Not all car accidents involve two moving vehicles. Many involve parked cars – often without the owner present. Hitting a parked car brings with it the same driver responsibilities as a moving car accident in Nebraska. The at-fault driver must stop at the scene, exchange information and file an insurance claim. Taking the right steps after hitting a parked car in Omaha can improve the insurance process. It can also help you avoid criminal charges for a hit-and-run.
State requirements in Nebraska make it mandatory to stop at the scene of any car accident – including collisions with parked cars. If you knowingly strike someone else’s vehicle and keep driving, it is the crime of hit-and-run. You could face criminal charges if an eyewitness or surveillance camera saw the accident and recorded your plate numbers. The penalties for a hit-and-run in Nebraska can include fines, jail time and license suspension. Pull over immediately and park your car someplace safe, out of traffic. Check yourself for any injuries. Then, exit your vehicle when it is safe to do so and return to the parked vehicle you struck.
Nebraska Revised Statute 60-696 requires all drivers involved in accidents resulting in property damages or injuries to stop at the scene and provide information to the owner of the other vehicle. If you hit a parked car in Omaha, you legally must get your information to the owner of the vehicle you damaged. First, try to exchange information by finding the vehicle’s owner. The law obligates you to act within a standard of reasonable care, or in a way a normal and prudent driver would in the same situation. You must make a reasonable effort to locate the vehicle’s owner.
If you find the owner, give him or her your name, phone number, address and driver’s license number. If you cannot find the owner, you must include this information on a note and leave it in a conspicuous place in or on the parked car. Write clearly and legibly. Failing to leave a note is the same as a hit-and-run. This is a Class 2 misdemeanor in Nebraska. The other driver needs your information so he or she can contact your insurance company and file a claim to repair the property damage inflicted.
Report the Accident to a Peace Officer
Nebraska law also requires someone in an accident that damages an unattended vehicle to report the collision to an appropriate peace officer without unnecessary delay. You can call Omaha’s nonemergency police number to report the collision with a parked car immediately at (402) 444-4877. If the accident caused any injuries or property damages over $1,000, dial 911 from the scene. You do not have to admit fault for the accident while on the phone with peace officers. Wait for the officer to arrive, explain what happened and write down your police report number. The police can help gather additional information about the parked car accident.
Call Your Insurance Company
Call your auto insurance provider to report the crash as soon as possible. The insurance agent will ask questions about the wreck, such as its time, date and location. Take photographs of the property damages while at the scene to show your insurance provider, if possible. Your insurer can expedite the claims process. If you were at fault for the accident, your insurance company might increase your premiums.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
Although most car accidents involving parked cars are the fault of the other driver, some exceptions exist. If the other vehicle was parked illegally, for example, both drivers could share fault for the accident. The illegally parked driver might be partially to blame, while the other driver would absorb the remaining liability for failing to avoid the car.
It may be necessary to hire a car accident attorney to help you work through your parked car accident claim in Omaha. If you believe the other driver is at least partially to blame, contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options. The comparative negligence defense could reduce your liability and help you avoid an increase in your premiums. A lawyer could walk you through the entire insurance claims process after hitting a parked car.
A playground should be a safe place for children. It should have safety-approved equipment, well-maintained grounds and adequate child supervision. A playground should not contain hazards or defects that pose undue risks to children. Although some playground injuries arise from typical child’s play, other child injuries result from property or equipment defects. Compensation may be available for some of the most common playground injuries depending on the cause of the accident.
About 56% of playground injuries that require hospitalization are fractures and abrasions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children’s bones are softer than adults.’ They often bend and splinter before they break (greenstick fracture). Broken bones for a child can be painful and take weeks or months to heal. They may interfere with a child’s proper physical development. Bone fractures can happen on a playground due to falls, getting caught-in or between playground equipment, and sports incidents. A properly maintained playground with updated equipment can help prevent falls, while soft and safe ground materials can cushion a child’s fall and prevent the most serious injuries.
Head and Brain Injuries
Another common fall-related playground injury is a head or brain injury. The number of emergency room visits for playground brain injuries has dramatically increased in the last decade. A child could fall and strike his or her head on playground equipment or the ground surface due to dangerous or faulty structures. Poorly constructed or maintained equipment could increase the risk of serious fall accidents on a playground. Inadequate supervision can also lead to falls and head injuries. A child climbing where he or she should not be, such as on top of a structure, for example, could lead to a serious fall and a traumatic brain injury.
