Accident Information

Tips for Safe Driving at Night

Posted in Accident Information on September 21, 2022

Nighttime driving comes with a variety of risks that are not present during daylight hours. Driving in the dark comes with complications associated with depth perception, visibility, color recognition and peripheral vision. The inability to spot a hazard right away can lead to reduced reaction times and higher odds of a car accident. Use these tips to keep yourself and others safe when driving at night.

Inspect Your Headlights

 

According to crash data collected by the Nebraska Department of Transportation in 2020, 34.1 percent of all traffic accidents occurred between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. An inordinate number of fatal collisions took place in this window of time, however, between dusk and dawn: 49 percent of all fatal accidents. This shows the unique dangers associated with driving at night compared to driving during the day.

 

One of the best ways to combat the risks of driving in the dark is with high-quality headlights. Before driving anywhere at night, inspect your headlights to ensure they are clean and correctly aimed. They should be tilted at an angle that provides ample illumination of the roadway in front of you. They should not be so high as to blind oncoming drivers. You should also clean your windshield to avoid streaks that may catch the light of other drivers’ headlights and create a dangerous glare.

Ensure Good Vision

 

Headlights will only go so far in terms of improving your nighttime visibility. Some drivers have poor nighttime vision. If you have to wear glasses to drive at night, use an anti-reflective pair to prevent headlight glares. As an older driver (over the age of 60), you should get annual vision exams and limit yourself to daytime driving, if necessary. Be careful with prescription drugs, as well, as some can cause blurred vision and difficulty seeing at night.

Reduce Your Speed

 

Nighttime driving can mean a harder time seeing road signs and hazards, more animals crossing the road, and several other risks that can increase the odds of a car accident. A good habit to get into to protect yourself is to reduce your speed when driving after sundown. This can give you more time to react to changing roadway situations, such as a pedestrian walking on the side of the road or an animal crossing. Increase your following distance, as well, for added protection.

Prevent and Detect Fatigue

 

Driving at night comes with a higher risk of driving drowsy, especially if you are driving outside of your normal sleep pattern. Never operate a motor vehicle if you have gotten little to no sleep in the last 24 hours. If you feel tired, are yawning frequently, blinking often or your mind is wandering, you are at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. Look out for signs of drowsiness and pull over and rest if you are experiencing fatigue. 

Look Out for Impaired Drivers

 

Your odds of encountering a drunk or drugged driver increase significantly when driving at night. Be on the lookout for drivers who are exhibiting signs of intoxication, such as speeding, racing, weaving between lanes, drifting out of the lane, running red lights, wrong-way driving, and braking and accelerating erratically. If you believe a driver is intoxicated, call the police to report it and maintain a safe distance. 

Watch for Wildlife

 

Always pay extra attention to the road and stay alert for any type of hazard when driving at night. This includes wildlife crossing. Many species of animals are more active at night, including deer, raccoons and possums. Be on the lookout for the flash of animal eyes in your headlights on the side of the road or crossing the road. Reduce your speed and come to a stop, if necessary, to allow the animal to cross.

 

If you get into a car accident while driving at night, trust the attorneys at Knowles Law Firm for assistance with the claims process.

Nebraska Electric Bike Laws

Posted in Accident Information on September 10, 2022

Electric bicycles have become more common in Nebraska in recent years with the advent of public e-bike sharing services such as BikeLNK and B-cycle. Electric bikes are a fast and fun way to travel and have become a popular alternative to standard human-propelled bikes. If you plan on riding an electric bike in Nebraska, learn the applicable state laws and rules. Obeying these laws can help keep you safe and out of legal trouble.

Nebraska E-Bike Laws

What Is the Definition of an Electric Bike?

 

In Nebraska, an electric bike is defined as a bicycle that is propelled either by pedaling or an electric motor that is no more than 750W, one brake horsepower and a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. Under LB771, Nebraska has adopted a three-tiered electric bike classification system to clarify state law.

 

A Class 1 electric bike is equipped with a motor that only propels the bicycle when the rider is pedaling and stops providing assistance when the bike reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour. A Class 2 e-bike has a motor that can be used to exclusively propel the bicycle. It is also not capable of providing assistance when the bike reaches 20 miles per hour. 

 

A Class 3 e-bike only uses the motor when the rider is pedaling and does not cease to provide assistance until the bicycle reaches 28 miles per hour. It is equipped with a speedometer. The three-tier system allows municipalities in Nebraska to control electric bicycles more efficiently.

