Arkansas Car Accident Laws – A Complete Guide

Whether driving to find deals at Walmart’s birthplace or fortune at the Crater of Diamonds, Arkansas drivers must stay alert. Unfortunately, Arkansas ranks as the 11th most dangerous state for drivers, with 631 fatal crashes in 2021. As such, knowing Arkansas car accident laws is vital when traversing this state’s roads.

It’s important to know your state’s car accident laws because liability is handled differently for each state. Some states follow at-fault liability, where parties must pay for the damages they cause. Some states have no-fault insurance, where all parties are compensated for their damages, regardless of fault.

Fortunately, our complete guide has everything you need. Keep reading to learn where to report, who determines fault, and how to get an auto accident lawyer when you need one.

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What to Do After an Arkansas Car Crash

No matter what state you are driving in, the first thing you should do after any crash is stop. However, according to Arkansas car accident law (AR Code §27-53-102), failing to stop isn’t just bad form, it’s also illegal. Depending on the damages sustained in the accident, hit and runs in Arkansas may even be a felony.

If you can move your car, pull over to the side of the road. Make sure everyone is out of additional harm’s way while checking for injuries. Arkansas car accident laws require drivers to render aid, but if it seems anyone needs medical attention, call 911 immediately.

Even if it doesn’t seem serious, this is usually a smart step if the accident’s more than a fender bender. That’s because conditions like internal bleeding and whiplash may not appear until days or weeks after a car accident.

AR Code §27-53-103 also states that drivers in accidents where there is injury or property damage must supply the following:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Registration of the involved car
  • Driver’s license (upon request)

If able, you must provide arrangements for transporting injured parties to medical facilities if necessary.

Collecting The Right Info For Your Claim

In addition to involved drivers exchanging the requisite personal info, it’s wise to gather as many pertinent details as possible.

The list of things you should always try to record onsite after an accident includes:

  • Make, model, color, and license plate number of all vehicles
  • Insurance information for any other drivers
  • Statements from and contact information for any witnesses at the scene
  • Photos of the accident, surroundings, damage, and any other salient details

This can help you prove liability when filing your car accident insurance claim with your attorney. Also, the more information you can collect, the stronger your case if you need to go to trial.

Laws on Reporting an Arkansas Car Accident

Once you have the “safety” steps under control, it’s time to call law enforcement.

Per Arkansas car accident laws, drivers must report most accidents to the police or the Arkansas Department of Motor Vehicles.  If the crash results in injury or death, the drivers must report it immediately. If the crash causes no injuries but property damage worth more than $1,000, then reports must be within 30 days.

(a) Any person who fails or refuses to comply with § 27-53-202 or § 27-53-203 shall be punished upon a conviction in the county where the accident occurred by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

Ark. Code § 27-53-201

Even if you don’t think you meet the legal requirements for filing, however, it’s still prudent to call the police. If they come to the scene and investigate the crash they’ll have to file a police report. Such a crash report may be useful later on if you need proof when determining fault.

Is Arkansas a No-Fault State?

Arkansas is an at-fault state, which means the person who causes the accident is also responsible for paying for it.

That’s why it’s really important not to apologize or say anything incriminating at the scene of the accident. Even if you think you’re partially responsible.

Other parties may try to use your comments against you when determining fault. This may hinder your ability to get a future settlement.

With Arkansas car accident laws it’s not a straightforward “this person is guilty, and this person isn’t.” That’s because Arkansas follows a system of modified comparative negligence, which means both parties may bear some responsibility for a collision.

Comparative Negligence in Arkansas Car Accidents

Arkansas car accidents laws function within the parameters of comparative fault. It’s possible for the state to divide the blame between drivers in an accident. However, they will “compare” just how much at-fault they find each of the involved parties.

In Arkansas, to be eligible for compensation, a driver cannot be more than 50% responsible. Otherwise, they’ll be the “mostly at-fault driver” and ineligible for any compensation.

This comparison between drivers means Arkansas is using a modified comparative negligence system. In this scenario, you can see how it’s most advantageous to have the smallest amount of blame possible. That way you can get the most money in your settlement.

However, there is another wrinkle in this system of which you need to be aware. Even if you’re the less at-fault driver, whatever percentage of liability you receive will reduce your damages by that percentage.

For example, let’s say you win $100,000 in damages. If you’re 30% at-fault for the accident, then you’ll receive $70,000.

