Posted in Car accidents on July 7, 2021
A bicycle accident can happen in many different ways on the busy streets of Omaha. One example is the right hook accident. In most cases, a motor vehicle driver will be responsible for a right hook accident. You may encounter a liability dispute, however, from the driver’s insurance provider. A car accident attorney in Omaha can help you with a claim or lawsuit.
What Is a Right Hook Accident?
A right hook accident describes a collision where a motor vehicle turns right at an intersection and collides with a bicyclist that is crossing the road (it “hooks” the biker). Right hook accidents can be catastrophic for bicyclists, who may suffer injuries such as broken bones, head trauma, brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. To recover financial compensation as someone injured in a right hook accident, you or your attorney will need to prove the other party’s fault.
Who Is at Fault?
In Nebraska, the fault law states that the person or party at fault for causing a bike accident will have to pay for related injuries and bills. Fault for a right hook accident generally goes to the driver of the motor vehicle, as it is the driver’s responsibility to pay attention to his or her surroundings, notice cyclists, yield the right-of-way, obey traffic laws, and only turn right when it is safe to do so.
Common reasons for right hook bicycle accidents include:
- Texting and driving or other distractions
- Failing to see a bicyclist until it is too late
- Cutting off a cyclist who has the right-of-way
- Incorrectly gauging the speed or distance of a biker
- Making an illegal or unsafe right-hand turn
- Making too sharp of a turn and entering the bicycle path
- A cyclist passing a slower-moving car to the right at an intersection
If a reasonable and prudent driver would have been able to prevent the right hook bicycle incident, the driver in question will be liable for the wreck. If the driver broke a traffic law or roadway rule, this could be proof of the driver’s fault. It is common, however, for a driver’s insurance company to refute fault or allege that the bicyclist is also partially to blame.
What Is Nebraska’s Comparative Fault Law?
The comparative negligence law in Nebraska allows for both parties – the plaintiff and the defendant – to share fault for an accident. A plaintiff can still recover partial compensation if he or she contributed to an accident. If the plaintiff is found to be 50 percent or more at fault, however, he or she will be ineligible for financial recovery.
If a defendant succeeds in using the comparative negligence defense, the courts will reduce your recovery by an amount that is equivalent to your percentage of fault. For example, if you file an injury claim after a right hook accident and the courts find you 10 percent at fault for the crash, you will receive 10 percent less in financial compensation.
Evidence to Support Your Bicycle Accident Claim
One of the many things that a bicycle accident attorney can do for you is thoroughly investigate your crash to obtain key evidence against the other driver. The strength of your evidence can determine whether or not you succeed in holding a driver accountable for your right hook accident. Evidence can include:
- Statements signed by eyewitnesses
- Photographs and videos from the scene of the crash
- Surveillance footage of the wreck from CCTV cameras
- A copy of your police accident report
- A citation or ticket issued against the driver
- Diagrams that reconstruct the bicycle accident
- Testimony from car accident experts
The evidence may prove that a driver was speeding, driving distracted, driving recklessly or otherwise made a mistake that caused the right hook accident. If your lawyer is successful in holding a driver responsible for your right hook accident, his or her insurance company will pay for your related bills, including hospital bills, bicycle repairs and lost wages. To learn more about your legal rights after this type of bicycle crash, contact an attorney today.
Posted in Car accidents on July 2, 2021
Being injured in a car accident can interfere with your ability to perform daily tasks. One of the most common losses is the inability to work. You may need several days off after your car accident to recover. If you suffered a temporary or permanent disability, your leave of absence can be much longer. If you lost any wages or other employment benefits because of a car accident, you may be eligible for reimbursement, even if you are self-employed.
How to Obtain Lost Wage Compensation
The law you will need to know to recover lost wages after a car accident is Nebraska’s fault law. There are fault and no-fault states, as well as some hybrids. In a fault state such as Nebraska, the person or party at fault for your motor vehicle accident will be financially responsible for paying for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more. In Nebraska, all drivers must carry minimum amounts of liability insurance to pay for these expenses. In no-fault states, on the other hand, all injured victims file first-party insurance claims, regardless of fault.
