Our modern world is extremely fast-paced, and people are frequently multi-tasking. The ability to concentrate on one thing at a time is sadly a thing of the past. Nowhere is this more evident than on our nation’s roadways.
Car accidents are a leading cause of serious injuries and fatalities for Americans, and Nebraskans are no exception. Traffic fatalities are rapidly on the rise in Nebraska, with speeding, impaired driving, distraction, and fatigue cited as the major causes of accidents.
Nebraska has one of the highest speed limits in the United States. However, only 80% of Nebraskans wear their seat belts. The national average is 90%. This can lead to more serious injuries when there is an accident.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Nebraska, you may well have suffered serious property damage and physical injuries. You might be injured to the point that you have to miss work. This can be a very scary time, especially when the bills start arriving in the mail. You may be alone and not know where to turn for help.
If the car accident was someone else's fault, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your damages. A smart first move is to contact a car accident attorney in Nebraska. They will assess your case and guide you on the best options to get the compensation you may be entitled to.
The most recent government information shows that there were a total of 29,418 vehicle accidents in 2020. Of those accidents, 0.07% resulted in fatalities and 33.4% in injuries of some sort. Around 19,000 of the accidents resulted in property damage alone.
The fatality rate per 100,000 people in Nebraska was 11.9. For perspective, the lowest rate was 4.9 in Massachusetts, and the highest was 25.4 in Mississippi. In Nebraska that year, there were 217 fatal crashes that resulted in 233 people who tragically lost their lives. As expected for a more rural state, 29% of accidents were in urban areas, and 71% were on rural areas.
An accident can change your life in an instant. Your family's life will be impacted as well. One day you have a job and a familiar routine. The next day you may find yourself injured with a wrecked car. You have bills to pay but can't work because of your injuries. Your medical bills and costs to fix your car add up quickly.
The costs to Nebraska add up as well. Nebraskan companies suffer when their workers can't work. In Nebraska, the money lost due to traffic accidents in 2020 was over $4 billion.
The most common types of accidents in Nebraska were car accidents that involved two motor vehicles. The most common cause of accidents was a failure to yield. Some other main causes of accidents were driver inattention, following too closely to another car, and driving erratically.
As is to be expected, the bigger cities in Nebraska had the highest amount of accidents and fatalities. Intersections were the scene of 46.5% of accidents involving multiple vehicles. Rear-end accidents made up almost half of the accidents that didn't occur at an intersection, and these accidents caused an injury 40% of the time.
The statistics lay it out plainly. Even though Nebraska isn't one of the more populous states, car accidents happen frequently.
Those injured in car accidents will probably have questions about what to do next. A car accident attorney in Nebraska will be able to help guide them.
One of the most common ways to pursue getting money for your damages is to claim that the at-fault party was negligent. A car accident attorney in Nebraska will discuss how to go about pursuing a claim of negligence.
Most states define negligence as a failure to act with the same care that a reasonable person would show in the same circumstances. In Nebraska, as in other states, there are four elements you need to prove in order to find a party is negligent. All four must be proven, not just one. They are:
- Duty of care: You must show that the allegedly negligent party owed you a duty of care. This means they had to act in a way that wouldn't harm others. For example, drivers have a duty to others on the road to drive safely, and store owners have a duty to keep their stores safe for their customers.
- Breach of duty: Here, you must prove that, because of the negligent act or lack of action, the party breached the duty they had to you.
- Causation: Next, you need to prove that the party's breach of duty was a direct cause of your injury.
- Damages: This is the last but possibly most important element. You need to show that you suffered damages because of the accident. This means you were injured and required medical care, lost wages from missing work, or experienced pain and suffering.
A car accident attorney in Nebraska will be able to advise you on whether you have a good case for negligence. If they determine that you do, they can help you pursue a claim with the at-fault party's insurance company or file a lawsuit if necessary.
It is noteworthy that Nebraska, along with 40 other states, has a dram shop statute. This means that if you are injured by a drunk minor, you can bring a claim against the store that sold them the alcohol. The state defines a vendor as any individual or store that has a license to sell alcohol. A car accident attorney in Nebraska will discuss whether his law applies to your case.
Negligence Per Se
Another way to try to get compensation for your damages is through the doctrine of negligence per se.
There are laws and rules in place that are designed to protect the public's safety. Under negligence per se, when a person or party breaks one of these laws without a good reason, they are considered to be negligent as a matter of law. In these instances, all you have to prove is that the violation directly caused your injury.
Proving negligence per se is typically easier to prove than standard negligence cases. This is because you don’t have to show whether or not the defendant’s actions or inactions were not reasonable. In negligence per se cases, you would argue that the at-fault party was obviously negligent because they broke the relevant law and show that they have to show that they had a good reason for breaking the law.
A common use of negligence per se is in the case of traffic violations. For example, when a driver speeds or makes an illegal turn, he or she is automatically considered negligent for breaking the law.
A car accident attorney in Nebraska will be able to assess if negligence per se is a good option for you to pursue. How they suggest you proceed will depend on the special circumstances of your case.
You can typically ask for three types of compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident in Nebraska. This compensation is also known as damages. The types of damages are economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages cover your financial losses, such as medical bills and lost wages from missing work.
Non-economic damages are for the mental anguish, pain, and suffering you endured because of the accident.
Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party if their behavior has been especially egregious. The punitive damages awarded are meant to send a message to the at-fault party and the greater community. They are not awarded as frequently as economic and non-economic damages.
Some states will limit the amount of damages you can recover. In those cases, there is a cap on how much economic and non-economic damages you can receive.