Do You Need a Driver’s License or Insurance to Ride an Electric Bike in Nebraska?

 

Electric bicycles are not subject to the same licensing or insurance requirements that apply to motor vehicles in Nebraska. They are treated similarly to human-powered bicycles. There is no minimum age range to ride an electric bicycle. However, most e-bike rental companies require renters to be at least 16 years old to rent. Many renters must also scan their driver’s licenses. However, having a driver’s license is not required to ride an electric bike in general in Nebraska. Motor vehicle insurance is also not a legal requirement.

Can You Ride an Electric Bike on the Road?

 

Yes. Under Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,317, while riding an electric bike on the road, the bicyclist must stay as near to the right-hand curb or right-hand edge of the roadway as is practicable, except when passing another bicyclist, making a left turn or avoiding road hazards. The cyclist must obey all relevant roadway rules and traffic laws, including speed limits and traffic signs. E-bikes are also allowed on most sidewalks and bicycle paths in Nebraska. Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.

Do You Have to Wear a Helmet on an Electric Bike?

 

No. Nebraska does not have a universal or statewide law requiring the use of helmets on electric bicycles or human-propelled bikes. This means that helmets are not required of electric bike riders, regardless of age. However, bicyclists are strongly encouraged to wear a safety-approved helmet at all times. Helmets significantly reduce the risk of head and brain injuries in electric bicycle accidents.

What Equipment Must an E-Bike Have in Nebraska?

 

When riding an electric bicycle at night, the bike must contain a front lamp that emits a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet, as well as a red reflector on the rear of the bicycle that is visible from 50 to 300 feet. In addition, the electric bike must have reflective tape or material on both sides of the bike that is visible from 600 feet when directly in front of the low beams of a motor vehicle. For safety reasons, e-bikes should have working brakes and should not carry passengers unless they are designed to do so.

 

If you or a loved one gets injured in an electric bike accident in Nebraska, contact a bicycle accident lawyer for assistance in recovering fair financial compensation for your injuri

What Is an Assumption of Risk in a Personal Injury Case?

Posted in Accident Information on August 31, 2022

When you file a personal injury claim in Nebraska to pursue financial compensation from the person or party that caused your accident, you may run into one or more defenses. One defense strategy is called the assumption of risk. This defense claims that you were aware of the potential risk of injury associated with an activity but went through with it anyway – and that the defendant should therefore not be held liable for your injuries.

What Does Assumption of Risk Mean?

Certain sports, events and activities are known to be dangerous or hold a certain level of risk by their very nature. Mountain climbing, rappelling, skydiving and whitewater rafting are examples of activities with injury risks that are obvious to the average person. Agreeing to participate in these activities generally means that an individual has knowingly and voluntarily exposed him or herself to a known risk of injury. This is referred to as an assumption of risk.

When Can the Assumption of Risk Defense Be Used?

The assumption of risk defense is often introduced in a personal injury case involving circumstances where the plaintiff knew or reasonably should have known of potential dangers to his or her health and safety but participated anyway. Risky activities and extreme sports are one example, as mentioned above. Another example is a premises liability case that involves signage posted at the property that warned visitors of potential dangers, such as toxic chemicals or a vicious dog.

There are other situations where an assumption of risk might not be as obvious. Joining a new gym, for example, may not make you think you are assuming a risk of injury. If you signed a waiver when joining, however, the gym may have proof that you assumed certain risks. This could impact your ability to hold the gym responsible if you do get injured. It is important to note, however, that the assumption of risk defense can only be used when certain circumstances exist.

For a defendant to use an assumption of risk defense successfully, he or she must demonstrate two key elements. The first is that the plaintiff had actual knowledge of the risk involved in the activity. The second is that the plaintiff voluntarily accepted or assumed this risk, either implicitly or expressly. If either of these elements cannot be proven, the assumption of risk defense will fail to protect the defendant from liability.

Can Assumption of Risk Always Bar a Plaintiff From Recovery?

No. If you or your lawyer can prove that you did not have actual knowledge of the risk that caused your injury, this defense will not bar you from making a financial recovery. If you signed a liability waiver before participating in a dangerous activity, for example, but the waiver did not mention anything about the hazard that injured you, this could combat the assumption of risk defense.

