DUI accidents in Nebraska are tragically common occurrences. Victims of these accidents have rights, including the ability to file lawsuits or insurance claims for compensation. A skilled DUI accident lawyer can guide victims through the legal process, ensuring they receive maximum compensation and justice. Below, Liberty Law Group goes over some important details about DUI accidents, including why they tend to happen, the legal options available to victims, and the important role of a DUI accident lawyer.

Nebraska DUI Accident Lawsuits

The lawyers at Liberty Law Group are dedicated to providing support for personal injury claims. Our firm is experienced in handling numerous personal injury cases on behalf of injury victims in Nebraska and Iowa.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a DUI accident, contact our firm at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.

DUI Accident

Back to top

Types of DUI Accidents

DUI (Driving Under the Influence) accidents are crashes that occur as a result of drivers operating vehicles while impaired by alcohol or drugs. One common type of DUI accident is the single-vehicle accident. This occurs when an impaired driver loses control of their vehicle, leading to a crash without involving other vehicles. These accidents often involve hitting stationary objects like trees, guardrails, or utility poles. The risk factors in these cases include high speeds, lack of seatbelt use, and the impaired driver’s reduced ability to navigate roads safely.

Another significant category is head-on collisions. These accidents are particularly dangerous and often fatal. They occur when a driver under the influence veers into oncoming traffic, resulting in a frontal collision. The combined speed of both vehicles exacerbates the severity of these collisions, leading to extensive vehicle damage and severe or fatal injuries to drivers and passengers.

Rear-end collisions are also common in DUI scenarios. The impaired driver’s reduced reaction time and impaired judgment often lead to failing to notice slowing or stopped traffic ahead, resulting in crashing into the rear of another vehicle. These accidents can range from minor fender-benders to severe high-speed crashes, depending on the circumstances.
Side-impact collisions are another major type of DUI accident. These occur when a drunk driver fails to comply with traffic signals or signs, crashing into the side of another vehicle. These T-bone collisions, common at intersections, can be extremely dangerous. This is especially the case for passengers on the side of the impact, due to the limited protection on the sides of most vehicles.

Back to top

Causes of DUI Accidents

Turning to the causes of DUI accidents, the primary factor is usually the impairment of the driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Alcohol consumption impairs cognitive functions and motor skills, essential for safe driving. Drivers under the influence of alcohol often feel overconfident in their driving abilities, leading to risky behaviors like speeding and reckless driving.

Illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and others, also contribute to DUI accidents. These substances can alter perception, judgment, reaction time, and overall motor coordination, making safe driving nearly impossible. The effects vary widely depending on the type of drug and the amount consumed.

Prescription and over-the-counter medications are another significant contributor to DUI accidents. Many medications have side effects such as drowsiness, blurred vision, dizziness, or delayed reaction times, all of which can impair driving abilities. Drivers might not be aware of the extent to which their driving is impaired by these medications, contributing to the risk of accidents.

In Nebraska, the likelihood of DUI accidents varies by location and time. Popular cities such as Lincoln and Omaha, with a concentration of bars, clubs, and restaurants, see a higher incidence of these accidents, particularly late at night and during early morning hours when establishments close. Weekends and holidays also see an increase in DUI accidents across the state because of higher alcohol consumption during these times.

Back to top

Liability in DUI Accident Cases

In DUI accidents, liability can extend to several parties, primarily focusing on the impaired driver. When an accident occurs as a result of such impairment, the law typically holds the driver responsible for any resulting harm due to their compromised ability to drive.

However, liability in DUI accidents can sometimes extend beyond just the impaired driver. For example, under certain conditions, establishments such as bars or restaurants could also be held liable. According to Nebraska Revised Statute 53-404 (the “dram shop” law), a business can be held responsible if it served alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person who then caused a DUI accident. Additionally, in cases where the impaired driver was operating a vehicle owned by another individual who knew or should have known about the driver’s intoxication, the vehicle owner might also share liability.

Back to top

Filing an Insurance Claim or Lawsuit

When it comes to taking legal action after a DUI accident, victims generally have two primary avenues: filing an insurance claim or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. Initially, a claim is usually filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for damages such as medical bills and property damage. If the driver is uninsured or underinsured, or if the insurance claim does not fully cover the damages, the victim could bring a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.

This civil lawsuit is for obtaining compensation for losses incurred due to the accident. It’s important for victims to understand that this civil action is distinct from any criminal proceedings against the impaired driver. The outcome of a criminal case—whether it results in a conviction or acquittal of the driver—does not directly determine the outcome of a civil lawsuit. Criminal proceedings, initiated by the state, are designed to punish the offender for DUI. Civil cases are initiated by the victims and focus on obtaining compensation for the harm they have suffered.

Victims of DUI accidents in Nebraska have a specific time frame to file a lawsuit for their injuries, according to Nebraska Revised Statute 25-207. This period, known as the statute of limitations, is four years from the date of the accident. If the victim does not file a lawsuit within these four years, they lose the opportunity to seek legal compensation for their injuries.
In Nebraska, families of individuals who die in DUI accidents caused by another’s negligence can file wrongful death claims, according to Nebraska Revised Statutes 30-809 and 30-810.