That’s why it’s vitally important to retain a skilled car accident attorney in states that utilize the comparative negligence model. There is no clear-cut formula for figuring out fault. Oftentimes it’s left to a judge and jury, and their decision may influence insurance claims as well.

Arkansas Car Insurance Requirements

There are several ways a person may make a claim after an accident:

  1. By filing a claim on their own insurance policy to cover damages
  2. By filing a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier
  3. By filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver

Unless you’re independently wealthy, you can see the importance of having auto insurance. That’s because if you’re the at-fault driver, costs and payouts from a collision can add up fast.

However, carrying car insurance isn’t actually a choice in Arkansas. State law requires all drivers to acquire auto insurance policies with the following minimum liability coverage amounts (Ark. Code § 27-22-104):

  • $25,000 for injury or death of one person in an accident
  • $50,000 for injury or death for all people in an accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident

Keep in mind that this 25/50/25 mandate is a minimum requirement. Many drivers choose to take out policies with higher limits.

They may also elect to add certain other types of coverage. Car insurance companies in Arkansas must offer drivers Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as well as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. A policyholder can decline this offer, but it’s a good idea to keep the extra insurance if your budget allows.

Additionally, remember that those minimum liability numbers only cover the other cars and passengers in case of accident. They do not cover your own injuries or damage. As such, many drivers also purchase collision insurance for their own vehicle, and PIP or MedPay for personal injury coverage.

Available Damages During a Car Accident

A woman calling her insurance for a car accident, staring at a smoking engine.

In cases where there’s extensive damage or injuries, a driver who thinks they’re less at-fault may decide to sue the other driver. This means filing a personal injury lawsuit that would likely have to go before a judge and jury. The purpose of the case would be to assess fault percentages and also to seek damages.

There are three types of damages a person may be able to recover in a car accident lawsuit in Arkansas. These are:

Economic Damages

These are the damages you can get receipts for, meaning they are quantifiable. Examples of economic damages might include:

  • Medical expenses, including surgeries and hospitalizations.
  • Loss of wages, including past and future employment.
  • Rehabilitation costs, including therapy and accessories like wheelchairs.
  • Property damage, including vehicle repairs.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are the non-objective, intangible losses that can occur in an accident.

These types of losses can be harder to prove because they’re not something you can easily “add up.” Nonetheless they’re just as harmful as fiscal losses, and you deserve compensation for them as well.

Examples of non-economic damages may include:

Punitive Damages

A claimant may seek punitive damages in cases where someone intentionally causes reckless harm in an accident. They also apply in cases of extreme negligence where it seems someone’s actions were unreasonable for a sane individual.

A good example of a case where one might see punitive damages is if an accident stems from drunk driving.

However, these damages are not to compensate for losses. They are meant to punish the defendant for their bad behavior and hopefully dissuade others from future offenses.

Arkansas Statute of Limitations

Every state has a time limit for filing a car accident claim in court called the statute of limitations.

The “statute of limitations” in the state of Arkansas is three years from the date of the incident. This is true whether you’re filing for property damage, or bodily injury.

The three year deadline also holds true for wrongful death cases. However, the clock starts from the date of the victim’s passing.

Though three years may sound like a long time, remember that it’s always better to file earlier rather than later. Especially since if you miss the deadline, the court will disqualify your claim. Not to mention that cases are typically more successful in their resolution when the details are fresh.

​​Also note that this does not refer to insurance claims which you’ll generally need to file within weeks, not years.

How LegalASAP Can Help You Connect With An Auto Accident Attorney

While it’s tempting to just settle a car accident claim with your insurance and go on with life, please don’t. It’s important to remember that their job is to get you to accept the lowest payout possible. As such, you may get less than you deserve if you agree to an offer too quickly.

Also, insurance adjusters will usually consider at-fault percentages in their calculations. Especially in light of the modified comparative negligence system that’s part of Arkansas car accident laws. If you don’t get the right percentage of fault, you’ll lose your chance for maximum compensation.

With all that in mind, consider having a free consultation with a skilled car accident attorney.

Most personal injury lawyers work under contingency, meaning you won’t pay anything out of pocket until you receive compensation. And individuals working with legal representation typically end up with much higher settlements.

Let LegalASAP help you get going with your claim today, so you can get back on the road to tomorrow.

Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a multi-published NYC-based magazine and book writer whose work has appeared in a wide variety of publications ranging from Forbes to Cosmopolitan. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland, College of Journalism. For more, visit:, Instagram @dancerscribe, and Twitter @KimberlyNeumann