Arkansas’s Legal Landscape: Comparative Fault in Personal Injury Cases

Comparative Fault in Personal Injury Cases

Navigating the legal intricacies of personal injury cases in Arkansas requires a comprehensive understanding of the concept of comparative fault. Comparative fault plays a pivotal role in determining liability and, consequently, the compensation awarded to injured parties. 

Arkansas distinguishes itself by allowing individuals to seek compensation even if they share some degree of fault.

This article discusses the nuances of Arkansas’ legal framework for comparative fault. It elucidates how the percentage of fault is calculated and its direct impact on compensation.

The Basics of Comparative Fault

Comparative fault stands as a fundamental principle in personal injury law. It distinguishes itself from contributory negligence in the approach to assessing liability and determining compensation. In contrast to contributory negligence, which bars a victim from seeking any compensation, comparative fault allows for a more nuanced evaluation of shared responsibility.

Forbes clarifies that comparative negligence applies in the majority of states, with exceptions including Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, and North Carolina. Under it, victims can pursue monetary damages from a defendant who shares the blame for the harm caused. 

However, the compensation awarded is proportionally reduced based on the victim’s contribution to the accident.

The role of the jury is pivotal in assessing fault among parties in a personal injury case. The jury considers evidence, testimonies, and relevant factors to determine the percentage of fault assigned to each party involved. 

The shift from contributory negligence to a comparative fault reflects a commitment to more just outcomes in personal injury cases. It recognizes the complexities inherent in assessing fault and allows victims to seek restitution even when partially at fault.

Understanding Arkansas’s Modified Comparative Fault Statute

Arkansas’s legal landscape regarding fault assessment is defined by its modified comparative fault statute. This statute serves as a guide for apportioning responsibility among parties involved in an incident based on their respective degrees of fault.

According to Bloomberg Law, Arkansas adheres to the “modified” comparative negligence approach. This implies that if a plaintiff is considered equally or more at fault than the defendant, they may be barred from recovering any damages. 

In Arkansas, the damages awarded to the plaintiff are reduced proportionally to their percentage of fault, provided it falls below 50 or 51 percent.

This distinction sheds light on the intricacies that plaintiffs and defendants must navigate when determining liability and seeking compensation.

Impact on Personal Injury Claims

In cases where comparative fault is a factor, the compensation awarded is directly proportionate to their degree of fault. For instance, if a plaintiff is found to be 20% at fault, their damages are reduced by that percentage.

Conversely, the comparative fault also affects the liability of defendants. In situations where the plaintiff shares blame for the incident, the defendant’s responsibility is mitigated accordingly.

In a real-world example reported by 5News involving a crash in Fayetteville, the impact of comparative fault is evident. The crash between a car and pedestrians resulted in one fatality and injuries to another. 

The crash report revealed that one of the pedestrians, 66-year-old Gregory Joseph Dana, walked into traffic where there were no crosswalks or intersections. A 26-year-old woman attempted to intervene, but both were struck. The application of comparative fault would likely play a role in determining the liability of the driver, considering the actions of the pedestrians.

In such cases, the role of a Fayetteville personal injury attorney becomes crucial. They navigate the intricacies of comparative fault, representing the interests of the injured parties, and contributing to a fair resolution. 

According to Keith Law Group, these attorneys are instrumental in ensuring that the legal intricacies are thoroughly addressed. They diligently ensure that the implications of comparative fault are duly taken into account in the pursuit of justice.

Strategies for Personal Injury Plaintiffs and Defendants

For personal injury plaintiffs, it’s essential to meticulously gather and present evidence that establishes the defendant’s primary liability. Clear documentation, eyewitness testimonies, and expert opinions can be instrumental in showcasing the extent of the defendant’s negligence. 

Plaintiffs should also anticipate and address potential arguments regarding their contribution to the incident.

On the flip side, personal injury defendants must employ effective strategies to minimize potential liability. This involves scrutinizing the plaintiff’s actions and presenting evidence that underscores their due diligence or role in the incident. Emphasizing factors like the assumption of risk or the plaintiff’s failure to exercise reasonable care can help mitigate liability.

Crucially, both parties benefit significantly from seeking legal counsel. Attorneys experienced in Arkansas’s comparative fault system can provide invaluable guidance on building a robust case or defense. 


The importance of understanding comparative fault in Arkansas personal injury law cannot be overstated. The state’s modified comparative fault system introduces unique challenges and opportunities, shaping the landscape of liability and compensation.

As Arkansas law evolves, staying informed about updates and developments becomes crucial for all parties involved. This article serves as a guide, emphasizing the nuanced nature of the comparative fault. It encourages readers to be proactive in their legal awareness and recognize the role of legal counsel in achieving equitable resolutions.