Nebraska Personal Injury Laws and Statutes of Limitations

Learn about the basic rules governing personal injury in Nebraska, including the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, where to file your case, what happens if you're partly to blame, and more.

By , J.D. · University of San Francisco School of Law
Updated by Dan Ray, Attorney · University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law

After any kind of injury that may have been caused by someone else's wrongful conduct in Nebraska, it's important to have an understanding of the state laws that might affect any insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit you decide to bring. That includes the deadline for filing an injury lawsuit in Nebraska's courts, the state's "comparative negligence" rule, and a few more laws we'll cover in this article.

What's the Statute of Limitations for Nebraska Personal Injury Lawsuits?

A statute of limitations is a law that sets a limit on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit in court. Different types of cases have different deadlines. Nebraska sets a time limit of four years for filing most personal injury cases, including those resulting from car accidents, slip and fall incidents, and other situations where someone else's negligence caused you injury. (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-207 (2024).)

Keep in mind that other injury-related lawsuits have their own dedicated statutes of limitations in Nebraska, including (among others):

What Happens If I Miss the Nebraska Statute of Limitations Deadline?

It's important to understand and follow Nebraska's statute of limitations for personal injury cases, because if you don't get your lawsuit filed before the limitation window closes, the state's courts will likely refuse to hear your case at all. That means you'll be left without any legal remedy, no matter how badly you were hurt or how clear it is that the person you want to sue was at fault for your injury.

Can the Statute of Limitations Deadline Be Extended In Nebraska?

In some situations, the statute of limitations "clock" might not start running right away, or might pause after it has started to run, effectively extending the lawsuit-filing deadline. Here are some of the most common of these situations.

Nebraska's statutes of limitations don't run when the injured person suffers from a "legal disability." A person who's legally disabled isn't legally able to manage their own affairs without the help or supervision of a parent, guardian, or court. Under Nebraska law, a person is legally disabled when they're:

  • younger than 20 years old
  • suffering from a mental disorder, or
  • imprisoned.

(Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-213 (2024).)

Where Do I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit In Nebraska?

An attorney can handle the ins and outs of filing your personal injury lawsuit. But in general, most personal injury lawsuits are filed in District Court, the branch of Nebraska's court system that has the authority to hear and decide most civil lawsuits. There are twelve judicial districts in the state. The district for the county where the person you're suing lives is typically the right place to file your case.

(Learn more about how to file a personal injury lawsuit.)

You might want to consider bringing your case to small claims court if your injuries are relatively minor and you're not planning on asking for more than $3,900 from the person you're suing. Get more details on filing a small claims case in Nebraska.

What If You Share Fault for Your Injury In Nebraska?

In most personal injury cases, in order to win you must show that the other side (the "defendant") was negligent. Quite often, the defendant will claim that you, too, were negligent in order to reduce or eliminate the compensation (called "damages") you can collect. This legal defense is called "comparative negligence," and a version of it is available in Nebraska.

Nebraska follows a "modified comparative negligence" rule. This means you can still recover some of your damages in a personal injury lawsuit even if you're partly to blame for the accident, but only if your share of the fault is less than 50% of the total. As long as you're less than 50% at fault, your percentage share of the blame simply reduces your damages by that amount. But if you're found to be 50% or more negligent, you collect nothing. (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-21,185.09 (2024).).

Are There Caps on Damages In Nebraska Personal Injury Cases?

Some states have laws that set a limit (or "cap") on the amount of damages an injured person can receive even if their lawsuit is successful in court. These caps often apply to certain kinds of damages in specific kinds of cases.

Nebraska has no generally applicable cap on damages in injury cases. But Nebraska law caps medical malpractice damages at $2.25 million. This number includes both "economic" damages like medical bills and future lost income, and "non-economic" damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability and disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 44-2825 (2024).)

Keep in mind that this damage cap doesn't apply to all injury cases, just those that stem from medical malpractice.

Dog Owners Face "Strict Liability" for Dog Bites In Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 54-601 (2024) makes a dog owner "strictly liable" for most bites and other injuries caused by their animal. This means that, regardless of the animal's past behavior or the owner's attempts to control the dog, the owner will be liable except in rare circumstances, such as when the injured person was trespassing.

(Learn more about a dog owner's liability for bites and other injuries.)

Get Help With Your Nebraska Personal Injury Case

We've covered some of Nebraska's basic personal injury rules, but if you've been injured and are thinking about bringing a claim or a lawsuit, there's much more you need to know. Your best chance at a fair result will come from having experienced legal help in your corner. A Nebraska personal injury lawyer knows Nebraska law and can help guide you through the process.

If you're ready to move forward with your personal injury case, here's how to find an attorney near you.

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