Another Nebraska law can affect the damages you receive: the collateral source rule. This rule says any benefits you get from a source that has nothing to do with the at-fault party won't affect the damages you can receive from the at-fault party.
Let's say you are in an accident that was someone else's fault. You have $50,000 in medical bills that your insurance company pays. Under the collateral source rule, you can still pursue the at-fault party for your $50,000 in medical bills.
A car accident attorney in Nebraska will help you determine what types of damages to ask for.
Nebraska is a comparative fault state when it comes to personal injury law. Let's say you were injured in an accident that was someone else's fault, but your negligence caused the accident as well. Under comparative fault, even though you were partially at fault, you can still be entitled to compensation.
The fact that you were partially to blame will affect the amount of money you can recover based on the amount you were at fault. If your amount of fault is greater than the total fault of the other parties involved, you won't be able to recover any damages at all. So, if you received $100,000 in compensation but were found to be 10% at fault for the accident, your reward would be dropped down to $90,000.
Your car accident attorney in Nebraska will discuss comparative fault with you and if it applies to your case.
Seat Belt Defense Strategy
Remember how Nebraskans aren't the most compliant seat belt wearers? Well, that could potentially be held against them by the at-fault party.
Their defense could be that they should be less liable for your injuries because you weren't wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. This is called the seat belt defense. This strategy can only be effective if your injuries wouldn't have occurred or wouldn't have been as bad if you had been wearing a seat belt.
Nebraska law says that the fact that you were not wearing a seat belt cannot be used by the at-fault party to totally avoid liability. The law does say, however, that not wearing a seat belt could be used to reduce the at-fault party's liability. Another good reason for Nebraskans to buckle up.
Statute of Limitations
How much time you have to file a lawsuit after your car accident depends on the type of case. The statute of limitations is the time you have to move forward with a lawsuit in court. When the time is up, and you haven't filed yet, you might lose your chance to get compensation.
In Nebraska, you have four years from the time of a motor vehicle accident to file a personal injury claim. In fatal wrongful cases, you have two years from the date of the wrongfully injured person's fatality. In most cases, the clock starts ticking when the accident that caused the injury occurs. Sometimes your injury might not be obvious right away and will appear later on. When this happens, something called the discovery rule applies. This rule states your allowed time period to file can start when you discover the injury instead of the date of the accident.
In certain cases, something called tolling will apply. Tolling refers to when the time period to file is paused or delayed until certain events occur. Those required events will depend on the particular case.
An experienced car accident attorney in Nebraska will ensure you know the relevant deadlines.
Car Accidents in Nebraska’s Major Cities
More people means more car accidents. Here are the car crash statistics from Nebraska's biggest cities.
Nebraska's biggest city, Omaha, is situated in Douglas County, which had the largest number of traffic fatalities in the state in 2020. There were a total of 9,037 traffic crashes. Of these crashes, 3,219 were injured and 41 fatally injured.
Omaha has several intersections that are known for having lots of accidents. The 72nd and Dodge Street intersection is considered the most dangerous intersection in Omaha. Drivers who lack experience should approach it with caution.
90th Street and West Dodge Road is another dangerous Omaha intersection, handling over 100,000 vehicles a day. The four-way intersection of 132nd, L Street, Millard Avenue, and Industrial Road is another dangerous intersection. With over 29 lanes and 19 traffic lights, it's easy to see how it is an accident minefield.
Home of the University of Nebraska and its beloved Cornhuskers, Lincoln becomes very busy with cars during the football season. So it's not surprising that more crashes happen there in the fall than any other season.
A 5-year study of the city's safety performance showed there were a total of 42,552 crashes in Lincoln's city limits. Of those crashes, 47 were fatal, and over 9,000 resulted in injuries.
Most of the crashes happened at intersections. Locals know the 27th Street and Cornhusker intersection to be extremely dangerous. Distracted driving was the cause of 15% of all Lincoln crashes.
Lincoln is using the Vision Zero strategy, which is being implemented all over the United States and the world. First used in Sweden, Vision Zero takes a new approach to traffic safety than what has been used in the past. The idea behind it is that human beings will always make mistakes while driving. Therefore, safety policies should be crafted in a way that ensures those mistakes don't cause serious injuries or fatalities.
Nebraska's oldest city, Bellevue, is south of Omaha and located in Sarpy County. In 2020, Sarpy County reported 2,067 accidents. In those accidents, 686 people were injured, and 9 people perished.
Sarny County has had a record-setting number of traffic crash fatalities in recent years. In response, a county traffic task force was formed by county law enforcement agencies. The task force put into place different methods of enhanced traffic law enforcement. The hope is that these methods would bring down the number of traffic accidents and fatalities.
The county sheriff's office is also making a strong effort to better enforce the traffic laws. They want to better educate the public about road safety and use visual deterrents for drivers making bad decisions behind the wheel.
Located in the center of Nebraska, Grand Island is in Hall County. That county had 1,134 total accidents in 2020. Of that total, 347 people were injured, and 7 lost their lives.
Grand Island is building more roundabouts to help improve safety at the city's intersections. One of the first intersections on the list is Five Points, which requires drivers to navigate a star-shaped intersection.
Kearney is the county seat of Buffalo County. In 2020, government data shows there were 879 total crashes in that county. Of those accidents, 282 people were injured, and 3 were fatally injured.
The Kearney Police Department is joining with other agencies across the country to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding and the importance of driving the speed limit.
Reach out to Accident.com today to find an auto accident attorney in Nebraska who can help with your case.