Nebraska Car Accident and Personal Injury Laws



If you've been injured in a car accident in the State of Nebraska, you may have questions about how the laws will affect your property damage and/or personal injury claim. In this article, we'll review the laws most commonly associated with car accidents. To read the entirety of each law, click the link to the specific State of Nebraska statutes in each section.

Here are the Nebraska car accident and traffic laws we'll cover:

Pedestrian Laws

Pedestrians and Crosswalks

When traffic control signals are not in place or not working, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are crossing within a crosswalk and are in the lane that a driver is proceeding (or is in the next lane).
Section 60-6,153

Restrictions on Pedestrians Crossing Roadways

No pedestrian is permitted to suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop.
Section 60-6,153

Pedestrian Control Signals

Whenever special pedestrian control signals, exhibiting the words Walk or Don't Walk or the symbols of a walking person or an upraised palm are in place such signals shall indicate as follows:

  1. Walk or Walking Person. Pedestrians facing such signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal and shall be given the right of way by the drivers of all vehicles.
  2. Don't Walk or Upraised Palm. No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of such signal, whether flashing or steady. Any pedestrian who has partially completed the pedestrian's crossing on the Walk or Walking Person signal shall complete the crossing to a sidewalk or safety island while the Don't Walk or Upraised Palm signal is showing.
Section 60-6,124

Crossing at Other Than Crosswalks

Pedestrians intending to cross a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.

Pedestrians must use only the marked crosswalk to cross between two adjacent intersections that have traffic-control signals in operation.

Pedestrians can cross an intersection diagonally only when it is authorized by traffic-control devices.
Section 60-6,154

Pedestrians on Roadway

Where sidewalks are provided, it is unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon adjacent roadway.

Where sidewalks are not provided, pedestrians are permitted to walk only on or along the left side of the roadway or on it's shoulder facing traffic from the opposite direction.
Section 60-6,156

Pedestrians' Right of Way on Sidewalks

The driver of a vehicle emerging from or entering an alley, building, private road, or driveway shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian approaching on any sidewalk extending across the alley, building entrance, road, or driveway.
Section 60-6,149

Drivers to Exercise Due Care

Every driver must exercise due care, including leaving a safe distance of at least three feet, to avoid colliding with any pedestrian and must give an audible signal when necessary and exercise proper precaution when observing any child or obviously confused or incapacitated person on a roadway.
Section 60-6,109

Driving Laws

Obedience to Traffic Control Devices

A driver must obey any traffic control devices applicable to the driver, unless directed by a traffic or police officer.
Section 60-6,119

Driving on Right Side of Roadway

Drivers must drive in the right lane of roadways with the following exceptions:

  • When passing another driver in the same direction
  • When there is an obstruction in the right lane
  • Upon a roadway restricted to one way traffic
  • Upon a roadway with three marked lanes of traffic
Section 60-6,131

Passing On the Left

Driver proceeding in the same direction must pass to the left at at a safe distance and shall remain in the passing lane until it is safe to return to the right lane. Drivers being passed must not increase the speed of their vehicle until their vehicle is completely passed by the overtaking car.
Section 60-6,133

Limitations on Overtaking on the Left

Drivers may drive to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle only if the left side is clearly visible and the overtaking vehicle can return to its lane without coming within two hundred feet of oncoming traffic.
Section 60-6,135

Passing On the Right

Drivers may pass on the right under the following conditions:

  • When the driver about to be passed is about to make a left turn. However, the driver attempting to pass on the right must not do so unless the movement can be made safely. When the roadway has two (2) or more lanes of traffic moving in the same direction.
  • On a one-way street where the roadway is free from obstructions and wide enough for two or more lines of moving vehicles.
Section 60-6,134

Following Too Closely

A driver must not follow another driver more closely than is "reasonable and prudent", having due regard for the speed of other drivers and traffic conditions along the roadway. A driver who is towing another vehicle must leave sufficient space ahead, at least 100 feet, of their vehicle to allow an overtaking vehicle to enter and occupy this space without danger.
Section 60-6,140

Drivers and Mobile Electronic Devices

Drivers must not use a handheld wireless communication device to read, manually type, or send a written communication while operating a motor vehicle which is in motion, unless the driver is operating a motor vehicle in an emergency situation.
Section 60-6,179.01

Drivers and Intersections

When two (2) drivers approach an intersection at approximately the same time the driver on the left must yield to the driver to their right.
Section 60-6,146

Drivers Intending to Turn Left at Intersections

A driver who intends to turn left at an intersection, or into an alley, private road or driveway must yield the right of way to vehicles approaching from the opposite direction.
Section 60-6,147

Drivers Entering or Crossing a Roadway

A driver about to enter or cross a roadway from any place other than another roadway must yield the right of way to all vehicles on the roadway to be crossed.
Section 60-6,146

