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Time is of the Essence: Understanding Arkansas Statute of Limitations

Arkansas Civil and Criminal Statute of Limitations Explained

When it comes to legal matters, time is of the essence. In Arkansas, there are legal limits on how long you have to file a lawsuit or criminal charges.

These legal limits are known as statute of limitations. Understanding the statute of limitations that applies to your case is crucial if you wish to take legal action.

In this article, we break down Arkansas civil and criminal statute of limitations, including the types of civil and criminal claims that have time limits, and those that do not.

Arkansas Civil Statute of Limitations

Arkansas’ civil statute of limitations provides a timeframe in which a person may initiate legal action against another person for a civil wrong. A civil wrong is a legal injury that can be remedied by a monetary compensation or an injunction.

Types of Civil Claims with Statute of Limitations

Arkansas civil statute of limitations provide time limits for a variety of claims. The following are some of the most common civil claims along with their corresponding statute of limitations.

Personal Injury: A person has three years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury claim. Property Damage: A person has three years from the date of the damage to file a property damage claim.

Libel and Slander: A person has one year from when the defamatory statement was made to file a libel or slander claim. Fraud: A person has two years from when the fraud was discovered, or should have been discovered, to file a fraud claim.

Professional Malpractice: A person has two years from when the malpractice occurred to file a professional malpractice claim. Trespass: A person has three years from the date of the trespass to file a claim.

Contracts: A person has five years from the date of the contract breach to file a civil lawsuit. Debt Collection: A person has five years from the date the debt became due to file a lawsuit.

Wrongful Death: A wrongful death claim must be filed within three years from the date of death. Judgments: A person has ten years from the date the judgment is awarded to collect the debt.

Time Limits for Civil Claims

The statute of limitations often depends on the type of claim being filed. For personal injury and property damage claims, a person has three years to file a claim.

However, for claims such as libel and slander, the time limit is only one year from the date the defamatory statement was made. For fraud claims, a person has two years from when the fraud was discovered, or when it should have been discovered.

In some cases, the statute of limitations may be extended due to certain circumstances. For instance, discovery occurs when a person discovers an injury from an unknown source, and their statute of limitations starts from the date they discovered the injury.

For written contracts, the statute of limitations is five years and begins from the date the contract was breached.

Ten-year Statute of Limitations

Arkansas has a ten-year statute of limitations for the collection of a judgment. This means that a person has ten years from the date the judgment was awarded to collect the debt owed.

Arkansas Criminal Statute of Limitations

Arkansas criminal statute of limitations determines the amount of time the prosecuting attorney has to file criminal charges against a person. The time limit starts from the date when the crime was committed.

Time Limits for Felony Charges

Under Arkansas law, the statute of limitations for most felonies is three years from the date the crime was committed. After the three-year period, the prosecutor is barred from initiating legal action against the offender.

No Statute of Limitations for Certain Crimes

Capital murder and sexual misconduct with minors do not have a statute of limitations. This means that there is no time limit for a prosecutor to file charges against a person.

The Bottom Line

Understanding the statute of limitations that applies to your case is essential when it comes to legal matters. In Arkansas, the statute of limitations varies depending on the type of claim being filed, so it’s critical to seek legal advice early.

If you have been injured, feel you have suffered damage, or believe a crime has been committed, it’s important to act as quickly as possible to preserve your rights. Contact an attorney who can help you navigate the applicable statute of limitations and file a claim within the allotted time.

Time Limits for Medical Malpractice in Arkansas

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider violates the recognized “standard of care” within their scope of practice, causing harm to the patient. This can result in severe injuries, disabilities or even death.

In Arkansas, there are specific time limits on how long patients have to file a lawsuit against healthcare providers who caused medical malpractice. In this article, we break down the statute of limitations in Arkansas for medical malpractice cases, including the general deadline, the discovery rule, and time limits for minors.

General Deadline for Medical Malpractice Cases

In Arkansas, the general deadline for medical malpractice cases is two years from the date of the incident. According to state law, patients have two years from the date the injury occurred or when they discovered that the healthcare provider’s negligence caused the harm, whichever is later.

Sometimes, it may be challenging for patients to pinpoint when the malpractice occurred. In these cases, the statute of limitations gets triggered when the patient discovers or should have discovered the injury or illness.

It is worth noting that Arkansas law does provide for extenuating circumstances that can extend the two-year deadline. For instance, if the patient was mentally incompetent at the time of the malpractice, the two-year deadline may be extended until the patient regains mental capacity.

Additionally, if the healthcare provider fraudulently concealed the injury or illness from the patient, the deadline may be extended. Once these extenuating circumstances are no longer applicable, the patient must follow the two-year deadline.

It’s also important to note that patients must file an “Intent to Sue” with the provider or healthcare facility before initiating legal proceedings. This requirement aims to allow the provider a chance to redress grievances before getting sued and potentially avoid escalating the matter to the courts.

Discovery Rule

Arkansas law also provides for the discovery rule, which can extend the statute of limitations in certain situations. The discovery rule applies when a foreign object is left in a patient’s body, and the patient is unaware of it until later.

In this case, the statute of limitations begins to run from the date the patient discovered or should have discovered the foreign object, rather than from the date it was surgically implanted. Similarly, if a patient was unaware of the harm caused by medical malpractice until later, the deadline may start when the patient discovers, or should have discovered, the harm.

Time Limits for Minors in Medical Malpractice Cases

In medical malpractice cases involving minors, different rules apply to the statute of limitations. In Arkansas, minors under the age of nine have until their eleventh birthday to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

In other words, the two-year statute of limitations does not begin until the child turned nine, as the statute provides additional time for minors under nine to discover their injuries.

In cases where the child is unaware of their injury, they have until the age of 11 or two years after they became aware of the injury to initiate legal proceedings, whichever occurs later.

The discovery rule applies to minors, and it takes into consideration the age and competent level of the minor to determine when they became aware of the injury.

Medical Records Retention Laws

Arkansas has specific records retention laws that require healthcare providers to maintain patient medical records. This law applies to all records, including medical files, radiographs, and diagnostic tests.

The law requires that medical records be retained for a minimum of five years from the date of the last visit or treatment. In some cases, records must be kept for 10 years.

Failure to meet the records retention requirement could lead to substantial fines, and it can also be used against the provider in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The Bottom Line

Medical malpractice situations can be challenging, and every case is unique. It’s crucial to seek legal advice from a medical malpractice lawyer in Arkansas if you or a loved one has suffered harm or injury due to medical negligence.

Understanding the statute of limitations that applies to your case and preserving evidence is critical in protecting your legal rights. Seek legal advice as soon as possible to evaluate the shortcomings and possible bases for lawsuit filings.

In Arkansas, there are time limits for taking legal action in both civil and criminal cases. For medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the event or discovery of medical malpractice.

There are extenuating circumstances and the discovery rule that may extend the deadline. Minors under nine have until their 11th birthday to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, and the discovery rule applies to them too.

It’s crucial to consult a legal advisor as soon as possible to preserve evidence and evaluate possible bases for lawsuit filings. Healthcare providers are also required to retain medical records for at least five years to avoid possible fines and lawsuits.

Understanding the deadlines and requirements for legal action is critical in protecting legal rights in Arkansas.

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