A hit-and-run accident does not only describe a crash that causes personal injuries. It is also a hit-and-run crime to collide with a parked car and leave without stopping. If you return to your parked vehicle in Omaha, Nebraska and discover property damages without a note of explanation left behind, you may still be able to recover compensation. Work with an Omaha car accident attorney for a complicated claim or a hit-and-run accident that caused expensive property damages.
Contact the At-Fault Driver
Ideally, the driver that caused the damages fulfilled his or her responsibilities and left a note with contact information. It is the law in Nebraska to stop at the scene of an accident that causes injuries, deaths or property damages. The at-fault driver must stop as close to the scene as possible and make a reasonable effort to search for the owner of the damaged vehicle. If the driver could not locate you, he or she should have left a note in a conspicuous place with his or her full name, phone number and a description of the accident.
Nebraska is a fault car accident state, meaning the driver that caused your property damage will bear financial responsibility. Contact the at-fault driver and explain that you are going to file a claim with his or her insurance company. All drivers in Nebraska must carry at least $25,000 in property damage liability car insurance. This type of insurance should cover the costs to repair your vehicle after an accident. A lawyer can help you negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company for fair compensation, if necessary.
Gather Evidence While at the Scene
Before you leave the scene of the accident, collect evidence to use during your insurance claim. Take photographs of the damage to your vehicle while still parked where the accident happened. Use the timestamp feature for your pictures. If the crash was a hit-and-run, with no driver information left behind, call 911. The police can help you collect evidence, including official photographs, for an investigation. The police can also talk to any eyewitnesses to try to identify the at-fault driver.
With assistance from the police, you could gather video surveillance footage from surrounding businesses that may have caught the hit-and-run driver on camera. You may also be able to get a full or partial license plate number from eyewitnesses. If the police locate the at-fault driver, you can proceed with a third-party insurance claim while county prosecutors charge the driver with a hit-and-run crime. If the police do not catch the at-fault driver, you may still be able to obtain benefits through your own insurance provider.
File a First-Party Insurance Claim
If someone hit your car while parked and you do not know the identity of the at-fault driver, contact your insurance provider to file a first-party claim. Make the call as soon as possible for an expedited claims process. Your insurance company’s ability to pay for your parked car’s damages will depend on the coverage you have. The types of insurance that are most likely to cover your damages are uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage. With the right insurance, your provider should offer you a check to cover your vehicle repairs after you pay your deductible. If you do not have the right type of insurance, you may have to pay to fix the damage yourself.
Discuss Your Case With a Car Accident Attorney
Drivers striking parked cars and taking off are unfortunately common accidents in bustling cities such as Omaha, Nebraska. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run property damage accident, contact an attorney to help you with the recovery process. You may need a lawyer to negotiate with your insurance provider for fair benefits. You may also need a lawyer to go up against the at-fault driver if the police locate him or her. A car accident attorney can investigate your accident, gather evidence, explain your rights and seek financial coverage through all available outlets on your behalf.
The average motor vehicle is dangerous enough without part defects making it even more unsafe for drivers and their passengers. Unfortunately, automakers frequently release vehicles with design and manufacturing defects. One of the most dangerous defects is sudden unintended acceleration – an issue with a vehicle that can cause it to accelerate without instigation from the driver. Find out if you have grounds for a claim after sudden unintended acceleration causes a car accident in Omaha.
Signs of Sudden Unintended Acceleration
Sudden unintended acceleration occurs when an electronic malfunction within the vehicle causes the throttle to expand and the car to accelerate without the driver pressing down on the gas pedal. If a vehicle has a defect in its electronic system, the mechanism that controls the car’s power train could malfunction. In newer vehicles, this can be even more dangerous due to throttle control mechanisms that can malfunction. You might be the victim of sudden unintended acceleration if you notice a problem with your car while in use.
- Accelerations in speed while driving, without hitting the gas pedal
- Suddenly acceleration from a complete stop without touching the gas
- Being unable to brake
- Trouble returning the car to idle if it is in gear
- The inability to control the vehicle
Sudden unintended acceleration can happen any time, but appears to occur most often when a driver hits the brakes, switches to cruise control or shifts gears. These changes could disturb the vehicle’s electrical current and trigger a malfunction that accelerates the vehicle without prompting. This is a dangerous malfunction that could cause a catastrophic car accident.
