Motor vehicle accidents in Nebraska, especially those resulting in injuries, are unexpected and life-altering. This leaves many victims grappling with unforeseen challenges. It’s important for injured auto accident victims to remember that they are not alone and have rights, including the ability to pursue legal action for compensation. In these trying times, a compassionate and skilled motor vehicle accident lawyer can be a major ally. They offer guidance and support through the often-complex legal process, helping to secure maximum compensation and justice for the harm suffered.

Omaha Auto Accident Lawyer

At Liberty Law Group, we understand the profound impact these accidents can have on the lives of victims and their families. That’s why we’re dedicated to advocating on behalf of our clients. Our attorneys fight hard to ensure every accident victim we represent achieves a fair outcome. Our firm proudly serves the communities of Omaha, Lincoln, Papillion, Council Bluffs and the surrounding areas of Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa. We represent Nebraskans injured in auto accidents throughout Douglas County, Lancaster County, Sarpy County, Dodge County, Washington County, Cass County and surrounding areas. We also represent Iowans from Pattawattamie County, Harrison County, Mills County and surrounding areas. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, contact our firm immediately at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss your case.

Motor Vehicle Accident Information Center

Below, Liberty Law Group provides helpful information on motor vehicle accidents in Nebraska, including a closer look at their types and causes, the range of legal options available to victims, and how an experienced accident lawyer can help an injured party recover meaningful compensation.

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Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents

