Every day, car accidents across the nation lead to tragedy and broken families. Here in Nebraska, we are not exempt from these types of crashes. If you’ve been involved in a serious accident which led to injury and question why and how the crash occurred, you may benefit from contacting an Omaha car accident lawyer from Welsh & Welsh at your earliest convenience. Doing so can grant you answers as well as open up potential recovery options.
According to the Nebraska Department of Transportation, in 2017 there were 36,227 car accidents – all of which resulted in various degrees of severity and injury. Minor accidents may not seem to have lasting effects; but major car crashes can wreck an individual’s ability to work, provide for their loved ones, and live a happy and normal life.
When a serious auto accident is caused by a reckless or careless driver, the consequences often seem even more devastating because you know there is someone at fault who may cause more wrecks. When an accident is caused by the negligence of a car manufacturer, the recovery process can take longer than it should because it can be difficult dealing with those large companies and their legal teams. When serious car wrecks are more than simple accidents, this is when they can impact us the most.
Luckily, this is also the time when U.S. citizens can fight back and obtain justice for the victims of the accident and their families. When individuals suffer from car accident injuries that are caused by negligence, carelessness, or reckless acts, the victim can file a lawsuit against the guilty party.
An injury attorney may be able to grant you and your family an opportunity to obtain financial compensation that can be used to pay for medical bills, loss of employment wages, pain and suffering costs, and more. Additionally, filing a car wreck lawsuit can provide a family with peace of mind. When a negligent driver must pay a price for their reckless or careless actions, they’ll likely think twice before repeating those same actions.
To get a better understanding of the laws surrounding car accidents and your rights, we’ll take a look at some facts and statistics regarding car collisions, the implications and consequences of such events, and how you can benefit from seeking legal representation from a qualified car accident attorney in Omaha:
Common Causes of Car Crashes in Omaha
Car accidents happen due to a wide variety of factors. Some are related to the weather, poor visibility, or the conditions of the road or highway at a given time. These factors are unpredictable and uncontrollable. Many other accidents, however, are due to mistakes made by drivers. These are the circumstances that are almost always 100 percent controllable and preventable.
Some of the most common causes of car accidents in Omaha, the state of Nebraska, and nationwide include the following:
Driving too fast. Even under normal conditions, driving too quickly can lead to a devastating accident because a speeding vehicle is more difficult to maneuver around curves and turns, and is harder to stop. In 2016, there were a total of 562 accidents caused by speeding. 544 resulted in injury, and 18 resulted in death. While these numbers are low compared to years’ past, the results are still devastating.
Failing to yield to the proper right-of-way. Right-of-way rules exist for a reason. Drivers expect one another to abide by these rules. When the rules are broken, accidents happen. At an intersection, the driver on the left is to yield to the driver on the right in the event they arrive at the same time. A driver merging onto a highway from a lane or ramp is supposed to yield to main traffic.
Inexperienced driving. Newer drivers are unfortunately at a higher risk for causing accidents. From 2007 to 2011, teen drivers were involved in 16.5 percent of all traffic accidents in Nebraska. Many of these collisions resulted from alcohol impairment, speeding, and cell phone use. Newer drivers should pay extra attention to the road and focus on being cautious to give themselves extra time to react.
Disregarding traffic controls. Road traffic controls, like stop signs, traffic lights, and construction zone signs are in place to ensure the safety of the general public, pedestrians, emergency response teams, and construction workers. When drivers disregard these notices, accidents can easily result.
Drunk driving. Alcohol was involved in 30 percent of all fatal car crashes in the state of Nebraska in 2017. The majority of the impaired drivers were 25 to 34 years of age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3.4 percent of Nebraska drivers reported driving after drinking too much. The national average is 1.9 percent. When drivers get behind the wheel chemically impaired, their reaction times, sense of vision and sense of judgment all become significantly impacted.
Distracted driving. Just in 2016, there were almost 4,500 auto accidents related to distracted driving, and 144 of those incidents occurred because of cellphone use. Nebraska law bans texting while driving, along with 46 other states. Whether the distraction is being immersed in a conversation that’s occurring inside the vehicle, texting a friend, or capturing a quick photo on a smartphone, these can all lead to dangerous accidents. In the frame of one second, a lot can go wrong on any roadway.
