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What Does It Mean that Arkansas is a Modified Comparative Negligence State?

Personal injury law may sound like something that you do not need to know about or get involved with, but, should you be injured in a motor vehicle accident, having a basic understanding can be very helpful. For instance, did you know that establishing liability is a critical element in pursuing compensation in a personal injury claim? In order to establish liability, you must be able to demonstrate that another party involved in the accident was negligent in causing your injuries. Negligence plays a central role in a personal injury case. It is important for you to have a basic understanding of what it is and how it can impact your right to recover compensation for your injuries.

Arkansas as a Modified Comparative Negligence State

In its most general sense, negligence is a failure to act with a level of care expected of a reasonable person under similar circumstances. To prove negligence, a plaintiff, the injured party bringing the claim, must be able to show that:

  • The other party owed him or her a legal duty
  • The other party failed to uphold, or “breached,” that duty
  • The plaintiff suffered an injury
  • The other party’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injury

While in many accident cases, one party will be held responsible for causing the accident which led to injury, other times multiple parties will be found to carry part of the fault. How this could impact your right to recover compensation will depend on state law.

Arkansas is referred to as a “modified comparative negligence state.” This means that each party will be assigned a percentage of fault if they contributed to causing a crash. A party’s right to recover will be limited by the percentage of fault they are assigned. The modified comparative negligence standard applies in Arkansas when an accident victim is determined to be no more than 49 percent at fault for the crash. This means that those individuals assigned 49 percent or less of the fault may recover compensation for their injuries, but the award will be reduced by their percentage at fault. For instance, if a plaintiff is found to be 10 percent at fault for causing an accident resulting in $10,000 in damages, that plaintiff will be entitled to receive $9,000. 

Arkansas is considered to be a modified comparative negligence state because it has a 50 percent bar rule. If an accident victim is found to be 50 percent or greater at fault in causing an accident, he or she will be barred from recovering compensation for injuries sustained in the accident. This is more in line with a contributory negligence rule. In a pure comparative negligence state, a plaintiff can be found 99 percent at fault in causing an accident and still have a right to recover that remaining 1 percent available to them in damages.

Personal Injury Attorney

The specific personal injury laws of each state can have a substantial impact on your right to recover compensation for losses sustained as the result of an accident. At the Law Offices of Bryce Cook, we are well versed in all relevant personal injury laws and we use that knowledge to be effective advocates for our clients. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.