  • Car Accidents – Car accidents in Nebraska encompass a wide range of scenarios involving passenger vehicles. These incidents vary from low-speed impacts, like bumper-to-bumper collisions in traffic, to high-speed crashes on highways. Car accident types include head-on collisions, which are among the most dangerous and occur when two vehicles moving in opposite directions crash into each other; side-impact collisions, where one vehicle hits the side of another (often at intersections); and rear-end collisions, often due to sudden stops or inattentive driving. Rollovers are another severe type of car accident, more common in SUVs and trucks, where a vehicle flips onto its side or upside down on its roof. Each type of car accident presents unique risks and can result in completely destroyed vehicles and life-threatening injuries.
  • Motorcycle Accidents – Motorcycle accidents in Nebraska stand out due to the increased vulnerability of motorcyclists. Unlike passenger vehicles, motorcycles offer minimal protection, making riders prone to serious injuries even in minor accidents. Types of motorcycle accidents include collisions at intersections, often due to a car failing to yield or notice the motorcycle; lane splitting accidents, where a motorcycle moves between two lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic; and accidents due to road hazards like potholes, which are particularly dangerous for motorcycles. High-speed crashes, especially on highways, are extremely dangerous for motorcyclists. Additionally, accidents where a rider loses control due to factors like excessive speed or sharp turns are common. These accidents can lead to a range of injuries, from road rash and fractures to more severe head and spinal injuries.
  • Boat Accidents – Collisions between boats are common, often due to the boat operator’s inattention or inexperience, high speeds, or alcohol use. These can range from minor bumps causing little damage to high-impact crashes leading to significant injury or even fatalities. Another type of boat accident is capsizing, where a boat overturns in the water, potentially trapping passengers underneath. Falling overboard is a frequent occurrence, especially in recreational boating activities, leading to risks of drowning or injuries from the boat’s propellers. Additionally, accidents can involve water skiers or jet skis, where collisions with a boat or objects in the water occur. Mechanical failures and fires on boats also contribute to boating accidents, sometimes due to poor maintenance or manufacturing defects.
  • Truck Accidents – Truck accidents in Nebraska involve commercial vehicles, including semi-trucks and dump trucks. Given their size and weight, trucks can cause the worst damage in accidents. Common types of truck accidents include jackknife accidents, where the trailer swings out and forms an acute angle with the truck, often due to sudden braking or slippery roads. Rollovers are another type, where the truck tips over, typically due to improper loading, high speeds, or abrupt maneuvers. Underride accidents are particularly dangerous; they occur when a smaller vehicle slides under the truck’s trailer during a collision.
  • Bus Accidents – Bus accidents in Nebraska can be complex due to the size of the vehicles and the number of passengers involved. Types of bus accidents include collisions with other vehicles, often resulting in significant damage due to the bus’s size. Single-bus accidents, where a bus crashes independently due to factors like driver error or mechanical failure, can lead to passengers being thrown within or even ejected from the bus, resulting in injuries. Rollover accidents, though less common for buses, can occur in high-speed scenarios or sharp turns. Pedestrian accidents involving buses, particularly in congested areas, can happen during turns or when individuals are crossing streets. Bus accidents can also occur due to poor vehicle maintenance, leading to brake failures or tire blowouts, exacerbating the risk of accidents.
  • Train Accidents – Train accidents in Nebraska are often severe due to the massive size and momentum of trains. Collisions at railroad crossings are a common type, where a train collides with a vehicle or pedestrian on the tracks. Derailments, where trains come off the rails, can occur due to track failures, excessive speed, or mechanical issues. These accidents can lead to widespread damage and potential chemical spills, especially with freight trains carrying hazardous materials. Collisions with other trains can happen due to signal failures or human error. Pedestrian accidents on train tracks, including individuals walking along or crossing tracks at unmarked locations, are also a concern, often leading to serious or fatal injuries.
  • Hit and Run Accidents – Hit and run accidents in Nebraska involve drivers leaving the scene of an accident without providing aid or identifying themselves. These accidents can range from minor vehicle damage in parking lots to serious collisions on roadways. Victims of hit and run accidents can be other motorists, passengers, pedestrians, or cyclists. The nature of these accidents often leaves victims feeling helpless and frustrated, as the at-fault party evades responsibility. This type of accident also makes it more difficult in insurance claims, as identifying the at-fault driver can be challenging.
  • Pedestrian Accidents – Pedestrian accidents in Nebraska involve individuals on foot being struck by vehicles. These accidents usually occur in heavily populated cities, particularly in crosswalks or at intersections, but can also happen on rural roads where visibility may be limited. Common scenarios include vehicles turning into the path of pedestrians or pedestrians being hit while crossing streets outside of crosswalks. The lack of protection for pedestrians means these accidents often result in significant injuries, ranging from broken bones and lacerations to traumatic brain injuries and, in severe cases, fatalities.
  • Bicycle Accidents – Bicycle accidents in Nebraska involve collisions between bicycles and other vehicles, obstacles, or road hazards. Cyclists are vulnerable in accidents due to their lack of protection against vehicles. Accidents can occur when a vehicle turns into the path of a cyclist, when a cyclist is sideswiped by a passing vehicle, or when a cyclist hits an obstacle like a pothole or open car door (dooring). Falls due to mechanical issues or losing control are also common. Injuries in bicycle accidents can be severe, including head injuries, fractures, and road rash.
  • Ridesharing Accidents – Ridesharing accidents in Nebraska involve vehicles operated by ridesharing companies like Uber or Lyft. These accidents can include any type of crash involving rideshare vehicles, whether they are carrying passengers or not. Common scenarios include collisions with other vehicles, accidents due to driver error or distraction (e.g., looking at the app instead of the road), and incidents where rideshare vehicles are struck by other drivers. The passengers, rideshare drivers, and other motorists or pedestrians involved can suffer major injuries. These accidents also raise special legal and insurance issues, given the involvement of the ridesharing company.
  • DUI Accidents – DUI (Driving Under the Influence) accidents in Nebraska refer to incidents where one or more drivers involved were impaired by alcohol or drugs. These accidents can range in severity but often result in serious crashes due to the driver’s reduced reaction time and poor judgment. DUI accidents can involve single vehicles (where the impaired driver crashes independently) or collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians.