If you believe that another driver or person caused your car accident, you will call that person’s auto insurance provider to file an initial claim. The insurance company will investigate the crash and assign fault. If the insurer accepts liability for the crash, it will offer you a settlement to cover your losses. It is important to consult with a car accident attorney in Omaha before accepting a settlement, however, as insurance companies are known for devaluing claims. An attorney can help you fight for the financial compensation that you deserve, including a fair amount for your lost wages.
Proving Lost Wages if You’re Self-Employed
You are eligible for a lost wage award related to a car accident in Nebraska if you are self-employed, work part-time or full-time, work for an hourly wage or a salary, or are a regular or seasonal worker. To receive an award for your past and future lost wages, you will need to provide the insurance company with evidence of this type of loss. You or your lawyer will need to prove that you were unable to work because of the car accident and your related injuries, or that you couldn’t work because you were undergoing medical treatment.
Proof of lost wages as a self-employed person may include:
- Billing statements
- A calendar of events or your work schedule
- Proof of projects or meetings you had to cancel
- Emails or electronic messages about conferences you couldn’t attend
- Income tax returns from previous years
- Medical records and a note from your doctor proving your injury
Proving lost income can be more difficult if you are self-employed than if you are regularly employed by someone else. You will need to prove how much time at work you lost because of your injuries, as well as what you foreseeably would have earned had you been able to work during that time. If you only work sporadically, you may need to prove your lost wages by proving what you make in a normal year, then dividing this into a weekly wage.
Don’t Forget Future Lost Capacity to Earn
It is important not to forget to seek financial reimbursement for future lost wages in addition to any income that you have already lost due to your car accident injuries. If you suffered an injury that will continue to interfere with your ability to work, you will be eligible for financial compensation for loss of the capacity to earn until you are able to work at full capacity, if this is possible. Proving future lost wages often requires financial statements as well as evidence that you have an incapacitating injury with a degree of medical probability.
For professional assistance establishing lost wages after a car accident as a self-employed individual, contact an Omaha personal injury lawyer.
Posted in Car accidents on June 9, 2021
If you file a personal injury lawsuit in Nebraska, you will encounter the legal theory of negligence. Negligence is the foundation for most civil lawsuits. As the injured party, it is your responsibility to prove negligence before you can recover financial compensation. A less common doctrine called negligence per se, however, may reduce your burden of proof and make it easier to achieve compensation.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence in personal injury law means that a person or party was careless and that this caused or contributed to an injury. Being careless means using a level of care that falls short of the accepted standards or requirements. If carelessness or recklessness injures another person, the at-fault party can be held financially responsible. It is up to the injured victim, however, to prove negligence.
Proving negligence generally requires clear and convincing evidence that four elements are more likely to be true than untrue:
- The defendant owed the victim a duty of care.
- The defendant breached his or her duty of care.
- The defendant’s breach of duty caused the injury or accident.
- The plaintiff suffered compensable losses in the accident.
Common examples of breaches of duty of care are violating safety regulations, breaking state laws and ignoring best practices. Proof of negligence can come in the form of expert testimony, eyewitness statements, photographs and videos, medical records, and accident reports. If the doctrine of negligence per se applies to a case, however, you may not need proof of all four elements.
What Is Negligence Per Se?
Negligence per se means negligence by or in itself. Negligence per se holds that a specific action or omission is intrinsically negligent by its nature and that there is no other proof of negligence required. With the doctrine of negligence per se, it is not necessary for a victim to prove that the defendant’s actions were unreasonable. Instead, it will automatically be assumed that this is the case if the defendant’s conduct violated a law, regulation, statute or rule.
Negligence per se makes it easier to win a case against the defendant, as the defendant either broke the law or did not break the law. There is no need to prove that the defendant breached a duty of care. His or her unlawful violation is enough to establish negligence and demonstrate that the defendant did not meet the standard of care.
When Does Negligence Per Se Apply to a Personal Injury Case?
The laws regarding when a plaintiff can and cannot use the doctrine of negligence per se change from state to state. Some states use variations of this law, such as allowing the defendant to rebut the presumption of negligence or stating that a violation can simply be used as proof of negligence. In general, however, the courts will allow an injured party to use this doctrine if the defendant violated a law and caused an injury that the law was intended to prevent.
