Understanding Nebraska Auto Accident Liability
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were nearly 1.6 million car accidents in the US in 2013 that resulted in injuries. Car accidents are literally an everyday occurrence, and they can strike at any time. But who’s to say who actually caused an accident? Sure, sometimes it can be obvious. A driver gets caught on camera running a red light when they t-boned a truck. A driver is intoxicated and rear-ends another car. But what about more complex cases?
Most auto accident injury lawsuits fall under the category of civil law known as “negligence law.” The legal definition of negligence differs slightly from the more commonly associate colloquial usage. When you hear the word “negligence,” you probably think of someone who fails to fulfill their duties. The legal definition is similar, but it covers a broader spectrum of actions. The legal definition of negligence refers to actions or the omission of actions that would otherwise have been carried out by a reasonable person that specifically resulted in injuries or damages to others.
For example, anyone who drives a vehicle is reasonably expected to avoid consuming alcohol prior to operating their vehicle. Thus, someone who does so and causes an accident is considered to have been negligent.
If a person is found to have negligently operated their vehicle, they can be held liable for any damages they caused. However, there are times when fault is not necessarily a cut-and-dry issue. It is possible to share fault for an incident, and there can even be several different determinations with regard to each party’s respective level of negligence.
A police officer at the scene of the accident could conceivably state that one driver was entirely at fault, while the insurance companies who investigate the case make the opposite determination. Generally, the insurance companies will have the final say with regard to fault in an auto accident.
In the State of Nebraska, if you are found to have been 50% or more at fault for an accident, you will not be entitled to recover any damages. However, if the courts determine that you are any less than 50% liable for the accident, you will have the opportunity to recover damages through civil litigation.
When determining liability for an auto accident, the courts will examine each situation on a case-by-case basis, looking at any and all contributing factors. They will consider things like whether or not the rules of the road were violated and by whom, the state of the drivers (was anyone intoxicated or distracted?), and even whether or not there were any defects in the vehicle for which neither driver was at fault. In such a case, a manufacturer could be found liable for the damages to both parties involved in the accident.
The complex nature of liability determinations in Nebraska dictates an immense need for legal representation. If you are ever injured in an accident, an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer like Thomas Inkelaar will investigate every possible contributing cause of an accident to ensure that you will receive full compensation for your injuries. Give us a call and let us take over your case so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.