Ark. Legislature to consider $1.5M claim

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A $1.5 million claim against the state Highway and Transportation Department is headed to the Arkansas Legislature for consideration during its session next year. The state Claims Commission sided with 33-year-old Jeremy Kirkland of Des Arc, who was injured in an ATV accident in Prairie County in December 2007.

Kirkland's ATV plunged into a 3-foot-deep ditch near Arkansas Highway 33, and he was initially paralyzed below the waist. He's since learned to walk again, but his lawyers say he'll have numerous medical problems for the rest of his life.

Earlier this month, the Claims Commission found that the highway department was negligent, noting that there was "substantial evidence" that crews had left the construction site at the end of the day with no warning signs that work was underway.

Highway officials contend that Kirkland's injuries were his own fault, not the department's. The agency says it's still considering whether to appeal to the Legislature to overturn the award. --- Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,

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