Similarly, this defense will not work if you did not voluntarily assume the risk or hazard that injured you. In a case involving an injured minor, for example, a parent or legal guardian generally cannot accept an injury risk on behalf of a child. Without voluntarily accepting the risk – either expressly through an agreement or implied by words or conduct – the defendant will still owe a legal duty to the plaintiff. This can make the defendant liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

Finally, there is an exception if a defendant is guilty of gross negligence, or a lack of care that reaches the level of a wanton or reckless disregard for the safety of others. While assumption of risk may defend against ordinary negligence, it is not a defense for gross negligence. The burden of proof when using the assumption of risk defense lies with the defendant, meaning it is the defendant’s responsibility to prove that the risk was obvious or apparent and that the plaintiff accepted this risk.

For more information about how the assumption of risk defense might impact your personal injury case in Omaha, contact Knowles Law Firm to request a free consultation.

What Is a Letter of Protection?

Posted in Accident Information on August 24, 2022

A letter of protection is something you may need to request from an attorney after an accident if you are being charged for medical care but have not yet received financial compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company to pay for your medical bills. This is a common situation, as an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit often takes longer than the medical billing process. A letter of protection promises your medical provider that it will see the money that you owe after your case has been resolved.

When Do You Need a Letter of Protection?

In the immediate aftermath of an accident, you may need emergency medical care. Most accident victims cannot afford to pay for 100 percent of their care, with or without health insurance. In this situation, who pays the hospital for the treatments that you already received? The answer to this question depends on the specifics of the case. However, you can utilize a letter of protection in the meantime to prevent your case from being sent to avoid facing a medical lien.

A medical lien is a legal claim that a hospital, doctor or health care provider can have to your personal property. If you fail to pay your medical debt, the lien gives the lienholder the right to sell your property and keep the profits to pay what you owe. One way to avoid this issue while your personal injury lawsuit is pending is with a letter of protection. Although not every victim needs this letter, it might be the right solution for you based on the circumstances of your case.

How Does a Letter of Protection Work?

When you hire a personal injury attorney, a letter of protection is something that he or she can send to your medical providers to halt bill processing and give you more time to pay. It is a guarantee given by your lawyer that all of your medical bills will be paid after your personal injury case has been resolved. It tells a doctor that you are taking legal action against one or more parties for causing your injuries and that while you are unable to pay upfront, the hospital will receive what it is owed when the case has reached an outcome.

When a letter of protection is used, you and your lawyer are promising to pay your doctor back for the costs that it spent upfront in treating you in the aftermath of a car crash, slip and fall accident, workplace incident, or another disaster. A letter of protection is a legally binding contract that protects the health care provider from being left with an accident victim’s medical debts. It also protects a victim from having to pay for medical care out of pocket or face negative consequences due to medical debt.

Does a Letter of Protection Impact Your Injury Settlement?

Yes and no. Technically, a letter of protection means that a portion of your settlement will automatically be sent to your health care provider to fulfill your promise to pay off your medical debt. However, since you did not pay out of pocket for your medical care to begin with, this portion of your settlement would not have been awarded to you anyway. Therefore, you are not losing any money with a letter of protection.

Furthermore, a skilled personal injury lawyer may be able to negotiate your medical debt down by the end of your case, so that you get to keep more of your settlement or judgment award. Your lawyer may be able to ensure that the hospital does not receive more financial compensation than you do from a defendant for your accident and injury, for example.

Whether or not you need a letter of protection depends on the specific circumstances of your case. To learn more about this legal document, talk to an attorney at Knowles Law Firm. We offer free case consultations.

What Are Extenuating Circumstances? 

Posted in Accident Information on August 12, 2022

Extenuating circumstances is a legal phrase that you may hear in a criminal case or personal injury lawsuit in Nebraska. In a personal injury case, extenuating circumstances may come into play if an insurance company attempts to blame your injuries on something other than the defendant’s actions or failure to act. Learn more about this legal subject to prepare your argument in case it comes up as a defense to your claim.

What Does Extenuating Circumstances Mean?

Cornell Law Schools’ definition of extenuating circumstances are facts or details that are relevant and necessary to fully understand a situation. They are also referred to as mitigating factors. In a criminal or civil case, extenuating circumstances must be taken into consideration to fully grasp the facts of the case.

Depending on the facts presented, extenuating circumstances could lead to a person’s actions being viewed as less severe or more severe. This can mean a decreased or increased punishment in a criminal case, or changes in the value of the damages (financial compensation) awarded in a civil case.

