Side-impact accidents, also known as T-bone collisions, are some of the most serious traffic accidents in Omaha. If you get into a side-impact accident, it is important to take certain steps to protect your rights and build an insurance claim that is as strong as possible against the at-fault driver. You may be eligible for financial compensation depending on the circumstances of your accident.
The law in Nebraska requires you to report any car accident that results in bodily injuries, deaths or at least $1,000 worth of property damage to any one person. Calling the police from the scene of your side-impact accident can do more than just fulfill your legal responsibilities as a driver, however. Getting the police to the scene can create an official report that documents your accident in detail.
When the police arrive, give them your version of what happened during the collision. Do not admit fault for the accident. The police can investigate the other driver for signs of fault, such as driving while under the influence, speeding or failing to stop at a red light.
If the other driver receives a citation or gets arrested for a broken law, this could help you prove that he or she caused the accident. Wait to answer questions about your injuries until you have seen a doctor. Write down your police report number before you leave.
If you can, start preserving and collecting evidence while still at the scene of the side-impact accident. Look for evidence of the other driver’s fault, such as food wrappers in the front seat of his or her car. Take pictures and videos using your smartphone, if possible. Write down everything you remember about the car accident while the memories are still fresh.
If you are too seriously injured to collect evidence yourself, ask a trusted friend or family member to do so for you. You can also count on the police to investigate the scene of the accident and gather available evidence, such as taking official photographs of the scene of the T-bone collision and speaking to eyewitnesses for statements.
Go to a Hospital
Side-impact accidents have a significant chance of causing serious bodily injuries to victims. The dynamics of these accidents can lead to severe or catastrophic physical injuries, especially if a smaller vehicle is struck by a large truck or bus. Some of the most common injuries suffered in side-impact crashes are:
- Concussions and other brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Broken ribs and chest injuries
- Lower extremity and knee injuries
- Lacerations and bruises
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Herniated disks
- Internal organ injuries
Go to a hospital in Omaha immediately for treatment for your car accident injuries. Prompt medical care is critical for your physical recovery. It can also improve the chances of a successful insurance claim, as the other driver’s insurance provider will want to see proof that you saw a doctor, received an official injury diagnosis and are following your treatment plan.
File an Insurance Claim
In the aftermath of a side-impact accident, gather information and documents related to the collision. Once you feel adequately prepared, contact the insurance company of the other driver to file your claim. Nebraska is a tort, or at-fault, insurance state. This means the driver guilty of causing your collision will be financially responsible for your losses. You will file your claim with this party’s insurance carrier.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Omaha, NE
If you are entitled to financial damages from a side-impact collision, consult with an attorney for assistance with the claims process. The other driver’s insurance company may try to take advantage of you or devalue your losses. A lawyer can pursue the compensation you deserve while you focus on your recovery.
Posted in Car accidents on March 15, 2021
If you get injured in a car accident as a passenger, you have rights. The law in Nebraska may entitle you to pursue financial compensation from one or both drivers involved in the collision. It is typically easier to obtain a monetary recovery as a passenger than as a driver since you are not required to prove liability. As with any car accident claim, however, you could encounter challenges.
Who Is Liable for Your Injuries?
As an injured passenger, you should not be responsible for paying for your own injuries and damages. Since you did not cause the car accident, your insurance policy should not be part of the recovery process. Instead, the person driving the car, the other driver involved in the crash or both drivers should be liable.
Nebraska is a conventional tort state when it comes to car accident insurance claims. In a tort or fault-based state, the person responsible for paying for medical bills and property damage is the same party guilty of causing the auto accident. As an injured passenger, you or your attorney will need to determine which driver caused the crash. Then, you will file an insurance claim with that driver’s carrier.
Generally, you can file an injury claim with either driver’s insurer and still recover benefits. If further investigation finds that driver not to be at fault for the accident, both insurance companies will work out reimbursement among them using a process such as insurance subrogation. Meanwhile, you can get the compensation you need to pay for your hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses as an injured passenger.
