Articles Posted in Arkansas Court Ruling

Earlier this year, the Arkansas Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a motorcycle accident case that was brought by a man who was injured when an overhead cable was accidentally pulled down by a passing tractor. The issue presented to the court was whether the owner of the wooden poles that held the cable could be held liable to the plaintiff for his injuries. Ultimately, the court determined that the owner of the poles did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff’s case was dismissed.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was riding a motorcycle behind a tractor on a rural road when the tractor’s sickle caught an overhead cable, pulling it down. The cable fell, causing the plaintiff to lose control of his motorcycle and ultimately resulting in a crash. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against several parties, including the driver of the tractor as well as the company that owned the wooden poles that held up the cable.

The company that owned the poles was not the same company that owned the cable. However, the company that owned the poles had previously entered into an agreement with the cable company to allow the placement of the cables.

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Earlier this month, the Arkansas Court of Appeals issued a written opinion affirming a trial court’s decision to deny all post-trial motions in a car accident case in which the jury found in favor of the defendant, despite the fact that the defendant admitted that he caused the accident. Ultimately, the court held that due to the conflicting evidence presented, the jury was free to find that any injuries the plaintiff sustained were not caused by the defendant’s negligence.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a rear-end accident in July 2009. The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the defendant, who was the motorist who rear-ended the plaintiff. The defendant admitted that he was at fault for causing the accident but claimed that he was not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

Both the plaintiff and the defendant testified. The plaintiff explained that he was on his way to the gym when he was rear-ended by the plaintiff. He explained that after the collision, he had to “brace” himself to keep his head from hitting the steering wheel. He also reported that his vehicle sustained minor damage in the collision. On the day following the accident, the plaintiff went to the hospital, and a doctor ordered an x-ray. The plaintiff was prescribed painkillers and engaged in a three-month course of physical therapy. The plaintiff was seeking $10,000 in lost wages as well as compensation for his medical expenses.

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When someone is injured due to the negligence of another party, the injured party is entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person whom they claim is responsible for their injuries. If the accident victim is successful in proving their case, they may be entitled to various types of damages awards, depending on the circumstances of the accident and their injuries.

Most common are compensatory damages, which are designed to make the plaintiff whole again. As the name implies, these damages are meant to compensate a plaintiff for the medical and other expenses, pain, and lost income with being involved in an accident. However, in some cases, punitive damages are also appropriate.

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Last month, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case brought by a woman against her husband’s previous employer, alleging that her husband’s exposure to asbestos while on the job caused the cancer from which he ultimately died. In the case, Hendrix v. Alcoa, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case because the sole remedy for her loss was through the state’s workers’ compensation program.

The Interplay Between Workers’ Compensation Claims and Personal Injury Claims

When someone is injured on the job due to the negligence of another party, there may be one or more potential claims available to the injured worker or their family. The workers’ compensation program is mandatory for many Arkansas employers and acts as a type of insurance for employers. If an employee is injured on the job, the employee can obtain workers’ compensation benefits without having to establish who was at fault for their injuries. However, workers’ compensation claims are mostly limited to medical expenses and lost wages, and these claims will not include compensation for pain and suffering.

In some situations, an injured worker’s eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits will not prevent that worker from filing a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent third party that caused the worker’s injuries. These “third-party” lawsuits are preferred for many injured workers because the potential recovery amount can be much greater, due to the availability of damages for the worker’s pain and suffering.

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In June of last year, the Supreme Court of Arkansas issued a written opinion in a wrongful death case brought by the estate of a woman who died while in the care of the defendant nursing home. In the case, Courtyard Gardens Health and Rehabilitation v. Sheffield, the court was tasked with determining if an arbitration clause contained in a nursing home admission contract was valid when it was signed by an emergency temporary custodian with Adult Protective Services (APS). The court determined that the custodian lacked the authority to consent to arbitration on behalf of the nursing home resident.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in the case, Sheffield, is the administrator of the estate of an elderly woman, Holliman, who died while in the care of the defendant nursing home. Prior to her death, Holliman lived by herself. One day, APS received a complaint about the conditions that Holliman was living in, and an APS worker was sent out to Holliman’s home to check on her well-being.

The APS worker noticed several deficiencies in Holliman’s living situation and petitioned the court to take temporary custody of Holliman in order to find her a better living situation. The petition was granted, and the APS worker was named as Holliman’s custodian. He eventually placed Holliman in the defendant nursing home after signing an admission contract containing an arbitration clause.

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The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed a 48 million verdict for farmers who say they lost money because a company’s genetically altered rice seeds contaminated the food supply and drove down crop prices.

Bayer argued that Arkansas tort laws set a limit on punitive damages and that courts should set aside jury awards that “shock the conscience.” However, in its opinion the Arkansas Supreme Court agreed with the Lonoke Circuit Court that the cap on punitive damages was unconstitutional. Associate Justice Courtney Hudson Goodson wrote that the cap “limits the amount of recovery outside the employment relationship,” while the Arkansas constitution only allows limits on compensation paid by employers to employees. The court said the law conflicts with Amendment 26, which gives the Legislature the power to enact measures to prescribe the amount of compensation to be paid employees for injury or death.

This ruling is a great victory for ordinary hard working Arkansas residents. The Arkansas Court found that an Arkansas jury should not be constricted by big business and their hand picked legislators in deciding fair and reasonable verdicts and damages. If you have been harmed by negligence of another party, please contact contact an Arkansas Personal Injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights.

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