A child could suffer a soft-tissue injury such as a torn muscle, sprain or dislocation on a playground due to rough play and lack of child supervision. If the playground equipment is poorly maintained or old, it could have issues that lead to soft-tissue injuries. Wood rot could cause a playground structure to collapse, for example, or ropes could grow frail and cause a fall injury. Slippery or dangerous surfaces could also cause slip and fall accidents with accompanying soft-tissue damage.
Cuts, Scrapes and Lacerations
Unsafe, old or broken playground equipment can lead to severe lacerations for a child. Rusty or jagged metal on a slide, for instance, could badly injure a child and expose him or her to risks of complications such as infections or tetanus. Bad lacerations can also require sutures and cause permanent scars. Other risks can include exposed screws, loose bolts, protruding nails, sharp edges and dangerous sticks on the ground. It is the owner of the playground’s legal responsibility to inspect equipment and the grounds for laceration hazards before opening it to children.
Strangulation and Entrapment
One of the most dangerous risks children face on unsafe playgrounds is that of strangulation. During a Consumer Product Safety Commission investigation of fatal playground accidents, it found 68% of the children died from strangulation. Strangulation can occur on rope structures and swings. Play equipment such as jump ropes can also lead to child strangulation. Entrapment is another significant risk on a playground. A child could receive a serious entrapment injury if the playground has design or manufacturing defects that allow the child to get stuck, crushed or pinched between equipment.
Who Is Liable for a Playground Injury?
Playground injuries can be extremely serious and even fatal for victims. The parents of a severely injured child may be able to bring a lawsuit against one or multiple parties for the playground accident in Nebraska. The liable party might be the school or city in charge of playground maintenance if equipment disrepair caused the injury. A school or organization could also be liable if guilty of poor playground supervision. In other cases, the manufacturer of the playground equipment could be liable for dangerous product defects. The manufacturer has a responsibility to design and create reasonably safe equipment. A playground injury lawyer in Omaha can help parents understand their rights after serious accidents.
Posted in Accident Information on May 14, 2020
A concussion is traumatic brain injury (TBI). It is a relatively common injury in the US and the most common type of brain injury. Concussion is the term physicians use to describe a mild traumatic brain injury, typically arising from a bump or blow to the skull. A concussion could also occur from violent movement or shaking that causes the brain to strike the inside of the skull. Despite being classified as a mild TBI, a concussion could have serious and long-lasting effects on a patient. Most concussions are preventable and arise from negligence-related accidents.
Falls are the number one cause of concussions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls send millions of people to the hospital with serious injuries each year. They account for almost half (48%) of all emergency department visits for brain injuries. A fall could lead to a TBI such as a concussion if the victim strikes his or her head. Falling and hitting one’s head on an object, the ground or the floor could jolt the head hard enough to injure the brain. The elderly are most likely to sustain concussions from falls. Adults 65 years old and older account for 81% of all TBI-related hospital visits in the US.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of TBI-related hospital visits. A car accident could cause a brain injury if the victim’s head strikes the window, windshield, steering column or other elements within the vehicle during the crash. Motorcycle and bicycle riders are even more at risk of concussions in traffic accidents than people in passenger vehicles. The accident could eject the rider from the vehicle and cause his or her head to strike the pavement. Even with a helmet, the impact could be hard enough to injure the brain.
Another common cause of concussions is an object striking a victim’s head. Objects falling from shelves or scaffolds can cause struck-by injuries such as concussions. These incidents are especially common in the construction industry, where they accounted for 11.1% of deaths in 2018. Explosions and blasts can also cause TBIs and concussion through shrapnel flying and striking victims. Fallen object injuries are often preventable with proper securement of tools and materials, as well as worker head protection.
Thousands of concussions, including many concussions in children under 18, stem from sports-related incidents annually. Flying balls, pucks or other sports equipment during a game or practice could strike players or spectators, causing head injuries. Other sports-related concussions arise from player-to-player contact, such as tackles in football. While sports safety equipment such as helmets may be able to help prevent head injuries, they are not a guarantee.
Acts of Violence
Negligence is not always what causes concussions. Some concussions stem from intentional acts of harm, such as crimes. A concussion could result from a physical assault against the victim, such as a fistfight, gunshot wound or stabbing. Physical assaults can impact the head, skull and brain enough to cause a serious brain injury. Some of these injuries may be more severe than a concussion, such as a penetrating brain injury.