Poor vehicle maintenance or a defective vehicle. Cars require maintenance. Without proper maintenance, like oil and air filter changes and tire rotations, things can go horribly wrong on the highway. Some of the most common defects include defective tires and airbags. Similarly, vehicles that are improperly manufactured can break down and cause an accident.
Most of the above causes are completely or at least partially avoidable. If all Nebraska drivers did their part to obey the laws of traffic, pay attention to the road, and drive cautiously whenever appropriate, we could avoid a large percentage of our state’s car accidents.
Implications and Consequences of Car Accidents
Of the 36,227 car accidents in Nebraska in 2017, 210 were fatal, 12,278 resulted in injury (1,228 of which were serious), and 22,511 resulted in only property damage.
Serious accidents can lead to lifelong consequences involving painful and debilitating injuries and medical conditions, hospital time, surgeries, the inability to work which can cause a loss of employment, income loss, the loss of medical insurance that may be provided through employment, and a wide variety of emotional hardships for both the victim and family members.
Below are some of the most common injuries that can happen as a result of a crash:
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries. Whiplash, spinal cord damage, herniated discs, and sprains are common back and spinal cord injuries. Some of these injuries may heal over time with proper treatment and physical therapy. Others can be incredibly debilitating and may result in paralysis.
- Broken Bones. Broken bones often take a long time to heal, and may require multiple surgeries.
- Burn Injuries. The severity of a burn can range from minor to life-threatening. Burn injuries, especially the severe ones, often require months of treatment. Permanent scarring and disfigurement can happen.
- Head and Brain Injuries. Head and brain injuries vary; however, concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), internal bleeding, and lacerations are common.
- Soft Tissue Injuries. Soft tissue injuries occur when the muscles, tendons, or ligaments are stretched or torn during an accident. These injuries can be incredibly painful.
To treat these injuries and recover from any financial, physical, and emotional hardships, a family needs to stick together after a serious car wreck and do whatever they can to return to the task of living. To make matters worse, the other driver’s insurance adjusters may hound a family to settle early. Doing so can inevitably cause financial hardships. The other driver’s insurance agents are not on your side, which is why an experienced Omaha car accident lawyer can help you get what you deserve.
Nebraska Car Crash Victim Legal Rights
In the event you’re the victim of a car accident, it’s important to know your legal responsibilities and rights.
Immediately following a car accident, it’s imperative to evaluate yourself for injuries, check on the other party, and seek emergency medical care. After you’ve done so, you’ll need to collect contact information from the other driver. To report the accident, you’ll need their name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, and auto insurance information.
After you’ve addressed your medical concerns, the state of Nebraska gives you ten days to file a car accident report with the proper authorities. You are legally required to report the accident if someone was injured or killed, or if the accident resulted in more than $1,000 in property damage. If you do not report the accident, you risk the suspension of your driver’s license.
In order to recover damages from your accident, you have three options in Omaha or anywhere in Nebraska: 1) file a claim with your own insurance company, 2) file a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance company, or 3) file a lawsuit. Keep in mind the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury or property damage lawsuit in Nebraska is four year.
If you choose to file a claim with an insurance company, you will need to provide them with information on the accident. They’ll assign an adjuster to your case, and it will be investigated. If they decide to offer you a settlement, be cautious about agreeing to the first number. If you feel as though you’re being offered less than you deserve, you can attempt to negotiate the settlement yourself or hire legal representation.
Get the Help You Need from an Omaha Car Accident Lawyer
Dealing with pushy insurance agents, getting the financial help you need while you’re still recovering from injuries, and returning to the task of living can be incredibly difficult without legal assistance. With the help of an Omaha car accident lawyer, your family can recover and gain peace of mind.
Remember, the victim is not to blame. At Welsh & Welsh, we help victims and their families return to the task of living. Our law office can pair you with an expert injury lawyer who can speak to you regarding your case and tell you if filing a claim is in your best interest. Contact us to learn more.