The 16th largest state by area is a massive prairie state that is criss-crossed in trails that criss-cross the state since the exploration days and before. With a population density ranked 43rd in the US it also presents large rural farming and agrarian communities that can be located far from local urban centers. Accidents in these rural areas can be difficult for state emergency vehicles to get to in a timely fashion.
The state requires that all drivers involved in an accident that causes injury, death or more than $1000 in damages be required to report the accident with an official Driver’s Motor Vehicle Accident Report. If you are found not reporting an accident there is a possibility of getting charged with a misdemeanor and having your license revoked.
If you are involved in an accident, moving the vehicles out of the flow of traffic should be the first concern if the vehicles are still mobile. Secondly, checking for injuries after an accident is of utmost concern to determine whether emergency medical attention is needed. Last, if all parties are uninjured or do not require emergency care, you need to ensure that you share information with all parties involved including name, address, phone numbers, driver license numbers, plate numbers, vehicle makes, models and years, as well as insurance information. This critical information will be very useful in recovering damages in Nebraska.
Nebraska’s Modified Comparative Fault Rule
Although the state has an at fault system, it also has a modified comparative fault rule that establishes a cut-off for those at fault to receive damages in court, which usually has some application in settlement agreements as well. The rule in Nebraska is set at 50% or more assigned fault and you will not be possible to receive any compensation for your part in the accident. This rule seems to temper an at fault system and cuts down on full civil court proceedings. Instead of allowing all parties to sue for damages no matter their fault, this system only allows those at 49% or less to recover damages.
If you are found 40% at fault and recover $10,000 in damages to cover property damage and injuries sustained during the accident, your award would be reduced by $4000 because of your ascribed fault in the accident. Ascribed fault in accidents can be due to a number of issues within an accident, such as contributing to the harshness of the accident because of speed, failing to follow the rules of the road such as lane signaling and other minor issues that contributed to your assigned fault in the accident.
For accidents in the State there is a four year statute of limitations, after which any accident would not qualify for damage recovery afterwards.
Demerit Points for Violations
Like many states, Nebraska assigns demerit points for various traffic violations and sets a standard whereby drivers face penalties when they accumulate too many points within a set period of time. In Nebraska, the state lists demerit points from 1 point to 12 points for traffic violations and convictions which remain on the record for a period of 5 years. If you collect 12 points or more in a two year period your license will be revoked. Traffic violations received in other states will still count towards your Nebraska driver’s license.
Traffic violations include speeding, DUI, traffic homicide, reckless or careless driving all contributes to the demerit system in Nebraska.
DUI/DWI for Nebraska
The DUI or DWI laws in Nebraska consist of various levels of fines and penalties based on your Blood Alcohol Content level and whether there were any injuries or homicides from the accident and is also broken down into administrative and court awarded penalties.
For BAC’s above the national limit of 0.8% but below 0.15%, first to third offenses are considered misdemeanors with maximum penalties of up to 60, 90 and 365 days in jail, 6 months, 1 year and 15 years license revocation, and fines from $500 to $1000 respectively. However, Nebraska also imposes mandatory minimums such as 7 days for a first offense to 90 days for a 3rd offense. 4th and 5th offenses result in felony charges with even harsher penalties.
If your BAC’s above 0.15% although the maximum penalties do not change the mandatory minimums do. So a 30 day jail sentence of a 3rd offense with a 0.8% BAC turns into a 180 day mandatory minimum jail sentence if your BAC is 0.15% or higher.
These harsh DUI penalties may be another reason why insurance rates in Nebraska are lower; as of 2011 Nebraska instituted an all DUI offense ignition interlock device which has had an effect of lowering DUI fatalities in the state.