Nebraska Auto Insurance Laws
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Following a collision, you may be left wondering how you are going to cover your medical bills, vehicle repairs, and time off work. Whether your accident occurred on a major highway or rural road, you are likely dealing with extensive injuries and a great deal of pain. Added to that is the confusing process of filing a claim. Very few people understand the process until they have to go through it themselves.
Sadly, insurance companies do not make these procedures easy and may even try to trick you into giving up full coverage. They can do this by saying you caused the accident yourself, arguing that your injuries are overexaggerated, or making the process overly complicated. But you know your injuries intimately and should not have to jump through a dozen different hoops to get compensation.
If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, you should reach out to an Omaha auto accident attorney as soon as possible. At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., our lead attorney can provide in-depth legal advice about how to proceed with a claim, how to get medical coverage, and how to hold an insurance provider to their policies. We offer every potential client a free consultation, so there is no cost to reaching out to us at (402) 505-8234 and scheduling an appointment.
In the state of Nebraska, drivers and motorcycle riders are required to have coverage in the event of an auto accident, but that coverage can come in two forms according to Nebraska Revised Statute 60-509. First, drivers can show proof of coverage through a bond or certificate in the amount of $75,000 that an accident victim can file against to cover injuries, property damage, lost wages, and other costs caused by a collision. Second, and much more common, is auto liability insurance. Whereas bonds or certificates are covered directly by the driver through the state government, auto liability insurance essentially means a driver has insured their vehicle through an insurance company. While premiums may vary across companies, all drivers are required to have at a minimum:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death of an individual;
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two more individuals; and
- $25,000 for property damage.
In addition to liability insurance, drivers are required to have uninsured (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. These policies should match a driver’s liability insurance policy and apply in two different scenarios:
- If you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have liability insurance or are injured in a hit-and-run accident, then you can file a claim against your own UM policy.
- If you are involved in an accident with a driver who has liability insurance but it does not fully cover your injuries or property damage, then you can file a claim against your own UIM policy.
These policy minimums apply to motorcyclists as well as passenger vehicle drivers. If you are involved in an accident caused by another driver, you may be able to file a claim against the driver’s policy and receive compensation up to the policy’s limit. Your claim can include:
- Medical bills, past and future
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost career opportunities
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral expenses, in the event of a death
These policies and laws apply to injured drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. Standard auto insurance coverage is available to all drivers who operate their vehicles for non-commercial means. However, if you operate a vehicle for work, then your insurance requirements can be vastly different.
Unlike standard drivers, commercial drivers must have commercial auto insurance policies to cover their vehicles while they are at work or on the clock. A standard auto insurance policy must adhere to the minimum requirements and are not designed to cover commercial vehicles. Instead, commercial drivers must have commercial policies with far larger limits because they are on the road far more often than regular commuters, and thus are more likely to be involved in a collision. These policies apply to truck drivers, bus drivers, delivery drivers, and rideshare drivers.
For delivery and rideshare drivers who operate as gig-workers or on-demand services, they often utilize their personal vehicles for commercial purposes. If involved in an auto accident, a personal policy would not typically apply, and accident victims would not be able to file against such a policy and may have to file a claim with the delivery or rideshare company.
With regards to truck and bus companies, vehicles should be insured for at minimum:
- For motor carriers with up to 15 seats: $1,000,000 in total liability coverage
- For motor carriers with more than 16 seats: $5,000,000 in total liability coverage
- For motor carriers that transport non-hazardous material and weigh less than 10,001 lbs: $750,000
- For motor carriers that transport hazardous material and weigh less than 10,001 lbs: $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 depending on the material
If you are injured by a commercial driver, then you should not hesitate to contact an attorney to file a claim. Because these vehicles are often larger, their accidents can be more dangerous. Very few truck and bus accident victims walk away from a collision without any injuries, and those injuries that you can suffer are debilitating. You may have massive medical bills to pay, and a claim could be your best option to ensure you can recover comfortably. But a claim against a negligent driver is not your only option.
While liability insurance is required by law in Nebraska, there are other optional policies that drivers can purchase from insurance companies to cover other aspects of an accident. These includes:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage: PIP is an optional policy that can provide coverage for medical bills immediately following an auto accident. If you are injured, you can use this policy to cover your emergency medical treatment.
Collision Coverage: Similar to PIP, collision coverage provides coverage for property damage if you are involved in an accident with another driver or a fixed object, no matter who was at fault. These funds are designed to cover the costs of repairs or replacement vehicles.
Comprehensive Coverage: Lastly, comprehensive coverage provides money for accidents caused by falling objects, natural disasters, floods, fires, theft, vandalism, or animals, including farm animals.
When you file a claim under your own insurance policy, such as for an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, you are effectively making your insurance provider the at-fault party. Because of this antagonistic relationship, your own insurance company may try to minimize the amount of coverage they provide for a claim or even deny a claim outright. Insurance companies make money in two ways: charge high prices for premiums and minimizing or denying claims after a customer is injured. If the claim is legitimate, these actions can be considered an act of “bad faith.”
The state of Nebraska considers it illegal for insurance companies to act in bad faith under Nebraska Revised Statute 44-1540, which can include:
- Lying about policies and coverage
- Failing to respond to claims in a reasonable amount of time or delaying responses to claims
- Failing to provide proper compensation to accident victims when fault is clear
- Demanding unnecessary additional information from claimants
- Delaying in providing payments or compensation
- Refusing compensation before conducting an investigation
If your insurance provider commits one of these acts when you file a claim, you may be able to hold them accountable in a lawsuit. But, to get proper compensation and hold your insurance provider accountable, you should speak to a skilled attorney first so that you fully understand your rights and options.
Car accidents can absolutely change your life. You can be left disabled, unable to go to work, and dealing with a large amount of medical debt, including physical. Nebraska auto insurance laws are designed to help accident victims to receive proper compensation for their injuries so that they can be made whole again. Sadly, many insurance companies try to skirt these laws or low-ball accident victims out of much-needed compensation. But that does not mean you are not out of options.
If you were injured due to a negligent driver, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced and skilled Omaha car accident attorney at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. Our legal team has years of experience representing auto accident victims and successfully getting them compensation from insurance companies. Whether you are filing a claim against another driver’s or your own policy, you need strong legal representation to ensure your rights are protected. To get started on a claim, contact our firm at (402) 505-8234 and schedule a free consultation.
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