Obstacles You May Encounter as an Injured Passenger
Most car insurance claims as an injured passenger are simple and straightforward. You may encounter challenges, however, depending on the circumstances. If neither driver’s insurance company is accepting liability for the collision, for example, you could get caught in the middle of a long, drawn-out legal battle. This could unnecessarily delay your settlement.
Another potential obstacle is inadequate insurance coverage. If you are not the only injured passenger, you will have to share what insurance benefits are available with the others. This could become a problem if the liable party runs out of insurance coverage. As a passenger, however, you may have the right to seek reimbursement from both drivers for adequate benefits.
Finally, in the rare circumstance that an insurance company believes you contributed to the accident (e.g., by distracting the driver or taking control of the vehicle and crashing it), you may receive a smaller compensatory award due to your comparative negligence. Nebraska is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning you could still recover partial compensation even if you were at fault.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger
If you get hurt in a car accident as an injured passenger, stay calm and check yourself and others for injuries. If you notice any injuries or anyone who is bleeding or unconscious, call the police to report the accident. Remain at the scene of the crash until the police arrive.
Offer your statement as an eyewitness to the collision. Then, go to a hospital in Omaha right away for medical care. Once you are on the mend, file an auto insurance claim against one or both drivers. Protect your rights by hiring an attorney to represent you during the claims process.
You may need to hire a lawyer if you have serious or catastrophic injuries that demand a substantial amount of financial compensation. You may also need an attorney’s assistance if you encounter problems with your insurance claim or injury lawsuit, such as a liability dispute. A car accident lawyer in Omaha can guide you through the legal process from start to finish.
If you get into an auto accident, there are important steps you need to take to protect your rights as an injured victim. These steps are often critical for a successful insurance claim, yet most people fail to take them. There are also things you should not do – mistakes frequently made after auto accidents – that could hurt your claim. Avoid these five common examples for the strongest possible claim.
Not Calling the Police
Many crash victims are reluctant to involve the police. They may think they’re going to get tickets for traffic infractions, such as speeding or reckless driving. They may also wish to keep the accident under an insurance company’s radar by not reporting it. Failing to call 911 is a serious mistake, however. Not only is calling the police a legal requirement for a serious accident in Nebraska, but it could also provide an important type of evidence for an insurance claim.
The first thing an auto insurance company asks for when reviewing a claim is the police report number. The insurance company wishes to access the official write-up of the car accident by law enforcement. A police report can contain key information, such as the names of both drivers involved and statements from eyewitnesses. This information can be critical in determining fault and processing an insurance claim. Always call the police, even after a minor car accident, if you wish to have a stronger insurance claim.
Saying, “I’m Sorry”
It may be in your nature to apologize to the other driver involved in your auto accident. Doing so, however, could hurt your chances of recovering compensation from that driver, as an apology could be construed as an admission of guilt. Saying you’re sorry alludes to the fact that you think you did something wrong, such as something that might have caused the collision. Apologizing to the other driver, to the police or to an insurance agent could be the equivalent of admitting fault. Never say you’re sorry or admit fault for an auto accident. Instead, wait for the insurance company’s investigation to appoint fault.
Skipping the Doctor
Never skip the trip to a doctor or hospital after an auto accident in Omaha, even if you feel fine or think you’re uninjured. Hidden or delayed symptoms are a distinct possibility after a car accident, especially with adrenaline masking the pain. It is important to see a doctor after any car crash for an official injury diagnosis. This will serve as key evidence for your insurance claim. If you delay medical care or never see a doctor, the odds of an insurance company accepting your claim fall much lower.
Underestimating Your Losses
It is common for injured auto accident victims to underestimate their losses. This can lead to accepting less than they deserve from insurance companies. Part of the problem is that insurance companies often intentionally offer inadequate settlements in the hopes that claimants will not recognize the true value of their claims. You cannot renegotiate a settlement once accepted. This is why it is extremely important to ensure the fair value of a settlement offer before signing an agreement.