If you experience sudden unintended acceleration, try hitting your brakes. Keep the pressure on your brakes steady while pressing down with as much force as possible. In an emergency, shift your vehicle to neutral and turn off the engine. Try to stay calm and do not jerk your wheel while your vehicle is accelerating. Once you regain control or if your car crashes, call 911 for assistance with your vehicle. Then, contact an Omaha car accident attorney to help you bring a claim to damages.
Grounds for a Product Liability Claim in Nebraska
Sudden unintended acceleration has caused multiple accidents, serious injuries and deaths over the years. This issue is especially common among certain Toyota vehicles, as listed in consumer complaints in a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Although the NHTSA concluded no vehicle-based defects that would have caused sudden unintended acceleration and issued no recalls, other safety organizations do not agree. Victims injured and surviving loved ones of those killed in sudden unintended acceleration accidents have come forward with civil claims to hold the manufacturers of defective vehicles accountable.
In Nebraska, to have grounds for a defective vehicle claim, you or your personal injury attorney will have to prove that a) the vehicle contained a defect and b) the defect caused your injury or a loved one’s death. A lawyer may be able to help you prove your case by gathering evidence such as a mechanical overview of the vehicle’s electronic system, expert testimony, photographs, eyewitness accounts of the accident and medical records. It is important to hire an attorney to help you prove your case and protect your rights. Otherwise, the defendant may try to allege that you were responsible for accelerating the vehicle and causing the wreck.
Sudden unintended acceleration is a frightening problem the NHTSA and automakers have ignored in the past. Yet the reality of defective vehicles and their faulty electronic systems is evident in the number of related car accidents, injuries and fatalities. If you have injuries from an accident in which you suspect sudden unintended acceleration, contact a car accident lawyer in Omaha for assistance bringing an injury claim.
Your city has a legal responsibility for your safety. It must take reasonable steps to prevent common hazards and risks, including dangerous and defective roadways, sidewalks and intersections. If your city fails to fulfill these duties of care and you suffer an injury as a result, the city government may owe you financial compensation. A premises liability lawyer in Omaha can go over your rights as an injured victim after an accident on a city street.
City Liability for Dangerous Premises in Omaha
Cities, states and other municipalities share many of the same legal responsibilities as other property owners. Government entities have a duty to maintain the reasonable safety of their public spaces – including city streets in Omaha – just as private property owners must maintain safe premises for visitors. A city might be liable for accidents, injuries and deaths that occur on its streets if it was responsible for causing, contributing to or failing to prevent them.
- Designing dangerous streets or intersections
- Failing to regularly inspect city streets and sidewalks
- Ignoring citizen complaints about hazards
- Allowing a hazard such as a pothole to exist for an unreasonable length of time
- Paying for low-quality road and sidewalk repairs
- Failing to ensure safe construction zones
- Failing to trim trees that obscure traffic signs
- Ignoring broken or malfunctioning traffic signals
- Failing to shovel ice or snow
Winning a premises liability claim against any property owner, including the City of Omaha, takes establishing four main elements through clear and convincing evidence: duty of care, breach of duty (negligence), causation and damages. Evidence of fault against the defendant could include photographs, eyewitness accounts, accident reports and expert testimony. A Omaha premises liability lawyer will know how to create and present a case against the government for an accident on a city street.
Filing a Claim Against the Government in Nebraska
Injuries in the middle of city streets often come down to municipality negligence and liability in Nebraska. Cases against government entities involve different rules and laws compared to cases against civilians. A lawyer can help you navigate these special rules for your best odds of obtaining fair compensation.
- Act quickly. If you do not bring your premises liability claim against the City of Omaha within one year of your accident, you will lose the right to file forever. Claims against governments often have shorter deadlines than typical claims.
- Download the State of Nebraska Tort Claim Form. Download and add all requested information to the form. Sign your name on the bottom.
- Submit the claim form to the Office of Risk Management. You may submit your form electronically (via email), by mail, by fax or in person.