For example, if a driver drove while intoxicated and caused a car accident, it may not be necessary to prove the defendant’s negligence, as violating the state’s drunk driving law would be evidence enough of the defendant’s unreasonable behavior. It will still be necessary to prove that the violation was the proximate cause of the damages in question, however.
Note also that negligence per se will only apply if the plaintiff belongs to the class of people that the violated law was written to protect. For example, if a safety rule was written to prevent workplace injuries, but the victim was a bystander, a violation might not be grounds for a negligence per se claim.
To find out if you can use the doctrine of negligence per se during your personal injury case in Omaha, contact a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation.
Whiplash is a common injury suffered in traumatic accidents, such as car crashes and falls. It describes an injury to the muscles or tendons of the neck, such as a sprain or tear. Whiplash can be painful and debilitating, interfering with the victim’s range of motion. Several treatments are available for whiplash, however, and most patients make full recoveries.
There is no immediate cure for whiplash. Instead, treatments are designed to control symptoms and reduce pain while the muscles and tendons in the neck repair themselves. A patient may experience symptoms of whiplash for several weeks while healing and regaining range of motion. During this time, at-home treatments such as rest are recommended to facilitate healing. Resting the first day or two after the accident can help prevent further injury; after this, however, a return to normal activity is often more conducive to healing.
Ice, Then Heat
Many doctors recommend applying an ice pack to the neck in the first few days following a whiplash diagnosis to reduce pain and swelling. The cold will temporarily close small blood vessels, helping to decrease swelling and increase mobility.
Apply ice according to your doctor’s directions, but typically for about 15 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. After two or three days of applying ice, apply moist heat to the neck by taking warm baths or using a hot towel to loosen the muscles and prevent stiffness.
Neck Brace or Collars
If your doctor recommends it, you may be given a neck brace or medical collar to help support your neck during recovery. Typically, however, doctors do not recommend this as a long-term solution, as it could have the opposite effect by weakening the muscles in your neck.
Pain Medications, If Necessary
If you are in a great deal of pain, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription painkillers. Medication such as Aleve, Tylenol or Advil can help you with pain and discomfort related to your neck injury. Note, however, that these medications can have side effects and you should not use them regularly unless directed to by your doctor. If over-the-counter drugs do not work, your doctor may prescribe a stronger painkiller or a muscle relaxer, if necessary.
Injections may be an option if you are still in a lot of pain or if you need to numb the area for physical therapy. You may be prescribed a lidocaine injection for the numbing of painful areas, or a steroid injection to reduce nerve and tissue inflammation in a specific area.
Other whiplash treatments may include the use of therapies to increase mobility and healing. Professional care by a licensed and trained physical therapist can improve the strength and flexibility of the neck as it heals. In some cases, this has been known to reduce pain by decreasing the amount of stress placed on the spine. Massage therapy can also help with neck pain by relieving tension in the surrounding muscles and deep tissues.
Regular massages while healing from whiplash can help prevent muscle tension and muscle spasms, reduce pain, and increase blood flow to the injured area for faster healing. Chiropractic manipulation could also make manual adjustments that increase the range of motion and decrease pain. Acupuncture may also be a viable option to reduce pain in various parts of the neck and back.
Who Pays for Whiplash Treatments?
If you suffer a whiplash injury in a preventable accident in Nebraska, the person or party at fault for the accident may be financially responsible for your related treatments and medical care. This can include doctor’s appointments, scans, specialists, medical devices, medications, therapies and more. To learn more about your legal rights as a victim with a whiplash injury, consult with an attorney near you.
Pedestrians are constantly at risk of getting hit by cars in a busy city such as Omaha. The Nebraska Department of Transportation reported 342 pedestrian accidents and 20 deaths in 2019 alone. Although pedestrians face many safety hazards, careless and reckless drivers are the greatest risks of all. Identifying the most common causes of pedestrian accidents can help you avoid an accident – or determine the cause of your accident if you’ve been hit by a car in Omaha.
Distracted driving is one of the most serious traffic accident risks in Nebraska. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 victims lost their lives in distracted driving accidents in the U.S. in 2019. Distracted driving refers to operating a motor vehicle without dedicating one’s full attention to the driving task.