Handling a Claim Pro Se
Contacting an auto accident attorney in Omaha is the best way to find out how much your case is really worth. An attorney can also help you in other ways, such as negotiating with an insurance company on your behalf and setting you up with the best doctors in your area. Handling a claim pro se, or without an attorney, is a common mistake that can lead to accepting a too-low settlement. Learn more about what to do and what not to do after an auto accident by contacting a lawyer near you today.
If you get injured in a car accident in Nebraska, you will file a claim with the auto insurance provider of the at-fault party. This could be the other driver involved in the crash, a third party or your own insurance company. Either way, you will have to go through the insurance investigation process before you can receive benefits. Knowing how insurance companies investigate car accident claims can help you prepare for the process to come.
Assign Claims Adjusters
First, the insurance company will assign a worker with the title of insurance claims adjuster to your case. Insurance adjusters receive multiple cases across their desks every month. They are the professionals in charge of reviewing insurance claims and deciding if the claimant is entitled to receive benefits.
The insurance adjuster will be on the side of the insurance company. The adjuster will want to minimize, not maximize, your payout to save the insurance company money. Be careful what you say to a claims adjuster during an investigation. Do not admit fault, for example, or talk about your injuries until you have seen a doctor. The adjuster will be looking for reasons to deny or reduce benefits.
Read the Police Report
The adjuster will call you shortly after you report the car accident to ask for details and information, starting with the police report number. Calling the police and getting the police report number can strengthen your claim in the eyes of an insurance company. The police report can contain important details about your crash, such as who the police officer believes was to blame or which driver received a citation. Always give the police your side of the story while at the scene of a car accident. This will help you establish your version of events.
Talk to the Other Party
Once the adjuster speaks to you about the accident, he or she will collect information from the other party or parties involved. The adjuster may call the other driver involved in your wreck as well as speak to eyewitnesses who watched the crash occur. The goal of these conversations will be for the claims adjuster to obtain a well-rounded view of how and why the accident happened. This will allow the adjuster to determine liability and decide on your claim.
Review Photographs and Other Evidence
The insurance company will ask you to submit any evidence you have regarding your car accident. This may include photographs and video footage. The claims adjuster will inspect images taken to see if the property losses match what you have claimed. Taking photographs yourself while at the scene of a car accident can give you evidence of the other driver’s liability. A picture of food wrappers in the other driver’s seat, for instance, could serve as evidence of driver distraction.
Assess Property Damage in Person
Many insurance claims adjusters leave the office to visit crash scenes and auto shops in person. The adjuster may need an in-person assessment of property damage to accurately estimate the costs of repairs. The adjuster will also check to make sure the losses claimed are accurate to verify your credibility. The adjuster may also revisit the scene of the crash to try to gather available evidence, such as photographs of tire marks on the ground.
Review Medical Documentation
Last but not least, an insurance company will conduct an in-depth review of your medical records. It is important not to sign a release form giving the insurance company full access to your medical history. This is a strategy the adjuster may use to search for pre-existing conditions and deny your injury claim. Instead, give the insurance company copies of only the medical records that are relevant to your claim.
If you need assistance negotiating with an insurance company during its car accident investigation, contact an attorney in Omaha for representation.
After an accident such as a car crash, you need to take certain steps to recover financial compensation for your medical bills and property repairs. You must initiate a claim with the liable party’s insurance company. The document that starts an insurance claim is the injury demand letter. Find out how to write a winning injury demand letter, as well as when to hire an attorney for assistance.
What Does a Demand Letter Consist Of?
The injury demand letter is the note you will send to the insurance company receiving your claim after an accident. If you wish to claim benefits for an injury after an accident of any kind, you will need to submit a demand letter to establish your grounds for the claim and seek a specific amount in damages. A good injury demand letter covers several key topics.
- Your full name and address.
- The current date and the date of the accident.
- The defendant’s name and address.
- A brief description of the accident.
- Why you believe the defendant is liable.
- Relevant laws that establish the defendant’s liability.
- A description of your injuries.
- A list of all compensable damages sought, as well as their dollar amount.
- The total amount it will take for you to settle.
- A line explaining that you are willing to go to trial.
- Your signature or that of your attorney.
