What is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Nebraska?
Before we jump into the details of Nebraska’s law, we should explain that a “statute of limitations” is a statute that puts a strict time limit on your right to go to court and file a civil lawsuit after you have suffered some type of harm. These deadlines differ depending on what type of case you want to file.
Nebraska Revised Statute 25-207 sets out the statute of limitations that will apply to almost any lawsuit arising from a car accident (except those for wrongful death; more on this later). Section 25-207 gives a prospective plaintiff four years to ask the state courts for a civil remedy for most personal injuries, or when damage is done to personal property.
So, in the context of a vehicle accident, that means if anyone was hurt in the crash -- whether a driver, passenger, motorcycle rider, bicyclist, or pedestrian -- or had their vehicle or other personal property damaged, they have four years to get their lawsuit filed against any potential defendant, and the “clock” starts running on the date of the accident.
If someone died as a result of the car accident, and a family member or a representative of the estate wants to file a wrongful death lawsuit, according to Nebraska Revised Statute 30-810, a two year deadline applies, and the “clock” starts running on the day of the accident victim’s death, which could be later than the date of the accident itself. Learn more about Nebraska Wrongful Death Claims.
Whether it’s an injury lawsuit or a wrongful death claim, the case will almost certainly hinge on whether someone’s negligence was the cause of the crash. Learn more about Proving Fault for a Car Accident.
What happens if you try to file your lawsuit after the statute of limitations deadline has already passed? In that situation, the defendant is sure to ask the court to dismiss the case, and the court is very likely to agree that a dismissal is appropriate.
From a strategy standpoint, you always want to make sure you have plenty of time to file a lawsuit, even if you’re pretty sure you’ll reach a car accident settlement. If you have all of your options open -- and the other side knows it -- you’ll have more leverage during settlement talks. So if the statute of limitations deadline is approaching, it may be time to talk with an experienced Nebraska car accident attorney.
by: David Goguen, J.D.