The governing body that will be in charge of your claim depends on the case’s value. The State Risk Manager will approve claims of $5,000 or less. Claims of $5,000 to $50,000 go to the State Claims Board. Claims valued at more than $50,000 will go to the Nebraska Legislature. The appropriate governing body will investigate your claim and either offer a settlement or deny liability. From there, your lawyer can help you negotiate a fair insurance settlement or take the City of Omaha to trial in pursuit of justice and compensation.
Discuss Your Case With a Premises Liability Lawyer
An accident in the middle of a city street could point to defects within the road or sidewalk’s inherent design. It could also trace back to negligent maintenance by the governing body in charge of street safety that resulted in risks such as slip or trip and fall hazards. A government agency may owe you compensation for your accident and related injuries after an accident on a city street in Nebraska. A premises liability lawyer in Omaha can review your case for signs of negligence or fault by the city or state where you live. If you have grounds for a claim against the government, your lawyer can help you navigate the special claims process.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Of the many different types of auto collisions, a broadside accident is one of the most dangerous. In a broadside accident, one vehicle strikes the broadside – the side, not the front or rear – of another. Other names for broadside accidents are T-bone collisions or side impacts. Determining liability can be difficult after a broadside accident. Proving fault is not always easy.
Unique Factors in a Broadside Accident
Broadside accidents might not be unique, but they pose unique threats to victims. The way a T-bone crash occurs can seriously injure occupants of both vehicles. A broadside accident can cause catastrophic injuries to the driver or person on the passenger side of the vehicle depending on which side of the car gets struck. It can also seriously injure the driver in the vehicle doing the broadsiding. For this driver, the mechanics of the car accident are similar to a head-on collision. A broadside accident can cause many serious injuries.
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain and head injuries
- Lacerations from broken glass
- Neck or back injuries
- Herniated disks or spinal cord damage
- Crush-related injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
Catastrophic injuries could make a victim eligible for greater compensation than a claim after a minor car accident. Catastrophic injuries are those that could permanently affect the victim, such as paralysis or brain damage. T-bone accidents often lead to life-altering injuries due to the frame of the impacted vehicle crushing inward or crumpling. Passengers sitting on the side of the vehicle struck are more at risk of severe injuries than passengers elsewhere in the vehicle.
Common Causes of Broadside Accidents
Side-impact collisions are most common at intersections. Where two lanes of traffic flowing in opposite directions intersect, one driver might break the rules and end up in the other driver’s lane at the wrong time. This could happen if one driver runs a red light at an intersection, for example. Many different things could cause a broadside accident.
- Red-light running
- Ignoring a stop sign
- A malfunctioning traffic signal
- Drunk driving
- Reckless driving
- Drowsy driving
- Ignoring the right-of-way
- Making an illegal left turn
- Passing illegally
- Bad weather/hydroplaning
After a broadside accident, the police might issue a ticket for a traffic infraction to one or both drivers – typically, the driver that did not have the right-of-way. This could serve as evidence against the driver during an injury claim later. Then, an insurance company may investigate the side-impact crash for signs of negligence or fault. Hire an accident lawyer to serve your best interests during a T-bone accident investigation and injury claim.
Who Is At Fault?
Nebraska is a fault-based insurance state, making it necessary to identify the at-fault party before you can file a car accident insurance claim. Broadside accidents typically trace back to the negligence of one of the drivers. In most cases, one of the drivers should not have been where he or she was when the collision happened. Had the driver obeyed traffic laws and driven prudently, he or she would not have struck the side of the other vehicle. It is up to the victim of the T-bone accident (or surviving loved ones) to identify the party at fault for the collision, often with assistance from investigators or attorneys.
If another driver caused your broadside accident or a loved one’s death, his or her insurance provider may offer you a check for your damages. Insurance benefits can help you pay for medical costs and vehicle repairs. If the insurance company disputes fault, however, or you have severe injuries, you may need to take your claim to court. Bringing a legal cause of action against the at-fault driver may be necessary to obtain fair compensation depending on the scenario. An Omaha personal injury lawyer can help you determine fault for your broadside accident, navigate an insurance claim and/or bring a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.