With these essential elements, you will have a strong demand letter that states your case and contains instructions for how you wish to settle the matter. You will submit the demand letter to the insurance company of the at-fault party. Then, you will wait for the insurance company to respond. The insurer will investigate your claim and reply with either an acceptance and a settlement offer or a notice of claim denial.
Tips for Writing a Good Injury Demand Letter
A strong demand letter is an important asset during a claim. A well-worded letter that contains all pertinent information can facilitate a more efficient claims process. It can increase your chances of the insurance company responding positively. Use a few tips to make sure your injury demand letter sends the right message.
- Be polite and respectful. Do not let any anger or frustration about the accident come through in your letter.
- Be clear and concise in your wording. Cut out any unnecessary words or phrases. Your letter should be one or two pages maximum.
- Mention the ability to go to court. The threat of taking the insurance company to court is what motivates it to offer a fair settlement.
Submitting evidence and documentation along with your injury demand letter can strengthen your claim. Send the insurance company proof of your injuries and losses, for example, such as medical records and pay stubs. Submitting evidence right away can cut out a lot of back and forth between you and the insurance provider, saving you time and energy.
Ask a Lawyer for Assistance
Do not take the injury demand letter lightly. It could be all that stands between you and the compensation you need to move forward. It is important for your demand letter to be succinct and professional. From small mistakes such as grammatical errors to major issues, the insurance company may change the way it handles your case based on your demand letter.
Give yourself the best possible odds of obtaining fair compensation by hiring a lawyer to write your demand letter for you. A lawyer will know exactly what to say and how to say it in a way that makes an insurance company take your claim seriously. If the insurance company still refuses to offer a fair settlement, your lawyer can take the case to trial instead. Either way, an injury lawyer will not allow you to settle for less than your injuries demand. Speak to a personal injury lawyer today for more information about an injury demand letter.
The vision for self-driving cars was always to make the roads safer by eliminating human error. No car, however, can guarantee zero accidents. When a self-driving or autonomous vehicle does crash, who is liable for paying the bills? These types of accidents result in tricky claims that may require help from attorneys.
Nebraska’s Liability Laws
Before you can determine liability for a self-driving car accident, you need to understand the general liability law for car accidents in Nebraska. Nebraska is a fault state, which means the party to blame for causing a car accident will be who has to pay for victims’ injuries and losses. Nebraska also uses a modified comparative negligence law. Under this law, if the filing party (plaintiff) is more than 50% at fault, he or she cannot collect damages from the other driver. In a typical car accident case, the at-fault driver will be liable.
Self-Driving Car Accidents vs. Ordinary Accidents
The rules for a self-driving car accident, however, are different. Since one of the vehicles is partially or fully autonomous, the crash may not involve two drivers. Instead, the liability case may come down to one driver vs. the self-driving vehicle’s autonomous technology manufacturer. While liability will still go to the person or party most responsible for causing the collision, this could be various parties depending on the case.
- Vehicle owner/operator. Even self-driving cars require at least some input or supervision from human operators. If the human inside the vehicle made a mistake that contributed to the crash, such as ignoring the car’s warning to take control of the wheel, the driver could be liable for damages.
- Vehicle manufacturer. The company in charge of designing or manufacturing the self-driving car could bear liability for a crash if the vehicle contained a defect. If the design or assembly of the autonomous vehicle puts the user at an unreasonable risk of injury, for example, the manufacturer could be responsible for related incidents.
- Technology or software company. Self-driving cars use advanced technologies that are relatively new to the road. A malfunction of the vehicle’s software in transit could lead to a system failure and related collision, such as the car failing to detect an obstacle and apply the brakes. The company responsible for creating the software could be liable for this accident.
Third parties could also be liable for self-driving car accidents, such as the City of Omaha for a dangerous pothole or road defect. Some cases involve shared liability among multiple parties. You may need a car accident attorney in Omaha to help you determine liability for your self-driving car accident. These crashes are complicated and can point to the fault of many different individuals and companies. A lawyer can help you pursue fair damages from the correct defendant.