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Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents

  • Driver Error – Driver error is a significant cause of accidents in Nebraska. This includes a variety of behaviors such as speeding, where drivers exceed the posted speed limits or drive too fast for the conditions, reducing their reaction time and increasing the severity of accidents. Failing to yield the right of way and ignoring traffic signals or signs are other common forms of driver error, leading to dangerous intersections and potential collisions. Improper lane changes or turns, especially without proper signaling, also result in many accidents.
  • Distracted Driving – Distracted driving is another major cause of accidents in Nebraska. The use of mobile devices, like texting or calling while driving, is an increasingly common form of distraction that significantly reduces a driver’s attention to the road. Other distractions include eating, adjusting the car radio or navigation system, and interacting with passengers.
  • Impaired Driving – Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs increases the risk of accidents. Impaired driving affects a driver’s judgment, reaction time, and ability to operate a vehicle safely. In Nebraska, DUI accidents are concerning because of their often severe consequences, including high-speed crashes and increased potential for fatalities.
  • Bad Weather and Hazardous Conditions – Environmental factors in Nebraska play a significant role in motor vehicle accidents. Bad weather conditions, such as snow, ice, rain, and fog, can create hazardous driving conditions by reducing traction and visibility. In addition to weather, the condition of the roads themselves contributes to accidents. Potholes, uneven road surfaces, and areas of road construction can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles. Inadequate road signs or poorly designed roadways, including complex intersections and confusing merges, add to the risks.
  • Vehicle-Related Issues – Mechanical failures are also responsible for a number of accidents. This includes brake failures, tire blowouts, and engine problems. Regular vehicle maintenance can mitigate these risks, but sometimes mechanical failures occur unexpectedly, leading to accidents. Vehicle defects, sometimes unknown to the driver, can also lead to safety issues and accidents.

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Common Areas Where Accidents Occur

  • Major Cities – Motor vehicle accidents in Nebraska are frequently concentrated in urban areas, particularly in cities like Omaha and Lincoln. These areas, due to their higher population and traffic volume, tend to have more incidents. Intersections in these areas are particularly prone to accidents, often due to factors like heavy traffic, complex traffic patterns, and frequent stop-and-go car movement. Traffic lights and stop signs in these areas are common sites for collisions, often caused by drivers running red lights, speeding, or failing to yield the right-of-way.
  • Highways – Nebraska’s extensive network of highways also sees a significant number of motor vehicle accidents. High-speed highways, such as Interstate 80, are common sites for serious accidents, including multi-vehicle collisions and rollovers. Rural roads, while less trafficked, present their own dangers due to higher speed limits, limited visibility, and less frequent patrolling by law enforcement. Accidents on rural roads are often severe due to the higher speeds involved and the increased likelihood of encountering wildlife or encountering drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Construction Zones – Areas of road construction are another common site for vehicle accidents in Nebraska. These zones often have altered traffic patterns, reduced speed limits, and the presence of workers and equipment near the roadway. Accidents in these areas are frequently caused by speeding, distracted driving, or failing to adhere to construction zone signs and signals.

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Potential Liable Parties in Nebraska Motor Vehicle Crash Cases

  • Driver Liability – The most common party held liable in motor vehicle accidents is the driver of one or more of the vehicles involved. This liability usually stems from negligence, which means the driver failed to exercise reasonable care on the road. If a driver’s careless actions lead to an accident, they and their insurance company can be held responsible for damages.
  • Vehicle Owners and Employers – Sometimes, the owner of a vehicle can be held liable, even if they weren’t driving. This is often the case when the vehicle owner allows someone who is reckless or unqualified to use their vehicle. Additionally, if the driver was working at the time of the accident, their employer might be liable. This is particularly common in cases involving commercial vehicles, like trucks or company cars, where the employer may be responsible for the actions of their employees while on the job.
  • Vehicle Manufacturers and Mechanics – In some cases, a vehicle manufacturer or a mechanic who recently worked on the vehicle might be liable. This happens if the accident was caused by a vehicle defect or improper maintenance. For example, if a car’s brakes fail due to a manufacturing defect or poor maintenance, the manufacturer or the mechanic who last serviced the vehicle could be held responsible for any resulting accidents.
  • Government – The government can be liable for motor vehicle accidents if they result from poorly maintained roads or malfunctioning traffic control devices, like stoplights. If a pothole, poorly designed intersection, or a non-functioning traffic light leads to an accident, the government agency responsible for maintaining that road or traffic device could potentially be held accountable.

