Negligence is a legal term that describes a situation in which one party failed to demonstrate a duty of care toward another. You can file a compensation claim based on negligence when the other person’s actions cause you an injury or property damage and subsequent financial loss.
Establishing liability in Arkansas car accidents involves your attorney proving negligence existed. Arkansas is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that it assigns liability based on the degree of negligence exhibited by the defendant or the plaintiff.
Under these negligence laws, your detractor can pinpoint some of the blame on you and hold you financially responsible for the accident, at least partially. For specific legal advice about your car accident case, it is best to speak with an Arkansas personal injury lawyer. He or she can devise a strategy that makes the most sense for your situation.
What is Contributory Negligence?
Contributory negligence means that an accident injury victim is unable to make a financial recovery if he or she is even partially at fault. Arkansas is not a contributory negligence state.
In the past, all states followed contributory negligence laws, but they are now widely viewed as being too harsh. States such as Arkansas adopted comparative negligence laws instead. The only states to use contributory negligence are Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Maryland.
Here is an example of contributory negligence:
If a judge or jury determines that you were at 10 percent fault for the accident, you are unable to make a recovery for your damages—even though the other driver was at 90 percent fault. This situation is understandably frustrating for individuals pinned with medical bills and other losses that were mainly caused by someone else’s negligent actions.
As you can imagine, challenging fault is difficult under contributory negligence laws. If you are found to be even one percent at fault, you are ineligible for coverage related to your accident injuries. Fortunately, Arkansas does not adhere to contributory negligence laws.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence is viewed as a more just approach in terms of assigning liability. Comparative negligence states designate liability by a percentage of fault while allowing victims to recover money by that percentage.
For example, if your medical bills are $50,000, but you are found to be 25 percent at fault, then you will receive $37,500 for expenses you did not cause. The remaining amount will be your responsibility.
There are two types of statutory comparative negligence laws:
- Pure comparative negligence
- Modified comparative negligence
Pure comparative negligence operates as described in the situation above. What makes modified comparative negligence different from pure comparative negligence is how it is treated when the plaintiff is more at fault.
What is Modified Comparative Negligence?
Arkansas is a modified comparative negligence state. Modified comparative negligence is different from pure comparative negligence in that it recognizes the 50 percent rule.
The 50 percent rule stipulates that if the plaintiff is found to be more than 50 percent at fault, he or she cannot claim any damages or financial awards. In other words, if you are found to be even 50.1 percent at fault, you forfeit your entitlement to an Arkansas personal injury restitution.
This type of assignment is “modified” in that it is different from traditional negligence matters: while it is not as strict as contributory negligence, it is not as loose as pure comparative fault.
Modified Comparative Negligence Requires the Plaintiff to Play Offense & Defense
Since Arkansas is a modified comparative negligence state, you should anticipate proving your losses as well as defending claims by the other party that you are partially or totally at fault for the injuries and property damage caused by the accident.
While you have full liberty to represent yourself in court, hiring an Arkansas personal injury lawyer allows you to work with a legal professional who has in-depth knowledge and experience in matters of modified comparative negligence. Doing so also allows you to focus on your physical and emotional recovery while your lawyer pursues your detractors for your losses.
Contact Milligan Law Offices for a free consultation to learn more about your options, as well as potential case strategy and monetary awards that are on the table for you or your family members. We charge nothing up-front to represent your claim.
Request your no-cost case evaluation with our legal team by calling (479) 783-2213 or submitting a message through our private contact form.