What to Do After a Self-Driving Car Accident
If you collide with a vehicle while it is using full or partial automation technology, call the police to file a report. The police can help you gather key information, such as the name of the other driver and his or her insurance information. Take photographs of both vehicles and the crash scene. Go to a hospital in Omaha immediately for a checkup. When it is time to file an insurance claim, call your own insurance provider for the initial report. Then, contact a lawyer.
Self-driving car accident claims are difficult to litigate. They involve complex liability laws that other crash claims do not. You may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the vehicle’s manufacturer, for example, instead of just the driver, for a preventable self-driving car accident. Explore Nebraska’s tort laws and your rights as an injured victim with help from a car accident lawyer. Hiring a lawyer will make sure you protect your rights during a claim.
Wrongful death is the tragedy of losing a beloved family member in an avoidable accident, such as a car crash caused by a distracted driver. If Nebraska’s wrongful death laws apply to your loved one’s passing, you and your family may be entitled to financial compensation from the at-fault party or parties. A successful claim could lead to financial reimbursement for expenses such as funeral and burial costs, medical bills, and mental anguish. How a settlement is divided, however, depends on the state’s laws for interstate succession.
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
The two basic payout options in a wrongful death lawsuit are a lump-sum settlement and structured settlement. In a lump-sum settlement, the recipient will receive the full amount of the settlement or verdict at once, in a single check from the insurance company. Surviving family members will receive the full payout of their economic and noneconomic losses, allowing them to pay their debts upfront.
In a structured settlement agreement, recipients will receive parts of the settlement at a time for an extended period. This can help a family pay for larger financial debts over time by guaranteeing a consistent stream of income. Structured settlements have less flexibility than lump-sum settlements. The right type of payout for a family will depend on the specific situation.
The Deceased Person’s Surviving Spouse, Children and Parents
Any wrongful death settlement or verdict awarded in Nebraska will be divided based on the state’s rules for intestate succession. Nebraska has multiple laws that apply to dividing wrongful death awards. Nebraska Revised Statutes Section 30-2302 states that the first person who will receive a portion of the settlement will be the deceased person’s surviving spouse. The surviving spouse will have an obligation to share the proceeds with any surviving children or parents of the decedent.
If there are no surviving children, but there are surviving parents, the spouse will have to share the first $100,000 with the parents plus 50% of the balance of the intestate estate. If there are surviving children, the children will receive the first $100,000 instead, but only if the surviving children are the issue of the surviving spouse as well. If the surviving children are not the issue of the surviving spouse, the children will receive 50% of the intestate estate. If no surviving children or parents exist, the spouse will receive the entire intestate estate.
Others Entitled to a Portion of a Wrongful Death Settlement
According to Section 30-2303 of the law, with no surviving spouse to receive the first portion of a wrongful death settlement, the full amount will go directly to any surviving children of the decedent instead. All surviving children will split the settlement equally if they have the same degree of kinship to the deceased person. Otherwise, a larger portion of the settlement will go to the child with the closer relationship to the decedent. If no surviving spouse or children exist, the decedent’s parent or parents will share the wrongful death settlement equally.
In a case where there is no surviving spouse, child or parent, the deceased person’s siblings will receive the wrongful death settlement. If none of these survivors exist, the surviving grandparents of the decedent will split the wrongful death settlement equally or according to kinship to the decedent.
Finally, if the decedent has no surviving spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent or issue of the grandparent, the entire settlement will pass to the deceased person’s next of kin. The only exception is if two or more collateral kin exist but claim the settlement through different ancestors. In this case, the kin with the closest ancestor will receive preference.
Dividing a wrongful death settlement in Nebraska can be extremely complicated. For assistance with every step of your claim, including settlement division, contact a wrongful death attorney.
Filing a car accident claim is the only way to receive compensation for expenses such as vehicle repairs and medical bills. For your claim to succeed, you will need to gather certain pieces of information. Collecting critical documents for settling a car accident claim can make your legal experience easier. Get the most from your car accident case by preparing the necessary information from day one.
