Known for their toughness, most people in the great state of Arkansas rarely imagine the need to file a product liability lawsuit. But if your tractor or float trip gear causes an injury or property damage, that's the type of legal action you'll take in order to seek compensation and hold the manufacturer accountable for making a dangerous and defective product.
Below are a some of Arkansas's key product liability laws, followed by more in-depth explanations of the state's filing deadlines, damages limitations, defenses to liability, and more.
|Statute of Limitations||
3 years (Sec. 16-116-103)
|Discovery Rule Used||Yes (Martin v. Arthur, 3 S.W.3d 684, 690 (Ark. 1999))|
|Statute of Repose||No|
|Limits on Damages||
No economic loss rule (Farm Bureau Ins. Co. v. Case Corp., 878 S.W.2d 741 (Ark. 1994))
|Comparative Fault||Modified Comparative Fault (Sec. 16-64-122)|
In Arkansas, you have three years from the date of injury or property damage in which to file a product liability lawsuit. However, despite this statute of limitations, the state's discovery rule says that the clock doesn't start until you knew, or should have discovered, the connection between the product and the harm you suffered.
Limits on Damages
Arkansas uses a modified comparative negligence standard to prohibit damages where the plaintiff is 50 percent or more at fault for the accident. If you're less than 50 percent to blame, your damages will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. So, a $60,000 award will be reduced to $45,000 if you are 25 percent at fault for your own injuries.
Unlike many states, Arkansas does not follow the economic loss rule, so you can pursue a case even if the only damage that occurred was to the product itself. However, you would still need to show that the defective product was unreasonably dangerous and posed an actual threat to people or property.
Theories of Liability
In Arkansas, a product liability action may be based on negligence or strict liability and may include claims of design defect; manufacturing defect; or failures of warning, instruction, and marketing.
In design defect cases, there is something inherently wrong with the manufacturer's design, while a manufacturing defect occurs during the production process and strays from an otherwise safe design. Marketing defects include insufficient instructions and inadequate warnings. Under any theory of product liability, you must show that the product that caused the harm was defective, and that the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous.
In order to avoid liability, the defendant in a product liability suit may argue that the plaintiff fully comprehended the specific danger of using the product, and voluntarily assumed the risk anyway. Another defense is that there is no duty to warn of dangers which are open and obvious to the user. Additionally, a manufacturer may deny liability by showing that the product was substantially modified after it left the manufacturer's control, or that a supplier sold the product beyond the expiration date provided by the manufacturer.
Receive a Free Case Review from an Arkansas Attorney
Whether you were hurt by a defective lawn mower or your car was damaged by defective tires, manufacturers and sellers should be held liable for supplying unreasonably dangerous products. Also, you should be able to recover damages for that harm. But if you're not careful, you may miss important deadlines or have your award reduced by a contributory negligence argument. Get peace of mind with a free claim review from a local attorney who has experience navigating Arkansas's product liability laws.
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