Compensation for Concussions in Nebraska
If you or a loved one has a concussion in Omaha, Nebraska, a brain injury attorney may be able to help you obtain compensation from the correct defendant. A driver, sports coach, property owner, product manufacturer or another party could owe you compensation for causing your TBI. You might be eligible for financial recovery for losses such as pain and suffering, a disability, lost wages, and medical bills if your lawyer can prove the defendant caused your concussion through an act of negligence or recklessness. A lawyer in Omaha can help you understand your rights and offer tailored legal advice.
If you were in an accident that gave you a significant injury or took the life of a loved one, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the party that caused your accident in Nebraska. A lawsuit could give you the peace of mind, justice and closure you need to finally move forward. It could also provide your family with the financial ability to pay off your medical bills, property repairs and other damages related to the accident. If you have grounds for a lawsuit, however, you must act quickly to file your claim before the deadline. Otherwise, an expired statute of limitations could bar you from recovery.
What Are Statutes of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations are laws that place deadlines on when plaintiffs can file claims. All states have statutes of limitations for civil and criminal cases. The point of a statute of limitations is to keep the justice system as fair and efficient as possible for everyone. Without a law imposing a deadline to file, claimants could potentially take as long as they wanted to come forward with their claims. This could lead to problems such as lost evidence and unreliable eyewitness accounts due to so much time passing. The courts also deemed it unjust to hold the possibility of a lawsuit over a defendant’s head indefinitely. Statutes of limitations are the solution for encouraging prompt claims filing.
What Is the Time Limit in Nebraska?
Statutes of limitations are different depending on the state where you are filing the claim. Every claimant in Nebraska has a responsibility to know his or her deadline for filing. You can discover your exact deadline to file by talking to a personal injury lawyer in Omaha. In the meantime, learning the general statutes of limitations for different types of lawsuits in Nebraska could give you an idea of how long you can wait to file.
- Breach of written contract: 5 years
- Breach of oral contract: 4 years
- Personal injury: 4 years
- Product liability: 4 years
- Property damage: 4 years
- Fraud: 4 years
- Medical and legal malpractice: 2 years
- Wrongful death: 2 years
- Assault and battery: 1 year
- Slander or libel: 1 year
Nebraska’s statutes of limitations have some exceptions, although they are rare. In most cases, the countdown begins on the date of the incident. You might qualify for a deadline extension, however, if you did not discover your injuries or damages until a date after that of the accident. In these cases, the clock typically starts ticking on the date of injury discovery rather than the date of accrual of the damages. Other exceptions exist for injured minors, as well as for cases involving criminal activities. Contact a lawyer to learn your specific statute of limitations.
Why You Should File as Soon as Possible
The courts in Nebraska are not lenient with the state’s statutes of limitations. Generally, if you try to file a lawsuit after the expiration of your statute of limitations, the courts will refuse to hear your case. You will lose any eligibility you might have had to compensation from the defendant for missing your deadline. Even if the courts agree to pass your case onto the next stage, the defendant will most likely bring up the expired statute of limitations in a motion to dismiss your case. Protect your right to file a lawsuit by never waiting to take legal action.
Regardless of how long you have to file under the statute of limitations, initiate a lawsuit as quickly as you can after a personal injury or property damage. In general, a plaintiff will not benefit from waiting to file. In fact, waiting could hurt your chances of winning the case through the loss or destruction of key evidence. Your eyewitnesses might not remember exactly what they saw, for example, or a company might have erased its records. Prompt legal action can ensure you meet your deadline and enable you to bring a stronger case against the defendant.
Most car accidents do not cause physical injuries alone. They can also affect a victim psychologically, mentally and emotionally. The psychological effects of being in a car accident can remain long after physical injuries have healed. In Nebraska, the civil courts give crash survivors the right to pursue compensation for their nonphysical as well as physical injuries. You may be eligible for an emotional injury award as a car accident victim in Omaha.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common psychological effects of being in an auto accident. PTSD is a mental health condition that can arise after someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as a car accident, physical assault or dog attack. PTSD can last a few days up to several weeks or months. In some recorded cases, especially in children, PTSD from a car accident has lasted longer than a year after the collision. You might have post-traumatic stress disorder from a car accident if you notice related symptoms.