Information From the Scene
It is best to collect information while at the scene of your car accident, if possible. If your injuries prevent you from doing so, you can return to the scene of the crash later. You can also trust a friend or family member to collect key information for you. Write down the full name, address and phone number of the other driver. Record the license plate number, insurance information and a description of the vehicle, as well.
On the day of the crash or shortly after, write down a description of what happened while the details are still fresh in your mind. Include important details such as the date, time and location of the accident, as well as how many people were involved and who you believe is at fault. Information collected from the scene can help you prove liability later.
Photographs and Videos
One of the most important types of evidence to have during a car accident claim in Nebraska is photographic evidence. Pictures and video footage of the scene of the car accident may serve as undeniable proof of the other driver’s fault. Photographs of vehicle damage, for example, can allow crash reconstructionists to piece together the dynamics of the collision. Do your best to capture up-close photos of both vehicles and any key pieces of evidence, such as tire marks on the road. Capture wide-lens shots of the entire crash scene, as well.
Statements From Eyewitnesses
Before you leave the scene of a car accident, ask for the names and contact information of anyone around who saw the crash occur. You can even go so far as to record or write down their statements, if possible. Otherwise, obtain their phone numbers and call them later for statements. Eyewitness statements can provide key information about how and why the accident happened, such as one of the drivers speeding or running a red light. If you are not in a fit state to speak to eyewitnesses, the police can do so for you.
Copy of the Police Report
Call the police after any car accident in Omaha to receive an official record of what happened. The police can document important facts related to your case, as well as take official photographs for you. While at the crash scene, ask for your police report number. Then, in the days following your crash, contact the police department in the county where your accident occurred to ask for a copy of the accident report.
Always go to the hospital after a car accident, even if you do not think you are injured. You may have injuries that have not yet shown symptoms, such as a hidden back or head injury. Make copies of all relevant medical records and documents, including x-rays, test results, letters from your doctor and prescriptions. Medical records can be critical during your injury claim.
Phone Number of a Car Accident Lawyer
Finally, you will need the contact information of a reputable car accident lawyer in your city. A lawyer will give you access to important information and resources for your claim, such as car accident experts. Bring all of the information and documentation you have regarding your car accident to an attorney. The more information you collect, the stronger your case will become. Work closely with your lawyer to obtain fair compensation for your past and future losses.
Car accident lawyers aim to help injured victims in any way they can. This is why most offer free initial consultations. A consultation is your opportunity to ask the questions you have and receive trustworthy answers. Knowing what to ask a car accident lawyer during your free consultation can help you understand what to expect from the meeting. Asking the right questions can give you greater peace of mind during a difficult time.
Do I Have a Case?
The first step in your legal consultation will be giving the Omaha car accident lawyer your story. You will describe what you know about the car accident, including who you believe caused the crash. The lawyer will review the facts presented, as well as any evidence you bring to your consultation. Bringing police reports and medical records to your initial consultation can give the lawyer a more comprehensive overview of the crash. The lawyer can then let you know if you have grounds for a case.
Do You Accept Cases Like Mine?
If you do have a case, your next question should be whether the attorney you are talking to handles your type of case. Different car accident lawyers in Omaha have different practice areas. Find a lawyer with on-the-job experience handling your specific type of motor vehicle accident. The car accident lawyers at Knowles Law Firm, for example, accept cases involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses, bicycles, pedestrians, rideshare vehicles, hit-and-runs, drunk driving, rollovers, auto part liability, and more.
How Much Experience Do You Have?
Next, ask how much experience the car accident lawyer has representing injured car accident victims. You do not want a green personal injury lawyer who has never before handled a car accident claim. Experience is key to an aggressive and successful legal strategy. Look for years of experience in your practice area, as well as positive results. Although no lawyer can guarantee future results, a history of successful outcomes can show you that the lawyer has what it takes to win.
What Are Your Legal Philosophies?
Get to know the car accident lawyer to find out if he or she is the right fit for you. Ask about the lawyer’s principles, protocols and legal philosophies. The ideal car accident lawyer for you will share your priorities. If you are looking for a lawyer with the time to communicate with you one-on-one about your case often, for instance, find a lawyer who emphasizes communication. You may be able to get an idea of the law firm’s philosophies by browsing the website before you meet with the attorney.