Bicycling Laws

Bicyclists must obey the same traffic laws as drivers of cars, and are subject to the same penalties as are drivers for violating traffic laws.
Section 60-6,314

Motorcycling Laws

Motorcycles

Motorcyclists must obey the same traffic laws as drivers of cars, and are subject to the same penalties as are drivers for violating traffic laws.
Section 60-6,306

Motorcyclists and Lanes of Traffic

Motorcyclists are entitled to the full use of a traffic lane and drivers must not take any action to deprive a motorcyclist of his or her right to use a full lane on a roadway. A motorcyclist must not pass another driver in the same lane. Motorcyclists must not ride more than two (2) abreast in a single lane.
Section 60-6,308

"Lane Splitting"

Motorcyclists must not pass another driver in the same lane. Commonly known as "lane splitting," motorcyclists sometimes attempt to pass other drivers when traffic is slowed, or bumper to bumper. To move forward through traffic motorcyclists sometimes drive between cars. Doing so is not only illegal, but quite dangerous.
Section 60-6,308

Helmet Law

All motorcyclists must wear helmets while riding on roadways.
Section 60-6,279

Motorcycles and Headlights

Every motorcycle must be equipped with at least one and not more than two headlights and with a taillight exhibiting a red light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the rear of the motorcycle.
Section 60-6,219

Driving Offenses and Accident Requirements

Careless Driving

Any person who drives carelessly or without due caution so as to endanger a person or property is guilty of careless driving, and can be fined and imprisoned.
Section 60-6,212

Reckless Driving

Any person who drives in a manner that indicates an indifferent or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving, and can be fined and imprisoned.
Section 60-6,213

Willful Reckless Driving

Any person who drives in a manner that indicates a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of willful reckless driving, and can be fined and imprisoned.
Section 60-6,214

Alcohol and Minors

A driver under the age of twenty one (21) must not drive upon any roadway when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.02% or more.
Section 60-6,211.01

Driver's Duty to Give Information and Render Aid

A driver involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to any person must give their name, address and vehicle license plate number, and must upon request, exhibit their driver's license to any person involved in the accident.

Moreover the driver must render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including making of arrangements to transfer the injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent medical treatment is required.
Section 60-697

Accidents Involving Death, Personal Injury, or Substantial Bodily Injury

A driver involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to any person must give their name, address and vehicle license plate number, and must upon request, exhibit their driver's license to any person involved in the accident.

Moreover the driver must render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including making of arrangements to transfer the injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent medical treatment is required.
Section 60-697

Accidents Involving Only Damage to Another Car or Property

A driver involved in an accident resulting only in damage to property or another car which is driven or attended by any person must immediately stop at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible and must remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has given their name, address, telephone number, and driver's license number to the owner of the property struck or the driver or occupants of any other vehicle involved in the collision.
Section 60-696

Accidents Involving Damage to Unattended Car or Unattended Property

A driver who collides with a parked car or who collides with other property which is unattended must immediately stop at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible.

If the driver or owner of the damaged car or property cannot be located, the driver who caused the accident must attach a written note to the damaged property in a conspicuous place giving their name, address, telephone number, and driver's license number. Also, the driver must immediately notify the police department.
Section 60-696

Driver's Duty to Notify Police Department

A driver involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or total damage to all property resulting in $1,000 or more must report the accident to the police department within 10 days following the accident.
Section 60-699

Accident Report Forms

The Department of Roads is responsible for providing to each county the necessary accident report forms.
Section 60-6,106

Open Alcohol Container Law

It is unlawful for any person in the passenger area of a motor vehicle to possess an open alcoholic beverage container while the motor vehicle is located in a public parking area or on any highway.

An opened alcoholic beverage container can be kept only in the trunk of a vehicle or behind the rearmost upright seat where a passenger does not normally sit. It cannot be kept in the utility or glove compartment.

Passengers of a hired vehicle can consume and possess an opened container if there is a barrier that prevents passengers from passing containers to the driver.
Section 60-6,211.08

Driving Under Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance

A driver must not drive after drinking an alcoholic beverage or consuming an intoxicant in an amount which renders the driver incapable of driving safely along roadways. In Nebraska, a driver is guilty of the offense of driving under influence of alcoholic liquor if the driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher.
Section 60-6,196

Ignition Interlock Device

A driver who is guilty of driving while under the influence of an intoxicant might be ordered to have installed at his or her own expenses an ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device will serve to restore the driver's driving privileges during the pendency of the driver's probation. If an ignition device is installed, it must be installed in every car owned or operated by the driver.

An ignition interlock is a device which measures any amount of alcohol contained in a driver's body. Before starting the car the driver must blow into a tube emanating from the ignition interlock device. If the device then detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than is permitted by law the car will not start and the violation will be reported to the prosecutor, the probation officer, and/or the judge. At that point the driver may be subject to loss of driving privileges, immediate arrest and incarceration up to the maximum term provided by law.
Section 60-4,118.06

Liability Laws

Nebraska and Dram Shop Law

Nebraska has a modified Dram Shop Law. Dram Shop Law refers to the liability of private social hosts, bars, hotels nightclubs and other commercial establishments who serve alcohol to patrons or to minors for injuries intoxicated patrons or minors cause to third parties such as in car accidents.

