Arkansas Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline
Arkansas is a truly beautiful place to live or visit. Whether you are sightseeing in the Ozarks or seeing what Little Rock and Fayetteville have to offer, you'll want to be familiar with how car accident settlements work, just in case that trip unfortunately involves a traffic collision. Read on to learn more about the Arkansas car accident settlement process and timeline.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Arkansas?
A driver of a "vehicle of a type subject to registration" (presumably, this exempts ranch trucks, dirt bikes that are only operated off-road, and the like) must report an accident within 30 days, using the state-provided form, if there is either:
- Injury or death to a person
- At least $1,000 in damage to property
Further, a driver involved in an accident must provide proof of insurance to the Office of Driver Services within 90 days.
Arkansas Car Insurance Laws
Arkansas's mandatory minimum insurance requirements include liability coverage of:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of one person (yourself, a passenger, another driver, pedestrian, etc.)
- $50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in a single accident
- $25,000 for property damage
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Arkansas?
If you are having trouble with an insurance claim, should you be preparing for a lengthy court trial? While it may help to prepare for such a worst-case scenario, nearly all cases settle, as trials are a big risk -- why spend years arguing over a car accident claim and preparing a case, only to lose at trial? A settlement ensures a guaranteed payout, plus you won't have to pay an attorney to fight a risky courtroom battle. A settlement wraps up of the case informally for a mutually agreeable remedy, at which time the parties drop the pending lawsuit.
Arkansas does not require mandatory settlement conferences before going to trial. However, judges are given explicit authority to require parties to appear in court for such a conference, or to discuss other informal ways to resolve the case. Even if a judge doesn't require a settlement conference, it is almost always the case that your attorney will discuss settlement options with you and the other party.
What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Arkansas?
It is impossible to predict what a case will settle for, or to calculate an average that isn't misleading, as cases vary widely in the amount of harm or damages incurred by the parties. For example, a fender bender causes less pain, anguish, and property damage than a drunk driver who kills an entire family.
To determine a fair settlement amount in your case, the parties and their attorneys will likely consider:
- Insurance coverage (insurance companies won’t pay more than policy limits)
- Car repairs
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages from time away from work
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Arkansas?
Like all states, Arkansas has a time limit (Statute of Limitations) for filing a legal case: you have three years from the date of the crash to file your initial lawsuit. This limit is almost never extended -- even if you have a pending claim with an insurance company -- so it is in your interest to speak to an attorney in order to ensure that you still have time to file a lawsuit if needed.
Learn More About Arkansas' Car Accident Settlement Process From a Lawyer
Before you sign a settlement, speak to an attorney -- settlement agreements are nearly always final and binding, and an attorney will understand how to maximize your payout. Without the advice of an Arkansas accident attorney, you could end up with an insufficient amount to cover your injuries or you could even waive claims altogether.
Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney
Contact a qualified attorney.