Individual States 

ARKANSAS

ASSUMPTION OF RISK

Assumption of risk no longer applies as a separate defense in strict liability or negligence and will not bar to recovery. Ouachita Wilderness Inst. v. Mergen, 329 Ark 405 (1997) .

CAPS ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.

COLLATERAL SOURCE RULE

Collateral sources do not reduce recovery, and any such evidence is normally inadmissible. Patton v. Williams, 680 S.W.2d 707 (Ark. 1984) .

COMPARATIVE FAULT

In all actions for personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage, if claimant's fault is less than the fault chargeable to the party(s), including non-parties, against whom recovery is sought, claimant shall recover under comparative fault. If claimant's fault is equal to or greater than the fault of the opposing party(s), claimant is not entitled to recovery. Ark. Code Ann. §16-64-122 .

ECONOMIC LOSS

Recovery is allowed under strict liability even when the only damages sustained are to the defective product itself. Farm Bureau Ins. Co. v. Case Corp., 317 Ark. 467 (Ark. 1994) .

JOINT & SEVERAL LIABILITY

In any action for personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death, the liability of each defendant for compensatory or punitive damages is several only and not joint. The several shares may be subject to increase if one or more of the defendants cannot satisfy their individual share. However, defendant will be held jointly and severally liability where (1) defendant acts in concert with another party to commit an intentional tort, or (2) the other party was acting as a servant or agent for the defendant. Ark. Code Ann. §16-55-201 .

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Punitive damages are recoverable in product liability actions, but only if compensatory damages are awarded as well. Forrest City Mach. Works, Inc. v. Aderhold, 273 Ark. 33 (1981) .

For injury, damage or death, a plaintiff must prove by clear and convincing evidence that defendant is liable for compensatory damages, and that defendant (1) knew or should have known, in light of the circumstances, "that his or her conduct would naturally and probably result in injury or damage and that he or she continued the conduct with malice or in reckless disregard of the consequences from which malice may be inferred" or (2) "intentionally pursued a course of conduct for the purpose of causing injury or damage." Punitive damages are also allowed in wrongful death actions. Ark. Code Ann. §§16-55-206 and 207 .

Punitive damages shall not exceed the greater of $250,000 or three times compensatory damages awarded, not to exceed $1,000,000. Both limits will be adjusted pursuant to the consumer price index every three years beginning on January 1, 2006. Note however, that there is no absolute right to collect punitive damages. Ark. Code Ann. §§16-55-208 and 209 .

RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTION

Right to contribution exists among joint tortfeasors entitling a tortfeasor to a money judgment after he has, by payment, discharged the common liability, or paid greater than his pro rata share. If one tortfeasor settles, he cannot recover contribution from another tortfeasor whose liability was not extinguished in the settlement. A released tortfeasor is not relieved of liability to other tortfeasors unless the release is given before the other tortfeasor's right of contribution accrues. These provisions do not impair a tortfeasors' right to indemnity. Ark. Code Ann. §§16-61-201 to 210 .

SPECIAL DEFENSES

Defenses for manufacturer or supplier include compliance with federal or state statute, administrative regulation existing at time of manufacture, and use of product after its anticipated life where consumer knew or should have known the anticipated life of the product. Supply of product after its anticipated life is a defense by the manufacturer as between the manufacturer and supplier. Ark. Code Ann. §16-116-105 .

Evidence of "subsequent unforeseeable alteration, change, improper maintenance or abnormal use" is admissible to show fault on the part of the user. Ark. Code Ann. §16-116-106 .

A supplier of a defective product who was not the manufacturer shall have a cause of action provides for supplier's right of indemnity against manufacturer. Ark. Code Ann. §16-116-107 .

STATUTES OF LIMITATION

Actions for personal injury, property damage, breach of warranty, and wrongful death must be brought within three years. All product liability actions must be brought within three years from the date on which the death, injury, or damage complained of occurs. Ark. Code Ann. §§16-56-105, 16-62-102, and, 16-116-103 .

Actions for breach of contracts for sale must be brought within four years. Parties may agree to reduce the period to not less than one year, but may not extend it. Ark. Code Ann. §4-2-725 .

STATUTES OF REPOSE

There is no statute of repose for product liability actions in Arkansas.

STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.