In a Arkansas negligence action, the plaintiff has to show that the defendant had a duty of care, that they did something, or failed to do something which breached that duty, and the breach proximately caused injury to the plaintiff.
Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. Sec. 16-64-122, Arkansas follows a “modified” comparative fault system. Under this doctrine, a plaintiff is completely barred from recovering where the jury determines the plaintiff’s fault was equal to or greater than the fault of the defendant (50% or higher). If the jury finds the plaintiff’s fault is less than that of the defendant, however, the plaintiff may recover but the damages award will be reduced by the apportionment of fault allocated to the plaintiff by the jury.
A.C.A. Sec 16-64-122 further provides that in all personal injury cases in which recovery is predicated on fault, liability is determined by comparing the fault chargeable to the plaintiff with the fault chargeable to the defendants. The term, “fault,” is defined as being, “any act, omission, conduct, risk assumed, breach of warranty, or breach of any legal duty which is a proximate cause of any damages sustained by any party.”
Arkansas code 16-55-201 states that in assessing percentages of fault, the court is to consider the fault of all people who contributed to the alleged injury, regardless of whether the person(s) was named as a party to the lawsuit.
Arkansas is a several liability state whereby a defendant is liable only for that portion of a damages award which is directly proportionate to that defendant’s percentage of fault.
Compensatory damages are awarded by a Court to compensate the plaintiff for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant(s). The award is meant to restore the plaintiff – as much as possible – to the condition they were in prior to the injury occurring.
In Arkansas, compensatory damage awards include:
- Medical bills
- Loss of normal life
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of income, earning, wages
Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant rather than to compensate the plaintiff. In Arkansas, whether a court decides to grant punitive damages will depend upon the defendant’s conduct. If the defendant is found to have acted with malice, it is likely that a court will award punitive damages. However, if the defendant was merely negligent and did not act with malice, punitive damages will not be granted.
The law firm of Walker Morgan is located at 135 E Main St., Lexington, SC 29072. All lawyers at Walker Morgan are licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina. Should you wish to retain our firm for legal representation regarding a potential case in any other jurisdiction we are required to associate local counsel in that foreign jurisdiction and seek permission from a court of the foreign jurisdiction to temporarily engage in the practice of law therein for purposes of pursuing your potential claim only.
By offering the following information the lawyers at Walker Morgan are not offering legal advice or legal guidance. The lawyers at Walker Morgan are not licensed to practice law in Arkansas. Should you have a question/concern specific to Arkansas law, please contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Arkansas.