- Severe or ongoing anxiety
- Sleep problems
- A feeling of detachment
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Mood swings
PTSD can impact your ability to function and continue with normal life. Phobias or anxiety about getting into a vehicle could prevent you from going to work, for example. PTSD may require treatment from a mental health professional. Although many symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are normal for a car accident survivor to experience in the aftermath of a serious crash, if the symptoms persist over time and/or become debilitating, it could lead to a diagnosis of PTSD and require professional care.
Permanent Injuries and Lost Quality of Life
Aside from anxiety, stress and phobias connected to a traumatic car accident, a survivor could also suffer negative psychological effects due to a catastrophic or permanent injury. An injury that scars, disfigures or maims a crash survivor could present a source of anxiety, embarrassment, low self-esteem, shame and/or depression.
An injury that interferes with the victim’s ability to move and do the things he or she loves could also have a significant psychological effect. The victim may experience grief or anger over lost quality of life or diminished enjoyment of life. These are feelings that may dissipate over time, with or without professional treatment, or that the survivor may combat for life.
Pursuing Compensation for Emotional Injuries in Nebraska
Many factors can determine whether a victim of a car accident will experience adverse psychological effects from the crash. These can include the circumstances of the accident, the severity of the wreck, the type and degree of the injury, and whether a loved one died. If you notice emotional distress, mental anguish, lost quality of life or loss of consortium after being in a motor vehicle accident, ask an attorney whether these emotional injuries make you eligible for financial compensation.
If a negligent driver or another party caused your car accident in Omaha, that person may owe you money for your damages. The law might entitle you to a payment to cover your economic and noneconomic damages. This can include any psychological effects you were or still are experiencing from a car accident. The at-fault party could be liable for these damages as well as the economic costs of the collision for you and your family.
Proving psychological damages may take an official psychological evaluation and/or the diagnosis of a condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder, an anxiety disorder or depression. It may also require testimony from a mental health expert during your car accident case. Keep copies of all mental health records and bills in the aftermath of an auto accident. Then, pursue compensation for your noneconomic losses with help from an auto accident lawyer in Omaha.
Posted in Accident Information on April 20, 2020
In the current uncertain state of the world amid the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, some patients are suffering the effects of misdiagnoses. A doctor could misdiagnose COVID-19 as something else, such as the seasonal flu, or vice versa. A doctor could also make the mistake of failing to diagnose a patient who has the coronavirus, allowing that person to continue interacting with others and potentially spread the virus. A doctor could negligently delay a patient’s diagnosis of COVID-19 and fail to give the patient the treatments he or she needs in a timely manner. In other cases, lab tests could show false negatives. If you are the victim of any type of misdiagnosis in relation to the coronavirus, learn your rights with the help of an Omaha personal injury lawyer.
Issues With Coronavirus Diagnoses
Misdiagnosis is a question arising in connection with coronavirus cases specifically due to confirmed issues with laboratory tests and misinformation regarding the virus. For example, it took weeks for researchers to confirm that it could take 5 days for coronavirus symptoms to arise (the average is 12 days). The flu has similar symptoms and an incubation period of one to four days. Therefore, thousands of patients who visited their doctors before the release of this information might have been sent home with COVID-19 misdiagnosed as the flu.
Other coronavirus-related diagnosis problems have to do with inaccurate laboratory tests. Some reports show patients with the virus testing negative repeatedly (up to six times) using laboratory tests. False negative results for the coronavirus could prevent a patient from obtaining proper medical care. It could also increase the risk of the patient spreading the virus to others while believing he or she does not have COVID-19. Even a small number of false negative lab tests could increase the spread of the virus throughout the population. Other patients have been unable to obtain coronavirus tests at all due to technical difficulties and medical equipment supply shortages.
When Is Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice?
It is important to learn when a doctor’s misdiagnosis of the coronavirus would and would not be medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is a legal term describing any action or omission a prudent physician would not have committed under the same or similar circumstances. To prove a medical malpractice claim, you or your attorney will have to establish three main elements through a preponderance of the evidence. Your lawyer must show three things to be more likely true than not true.
- You and the doctor had a professional relationship. The physician who misdiagnosed you in relation to COVID-19 must have been your health care provider at the time. An unofficial diagnosis by a friend who is also a doctor, for example, will not establish the same duties of care.
- The doctor breached the duties of care owed to you as a patient. The physician must be guilty of a breach of the duty of care under medical industry standards, such as negligently failing to administer a coronavirus test when you were presenting symptoms.
