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What is a Tort Case, and What does it Involve in Arkansas?

Tort cases are civil court cases where an injured party brings a legal claim against the party whose actions resulted in the injury or loss. In Arkansas, the Circuit Court and District Courts hear tort cases, depending on the claim amount involved. The District Court has jurisdiction over personal property torts where the claim amount does not exceed $25,000. The Circuit Court is Arkansas’ general jurisdiction trial court and has jurisdiction over all civil cases not in the district court’s jurisdiction. Persons who have attained Arkansas’ age of majority (18) or legally emancipated persons with valid legal claims are eligible to file tort cases in the state.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What is Arkansas Tort Law?

Arkansas Tort Claim Act addresses tort liability against state employees, political subdivisions, and state agencies. It also addresses the extent of the state’s tort immunity. The Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure address the processes and requirements of personal injury torts and other torts. It provides guidelines and definitions for damage caps, fault, and the statute of limitation for filing tort claims. Simply put, the Arkansas Tort Claim Act and Rules of Civil Procedure guide tort claims cases in the state.

What Kinds of Cases are Covered by Tort Law in Arkansas?

There are three major types of torts covered by Arkansas laws:

  • Intentional tort: These are actions performed with the intent to cause loss or injury to another person. Examples of intentional torts are personal injury torts, including trespass, assault, battery, intentional emotional distress, fraud, wrongful imprisonment, and deceit.
  • Negligence tort: These are unintentional wrongful acts. In a negligent tort, the actor or defendant does not intend to cause the victim any injury but may still be liable as a result of negligence or an unsafe act.
  • Strict liability torts: In a straight liability tort, the victim’s injury may not be a direct result of the defendant’s actions; however, the defendant is liable for such an act.
  • Defamation: Publishing information that may damage a person’s character, whether such information is written or spoken, is a defamation tort.
  • Nuisance tort: Nuisance tort is about property damage. Or injury caused as a result of unauthorized use or interference with the land use.

What are the Differences Between Criminal Law and Tort Law in Arkansas?

Criminal law and tort law have different methods but similar ends. While criminal law penalizes offenders with imprisonment, fines paid to the state, and other consequences, tort law offers the victim of a wrongful act damages. Persons who violate criminal law are offenders against the state, and the court prosecutes them as such. On the other hand, tort law focuses on the victim of a wrongful act. Under tort law, victims who have valid legal claims can recover monetary damages or other compensation types where available.

What is the Purpose of Tort Law in Arkansas?

Tort law primarily exists to hold persons who commit wrongful acts accountable and liable and provide relief to victims of the wrongful acts for any loss or damages. By holding offenders accountable, the tort law aims to discourage repeated offenses and deter other community members from committing the same wrongful acts, thereby maintaining law and order in society.

What is a Tort Claim in Arkansas?

A tort claim is an informal claim notice that an injured person brings against the party whose actions caused the loss, injury, or damage. A tort claim helps an injured person recover damages, usually monetary, from the party whose actions caused an injury or a loss.

How Do You File a Tort Claim in Arkansas?

Interested parties may file a tort claim in Arkansas by submitting a complaint and a summons to the Circuit Court Clerk or the District Court Clerk in the county where the defendant lives, works, or where the event that led to the injury or loss occurred. The court where the plaintiff files the tort claim is dependent on the claim amount involved. Parties may file claim amounts of $25,000 or less in the District Court. The Arkansas Circuit Court is the trial court of general jurisdiction and handles all civil cases, not in other courts’ jurisdictions. The statute of limitation for filing a tort claim in Arkansas is three (3) years.

What Does a Tort Claim Contain in Arkansas?

To complete an Arkansas tort claim, claimants must provide:

  • The plaintiff’s name, address, and telephone number
  • The defendant’s legal name and address
  • The claim amount or a description of other damage to be recovered
  • A description of the event that led to the loss or injury
  • A statement on why the plaintiff believes the defendant owes the plaintiff the claim amount

What Happens after a Tort Claim is Filed in Arkansas?

Upon filing a tort claim in Arkansas, the Court Clerk will provide a summons to the plaintiff to notify the defendant of the claim. The plaintiff may then serve the defendant the summons by certified mail, authorized process server, delivery by a sheriff, or personal delivery. The plaintiff bears the cost of service; if the plaintiff wins the settlement, the plaintiff may request reimbursement from the defendant.

The defendant must respond to the summons within 30 days with an answer or a counterclaim. The defendant must file the response or counterclaim with the Court Clerk and ensure that the plaintiff receives copies of the response or counterclaim. Both parties may begin preparations for a hearing by gathering information, calling up witnesses, and collecting any evidence useful in court.

Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Tort Claim?

Personal injury lawyers offer legal counsel and representation to tort claim parties. Hiring a lawyer may be beneficial to case parties’ interests, as personal injury lawyers provide specialized knowledge that can help case parties understand Tort Claim Laws better. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help a plaintiff negotiate higher amounts in damages and help a defendant present a better defense.

How Can I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me?

The Arkansas Bar Association provides a legal aid search service that allows interested parties to search for specialized lawyers within any practice or zip codes within the state. Interested parties may also contact local law firms and legal aid organizations for information on how to find personal injury lawyers. Third-party websites also offer information on finding personal injury lawyers in any zip code within the state.

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