How Might Extenuating Circumstances Affect a Personal Injury Case?

Typically, extenuating circumstances are brought up in a personal injury case as a defense tactic by the defendant or his or her insurance company. An insurance provider may allege that it was not its policyholder that caused the claimant’s injuries, but instead, extenuating circumstances. For example, an insurer in a car accident claim may claim that the roads were slippery due to a recent storm and that this is what caused the crash, rather than the defendant’s actions.

If a defense involving extenuating or mitigating circumstances succeeds, this can diminish or even eliminate the defendant’s percentage of fault for a victim’s injuries. If the courts agree that the accident and injury in question most likely would not have occurred were it not for the extenuating circumstances, this could protect the defendant from liability for the accident – and interfere with the victim’s ability to recover compensation.

If you are a plaintiff or injured party in a personal injury lawsuit in Nebraska, extenuating circumstances could reduce or take away the financial recovery that you collect from a defendant. You may no longer be able to hold one or more parties accountable for your injury if the defense proves that it was caused wholly by extenuating circumstances. Otherwise, the courts may reduce your recovery award by the percentage of fault allocated to mitigating circumstances.

Extenuating Circumstances in Criminal Law

In criminal law, extenuating circumstances often mean that a punishable action – such as a crime – can be forgiven due to the unusual situation surrounding the incident. In some cases, criminal charges against a defendant may be dropped due to mitigating circumstances. For example, if a defendant only assaulted someone because he thought he was acting in self-defense, the extenuating circumstances could lead to case dismissal.

Conversely, extenuating circumstances could increase a defendant’s penalties by making his or her actions more severe. If the extenuating circumstances constitute aggravating factors – such as committing a crime with a deadly weapon – they can increase the defendant’s criminal penalties. The effect that extenuating circumstances have on a criminal case depends on the facts and details that are presented.

How an Attorney Can Help

If an insurance company attempts to reduce your payout by placing at least partial blame for your injury on extenuating factors – such as faulty equipment or hazardous property conditions – a lawyer can help you combat this defense. Your lawyer can prepare your case for all potential defense tactics, including the argument of mitigating circumstances. This can help you optimize your financial recovery even when faced with this defense strategy. Discuss how extenuating circumstances may impact your specific case during a free consultation at Knowles Law Firm for more information.

The Difference Between Negligence and Malpractice

Posted in Accident Information on August 10, 2022

If you suffered an injury because of the wrongful acts of another person or party, you may be eligible for financial compensation. This is true in cases involving both negligence and malpractice. These two concepts are similar but distinct on a legal level, although they are often used interchangeably. It’s important to know the difference before you file a claim, as each comes with a different burden of proof.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence is the failure to use ordinary care, resulting in injury or harm to others. It refers to actions or behaviors that fall short of the normal duty of care. A duty of care is a legal or ethical obligation to act toward others with an appropriate level of caution and prudence. What is appropriate is based on what a reasonably prudent person would do in the same or similar circumstances.

Proving negligence in a personal injury case requires clear and convincing evidence of four main elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation and damages. A breach or violation of the duty of care can refer to many different careless or reckless acts. If the breach of duty results in injuries, it is grounds for a lawsuit filed by the victim. Damages refer to losses suffered by the victim in the accident, such as injuries and medical bills. For a negligence claim to exist, there must be proof that the damages would not have occurred were it not for the defendant’s breach of duty.

What Is Malpractice?

The main difference between negligence and malpractice is that malpractice involves a professional standard of care. Professional standards of care are different – and often higher – than ordinary standards of care. An attorney, for example, must treat his or her clients according to the legal standards of ethics, such as by protecting a client’s best interests. A medical professional must obey a different set of standards for the proper care and treatment of a patient.

If a professional deviates from the required standards of care in his or her profession, it is known as malpractice. Malpractice claims can involve many different types of professionals, including attorneys, doctors, surgeons, police officers and financial advisors. Bringing a malpractice claim in Nebraska requires proof that the professional acted outside of the standards of care for the situation. In other words, the defendant ignored his or her professional responsibilities and caused harm to the plaintiff.

Steps Involved in Filing a Negligence or Malpractice Claim

If you’ve been wronged by someone else’s negligence or malpractice in Omaha, you have rights. Filing a civil lawsuit could lead to justice for the tort (wrongdoing) committed against you, as well as financial compensation for your related losses. You may qualify for compensation for your past and future hospital bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.

