In Nebraska, the amount of compensation awarded to a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the case, such as the severity of the injuries, the extent of financial damages incurred, and the degree of negligence or fault involved.
This page looks at Nebraska personal injury law and personal injury settlement amounts and jury payouts in Nebraska, including some examples of recent personal injury cases and their outcomes.
Nebraska Personal Injury Verdicts and Settlements
- 2023, Nebraska: $40,000 Verdict. The plaintiff was reportedly a passenger in an automobile traveling on the interstate. The plaintiff said when her host automobile was required to slow and/or stop for traffic congestion, it was struck in the rear by a vehicle operated by the defendant. The plaintiff claimed she suffered personal injuries due to the impact that caused her to incur medical expenses of approximately $16,000.
- 2023, Nebraska: $55,000 Verdict. The plaintiff was operating a pickup truck and stopped at a red light in an inside westbound lane approximately 200 feet from an intersection with two other motor vehicles stopped behind the plaintiff’s vehicle when a motor vehicle operated by defendant allegedly accelerated up a hill, failed to notice the traffic in front of her vehicle was stopped, and collided into the back of the second vehicle behind the plaintiff’s vehicle, which collided into the first vehicle behind the plaintiff’s vehicle, which collided into the plaintiff’s vehicle.
- 2022, Nebraska: $3,000,000 Verdict. A 66-year-old woman was hit by a pickup truck while crossing a street near Seacrest Field after a high school football game. The vehicle involved was a 2010 Dodge Ram pickup, driven by a 16-year-old girl. The collision resulted in critical injuries to the woman, including multiple bone fractures and a skull base fracture. She underwent several surgeries and was hospitalized for more than a month, accruing medical expenses exceeding $330,000. The woman filed an uninsured motorist lawsuit against Farmers Mutual. A Lancaster County jury awarded the woman a $3 million verdict.
- 2021, Nebraska: $21,500,000 Verdict. A child suffered severe brain damage following inadequate treatment for seizures after a head injury at a Nebraska daycare. Initially receiving proper emergency care, the child was later discharged by a doctor who assumed the seizure was a singular event. Within two days of returning home, the child experienced intense seizures, leading to irreversible brain damage. As a result, the now almost 6-year-old child is blind, wheelchair-bound, has a condition like cerebral palsy, and cannot communicate beyond recognizing her parents’ voices. The family filed a birth injury lawsuit alleging medical malpractice. An Ohama jury ordered Children’s Hospital & Medical Center and the involved doctor to pay $26.1 million. The damages awarded include $21.5 million for the child’s continuous medical needs and $4.6 million for the parents.
- 2021, Nebraska: $458,694 Verdict. A 51-year-old woman slipped and fell in a convenience store parking lot. She suffered the exacerbation of her pre-existing flat feet, posterior tib tendinopathy, and inflamed Achilles tendon. The woman alleged negligence against the convenience store. She claimed its staff negligently sprayed soapy water in the parking lot and failed to maintain safe premises. The jury awarded $458,694.
- 2019, Nebraska: $165,000 Verdict. A passenger was rear-ended. She suffered a permanent right knee injury. The woman underwent a right knee replacement. She alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She also made a UIM claim against State Farm. The jury awarded $165,000.
- 2019, Nebraska: $166,000 Verdict. A woman underwent a full mouth reconstruction. Her dental implants did not fit. The woman suffered mouth and jaw pain. She now required an additional full mouth reconstruction procedure. The woman and her husband alleged negligence against the dentist. She claimed he improperly measured the crowns before implanting them. The jury awarded her $166,000.
- 2019, Nebraska: $37,500 Verdict. A woman was rear-ended. She sprained her neck. The woman developed limited neck mobility and chronic pain. She alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The woman claimed she excessively sped and failed to avoid the collision. A jury awarded $37,500.
- 2019, Nebraska: $320,900 Verdict. A man was rear-ended. He suffered an L4-S1 protrusion. The man underwent a fusion procedure. He alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The man claimed he failed to maintain an appropriate lookout and safely follow other vehicles. A jury awarded $320,900.
- 2019, Nebraska: $65,000 Verdict. A man was rear-ended. He suffered a cervical injury, lumbar pain, and left foot tingling and numbness. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed she tailgated him and failed to control her vehicle. The jury awarded the man $65,000.