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Legal Options Available to Victims

Navigating Insurance Claims After a Motor Vehicle Accident

After a motor vehicle accident in Nebraska, dealing with insurance claims is often the first step toward financial recovery. It’s essential to inform the insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. This initial report should include basic information about the accident, such as the time, location, and involved parties. The driver’s insurance company will then start an investigation. This may involve examining the accident scene, evaluating the damage to vehicles, and reviewing any police reports filed.

In Nebraska, which operates under a “fault” system for car accidents, individuals can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance if they were responsible for the accident. This claim can cover various expenses, including medical bills, car repairs, and potentially lost wages if the victim had to miss work due to the accident.

When to Consider Filing a Lawsuit

If the insurance company denies the individual’s claim or offers a settlement that doesn’t cover all their expenses – the individual may consider filing a lawsuit. A lawsuit can be a more comprehensive way to seek compensation, especially for damages that are often not fully covered by insurance, like pain and suffering or long-term medical care.

When filing a lawsuit in Nebraska, victims typically need legal representation. Personal injury lawyers often represent clients in motor vehicle accidents and can offer valuable guidance. They can help compile evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent clients in court if necessary.

In many cases, victims start with an insurance claim and only move to a lawsuit if the claim process isn’t going anywhere. Sometimes, just initiating a lawsuit can lead to a better settlement offer from an insurance company.

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Potential Damages in Auto Accident Cases

In cases of car accidents, there are several kinds of money damages that victims can ask for:

  • Medical Bills: This includes costs for all medical care needed because of the accident, from the ambulance ride and emergency room visit right after the accident to treatments that might be needed later, like physical therapy or surgery. If someone needs medical care in the future because of the accident, they can seek damages to cover those future costs too.
  • Lost Wages: If someone can’t work because of the accident, they can get money for the wages they lost. If the accident makes it hard for them to work in the future, they can also seek compensation for the wages they won’t be able to earn.
  • Property Damage: This type of damages is to fix or replace the car and any personal items like a phone or laptop that were in the car and got damaged in the accident.
  • Pain and Suffering: This is for the physical pain and emotional stress the accident caused. It’s for things like physical pain, emotional trauma, and not being able to enjoy life as before.
  • Punitive Damages: Sometimes, if the person who caused the accident did it on purpose or was extremely reckless, the victim might get punitive damages. This isn’t to make up for the victim’s losses, but to punish the person who caused the accident.

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Limitations on Damages When the Victim is at Fault

Under Nebraska Revised Statute §25-21,185.09, in a lawsuit where someone is suing for damages (like in a car accident case), if the person suing is also partly at fault for what happened, it affects how much money they can get. For example, if they are found to be 30% responsible for the accident, they would only get 70% of the damages. However, if they are just as much or more at fault than the person they are suing, then they can’t obtain damages at all.

Statute of Limitations in Motor Vehicle Accident Cases

Under Nebraska Revised Statute §25-207, individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents have a four-year statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits. This means that from the date of the accident, the injured party has a period of four years to initiate legal action for damages sustained. Failure to file within this time typically results in the dismissal of the case, preventing the injured person from seeking compensation for their injuries.

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Wrongful Death Claims

In Nebraska, if someone dies in a car accident because of someone else’s mistake or negligence, the law (Nebraska Revised Statute §30-809 and §30-810) allows the family to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This lawsuit needs to be filed within two years of the person’s death and is usually handled by the person’s legal representative, like an executor of their estate. The lawsuit is meant to help the deceased person’s spouse and family members get money for their loss. This can include compensation for things like lost income, funeral expenses, and the emotional pain of losing a loved one.

