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Common Misconceptions About Car Accident Claims in Nebraska

Abrahamson Law Office June 20, 2024

In the midst of dealing with potential injuries, vehicle damage, and insurance companies after a car accident, it's often challenging to remember what steps to take when submitting a car accident claim. Many individuals fall victim to common misconceptions that can impede their ability to successfully file a claim and receive the compensation they deserve.  

At Abrahamson Law Office, we understand the confusion and frustration that can come with navigating a car accident claim. Our goal is to help you avoid the common pitfalls surrounding car accident claims in Nebraska and better understand your rights and responsibilities. 

Misconception #1: I Don't Need to Seek Medical Attention Because I Feel Okay 

You should always seek medical attention after a car accident even if you initially feel fine. Often, the adrenaline rush that follows an accident can mask symptoms of injuries that may not become apparent until days or even weeks later. Conditions such as whiplash, internal bleeding, and concussions might not exhibit immediate symptoms but can have severe long-term consequences if left untreated.  

Furthermore, obtaining medical documentation shortly after the accident can be pivotal for substantiating your claim. Insurance companies often view delays in seeking medical treatment as a sign that your injuries aren't serious, which can undermine your ability to receive adequate compensation. Therefore, it's essential to be proactive about your health and seek a professional medical assessment as soon as possible following an accident. 

Misconception #2: If It's a Minor Accident, I Don't Need to File a Police Report 

Regardless of whether you believe the accident was severe, filing a police report provides an official record of the incident. This documentation contains essential information for legal and insurance purposes, including the contact details of the parties involved, witness statements, and an initial assessment of fault, which is invaluable if any disputes arise. 

In Nebraska, drivers are required to report any accident that results in bodily injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000. Failing to do so can result in legal consequences, including fines. Additionally, insurance companies often rely on police reports to corroborate the details of the incident. Failing to obtain a police report can weaken your case and potentially affect your ability to obtain fair compensation. 

Misconception #3: My Own Insurance Company Will Be Responsible for Covering Medical Costs and Damages to My Car 

While it's true that your insurance company plays a significant role in addressing the costs associated with a car accident, the extent of their responsibility depends on the specifics of your coverage and the circumstances surrounding the accident.  

Nebraska follows a traditional fault-based system, which means the at-fault driver's insurance is primarily responsible for covering medical expenses and property damages through liability insurance. However, if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can help cover the costs.  

Additionally, if you have personal injury protection (PIP) or MedPay coverage, these can assist with immediate medical expenses regardless of who's at fault. 

Misconception #4: I Can't Pursue Any Compensation If I Share Fault for the Accident 

Nebraska follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which allows you to pursue compensation even if you share some degree of fault for the accident. Under this rule, you can recover damages as long as you're less than 50% at fault for the accident. However, the compensation you're entitled to will be reduced by your percentage of fault. 

For example, if you're awarded $100,000 in damages but are found to be 30% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by 30%, meaning you'd receive $70,000. 

Misconception #5: I Can't Receive Compensation for Medical Expenses Unless I Sustain a Serious Injury 

Nebraska law allows you to seek compensation for all foreseeable medical expenses related to the accident, regardless of whether the injury is classified as serious or minor at the time.  

Even minor injuries can result in substantial medical bills, including costs for emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, follow-up appointments, and physical therapy. It's essential to document all your medical expenses and provide these records when filing your claim. 

Most importantly, the impact of an injury is determined by both its immediate physical manifestation and by how it affects your daily life, work, and future well-being. For instance, if a seemingly minor injury leads to chronic pain or long-term complications that require ongoing medical attention, you can file a claim to pursue compensation.  

Misconception #6: I Can't File a Claim if the Accident Was a Hit-and-Run 

If you were involved in a hit-and-run, you can still file a claim to receive the financial support you need. If you have uninsured motorist coverage (UM) as part of your insurance policy, it can provide compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident. This coverage is specifically designed to protect you in scenarios where the at-fault driver is unidentified or lacks sufficient insurance. 

Additionally, personal injury protection (PIP) or MedPay coverage can help pay for your medical bills regardless of who was at fault. Collision coverage can also assist with the repair or replacement costs for your vehicle. 

To maximize your chances of a successful claim, remember to report the hit-and-run incident to the police immediately and provide any available information, such as the time and location of the accident, and descriptions of the vehicle and driver if possible. 

Misconception #7: I Can File a Car Accident Claim at Any Time 

Nebraska imposes a strict window for when you can file personal injury claims, including those stemming from car accidents. You generally have four years from the date of the accident to file a claim for personal injuries. If you fail to file within these time frames, you may lose your right to seek compensation entirely. 

Misconception #8: My Insurance Company Will Offer Fail Compensation Without a Fight 

While it's easy to think that insurance companies will automatically offer you a fair compensation amount without any contention, the reality is that insurance companies are businesses focused on minimizing their payouts to protect their financial bottom line. As a result, they may employ various tactics to reduce the value of your claim or even deny it altogether. 

Insurance adjusters are trained to scrutinize claims thoroughly and may challenge the legitimacy of your injuries, the necessity of your medical treatments, or the valuation of your vehicle damages. To improve your chances of receiving fair compensation, consult an experienced personal injury attorney who can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and help you reach a settlement that truly reflects your damages. 

Misconception #9: I Don't Need an Attorney to File a Personal Injury Claim 

While it's possible to file a personal injury claim without an attorney, doing so can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Filing a personal injury claim can be complex and it requires a thorough understanding of the law, procedural rules, and negotiation strategies.  

An experienced personal injury lawyer provides valuable assistance by handling paperwork, gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, making sure your claim is filed on time, and representing your interests in court if necessary, allowing you to focus on your recovery. 

Seek Experienced Legal Representation 

Filing a car accident claim in Nebraska can be daunting, especially with so many factors that could impact your ability to recover fair compensation. By understanding and avoiding these common pitfalls, you can better safeguard your rights and interests throughout the claims process.  

If you're overwhelmed or uncertain about your next steps, contact Abrahamson Law Office to schedule a consultation. We're dedicated to providing the legal support you need to secure the compensation you deserve.  

Located in Omaha, Nebraska, we serve clients throughout Sarpy County, Douglas County, Washington County, Saunders County (Wahoo), Otoe County (Nebraska City), and Dodge County (Fremont).