The most dangerous – and most common – driver distraction is texting and driving. Other common distractions are eating, drinking, talking to passengers and looking at a GPS. If a driver is distracted by something, he or she may fail to notice a crossing pedestrian, a child running out into the road, or a stoplight change.
Driving while intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol contributes to many serious and fatal traffic accidents in Nebraska each year. An impaired driver may not have full control of the vehicle due to issues such as lack of coordination, muscle weakness, blurred vision, impaired judgment and slowed reflexes. An impaired driver is also more prone to reckless driving behaviors, such as speeding, driving the wrong way, or committing a hit-and-run pedestrian accident.
Failing to Yield the Right-of-Way
The right-of-way is the right to proceed, such as a pedestrian’s right-of-way at marked and unmarked crosswalks in Nebraska. If a driver fails to give a pedestrian the right-of-way, he or she could cross the path of the pedestrian and cause an accident. For example, a driver could cause a crash by making an unsafe left-hand turn at an intersection without first yielding the right-of-way to a pedestrian who is crossing the destination street.
Red Light and Stop Sign Violations
Even if a pedestrian has the right-of-way and is legally allowed to cross the road at an intersection, a driver who ignores traffic laws can cause a collision. If a driver runs a red light or fails to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, he or she may fail to yield to a crossing pedestrian and cause a crash. Pedestrian accidents at intersections with control signals can be especially severe, as many drivers who run red lights are speeding to try to make the yellow light.
Driving too fast for conditions, especially in pedestrian-heavy areas such as downtown Omaha, residential neighborhoods and school zones, increases the risk of pedestrian collisions. A speeding driver may not have enough time to notice a pedestrian stepping into the road or stop in time to prevent an accident.
Many pedestrian collisions occur when a driver puts his or her car into reverse and backs up without checking for crossing pedestrians. These accidents are most common in parking lots and driveways. It is a driver’s responsibility to check for nearby pedestrians and wait for the road to clear before backing up.
Not all pedestrian collisions in Nebraska are caused by motorists. Pedestrians can also cause accidents by breaking traffic laws, walking while distracted or walking while intoxicated. Walking and looking down at a cell phone, for instance, can make a pedestrian miss a red light or step out into oncoming traffic. Jaywalking, or crossing the road between marked intersections, can also cause a pedestrian accident.
In Nebraska, the comparative fault law allows a pedestrian to recover at least partial financial compensation even if he or she contributed to an accident, as long as the pedestrian is found to be less than 50 percent to blame. If you were recently injured in a pedestrian accident in Omaha, contact an attorney to discuss your options for financial compensation, even if you believe you contributed to the accident.
Tires are some of the most important parts of a motor vehicle. They are what connect to the road and allow a driver to maintain control of the vehicle. If a tire contains a product defect, this could compromise the safety and control of the entire vehicle – causing a car accident. Unfortunately, many manufacturers distribute tires with dangerous defects.
A tire defect is an issue with the product that makes it unreasonably dangerous for consumers to use. A tire defect can take many shapes and forms. One type is a design defect – an inherent issue with the design of the tire that makes it less safe than a normal tire.
For example, designing a tire with a new type of rubber that has not yet been properly safety-tested could lead to a tire that wears down too easily, shreds, has uneven wear and tear, or blows out. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to design a tire that is reasonably safe for consumers to use.
Even if a tire has an inherently safe design, issues or mistakes during manufacturing could make the tire contain dangerous defects. Tire manufacturing facilities must comply with federal safety standards in terms of maintenance, equipment, supplies, procedures, and staff hiring and training. If a tire manufacturer fails to ensure the safety of its assembly process, several tire defects could arise, such as:
- Tread separation
- Steel belt separation
- Bead wire failures
- Sidewall failures
- Tire over inflation or underinflation
- Tires that shred too easily
- Missing parts or components
- Tires that are incorrect for the vehicle
- Tires with weak, outdated or faulty rubber
- Curing errors that lead to foreign objects in the tire
- Tire blowouts or explosions
Manufacturing companies must have processes in place to check for defects that can compromise the safety of the tires. Tire companies should focus on product inspection, testing and quality control to find issues before they are released to consumers. Sadly, many manufacturers fall short of the required safety standards, leading to manufacturing defects and related accidents.
