In most cases, the Arkansas personal injury statute of limitations is three years from the date of the injury. This means that if you suffer a personal injury, you typically have three years from the day the incident occurred to file a civil lawsuit for damages. The Little Rock personal injury attorneys at Denton & Zachary in Little Rock, Arkansas, can help you understand the laws that apply to your case, including deadlines.
Why Is There an Arkansas Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations ensures victims bring forward claims while evidence, including witness testimonies and physical proof, remains fresh and reliable.
Over time, memories can fade and evidence can deteriorate or disappear, compromising the integrity of the legal proceedings. The timeframe also encourages injured parties to pursue their claims diligently, ensuring a sense of urgency to seek redress.
Finally, the statute promotes judicial efficiency. Older cases could overrun the court without a time limit, stretching the resources too thin. Arkansas’s statute of limitations strikes a balance between the rights of injured parties to seek justice and the need for a basis in timeliness and reliable evidence for legal proceedings.
Cases that fall under personal injury laws
Personal injury attorneys play a vital role in advocating for individuals who suffered harm due to the negligence or intentional actions of others. These legal professionals cover a variety of cases that fall under the umbrella of personal injury law.
Examples of cases where the Arkansas personal injury statute of limitations applies include:
- Motor vehicle accidents: These involve injuries and property damage resulting from car, truck, motorcycle and other collisions. Such accidents commonly stem from traffic violations or poorly maintained roads.
- Slip and fall accidents: These cases occur when a person suffers an injury due to dangerous conditions on someone else’s property. Premises liability is the legal concept governing these cases.
- Workplace accidents: Outside the typical workers’ compensation system, injuries sustained at work can result in personal injury claims. This includes cases where an employer’s gross negligence or a third party’s actions lead to a worker’s injury.
- Assault and battery: Cases with intentionally harmful actions by one person lead to another person’s injury can result in a lawsuit for damages. The at-fault party in these cases can face criminal charges and a civil claim simultaneously.
While the statute of limitations applies to each case, the civil laws that govern them vary. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney ensures you have a legal representative well-versed in the process for your case and the evidence necessary to build a solid claim.
Arkansas statute for wrongful death and product liability claims
The Arkansas personal injury statute of limitations for wrongful death and product liability lawsuits differs from the general three-year deadline applied to most personal injury claims.
An estate representative or family member can bring a wrongful death claim for damages following the death of a loved one who suffered a personal injury.
In Arkansas, you have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a lawsuit. The shorter timeframe reflects the gravity of the loss and the need for timely resolution for grieving families.
Product liability cases involve holding manufacturers, distributors and retailers responsible for producing or distributing unsafe products to consumers.
Arkansas does not have a statute of repose for product liability claims. Victims still have three years to file a lawsuit. However, the clock begins to tick when the person learns of their injury, sometimes much later than when they used the product. This discovery rule is sometimes the case with long-term use of defective medications.
What Happens if the Civil Statute of Limitations Passes?
If you miss the statute of limitations in Arkansas, the court will likely dismiss your case without hearing your argument. Failing to file your lawsuit within the prescribed timeframe means you lose the legal right to seek compensation from the responsible party. Even if your claim is valid and the defendant was clearly at fault, missing the deadline renders the claim non-actionable in most cases. However, there are exceptions.
Exceptions to the Arkansas personal injury statute of limitations
While the statute of limitations sets strict deadlines for filing a personal injury lawsuit, certain exceptions can extend or pause the clock. If the injured party was under 21 when the injury occurred, the statute of limitations timeline does not start until they turn 21. They then have three years from that date to initiate a lawsuit. When a defective product breach of warranty results in a product liability claim, the victim has an extended period of four years to file a lawsuit.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Build a Timely Case?
By navigating the complexities of the legal process using expertise and experience, personal injury attorneys can significantly enhance the chances of a successful outcome for your case. The primary responsibilities of a personal injury attorney include:
- Collecting pertinent evidence, such as photographs, witness testimonies and medical reports, to substantiate your claim
- Engaging with insurance companies to secure favorable settlement terms
- Drafting and filing legal documents and ensuring their timely submission to the court
- Advising you on the best course of action, ensuring informed decisions throughout the process
- Advocating for you in court when negotiations for a settlement do not lead to a satisfactory outcome
Engaging a personal injury attorney ensures you have a dedicated professional overseeing each step, making sure that you meet all deadlines and presenting your case in its strongest form. By entrusting these experts, you can focus on recovering from your injuries and rebuilding your life while someone experienced in personal injury law defends your rights.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Arkansas About the Statute of Limitations on Your Case
If you suffered an injury in an incident caused by someone else’s negligence, you likely have questions about your ability to recover compensation for damages and the Arkansas personal injury statute of limitations.
Our personal injury attorneys can help. At Denton & Zachary, we fight to protect your rights and will walk you through every step of the legal process, battling combative insurance companies and ensuring you meet all legal deadlines. Contact us in Little Rock, Arkansas to schedule your free consultation. We will get started on your case immediately.