An attorney can help you prove a case involving either type of tort. As a plaintiff, the burden of proof rests with you. This means it is your responsibility to establish that what you are claiming is more likely to be true than not true. This burden of proof is known as a preponderance of the evidence. Meeting your burden of proof requires evidence such as eyewitness statements, incident reports, police reports, medical records, photographs and videos. An attorney can help you preserve and collect evidence to support your case.

Once your lawyer has identified the at-fault party, he or she can fill out the required forms and file your claim by Nebraska’s deadline. In general, this is four years from the date of the injury or injury discovery. Once your claim has been filed, your lawyer can help you prove negligence or malpractice and negotiate a settlement with the defendant. If a settlement isn’t possible, your lawyer can go to court on your behalf instead.

To learn more about the legal process involved in a negligence vs. malpractice claim, contact Knowles Law Firm today for a free consultation with an attorney.

Questions to Ask During Your Legal Consultation 

Posted in Accident Information on August 15, 2022

If you get injured in an accident in Omaha, Nebraska, consulting with a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights and legal options moving forward. The first step in your legal journey is a free legal consultation with one or more prospective lawyers. Use this list of questions to ask during your initial case review to get all of the facts and information you need to choose the right attorney.

How Much Experience Do You Have With My Type of Case?

First, assess the lawyer’s skillset in your practice area. Ask how many years of experience the lawyer has with similar cases. You should choose an attorney who either specializes in your practice area or has several years of experience successfully handling your type of case, such as car accidents or slip and falls. This will give the lawyer hands-on experience and knowledge to put toward your case.

Do You Have Any Special Training or Experience That Would Help My Case?

Dive deeper into the attorney’s legal background by asking if he or she has any additional training or experience that would help your specific case. While this is not a requirement, it can show you that a lawyer is a better fit for your case than someone with less experience and training. You may need special knowledge of drunk driving car accident laws, for example, if you were injured in this type of wreck, for effective representation.

What Was the Result of a Case You Handled That Was Similar to Mine?

Although no lawyer should ever guarantee positive results for your personal injury case, an experienced attorney will have a track record of success in your practice area. Ask if there are results that you can view on comparable cases, such as prior settlements or judgment awards obtained for injuries similar to yours. While past success does not guarantee a positive result for your case, it shows that the lawyer has what it takes to win. Ask about awards, accolades and recognition to get a better idea of the lawyer’s success, as well.

What Does Your Typical Client Look Like?

Ensure the lawyer that you choose is the right fit for you by asking what his or her typical client looks like. Certain lawyers specialize in representing businesses, corporations or insurance companies rather than individuals, for example. Similarly, some lawyers will only accept major cases that are worth a lot of money or cases that most likely won’t go to court. Make sure you and your attorney are on the same page when it comes to how to handle your case.

What Strategy Would You Use on My Case?

Look for an attorney who is willing to personalize his or her legal strategies based on each unique case and client. An individualized strategy can improve your chances of obtaining maximum financial compensation. Your lawyer should make the effort to tailor a legal strategy based on your needs and goals for optimal results. Ask the attorney if he or she believes your case will have to go to trial, for example. Although most personal injury cases are resolved with settlements, a lawyer with trial capabilities may be able to obtain greater compensation for your losses.

How Much Are Your Legal Fees?

Finally, you should be comfortable with how much the personal injury lawyer charges. Do not be afraid to ask about attorney’s fees. The lawyer you choose should be open and honest about how much representation will cost. If you do not want to pay your lawyer upfront, for example, look for a personal injury law firm that operates on a contingency fee basis. With this payment arrangement, you will only pay if and when your lawyer secures financial compensation for your case.

If you’re ready to discuss your case with an attorney in Omaha, contact Knowles Law Firm to request a free consultation. We will answer all of these questions and more to determine if we’re the right fit for you.

Dangers of Bounce Houses – How to Prevent Injury

Posted in Accident Information on August 2, 2022

Bounce houses have become popular ways to celebrate children’s birthdays and other events. While they may seem safe, with padded walls and soft surfaces, bounce houses pose a significant risk of child injuries. Children can suffer broken bones from contact with other kids in the bounce house, for example, and unsecured bounce houses can lift off of the ground in high winds. Learn more about the dangers of bounce houses to better protect your child.