The claim must be filed within two years of the date of death and is typically filed by the deceased’s legal representative, such as an executor or executrix. The purpose of this lawsuit is to provide financial support to the surviving spouse and family, covering aspects like loss of income, funeral expenses, and compensation for the emotional trauma caused by the untimely death.

Back to top

Types of Damages in DUI Accident Cases

In DUI accident cases, the types of damages that can be recovered generally fall into several categories. First are economic damages, which are tangible losses with a specific monetary value. This includes medical expenses, which cover the cost of treatment for injuries sustained in the accident, and lost wages, which compensate for the income the victim lost while recovering. It also encompasses the cost of future medical care and lost earning capacity if the victim’s injuries lead to long-term disability or chronic health issues.

Non-economic damages are another category, covering intangible losses that don’t have a specific dollar amount. Pain and suffering is a primary example, referring to the physical and emotional distress caused by the accident. This might include chronic pain, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life. In cases of severe injuries or fatalities, compensation for loss of consortium can be sought by the victim’s family, addressing the loss of companionship and support.
In rare cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. These are not meant to compensate the victim but rather to punish the offender for reckless behavior.

In Nebraska, when a person is injured in a DUI accident and seeks compensation, the amount they can receive might be limited if they are partly responsible for the accident. This is outlined in Nebraska Revised Statute 25-21,185.09. If, for example, the victim is found to be 20% at fault for the accident, their compensation will be reduced by 20%. They would only receive 80% of the total damages awarded. Importantly, if the victim is found to be as much or more at fault than the other party, they are not eligible to receive any compensation.

Back to top

What DUI Accident Victims Should Do After the Accident

In the immediate aftermath of a DUI accident, several steps should be taken to ensure safety and protect legal rights. First, it’s essential to check for injuries and call 911 if anyone is hurt. Even if injuries seem minor, it’s important to seek medical attention, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Reporting the accident to the police is also vital; a police report is an essential document for any future legal action.

If possible, victims should gather evidence at the scene, such as taking photos of the vehicles, road conditions, and any visible injuries. It’s also beneficial to get contact information from witnesses, as their statements can be crucial in building a case. Importantly, victims should avoid admitting fault or making statements that could be interpreted as such, as this could impact their ability to seek compensation later. Finally, contacting a DUI accident victim lawyer is a major step.

Back to top

How a DUI Accident Lawyer Can Help

A lawyer who handles motor vehicle accident cases can be invaluable to a DUI accident victim. The lawyer can help by first evaluating the case to determine the extent of the liable party’s responsibility and the potential compensation. They have the knowledge to accurately calculate both economic and non-economic damages, ensuring that the victim’s claim covers their losses and suffering.

A DUI accident lawyer also deals regularly with insurance companies. They can negotiate effectively to ensure that the victim receives a fair settlement. If the insurance company’s offer is unreasonable, the lawyer is ready to take the case to court to fight for the victim’s rights.

Furthermore, the lawyer provides guidance through the legal process, managing the necessary documentation and legal filings, and representing the victim in court. They also provide invaluable emotional support, offering reassurance and clarity.

Back to top

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I recover in a DUI accident lawsuit?

Victims may get compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit after a DUI accident?

The time limit is four years from the date of the accident.

Can I sue if the DUI driver was acquitted in criminal court?

Yes, a civil lawsuit is separate from a criminal case.

What if the DUI driver doesn’t have insurance?

Victims can pursue compensation through their own uninsured motorist coverage or a personal lawsuit.

Do I need a lawyer for a DUI accident claim?

While not required, a lawyer can significantly help in maximizing compensation and managing the legal process.

How do insurance claims work in DUI accidents?

Victims file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer or their own, depending on the policy and situation.

What if the insurance company offers a quick settlement?

Consulting a lawyer before accepting ensures the offer fairly covers all damages and losses.

Can family members sue for a DUI accident that resulted in death?

Yes, they can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages for their loss.

What happens if the DUI driver flees the scene?

Victims can seek compensation through their own insurance or through a legal action against the driver if they are later identified.

Back to top

Hire a DUI Accident Lawyer in Omaha, Nebraska | Liberty Law Group

At Liberty Law Group, our personal injury attorneys are experienced in filing and litigating personal injury lawsuits, oftentimes all the way through trial. If you or a loved one has been injured in a DUI accident and believe a lawsuit might be the solution for getting the compensation you deserve, contact our office at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss your case with a qualified personal injury lawyer.

Our firm proudly represents the communities of Omaha in Douglas County, Lincoln in Lancaster County, Papillion in Sarpy County, plus the surrounding Nebraska counties of Dodge, Washington, Saunders, and Cass. We also represent those in Iowa courts including the communities of Council Bluffs in Pattawattamie plus the surrounding counties of Harrison and Mills.

Back to top