Arkansas Car Accident Laws

If you’re in a crash anywhere in Arkansas, here’s what to do to make sure you are covered both legally and by your insurance company.
Written by Meaghan Branham
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If you’re in a car accident in
, you’ll need to file a report with the police and the Department of Motor Vehicles, as well as through your insurance. You may also be able to claim damages with a personal injury lawsuit, depending on your level of fault. 
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What to do after a crash: Arkansas car accident reporting laws

After a car accident
, no matter the severity, Arkansas law requires that you immediately stop your vehicle at the scene, or as close to the scene as is safely possible. You could be charged with a
if you fail to do so.
Next, check for injuries, and call 911 for assistance if anyone in the crash was hurt. In Arkansas, it is also legally required for you to give your name, address, and
vehicle registration
number to the other parties involved and show your
Arkansas driver's license
if asked. 
Make sure to exchange insurance information as well, at this point. If law enforcement has been called, you are required to wait for them to arrive at the scene of the accident, unless you have to leave to receive medical treatment. 
It may be a good idea to collect photos of the scene too, as well as any other forms of evidence that could help support your claim. 
In all of the commotion and stress of a car accident, it can be hard to keep track of who to report the event to and when to do it. In Arkansas, you may need to report your accident to:
  • The police
  • The Arkansas Office of Driver Services 
  • Your insurance company 
Your insurance company will require you to make a
car accident claim
pretty quickly in most cases—meaning within a few days.

When to report an accident to the police

Section 27-53-202 of the Code of Arkansas states that all drivers involved in an accident that results in bodily injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage must report the accident to law enforcement as soon as possible. 
If the police arrive on the scene without you having called them, you don’t need to file a report, as the officers will have filed one already. 

When to report an accident to the Arkansas Office of Driver Services 

For any accidents resulting in property or vehicle damage worth more than $1,000, or in bodily injury or death, Arkansas requires a report to be filed with the Arkansas Office of Driver Services within 30 days of the incident. 
To report the accident, you’ll need to fill out an
SR-1 form
and send it to the Arkansas Office of Driver Services either in person, via email (, or by mail:
Safety Responsibility Section
P.O. Box 1272, Room 1120 
Little Rock, AR 72203
You’ll need to provide information like: 
  • The name and driver's license number of the parties involved
  • The
    make, model,
    license plate
    number of the parties involved
  • The location of the accident, including the name of the street or highway
You will also need to file a
proof of insurance
certificate within 90 days of the accident with the Office of Driver Services.

Financial responsibility and coverage minimums: Arkansas insurance laws

Your proof of insurance certificate will need to demonstrate that the policy you had in place at the time of the accident met at least
Arkansas's minimum liability requirements
In Arkansas, the minimum liability coverage can be defined as 25/50/25: 
According to Section 27-22-103 of the Code of Arkansas, if you’re caught
driving without car insurance
, you could be subject to severe penalties. Those include
  • $100 to $200 fine for your first offense. 
  • $250 to $500 fine for your second offense.
  • $500 to $1,000 fine, one year in jail, or both for your third offense, as well as any subsequent offenses. 
Failing to carry the required amount of
car insurance
could also make it more difficult to claim damages in the event of an accident. 
Unfortunately, not every driver in Arkansas takes these requirements as seriously as they should. A 2019 study by the Insurance Information Institute (III) revealed that about 19.3% of drivers in Arkansas are uninsured
Luckily, you can still protect yourself in the event that you are in an accident with one of those uninsured drivers.
When you purchase your
liability insurance
in the state of Arkansas, you are also required to have the opportunity to purchase
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
,  which can reimburse you for the costs of a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver. 

Claiming damages after an accident: Arkansas personal injury laws

In some cases, like those in which an accident has cost you an exorbitant amount of money, or you feel that the non-economic damages incurred have been substantial, you may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to an insurance claim. 
According to Section 16-114-208 of the Code of Arkansas, a plaintiff can claim both economic and non-economic damages as a result of an auto accident.
  • Economic damages: These refer to monetary losses caused by medical bills,
    loss of income
    , loss of employment, loss of use of property, and burial expenses.
  • Non-economic damages: These include non-monetary losses like emotional distress, 
    pain and suffering
    , mental suffering, inconvenience, and humiliation.
Although Arkansas is an “at-fault” state, it is also one of the few that has “add-on” no-fault laws.
This means you can purchase
personal injury protection
, which not only covers your medical expenses no matter who was at fault but also allows you to file a personal injury lawsuit against the “at-fault” driver without restriction.
There is a statute of limitations in Arkansas for personal injury lawsuits as they relate to car accidents, however. Starting from the date of the accident, you have:
  • Three years to file a suit for both bodily injury claims
  • Three years to file a legal claim for property damage

Exceptions to Arkansas personal injury laws

There are exceptions to the rules of personal injury lawsuits in Arkansas. For instance, there are some circumstances where the statute of limitations might be extended.
The three-year statute of limitations may be extended in the following cases:
  • If a foreign object in the body is found in the injured person that couldn’t reasonably have been discovered within the statute of limitations period, the statute of limitations is extended to one year from the date of that discovery.
  • If the victim was nine years old or younger at the time of the accident, they or their representative has until their eleventh birthday, even if that exceeds the three-year statute of limitations. 
  • In the case of a minor, if the injury couldn’t reasonably be found until after their eleventh birthday, they or their representative has until their nineteenth birthday, or two years after the injury is discovered.
The amount that can be rewarded also depends on the type of compensation requested. While there is no limit on the amount of compensatory damages that can be rewarded, for instance, punitive damages typically cannot exceed either $250,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages.

Who’s to blame: Arkansas modified comparative negligence law

Arkansas is a tort state, which means that the burden falls on the insurance of the driver found “at fault” to cover the costs of damages or injury in the accident. 
There is one small difference in Arkansas policy, though: the
modified comparative negligence
standards in the state. Under the rule of modified comparative negligence, you can only collect damages from the other driver if you are less than 50% at fault
If that’s the case, you can collect damages minus the percentage to which you are at fault. For example, if you are found to be 30% at fault in the accident, and your overall costs amounted to $50,000, you would be entitled to recover that $50,000 minus 30%. That means you would be able to recover $35,000
The modified comparative negligence law is pretty common, with 33 states subscribing to this rule. Keep in mind though, that other states' laws may differ. 

How to save money on car insurance in Arkansas

Many people worry about their
car insurance rates going up
after they’ve been in an accident, but there is hope for low rates even after a collision. To find the best rates in Arkansas, many drivers turn to
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