- The breach of duty caused the damages in question. Finally, your physician must show that you have compensable damages (e.g. medical bills or lost wages) and that these are a direct result of the physician’s misdiagnosis related to the coronavirus.
If you believe your incident fulfills these three requirements, you might have grounds for a medical malpractice claim in Nebraska. A successful lawsuit could pay you and your family for damages related to the misdiagnosis, such as medical care, lost income, physical pain, emotional suffering and the wrongful death of a loved one. Contact an attorney to discuss your potential misdiagnosis suit in more detail. Many attorneys are offering online consultations and providing legal services virtually during the pandemic to keep clients safe. Initial consultations are often free, so you can discuss your legal rights as an injured patient at no risk.
Social media can do more damage to a case than you think. It is more than just a social platform among friends or family members. The defense could use social media accounts as evidence during court cases. Social media could have the power to change your personal injury case’s outcome. Misusing social media, such as by posting the wrong thing at the wrong time, could reduce your chances of a positive result. It is best to stay off of social media entirely while your case is ongoing.
Social Media Activity as Proof of a State of Mind
During a personal injury case, your social media activity could play a role in how a judge or jury perceives you. Your attorney will most likely strive for pain and suffering damages connected to your accident. To obtain these damages, your lawyer will need to prove that you experienced physical pain and emotional suffering because of the accident or injury. If you post to your social media accounts with smiley faces and emojis, the defendant could use this against you to argue that your accident must not have put too great an emotional toll on you if you were still posting like usual.
Even if you do not post on social media, other people posting on your page, tagging you in posts or even just friending/following you could impact your claim. If you are claiming that your serious injury confined you to your house, where you experienced depression and loneliness, for instance, the defense could use your Facebook page with thousands of friends as proof that you were not as lonely or isolated as you claim. The same is true for posts that show your location. These could prove that you did not spend the last few months entirely at home.
Activities Discrediting Your Injury Claim
Another common issue associated with social media and a personal injury claim is the claimant unintentionally ruining his or her credibility. Posting photos or activities during an ongoing injury claim could provide evidence that your injuries are not as serious as you claim they are – or that you are not actually injured at all. If you bring a claim for a knee injury, for example, then post a photo of you on a hike, the defendant could use this to discredit you as a plaintiff. Social media activity that goes against your alleged injuries or damages could show a jury you are an untrustworthy plaintiff. This could significantly hurt your claim.
Photos Showing Newly Acquired Assets
One argument your lawyer might be making on your behalf is that the accident or injury put you under financial strain. Posting photos of your home, vehicle, boat, vacations, new clothes or any other assets (especially those newly acquired) could discredit this argument. Social media proof that you are not in financial straits because of the accident could reduce your recovery award by showing a jury you are not under as much emotional stress as your lawyer would have them believe.
Messages directly going against your allegations during an injury claim, such as to the circumstances of the accident or severity of your injuries, could be something the defense uses against you. Even private messages are not private in the justice system. A lawyer can access them with a subpoena if he or she believes they are relevant to the case. Deleting posts or messages will not protect you; investigators can pull up deleted accounts and content. The best way to avoid all potential risks associated with social media during a personal injury claim is by staying off all platforms. Deactivate all your social media accounts until your case ends.
Before you deactivate, change your privacy settings to the most private possible. Do not accept any new friend requests or followers. Never discuss your case or injury online. Assume anything you send digitally, even through text messaging, is recoverable and can be used against you during an injury claim. Work with an Omaha personal injury lawyer for more advice about what to do and what not to do to help your case.
Distracted driving is one of the deadliest driver habits on today’s roads. It is a common act of negligence that can lead to preventable car accidents. Distracted driving refers to operating a motor vehicle without paying due attention to the road or the driving task. Distracted driving killed 2,841 people in the US in 2018 and injured about 400,000 others. One of the most common sources of driver distraction is cellphone use. Many companies have created apps to provide solutions to this problem.
If you are looking for a free app that can track your driving habits, give you performance reports and provide safety-related savings to encourage you to ban distracted driving, try Drive Smart. This top-rated app focuses on all-around safe driving habits rather than cellphone use alone. It can change the way you drive, bringing your attention to common issues that could be dangerous, such as driving while distracted, slamming on the brakes and speeding. It will track your driving metrics to allow you to see what needs improvement in your driving habits. Then, it gives you benefits for being a safe driver by connecting you to organizations that offer rewards.