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The Role of a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer in Assisting Victims

Providing Legal Advice

A motor vehicle accident lawyer advises victims on the legal aspects of their case. They explain the victim’s rights and the applicable laws in an understandable way. This includes advising on the statutes of limitations, which is the deadline for filing a lawsuit, and explaining how the laws of negligence might impact their case.

Investigation and Evidence Collection

These lawyers take on the task of thoroughly investigating the accident. They collect and analyze evidence such as police reports, camera footage, witness statements, and accident scene analyses. This ensures that all aspects of the accident are considered, building a strong foundation for the case.

Negotiations with Insurance Companies

Dealing with insurance companies can be very intimidating for accident victims. A lawyer steps in to handle all communications and negotiations. They advocate for the victim’s best interests, aiming to ensure that settlement offers are fair and cover all of the victim’s damages.

Accurate Assessment of Damages

Calculating the full extent of damages is a complex task where lawyers are invaluable. They consider current and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Calculating these damages correctly is essential for getting the most possible compensation.

Legal Representation in Court

If a fair settlement cannot be reached, a motor vehicle accident lawyer represents the victim in court. They prepare and present the case, including arguing motions, examining witnesses, and making persuasive arguments in court.

Support Throughout the Legal Process

Beyond legal tasks, these lawyers provide ongoing support to the victims. They keep them informed about the progress of their case, offer reassurance, and are available to answer questions and address concerns. This support can be especially important for victims coping with the aftermath of a traumatic accident.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do immediately after a car accident?
After a car accident, it’s important to ensure everyone’s safety first. Call 911 if anyone is injured. Then, exchange information with the other driver, including insurance details, and take photos of the accident scene. It’s also a good idea to file a police report and notify your insurance company. However, do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company and do not provide a recorded statement. Insurance companies will often contact an injured person and their adjusters are trained to get an official statement and use it to minimize or deny compensation. Especially in accidents that involve injuries, it’s best for an experienced auto accident attorney to deal with the insurance company on behalf of the injured party.

What types of damages can I recover from a motor vehicle accident?
In a car accident lawsuit, victims can typically recover costs for medical expenses, car repairs, lost wages if they missed work, and sometimes pain and suffering. Additional types of damages may be available based on the circumstances.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
In Nebraska, individuals generally have four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Should I accept an insurance settlement?

Be cautious before accepting an insurance settlement. Often, initial offers might not cover all of the victim’s expenses. It’s usually wise to consult a lawyer to ensure the settlement is fair.

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Additional Resources

Nebraska Car Insurance Requirements – The Department of Motor Vehicle’s online resource for car insurance requirements for the state of Nebraska. The site contains information on acceptable forms of financial responsibility required in the state.

Car Accident Reporting Requirements – The Department of Motor Vehicle’s online tool containing information on when reporting a vehicle crash is required. The site contains links to submit a vehicle crash report.

Motor Vehicle Injury Facts – The National Safety Council’s (NCS) report on motor vehicle injuries. Statistics and national trends are detailed along with the associated cost of those injuries. Visit the NCS’s site for more information on motor vehicle crash injuries.

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Hiring an Auto Accident Attorney in Nebraska | Liberty Law Group

At Liberty Law Group, our personal injury lawyers are skilled and experienced in motor vehicle and auto accident cases, including car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact our firm at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss your case. Our attorneys will fight your case from beginning to end to ensure fair compensation for the damages suffered. Our firm proudly serves the communities of Omaha in Douglas County, Lincoln in Lancaster County, Papillion in Sarpy County, and the surrounding Nebraska counties of Dodge, Washington, Cass, Saunders, and surrounding areas of Eastern Nebraska. We also represent people in Council Bluffs, Pattawattamie, Iowa and the surrounding Iowa counties of Harrison and Mills.

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