding if you file it too late. If you file your case past the deadline – even if you are only a few weeks or months late – the defendant can raise the statute of limitations as a complete defense to the accusations. However, there are limited situations where you can get an extension on the statute of limitations and save your case.
If you are legally “disabled,” you can seek an extension on the statute of limitations. Being disabled effectively pauses the countdown on the statute of limitations (known as “tolling” the statute of limitations). You are not considered “disabled” in this context for physical injuries, but rather if you are a minor or mentally “insane” when the accident occurred.
If you were under the age of 21 or suffering from severe mental health issues, your deadline should be extended. Instead of having 3 years from the date of the accident to file, you have 3 years from the time your disability ends. That means that if you were a minor, you have until 3 years after your 21st birthday. If you were mentally insane, you have 3 years from the date you became “sane.”
Fayetteville Bus Accident Attorney
Ozark Regional Transit (ORT) provides bus service throughout the Fayetteville area and additional services for disabled and elderly riders who need transportation. While the ORT offers a necessary service to Northwest Arkansas, that does not give the ORT license to hire unsafe drivers or put riders and other vehicles in danger on the road.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident on an the Ozark Regional Transit (ORT), contact Arkansas Ozark Regional Transit accident lawyer Ken Kieklak today to discuss your best options.
After a bus accident, it is important to talk to an attorney about your injuries. You may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the bus driver and the bus company. However, you must file your case within Arkansas’ 3-year statute of limitations. To talk to Fayetteville personal injury lawyer Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law about starting the legal process, contact our law offices today at (479) 316-0438.