Drivemode focuses more on stopping cellphone use behind the wheel than safer driving overall. This app changes the way your cellphone works to enable safer connected driving in your vehicle. It makes common cellphone commands simpler to keep your visual, cognitive and manual attention on the road more while you navigate things such as maps, phone calls and music apps.
Drivemode creates a straightforward, streamlined interface on your cellphone so you can safely access favorite applications using hands-free technology such as voice commands. If you need to touch your phone, the app creates larger buttons to make it easier while you focus on driving. It also has features such as single taps and broad swipes to make cellphone control easy while you drive. It works with common apps such as Google Maps, Waze, Spotify, Google Play Music, SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack and Google Now.
True Motion Family
Distracted driving is especially common among teens and inexperienced drivers. Teens may not yet recognize the dangers of texting and driving, or feel confident enough using a cellphone to believe they can do safely while driving. They are less experienced and often more reckless than adult drivers. One family-oriented app that could change the way teens drive is True Motion Family. It captures the driving skills and habits of your entire family and can send parents alerts. True Motion Family enables you to track your family members’ whereabouts while they drive, as well as give you specific information about their driving – including if they used their phones in transit. Your teen might drive safer if he or she knows you are watching.
The LifeSaver app also encourages safe driving by discouraging driver distraction. It aims to change the distracted driving culture by automatically blocking cellphone use while the user is driving. The app can detect driving and lock certain cellphone features that may be dangerous, such as text messaging and making phone calls (other than for emergencies). It is a popular app for families as well as fleets, such as commercial truck driving enterprises, to ensure better behind-the-wheel safety.
Down for the Count
Down for the Count is an app that provides incentives for drivers to improve their safety on the road. It lets users create safe-driving campaigns with goals, such as 5 to 25 hours of safe driving time. Once they reach the goal, they receive the incentives, such as $25 gift cards. Most sponsors are parents or family members who wish to encourage their teen drivers to put their phones down behind the wheel. This app can increase the odds of teens and others driving safely by giving them incentives for doing so.
If you’ve been in a serious accident caused by distracted driving, contact an Omaha car accident lawyer.
Spinal cord injuries are relatively uncommon. The incidence rate of spine injuries per year in the US is about 54 cases per 1 million people, according to the 2019 Spinal Cord Injury Data Sheet from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCSC). This equates to around 17,730 new cases each year. There are up to 363,000 people living with spinal cord injuries in the US, however. The most common causes of spine injuries are car accidents, slip and falls, acts of violence and sports. Every spine injury is unique, and all spinal injuries are serious.
Incomplete and Complete Spinal Injuries
Spinal injuries can be catastrophic due to the risk of paralysis: the loss of sensation and function in the body or limbs. Any damage to the spinal cord could irrevocably destroy the messaging system between the brain and the body – paralyzing the victim or leading to various levels of sensory and function changes.
Physicians often refer to the severity of a spinal injury in terms of completeness. An incomplete spine injury will allow a victim to retain some movement and function below the point of injury, to varying degrees. A complete spinal cord injury removes all ability to move and feel sensation in the affected areas. With both types, it may be possible for the victim to regain some feeling or movement with surgeries, rehabilitation and other treatments.
Spastic and Flaccid Spinal Injuries
Spine injuries can cause spastic and/or flaccid paralysis. With spastic paralysis, the muscles tighten and become hard. They may occasionally move or jerk without the victim’s control (spasm). Flaccid paralysis relaxes the muscles and makes them shrink. In many cases, a victim might experience flaccid paralysis immediately after the injury, during spinal shock, and then change to spastic paralysis while in recovery.
A spinal concussion occurs due to trauma impacting the spine. A spinal cord concussion typically does not result in a permanent injury. It may or may not involve vertebral damage and pathologic changes. Most patients recover fully from spinal concussions with 48 hours; however, some patients may take weeks or months to achieve full recoveries.
The loss of function and sensation in all four limbs is tetraplegia, also called quadriplegia. Tetraplegia is a spine injury that results in paralysis of the trunk, arms, hands, legs, feet and pelvic organs. Tetraplegia may or may not affect the respiratory system and the victim’s ability to move the neck. Tetraplegia can happen with injuries above the first thoracic vertebra, within the cervical sections of the spine.
Incomplete tetraplegia is the most common neurological level of spine injury, according to the NSCSC. It accounts for 47.6% of new spine injuries. The second and third most common are incomplete and complete paraplegia, which differ from each other by just 0.3% in terms of frequency.