A private social host is the host at a private party, such as a wedding reception, a corporate sponsored event, a gathering of friends at a private residence, where alcohol is served not for profit.

Under Nebraska law, a seller or provider of alcohol is liable for the personal injuries and property damages caused by an intoxicated minor if the seller or provider knew or should have known that the minor was not of legal drinking age.
Section 53-404

Financial Responsibility Car Insurance Minimum Limits

In the State of Nebraska, each motor vehicle must be covered by an insurance policy that includes liability coverage of the following amounts for all damages resulting from an accident:

  • At least $25,000 per person
  • At least $50,000 for two or more people
  • $25,000 per occurrence for property damage
Section 60-509

Nebraska Insurance Information

For information about insurance requirements, see the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles Insurance Requirements brochure.

Contributory Negligence

In Nebraska, the victim in a car accident can sue the negligent driver for compensation. The victim's liability in causing the accident, their comparative negligence, affects the amount of compensation the victim receives. The amount by compensation that the victim receives is diminished by their contribution to the causes of the accident.
http://nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=25-21,185
Section 25-21,185.09

Example of Contributory Negligence

One morning, Jackson was driving north on his way to work. At an intersection, he pulled into the left turn lane. At the same time, Melanie approached the intersection from the opposite direction. Suddenly, Jackson turned left into Melanie's lane and their cars collided.

Melanie sustained serious brain injuries and damage to her car, totalling in $100,000 dollars worth of damages.

After their investigation, the police determined that Jackson had failed to yield according to traffic laws. A pedestrian witness told police he saw Melanie texting at the time Jackson's car crashed into Melanie's. As a result, the police issued Melanie a citation for using a mobile device while driving.

Melanie sued Jackson for $100,000 and claimed he was 100% at fault for the accident because he did not yield to her right-of-way. At trial, the jury found Jackson liable for failing to yield the right-of-way. However, the jury also found Melissa liable for using a mobile device while driving and partially responsible for the accident.

The verdict stated Jackson's negligence equaled 70% of the accident, and Melanie's equaled 30%. The jury awarded Melanie only $70,000 dollars.
Contributory Negligence: Section 25-21,185
Contributory Negligence: Section 25-21,185.09
Right of Way: Section 60-6,147
Drivers and Mobile Electronic Devices: Section 60-6,179.01

Nebraska's No Fault Car Insurance

Nebraska's Fault-based Car Insurance In Nebraska, the law requires all car owners to purchase liability insurance. Liability insurance protects drivers if they injure someone else's property while operating their vehicle. A driver must be legally liable for the injuries or damages to activate these coverages.

For information about types of insurance liability, see the Nebraska Department of Insurance booklet.

Statute of Limitations

Nebraska has a four (4) year statute of limitations for property damage and personal injury claims. If the victim fails to file a lawsuit within the four (4) year period, the victim is barred from pursuing the negligent driver in court.
Section 25-207

Small Claims Courts

In Nebraska, victims of car accidents can choose to sue the negligent driver in small claims court. The jurisdiction of a small claims court regarding personal injury and property damage is limited to a maximum of $3,600, exclusive of filing fees and court costs.

For information about how to submit a small claim, see the Nebraska Judicial Branch website.

Nebraska Government Tort Claims - Sovereign Immunity

In Nebraska, it is possible to submit a claim against a governmental agency or its employees for personal injury or property damage as a result of negligence on the part of the governmental agency or its employees.

The claim must refer to an lawful action on the part of the governmental agency or employee performed in the scope of their duties. If the injury or property damage occurred as a result of an unlawful action, then the claimant can sue only the person(s) who caused injury or property damage individually. The governmental agency would not be liable.
Nebraska State Constitution: Section V-22

Example

If Melissa, an engineer with the Omaha Planning Department, ran a red light on her way to a worksite and caused an accident, then the City of Omaha would be liable for the property damage and personal injuries caused by her.

If Melissa stopped for a few drinks and became intoxicated before heading to a worksite and causing an accident, then the City of Omaha can claim sovereign immunity. Melissa performed an unlawful act and was not acting in the scope of her duties when she became intoxicated on her way to the worksite.

To seek compensation for damages, injured parties would have to sue Melissa personally. The determination of whether or not Melissa was acting within the scope of her duties would have to be decided during a trial.

Nebraska State Constitution: Section V-22
NCSL

Sources

State Government of Nebraska

Nebraska Department of Transportation

Nebraska State Legislature

Nebraska Department of Public Safety

Governors Highway Safety Association

Nebraska Bar Association

National Conference on State Legislature

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