- 2018, Nebraska: $3,364,960 Verdict. A 45-year-old woman underwent a gastric bypass procedure. Several days later, she went into cardiac arrest. The woman suffered significant oxygen deprivation. She was eventually declared brain dead. The woman’s family alleged negligence against the hospital. They claimed its staff prematurely discharged her, failed to appreciate her hypokalemia status, and timely treat her post-surgical symptoms. The jury awarded $3,364,960.
- 2018, Nebraska: $287,012 Verdict. A woman was struck by a truck. She suffered a herniated cervical disc. The woman alleged negligence against the truck driver. She claimed he failed to yield the right-of-way, ran a red light, and excessively sped. The woman received a $287,012 verdict.
Nebraska Personal Injury Law
Statute of Limitations
In Nebraska, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is four years from the date of the incident. However, for intentional torts such as assault and battery or defamation, the statute of limitations is only one year. Additionally, there is a four-year limit for certain causes of action, including fraud and trespassing, as well as for oral contracts. For judgments and written contracts, the statute of limitations is five years.
The primary objective of the statute of limitations in Nebraska is to inform the defendant about a complaint lodged against them within a reasonable timeframe. This ensures that the defendant is not unfairly disadvantaged by facing a lawsuit long after the period when they could have prepared an adequate defense against the claim.
Nebraska’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases can be found at Section 25-207 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes.
The discovery rule is a legal principle that allows the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit to be extended under certain circumstances. In Nebraska, like in other states, the discovery rule can be applied in various types of cases, such as personal injury, medical malpractice, and product liability.
The basic idea behind the discovery rule is that the statute of limitations should not begin to run until the injured party knows or reasonably should have known of the injury and its cause. This rule is especially important in cases where the harm or injury might not be immediately apparent, such as when a medical error is not discovered until years after the event.
In Nebraska, the discovery rule is generally applied on a case-by-case basis, and its application may depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the type of claim involved. For instance, in medical malpractice cases, Nebraska Revised Statute § 44-2828 states that the action must be filed within two years from the date of the alleged act or omission, or within one year from the date when the injury was or should have been discovered, whichever is later. However, there is an overall limit of 10 years from the date of the act or omission, regardless of when the injury was discovered.
Nebraska Uninsured Motorist Law
Uninsured motorist coverage is a type of automobile insurance that covers the policyholder in case of an accident with an at-fault driver who has no insurance or insufficient insurance coverage. In Nebraska, the statutory scheme for uninsured motorist coverage is set out in the Nebraska Revised Statutes § 44-6401 to § 44-6416.
Under Nebraska law, insurance companies are required to offer uninsured motorist coverage to policyholders, and the policyholder may choose to either accept or reject the coverage in writing. The minimum limits of uninsured motorist coverage that insurance companies are required to offer in Nebraska are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, as well as $25,000 per accident for property damage.
If the policyholder chooses to accept uninsured motorist coverage, the insurance company is required to provide a policy that includes the coverage. The policy may provide for higher limits of uninsured motorist coverage, but the policyholder is responsible for paying any additional premium for the increased coverage.
In the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, the policyholder can make a claim with their own insurance company for uninsured motorist coverage. The policyholder must prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident and that the damages exceed the other driver’s insurance coverage, if any. The policyholder may be able to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other losses, up to the limits of their uninsured motorist coverage.
Nebraska Follows Modified Comparative Fault Rule
In situations where the injured plaintiff is partly to blame for the accident, Nebraska follows the rule known as modified comparative fault. Under the comparative fault rule, a plaintiff’s damages in a personal injury case are reduced according to his or her percentage share of the fault for causing the accident. For example, if the plaintiff is awarded $100,000 in damages, but he is found to be 10% at-fault for causing the accident, his damages will be reduced by 10% so he would only $90,000 instead of $100,000.
Under Nebraska’s modified version of comparative fault, this rule applies as long as the plaintiff’s share of fault is 50% or less. If the plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at-fault for causing the accident (i.e., 51% or higher) then he or she will be totally barred from collecting any damages at all for the accident.
Nebraska Has Strict Liability for Dog Bite Cases
Nebraska has adopted a rule of strict liability for dog bite cases. This is often referred to as a “one bite” rule. It means that if a dog bites and injuries another person, the dog’s owner can be held strictly liable regardless of whether the dog had a history of aggression or biting people. The only exception to this rule is that it does not apply if the dog bites someone who is trespassing on the owner’s property. So if someone breaks into your house and your dog bites them, strict liability under the one bite rule does not apply.
Medical Malpractice in Nebraska – What Must Be Proved?