Paraplegia and Triplegia
Paraplegia refers to a type of spinal injury that affects the lower part of the body only. Someone with paraplegia may lose feeling and sensation in both legs, the legs and the pelvic organs, or from the trunk down. Paraplegia is most common with injuries that affect the lower spine: the thoracic and lumbar sections. Triplegia is a less common spinal cord injury involving the paralysis of three limbs only, such as both legs and one arm.
Monoplegia and Diplegia
Two other types of spinal cord injuries are monoplegia and diplegia. These describe types of paralysis that do not affect all four limbs. Monoplegia is the paralysis of one limb only, while diplegia is the paralysis of any two limbs on corresponding parts of the body. Paralysis of both arms, for example, is diplegia.
Every type of spinal cord injury is serious and requires immediate medical attention. If you or a loved one has a spine injury, talk to an Omaha spinal cord injury attorney about your case. You might be eligible for financial compensation for your catastrophic injury.
Self-driving vehicles are not a new concept, but they are a relatively new reality. The technology is not yet perfect, with glitches and malfunctions that have cost lives. The first recorded death involving a self-driving car occurred in Tempe, Arizona in 2018, when the driverless technology failed to detect a crossing pedestrian. The vehicle struck and killed the pedestrian when she tried to cross the street. When a driverless vehicle gets into an accident, the question of liability can be a difficult one to answer. Fault may come down to the vehicle manufacturer, the human behind the wheel or many other parties.
The Vehicle Manufacturer
The manufacturer of the self-driving vehicle has a legal responsibility to ensure the product’s reasonable safety. While this does not mean guaranteeing zero accidents, it does mean taking steps a reasonable and prudent manufacturer would take in the same situation to prevent collisions. This could include properly testing the self-driving software technology and conducting crash tests before releasing the vehicle to the public. It could also mean repairing any known defects or issues with the technology in a timely manner.
If the designer, manufacturer or distributor of the driverless vehicle released a defective product, it could be strictly liable for crash victims’ damages. Strict product liability means the victim of a collision does not have the burden to prove the defendant’s fault. The manufacturer would be legally responsible even if it was not negligent during the design or creation of the defective vehicle. The plaintiff in a strict product liability claim would only have to show that the self-driving vehicle contained a defect and that it caused the accident.
The Software Designer
If it was the self-driving software that glitched and caused the accident specifically, the software company could be liable for the crash instead of the car’s manufacturer (if they are two separate companies). Self-driving software defects have been behind multiple deaths involving driverless vehicles in recent years, as well as many injuries. In most of these crash cases, the driverless software did not perform as expected to detect oncoming vehicles, bicyclists or pedestrians and properly apply the vehicle’s brakes. In these situations, the software designer could be legally at fault for crash victims’ damages.
A Human Supervisor
A driverless vehicle accident could trace back to the fault of its human supervisor. Most self-driving vehicles are not entirely self-driving – they carry drivers that still have the responsibility to supervise the autonomous technology and intervene to avoid an accident, if necessary. If the vehicle makes a tone warning the driver to take over, for example, the human supervisor should step in to take control of the car until the hazard or issue has passed. Failure to properly supervise the technology and react could point to fault on the vehicle’s occupant.
Although self-driving technology is advanced, manufacturers have not perfected it enough to take over for humans entirely. It is still up to vehicle occupants to pay attention, obey the vehicle’s warnings and immediately react to changing roadway conditions. If the driver behind the wheel of an autonomous car or truck was texting, watching videos, chatting, eating, or otherwise too distracted or negligent to promptly react to hazards, the driver could absorb liability for a resultant collision.
A Third-Party Driver
Some self-driving vehicle accidents have nothing to do with the self-driving vehicle or its human occupants. Third-party drivers can make mistakes and crash into driverless cars as they would other vehicles. In these situations, the third-party driver could be responsible for paying for damages. Victims in these accidents would seek restitution from the at-fault party’s insurance provider as they would after any other type of car crash in Nebraska.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Liability for your self-driving vehicle accident will depend on its cause and the factors at play. It can be a complicated matter that requires a full investigation. The vehicle manufacturer, software company, human supervisor, another driver or many other parties could owe you compensation for your damages after a self-driving car accident in Nebraska. Work with an Orange County car accident attorney near you to investigate your recent auto accident and determine fault. A lawyer will understand the unique laws surrounding self-driving vehicles, as well as how to navigate an accident claim. A lawyer can also help you fight for full damage recovery.