What Are Common Injury Risks Associated With Bounce Houses?

Most parents and guardians assume that bounce houses are reasonably safe for children to play in; they have become one of the most popular rentals for children’s parties. It comes as a surprise for most parents to learn that, in reality, over 15,000 child injuries are reported in connection to bounce houses each year in the U.S. 

According to the CHOC Research Institute, 82,748 children were injured in bounce houses from 2015 to 2019, for an annual average of 16,550 injuries per year. The lower extremities are the most common area injured in bounce house accidents. The most frequently reported injuries are bone fractures, muscle strains and contusions. Concussions are almost twice as likely to occur among children over the age of six compared to five and under in bounce houses.

One of the most common causes of bounce house injuries is contact between two or more children. Being struck by another child can cause impact injuries such as broken bones, head trauma and soft-tissue damage. Falling out of the structure can also cause these injuries, as well as cuts, scrapes and lacerations. A bounce house deflating while in use can lead to injuries caused by suffocation, such as permanent brain damage. Finally, there is a risk of a poorly secured bounce house becoming airborne in a storm and causing serious child injuries or deaths.

How to Keep Your Child Safe in a Bounce House 

The false perception that bounce houses and other inflatable amusements are safe leads to many parents neglecting to prioritize child safety on these structures. The first step in keeping your child safe is awareness of associated risks. With this knowledge, you can take steps to decrease the risk of a serious bounce house accident, such as:

  • Keep children under six out of bounce houses. These children are too small and can get crushed and injured by older kids.
  • Don’t allow any sharp objects inside the bounce house. Make sure kids remove their shoes, jewelry, hair clips, eyeglasses and objects from their pockets before entering the structure.
  • Limit the number of children allowed at a time. Keep group sizes to four kids or less (although one child at a time is safest) to decrease the risk of child-to-child contact.
  • Supervise bounce house activities. An adult should be watching kids in bounce houses to make sure they are not engaged in dangerous tricks, flips or horseplay.
  • Keep kids away from entrances. Make sure kids in the bounce house stay away from doors, windows and other entrances to prevent injuries caused by falling out of the structure.

Pay special attention when setting up your bounce house. Inflate it to the proper levels according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If it begins to lose air, stop play immediately and make children stay out of the bounce house until it is reinflated. Always stake your bounce house into the ground in a clear, open space that is free from tree branches and power lines. Check the weather and avoid bounce house play if a storm or high winds are in the forecast.

Bounce House Injury? Contact an Attorney for Assistance

If your child suffers an injury in a bounce house, consult with an Omaha injury lawyer at Knowles Law Firm about your legal options. Your family may be eligible for financial compensation from the manufacturer of the bounce house, a property owner or another party for failing to keep your child safe.

How Much Is a Spinal Cord Injury Settlement?

Posted in Accident Information on July 20, 2022

A spinal cord injury is one of the most serious injuries that can be suffered by an accident victim in Nebraska. The spinal cord is a vital body part that is in charge of relaying messages from the brain. If an accident victim suffers a devastating spinal cord injury – such as an injury that causes permanent paralysis – he or she may be entitled to a significant settlement to pay for a lifetime of related costs and losses. Call an Omaha spinal cord injury lawyer to learn more. 

An Average Settlement Value Does Not Exist

It is important to realize that the courts in Nebraska do not have one single settlement value that they assign to every spinal cord injury case. Values are decided on a case-by-case basis. An insurance company, judge or jury will carefully analyze all of the unique facts of a case to determine its value. These factors often include the gravity of the spine injury, the victim’s prognosis, how severely it impacted the victim, the age of the victim at the time of the injury and the insurance coverage available.

Economic Damages Connected to a Spinal Cord Injury

To determine how much your spinal cord injury settlement is worth in Nebraska, you will need to consult with a personal injury lawyer in Omaha. A lawyer will have experience obtaining settlements and judgment awards for other spinal cord injury cases. While every case is unique, looking at comparable case results can give you a better idea of what type of settlement to expect.

