Truck accidents in Nebraska can result in some of the most catastrophic injuries to victims. It’s important to know that victims of these accidents have rights, including the ability to file lawsuits or insurance claims for compensation.
A skilled truck accident lawyer will fight hard on the injured client’s behalf to help them get the compensation and justice they deserve. Below, Liberty Law Group explains truck accidents in more detail, covering their types and causes, legal options for victims, and why it is so important for victims to retain a truck accident lawyer.

Omaha Truck Accident Lawyers

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 truck accident, contact our firm at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.

Truck Accidents in Nebraska

Types of Truck Accidents

Among the most common types of truck accidents is the jackknife accident. This occurs when the trailer of a truck folds at an acute angle to the cab, often during sudden braking or on slippery roads, creating a hazardous situation for nearby vehicles. Another common type is the rollover accident, where trucks, due to high speeds, improper loading, or difficult maneuvering, tip over onto their side or roof. This type of accident is particularly dangerous as it can lead to the blocking of multiple traffic lanes and result in multi-vehicle collisions.

Rear-end collisions involving trucks are especially serious due to the weight and size of these vehicles, leading to longer stopping distances. If a semi-truck driver fails to brake in time, the impact on the vehicle in front can be catastrophic. Underride accidents, where smaller vehicles slide under a truck’s trailer, are also common. These incidents often result in significant injuries or fatalities due to the crushing damage inflicted on the smaller vehicles.

Additionally, trucks have large blind spots, and accidents frequently occur when trucks change lanes or turn without noticing other vehicles in these areas. Tire blowouts, caused by worn or defective tires, can lead to a truck losing control, while head-on and side-impact collisions, though less common, are usually severe due to the truck’s size and weight.

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Causes of Truck Accidents

The causes of truck accidents are diverse and complex. Driver fatigue is a major contributing factor, as truckers often have long, exhausting driving schedules that can diminish their alertness and reaction time. Speeding reduces the driver’s ability to react to sudden changes in road conditions or traffic, increasing the risk of accidents. Improperly loaded or overloaded trucks can lead to instability and loss of control, while poor maintenance, such as failing brakes or tires, can directly lead to accidents.

Adverse weather conditions in Nebraska, such as snow, ice, or rain, can increase these risks, especially if drivers do not adjust their speed and driving style accordingly. Inexperienced drivers might lack the necessary skills to handle large trucks safely in various road conditions, while distracted driving, including the use of mobile devices, diverts attention from the road, leading to accidents. Lastly, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol significantly impairs a driver’s ability to operate a truck safely.

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Truck Accident Locations in Nebraska

The state’s highways, particularly Interstate 80, are common sites for such accidents. High-speed travel combined with heavy traffic increases the likelihood of truck-related incidents on these routes. Popular cities, notably Omaha and Lincoln, experience a significant number of truck accidents due to congested roads and numerous intersections.

The mix of heavy trucks with lighter vehicles and pedestrians in these densely populated areas heightens the likelihood of accidents. Areas in the state with significant industrial or agricultural activities, where trucks frequently enter and exit highways, are also prone to accidents.

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Figuring Out Who is Liable in Truck Accident Cases

While the truck driver is often the first one considered liable, especially if the accident was due to reasons like speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence, responsibility can extend much further. The trucking company itself can also be held liable. This is particularly relevant if the company’s practices, such as overworking drivers, failing to conduct proper background checks, or neglecting adequate maintenance of the vehicle, contributed to the accident. Furthermore, liability may extend to the company responsible for loading the truck if the accident was a result of improperly loaded or secured cargo.

In instances where a mechanical failure of the truck, such as brake failure or a tire blowout, led to the accident, the manufacturer of the vehicle or the particular parts can be held responsible. This scenario applies if the accident was caused by a flaw in the truck’s design or in the manufacturing of the parts. Additionally, the government entity responsible for maintaining the road could be liable if the accident were due to issues like poor road conditions or inadequate signs.

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Suing After a Truck Accident

Initially, an insurance claim is filed with the insurer of the party believed to be at fault for the truck accident. This claim is the primary method for seeking compensation for the losses suffered due to the accident, such as medical expenses or property damage. However, insurance claims do not always resolve smoothly. Disputes over liability, the extent of damages, or the amount of compensation offered by the insurance company can arise. In such cases, or if the claim is outright denied, the victim might choose to escalate the matter to a lawsuit.