Failure to Warn Defects
Tires can also contain defects related to the product’s marketing. If a manufacturing company knows about a potential hazard related to the tires, such as the risk of a tire blowout without proper maintenance, the company has a legal obligation to warn its consumers. Failure to warn is a type of marketing defect that can increase the risk of car accidents. If a manufacturer or distributor markets a tire in a way that increases the risk of an accident, it could be responsible for a related crash.
Lawsuits for Tire Defects in Omaha, Nebraska
If someone suffers a serious injury in a car accident and investigators trace the collision back to a tire defect, the manufacturer could be liable (legally responsible). Investigators can analyze the tire in question, inspect the manufacturing company, and determine whether or not the tire contained a defect. If so, the injured party will have grounds to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or distributor.
Product liability laws in Nebraska state that a manufacturing company will bear strict liability for defective products, in most cases. Strict liability means the company will be legally and financially responsible even without proof of negligence. The rules of strict liability would apply if the tire contained a design, manufacturing or marketing defect and this defect caused a car accident.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you or someone you love was recently injured in a car accident connected to a tire defect, a lawsuit could provide financial compensation to cover your property damage, physical injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more. Contact the Omaha, Nebraska tire defect attorneys at Knowles Law Firm today for a confidential consultation about your legal rights.
Car accidents can be financially devastating for those involved. From inflicting serious physical injuries and emotional distress to causing expensive property damage, a car accident can lead to significant losses for a victim. The most common costs associated with car accidents can add up to thousands of dollars over a victim’s lifetime.
A car accident can cause serious and debilitating injuries that require a great deal of money and necessary medical care. Some of the most common injuries suffered in car accidents are bone fractures, muscle tears, internal injuries, brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Although even a minor injury can require emergency care and expensive treatments, a serious or catastrophic injury may require weeks, months or years of medical care, physical therapy and medications. A car accident could also inflict disability-related costs such as home or vehicle modifications, necessary mobility devices, and live-in care.
Property Damage Repairs
When a vehicle collides with another vehicle or a fixed object, it will sustain property damage. Depending on the type of vehicle and the dynamics of the crash, property damage can cost thousands of dollars to repair. If a severe car accident totals a car, the owner will have to pay to replace the entire vehicle. Other types of property can also sustain damage in a car crash, such as fixed objects, homes or property within the vehicles, such as cell phones or radios.
Most people cannot go days or weeks without a motor vehicle. They need a car to drive to essential places, such as work, school and religious institutions. To resolve this issue while a damaged vehicle is in the repair shop or while the owner of the car is waiting on a settlement check from an insurance company to purchase a replacement vehicle, the owner will have to rent a car. Vehicle rental costs are often at least $30 to $50 per day.
If a car accident inflicts injuries that take a victim out of work, this can result in significant lost wages and employment benefits. The victim may lose his or her hourly wages, tips, commissions, bonuses, vacation hours and other benefits while recovering from his or her injuries. If the injury inflicts damage that permanently interferes with the ability to work, the victim could suffer a lifetime of lost wages (known as lost capacity to earn).
In a car accident case where a driver is guilty of a traffic infraction, he or she may have to pay a fine or ticket for a moving violation, such as speeding, a broken taillight or running a red light. A citation in Nebraska typically ranges from $25 to $300 or more depending on the violation and its severity.
Increased Insurance Premiums
If a driver in Nebraska is found guilty of causing a car accident, his or her insurance premiums will most likely increase. Insurance companies often charge their policyholders more money to provide coverage after they cause car accidents. Insurers do this to recoup what they spent on the claim and because the policyholder is a now higher risk for future car accidents.
Who Pays for the Costs Associated With a Car Accident?
Nebraska is an at-fault state, meaning the insurance company of the at-fault driver will have to pay for damages. If you get into a costly car accident in Omaha, the other driver’s insurance company should pay for your losses if you did not cause the wreck. You may also be able to bring a lawsuit against a third party, such as an auto part manufacturer.
If you were to blame, your own insurer may pay for your damages if you have collision or comprehensive insurance coverage. For assistance recovering financial compensation for the costs associated with a car accident in Omaha, consult with an attorney.
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.