Nebraska Auto Accident Laws & Resources

The Cornhusker state has some 200,000 miles of roadways spread over 76,872 square miles. The state’s 1.5 million licensed drivers drive an average of 10,000 miles per year. Unfortunately, Nebraska roadways can be dangerous. In 2019, there were 36,706 car accidents in Nebraska. This amounts to one crash every 14 minutes. Forty-seven people sustained injuries each day. And one person died every 35 hours.

If you live in or plan on visiting Nebraska, it is a good idea to become familiar with Nebraska auto accident laws. Nebraska auto accident laws give car accident victims important rights. Yet Nebraska auto accident laws are complex. Those that do not have a lawyer often do not know what their options are.

This guide will cover some important Nebraska auto accident laws. The guide provides a brief overview of laws that will likely be important to your case. For more information, discuss your case with an experienced Nebraska car accident lawyer.

Nebraska is an At-Fault State

Nebraska is a traditional at-fault state. This means that the person responsible for causing an accident must pay for damages. This includes costs such as medical expenses, lost income, and property damages. 

The at-fault driver’s insurance company will usually pay for the damages. But only up to the policy limits. Nebraska’s comparative negligence rule may limit the victim’s damage award.

Comparative Negligence in Nebraska Auto Accident Cases

Nebraska follows a modified comparative negligence standard. Under Nebraska Revised Statute 25-21, 185.09, a car accident victim can recover damages. But her damage award will reduce based on her level of fault for the accident. If she is more at-fault than the other parties she cannot recover anything. 

For example, suppose you are in a car accident in Nebraska. You suffer serious injuries and damage to your vehicle. You file a lawsuit against the other driver and his insurance company. You go to trial and prove that the other driver was negligent. The jury finds that your damages are $100,000. But it also determines that you were 15% at-fault for the accident. Your damage award reduces by $15,000 (15% of $100,000) leaving your with $85,000. 

But suppose that the jury finds that you were 60% at-fault for the accident. Since your share of fault is greater than the other driver’s, you receive no damages. In states that follow a traditional comparative negligence rule you would still recover. But Nebraska auto accident laws are more restrictive. Hiring an experienced Nebraska car accident lawyer can help you prove your case. 

Nebraska Auto Accident Laws Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a state law that sets a deadline to file a lawsuit. If you do not file by the deadline, then you will likely lose the right to file. Nebraska Revised Statute 25-207 covers the statute of limitations for car accidents. Under 25-207, a car accident victim has 4 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. This applies to actions involving personal injuries and damage to personal property. 

Nebraska Revised Statute 30-810 applies to wrongful death claims. A surviving family member of the accident victim may be able to file a wrongful death claim. The deadline for a wrongful death claim in Nebraska is 2 years from the date of the victim’s death. Note that this may not be the same date as the car accident. 

Missing the deadline set by the statute of limitations can have serious repercussions. An experienced Nebraska car accident lawyer can ensure that you do not miss the deadline. Note that the statute of limitations does not apply to an insurance claim. Your insurance policy details the procedures for filing a claim. 

Nebraska’s Minimum Insurance Liability Coverage Amounts

Under Nebraska auto accident laws, drivers must carry proof of financial responsibility. Proof of financial responsibility can be a bond or a certificate of insurance. The minimum liability insurance coverage amounts in Nebraska are: 

  • $25,000 for property damage caused by the owner or driver of the insured vehicle. 
  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death caused by the owner or driver of the insured vehicle. 
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury or death liability caused by the owner or driver of the insured vehicle. 

Drivers often opt to carry more liability coverage. This protects them from personal liability if they cause a serious car accident. Many Nebraska drivers also carry other forms of insurance. For instance, collision coverage pays for repairs to your vehicle. Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is another option. PIP can cover your medical costs while you are waiting for a settlement. It also applies to some non-medical damages such as lost wages. And will cover injuries to passengers and pedestrians.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Nebraska

Nebraska auto accident laws include harsh penalties for those caught driving without insurance. Driving without insurance is a Class II misdemeanor. If convicted, you face suspension of your license and registration. 

You will have to pay a $50 reinstatement fee. You may also have to carry SR-22 insurance. SR-22 is a form that your insurance company files with the Nebraska DMV. The SR-22 form verifies that you have car insurance. Many insurance companies deem SR-22 drivers as high-risk. This can result in your insurance premiums increasing. 

Reporting a Car Accident in Nebraska

Nebraska auto accident laws require that you report a car accident if: 

  • The car accident results if property damages over $1,000; or
  • The car accident results in the injury or death.

You must report the car accident within 10 days of the crash. You can report the accident online or download a Driver’s Motor Vehicle Crash Report

Recovering Damages in a Nebraska Car Accident Case

There are many different types of damages in Nebraska car accident cases. But they all fall into two main categories. Economic damages are those that are documentable. For example, copies of medical bills or paystubs that show your lost wages. 

The second category is non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are not easy to document. For instance, damages for pain and suffering. Punitive damages are another form of damages. These are damages that the court imposes to punish the defendant. For example, the defendant may have been driving while intoxicated. Nebraska auto accient laws do not permit punitive damage awards. 

There are a few different ways injured drivers can collect damages. The first is by settling with the insurance company. If the insurance company determines that its insured is at-fault, it will pay for your damages. If you are at-fault, then you must turn to your own insurance company for compensation. Or you could go to trial and attempt to convince a jury otherwise. 

When the other driver is at-fault her insurance company will usually try to settle. Their offer will usually come in the form of a written letter. They will attempt to limit their liability by getting you to accept a lowball offer. 

You also have the option of sending the insurance company a formal demand letter. A demand letter details your damages and requests a specific amount to settle your case. An experienced Nebraska car accident lawyer can help you value your claim. 

A second option to recover damages is to file a lawsuit. A lawsuit will usually list the other driver and her insurance company as defendants. It is also possible that your lawsuit will involve a third-party. For example, a manufacturer’s defect may have contributed to the accident. 

There are two primary reasons why car accident victims file lawsuits. First, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to stop the statute of limitations from running. For example, the car accident may have occurred three and a half years ago. The Nebraska statute of limitations is 4 years from the date of the accident. You have been negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. But you cannot come to an agreement. If you file you can preserve your right to go to trial while continuing to negotiate. If you settle you can withdraw your lawsuit. If not, you can go to trial. 

The second reason is that the insurance company is unwilling to offer more money to settle. In this case, you can go to trial to attempt to get more money from the jury. 

To recover damages at trial, you must prove that the other driver was negligent. This means that the other driver failed t exercise a reasonable standard of care. And this failure must have caused the accident.   

Nebraska Car Accident Settlement Calculator

Did you or someone that you know suffer an injury in a car accident in Nebraska? Use our free online Injury Settlement Calculator to see what your case might be worth.  

Get Help With Nebraska Auto Accident Laws

If you were in an accident and need to speak to an attorney, Lawsuit Info Center can help. Reach out risk free to discuss your case. We will find you the right lawyer in your area to help you get the compensation you deserve.