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In pursuing a lawsuit, the victim or their legal representative has the burden of proving that the other party was at fault for the accident and that this directly resulted in their losses. This involves gathering evidence, which can include police reports, witness statements, video footage, and opinions from expert witnesses. Given the potential complexity, especially in cases with disputed liability or multiple responsible parties, the role of a truck accident lawyer becomes important. The legal process for truck accident claims or lawsuits is often lengthy and challenging, with numerous steps and negotiations.

According to Nebraska Revised Statute 25-207, victims have a four-year window to file a lawsuit for injures and losses stemming from a truck accident. This statute of limitations means that from the date of the truck accident, the victim has four years to initiate legal proceedings to claim damages for the injuries sustained. If the victim fails to file the lawsuit within this four-year period, they generally lose the right to seek compensation, as courts are likely to dismiss the case.

Under Nebraska Revised Statutes 30-809 and 30-810, when a person dies as a result of a truck accident due to another’s fault or negligence, the victim’s family has the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. This legal action typically has to be brought within two years of the victim’s death and is filed by the deceased’s legal representative, such as the executor of their estate. The purpose of this lawsuit is to get financial compensation for the family to cover funeral expenses, lost earnings, and the emotional trauma associated with the loss of a loved one.

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Types of Damages in Truck Accident Cases

Economic damages cover the financial losses the truck accident victim has incurred. This includes medical expenses, both immediate and ongoing, related to the injuries sustained in the accident. If the victim has lost income due to being unable to work, either temporarily or permanently, these lost wages are also considered economic damages. In some cases, there may be other out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the injury, such as costs for rehabilitation or modifications needed at home to accommodate a disability.

Non-economic damages are another category of damages, addressing the more subjective impacts of the accident. This includes compensation for pain and suffering, which refers to the physical and emotional distress caused by the injuries. It can also cover loss of enjoyment of life if the injuries prevent the victim from engaging in activities they used to enjoy. In severe cases, there might be damages for disfigurement or loss of consortium, which refers to the impact of the injuries on the victim’s relationship with their spouse.

In rare instances, punitive damages may be awarded. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which aim to compensate the victim, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for intentional or reckless conduct.

Also, under Nebraska Revised Statute 25-21,185.09, the compensation that the victim can receive is adjusted based on their degree of fault. For instance, if the victim is found to be 33% responsible for the truck accident, they are eligible to receive only 67% of the total damages awarded. However, if the victim’s level of fault is equal to or exceeds that of the other party, they are not entitled to receive any damages.

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What a Victim Should Do After a Truck Accident

Immediately following a truck accident, it’s crucial for any involved individuals to first ensure their safety and seek medical attention, even if they believe they are unharmed, as some injuries may not be immediately obvious. Calling the police to the scene is important, as a police report provides an official account of the accident, which can be essential in any legal proceedings. If it’s safe to do so, gathering evidence at the scene can be beneficial.

This includes taking photographs of the vehicles, road conditions, and any visible injuries, as well as collecting contact information from witnesses. Victims should not discuss fault at the scene or with the trucking company’s insurance adjuster without legal representation. A truck accident attorney can provide guidance on the next steps, including dealing with insurance companies and understanding legal rights.

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How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help

A truck accident lawyer has a solid understanding of the laws and regulations governing trucking and road safety, which is crucial in building a strong case. They can investigate the accident comprehensively, gathering evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and trucking company records. This evidence is important in establishing liability and the extent of damages.

Moreover, a lawyer can accurately assess the full range of damages that a victim is entitled to in motor vehicle accident cases. They consider not just the immediate costs but also long-term impacts, such as future medical care and lost earning potential. These lawyers are skilled negotiators who can deal effectively with insurance companies, often securing settlements that fairly compensate the victim without the need for a trial.

In cases where a settlement cannot be reached, a truck accident lawyer is ready to represent the victim in court, aiming to ensure that the victim receives the most possible compensation. Throughout the legal process, having an experienced lawyer can provide the victim with peace of mind and the confidence that their case is being handled in the best possible manner.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have to file a claim after a truck accident?

Four years from the date of the truck accident.

What type of compensation can I receive?

Compensation can include, but isn’t limited to, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Should I talk to the trucking company’s insurance adjuster?

Consult a lawyer before speaking to insurance adjusters.

What if the truck driver was not the owner of the truck?

Liability may extend to the truck’s owner or the trucking company.

How long does it take to settle a truck accident claim?

Settlement times vary, depending on the case complexity and negotiation process.

Can a family member file a claim for a victim who died in a truck accident?

Yes, family members can file a wrongful death claim.

Is it necessary to go to court for a truck accident claim?

Not always, many claims are settled outside of court.

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Hire an Accident Attorney 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 truck 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 Pottawattamie plus the surrounding counties of Harrison and Mills.

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