Who Will Be Managing My Case?
Some law firms, especially large mill-type law firms, hand car accident cases off to junior staff members at the firm. These law firms wish to resolve as many cases as possible for maximum profitability. They typically do not offer dedicated care from a lead attorney. Instead, a paralegal or junior associate will handle the case. Ask the attorney you are talking to if he or she will be the one on your case. While it is normal for multiple attorneys at a law firm to work together on a case, your lawyer should not pass your case off to someone less qualified.
What Are Your Legal Fees?
Before you end your initial consultation, ask the lawyer about his or her fee structure. Many car accident attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis to make their services affordable for injured victims. A contingency fee means the lawyer will only charge fees for his or her services after the lawyer wins the case. The fees will come directly from the insurance settlement or jury verdict won. That way, the client never has to afford attorney’s fees out of pocket. Ask if the lawyer works on contingency. If not, the lawyer may have a different solution, such as paying in installments. It is important to have an idea of what to expect in terms of legal fees before you sign a contract and begin your car accident claim.
Posted in Car accidents on November 15, 2020
It is not always easy to determine fault for an auto accident. Fault is a complex legal matter that is not always entirely on one driver’s side. Many accidents involve shared liability among multiple parties. Even if you are somewhat certain you caused a car accident in Nebraska, do not admit fault. Do not accept full liability for the crash until an investigation proves you are to blame. Protect yourself by hiring an injury lawyer to determine fault for you.
Fulfill Your Driver Responsibilities
First, remain at the scene to fulfill your legal responsibilities as a driver in a car accident. If you crash into a parked vehicle, another driver, or a bicyclist or pedestrian, you must stop as close to the scene of the crash as possible. Move your vehicle to the side of the road, if you can, and use your hazards to prevent further collisions. Check to see if anyone has any injuries. Call 911 immediately if someone is injured, someone has died or the accident appears to have caused more than $1,000 in property damage. You legally must render aid to injured parties at the scene of a car accident.
Do Not Admit Fault
It is often not immediately apparent how a car accident happened. Many crashes require professional investigations to determine causation and fault. It is important not to admit fault early on in your case. Admitting fault – even if you think you are to blame – can end the case before a thorough investigation. It could unjustly place 100% of the liability with you. You may absorb all of the fault for an accident that the other driver contributed to. Do not admit fault to the other driver, a police officer or an insurance company. Instead, wait for an investigation to identify causation. Other factors or parties you are unaware of could have played a role in the collision.
Learn the Fault Law in Your State
In some states, you will seek compensation from your own car insurance provider regardless of whether you were at fault. These are called no-fault insurance states. Nebraska, however, is an at-fault state. As the driver at fault for the car accident, it will be your insurance company that covers the other driver’s medical bills and property repairs. You will use your own bodily injury liability and property damage liability insurance to pay for the other driver’s damages.
Call your insurance company to report the car accident as soon as possible as the at-fault driver. Again, do not admit fault for the accident. Stick to the facts of the crash as you know them to be true, such as the date, time, location and direction you were traveling. Let the insurance company investigate the crash for signs of the other driver’s shared fault. You may both be at fault for the collision rather than 100% of the liability going to you.
File a Claim – Nebraska Is a Modified Comparative Negligence State
Do not assume you cannot receive compensation from the other driver if you believe you caused or contributed to the car accident. Nebraska is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning you could still recover partial compensation even if you were somewhat to blame for the crash. The insurance company will look at police reports, eyewitness statements, evidence from the scene and other sources to allocate a percentage of fault to you, the other driver and any other involved parties.
If you and the other driver share fault, this could reduce your liability for that driver’s damages. If the other driver was 20% to blame for texting while driving, for example, you would owe him or her 20% less in damages. Even if you are entirely at fault, you may have collision or comprehensive insurance that can help you with the costs of the accident. Your insurance premiums will most likely increase, however, as the party at-fault for the accident. Discuss your car accident case with an attorney in Omaha for more information about fault and the claims process.