Your lawyer can calculate the potential value of your case by first adding up all of your past and future economic damages. Economic damages refer to losses of a financial nature. In a spinal cord injury case, the list of the victim’s necessary medical costs alone can be long:

  • Ambulance fees
  • X-rays, MRIs and CT scans
  • Hospital stays
  • Spinal surgeries
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Medications
  • Mobility-assistive devices
  • Disability accommodations
  • Home and vehicle modifications
  • Live-in care or a nursing aide
  • Ongoing medical care

Economic damages can also include the victim’s past and current lost wages, future lost capacity to earn due to a permanent disability, travel expenses, attorney’s fees, and other out-of-pocket costs. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates that the lifetime costs associated with a spinal cord injury in health care and living expenses alone can reach up to $5,100,941 as of 2020.

Spine Injuries and Noneconomic Damages (Pain and Suffering)

Omaha spinal cord injury lawyer

A spinal cord injury settlement is not complete without adding in your noneconomic damages. These are the personal or intangible losses that you suffered because of the injury. They are also referred to as general damages, as they encompass the pain and suffering that anyone would likely experience in the same circumstances. Noneconomic damages can include:

  • Physical pain 
  • Emotional distress
  • Psychological suffering 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Permanent disability
  • Reduced self-esteem
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Mental anguish
  • Diminished quality or enjoyment of life
  • Loss of independence
  • Loss of consortium

Since a permanent spinal cord injury such as paraplegia or quadriplegia can have a drastic impact on the plaintiff, the value of noneconomic damages can be substantial. Calculating the value of intangible damages is difficult, however, as they are subjective and typically determined by a jury.

How Much Is Your Spinal Cord Injury Case Worth? Find Out by Contacting an Attorney

If you or a loved one was recently diagnosed with a spinal cord injury after a preventable accident in Nebraska, contact an attorney to discuss the potential value of your case. Do not accept an insurance settlement before you’ve spoken to a lawyer. Insurance companies often try to underpay claims – especially high-value catastrophic injury claims. It is critical not to underestimate the value of your case. A lawyer can give you an accurate estimation of a fair and full spinal cord injury settlement so that you are better equipped to negotiate with an insurance company.

What is a Settlement in a Personal Injury Case?

Posted in Accident Information on June 30, 2022

If you and your attorney are able to prove your case, you’ll be awarded a settlement that covers the cost of your damages. This includes your medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, and in some cases pain and suffering.

An experienced Omaha personal injury attorney from Knowles Law Firm is standing by to provide you with a risk-free, cost-free case assessment to discuss options on how we can help.

The Personal Injury Claim Filing Process in Nebraska

Under Nebraska laws outlined in Chapter 25 of Nebraska’s legislature, injured persons have a right to bring personal injury claims through civil law proceedings. A civil law proceeding is a case or lawsuit, which are necessary when the insurance company responsible for compensating you will not come to a fair settlement agreement. Cases require that the rules, procedures, and deadlines of your local court are followed.

In Nebraska, you have 4 years from the time of your injury to file your personal injury claim in the court. This is known as the “statute of limitations”, which is basically an expiration date on your rights to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries.

To present a strong case in support of your compensation, it is important to have the date and time of your accident, witness testimonies linked to the accident, the full details concerning your injuries and treatment plan, as well as a full accounting of the losses to your person and belongings.

Personal Injury Settlements are Often Non-Taxable

When it comes time to collect compensation for your damages, the amount you receive will generally not be taxable.

The following aspects of personal injury settlements are non-taxable:

  • Loss-in value of your property –
  • Personal physical injury and illnesses –
  • Emotional distress –

You can only collect compensation for damages that you can prove. Your local Omaha personal injury attorney will gather all the evidence you need to make the most of your settlement, portions of which will be taxable.

Some elements of a personal injury settlement can be taxable, including:

  • Emotional distress – when the emotional distress did not originate from a physical injury that part of your settlement will be taxable
  • Interest – taxable in any settlement
  • Lost profits – for business settlement the part of your compensation for running the business will be subject to a self-employment tax
  • Itemized deductions for your medical costs – any itemized deductions taken for medical expenses from physical injuries in your settlement must be reported in your income
  • Lost wages – when you recover damages for an employment-related lawsuit, the lost wages portion of your settlement is taxable, and may be subject to additional taxes
  • Punitive damages – punitive damages are meant to punish and deter the party for and from the behavior that led to your injuries, and generally they are taxable and should be reported

Connect with Your Omaha Personal Injury Lawyer Today

The sooner you have an attorney on your case, the sooner you can step back and let your attorney handle the process for you. Schedule a consultation or call us at (402) 575-9949 to explore options.