In cases of professional negligence and malpractice in Nebraska, the plaintiff holds the responsibility of proving several key elements, including:
- the commonly accepted medical standard of care,
- a deviation from that standard by the defendant, and
- a clear link between the deviation and the plaintiff’s alleged injuries.
The plaintiff must meet this burden of proof, and expert medical testimony is typically required to establish the crucial causal link between the plaintiff’s injuries and the defendant’s negligence.
Cap on Damages in Nebraska Medical Malpractice Cases
In Nebraska, there is a limit on the amount of compensation a plaintiff can receive for both economic and non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, and this cap is set at $2.25 million. The cap originally began at $500,000 for cases that occurred on or before December 31, 1984, and has been incrementally increased over time to reach its current level. This cap applies to all medical malpractice occurrences after December 31, 2014, and marks the final increase outlined in Nebraska’s damage cap law. It is worth noting that if a plaintiff files a claim for malpractice that occurred before 2015, such as for a foreign object left in the body that has only recently been discovered, a smaller damage cap may apply.
Nebraska Informed Consent Law
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 44-2816 and § 44-2820 define and set out the burden of proof for informed consent in a medical malpractice action. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 44-2816 explains that informed consent in Nebraska is when a patient gives permission for a medical procedure or treatment after being given information about it by their healthcare provider. This information should be similar to what other healthcare providers in the same area would give to their patients in similar situations.
If a healthcare provider fails to get informed consent, this means they didn’t get permission for a medical procedure or treatment in a way that a reasonable healthcare provider in that community would have. In other words, if it is expected that other healthcare providers would get permission in that situation, but this provider did not, it would be considered a failure to obtain informed consent.
Nebraska Wrongful Death Law
Nebraska’s wrongful death law is governed by specific statutes, and like all states, it has its own unique set of rules and guidelines.
Legal Basis of Wrongful Death Claims
Nebraska’s wrongful death statute is outlined in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 30-809. This law states that a wrongful death claim can be filed when a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another. The principle behind a wrongful death claim is similar to that of a personal injury claim, except that in the case of wrongful death, the injured party is no longer able to bring the claim themselves due to their death.
Difference Between Survival Action and Wrongful Death Claim in Nebraska
A lawsuit filed under Nebraska’s survival statute (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-1401) is essentially a way to continue a legal claim that a deceased person had while they were alive. It is the claim the victim would have had as opposed to the survivors’ claim in a wrongful death lawsuit. So while a wrongful death lawsuit compensates the decedent’s family or next of kin for their losses due to the death, a survival action specifically aims to redress the losses and suffering the decedent experienced personally. A survival action allows the deceased person’s estate to bring forward a claim that includes damages the deceased person experienced before their death.
These damages can include pain and suffering endured before death, medical bills incurred from the injury until death, costs for funeral and burial, and any loss of income the deceased person suffered from the time of their injury until their passing. This type of legal action, known as a survival action, is unique to the deceased and the compensation recovered is considered part of their estate, to be managed as an asset of the estate.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Nebraska
A wrongful death lawsuit in Nebraska is filed for the benefit of the deceased person’s spouse and next of kin to compensate for the financial and emotional losses they have experienced due to the death. The compensation awarded in such a case is divided among the spouse and next of kin based on how much financial loss each person has suffered compared to the total financial loss experienced by all of them. This is outlined in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 30-810. The compensation includes the financial value of what the deceased would have provided in terms of support, society, comfort, and companionship. The next of kin claim compensation for the losses they have incurred after the death of their loved one, which is based on what they would have received from the deceased if they had lived a full life.
Types of Damages Recoverable
- Economic Damages: This can include funeral and burial costs, medical bills related to the deceased’s final illness or injury, lost income and benefits, and loss of inheritance.
- Non-Economic Damages: These cover pain and suffering of the deceased prior to death, loss of companionship, and emotional distress of the surviving family members.
Statute of Limitations
Time Limit for Filing: Under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 30-810, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the date of the person’s death. This deadline is strictly enforced, and failing to file within this period typically means the claim cannot be pursued.
Getting a Lawyer for Your Nebraska Injury Case
Our law firm handles serious injury and wrongful death cases all across the country. We collaborate with reputable partner firms in Nebraska and cover the fees for those lawyers through our own attorney fees. This means that you won’t have to pay any extra contingency fees for working with two law firms, and you’ll only be responsible for paying a fee if you receive compensation from a settlement or jury award.
If you’ve been injured and believe you have a valid personal injury case in Nebraska, call us at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.