Nebraska Hit and Run Laws: What happens if you leave the scene of an accident in Nebraska?
- Nebraska Hit and Run Laws: What happens if you leave the scene of an accident in Nebraska?
- What happens if you leave the scene of an accident in Nebraska?
- Is leaving the scene of an accident in Nebraska a misdemeanor?
- Is a hit and run a felony in Nebraska?
- What is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in Nebraska?
- How do victims of a hit and run recover compensation after an accident in Nebraska?
- How is fault determined in Nebraska?
- Leaving the scene of an accident in Nebraska defenses
Under Nebraska hit and run laws section 60-697. If you leave the scene of an accident before rendering assistance and exchanging contact information with the struck person, you are guilty of a felony or misdemeanor. The injuries and resulting property damage determine the charge.
Quick take: Leaving the scene of an accident in Nebraska
- Leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage is a class II misdemeanor for a first offense and class I misdemeanor for subsequent offenses.
- A hit and run involving death or injury is a felony.
- Nebraska is an at fault state.
- You have three years to file a wrongful death claim and three years for personal injury claim.
- You may leave a note if you hit an unattended vehicle or property.
What happens if you leave the scene of an accident in Nebraska?
It is worth mentioning that state law does not distinguish between public highways, private roads, and public roads. Consequently, what you need to remember is. Whenever you are involved in a traffic collision in Nebraska, the law requires you to immediately stop the vehicle and fulfill the duties below.
Chapter 60-696 “duty to stop,” says that all drivers in the state must do the following at the scene of an accident:
- Stop the vehicle at the scene.
- Give your name, address, telephone number, and vehicle operator’s number to the victim, the person in the struck vehicle or the owner of the struck property.
- If the vehicle was transporting hazardous materials, do not move it unless instructed to do so by peace officers or emergency workers.
- Render reasonable assistance to anyone who needs it.
Note: The statute allows law enforcement officers to move the vehicle without your consent, and they are not liable for any damages that may occur. Also, anyone convicted under Nebraska hit and run laws faces mandatory license revocation.
Is leaving the scene of an accident in Nebraska a misdemeanor?
If you are involved in a car crash and fail to stop, you are guilty of a Class II misdemeanor for a first offense. For a second or subsequent offense, a hit-and-run escalates into a class I misdemeanor. Additionally, section 60-969 reads in part, quote:
“As part of any sentence, suspended sentence, or judgment of conviction under this section, the court may order the defendant not to drive any motor vehicle for any purpose in the State of Nebraska for a period of up to one year from the date ordered by the court. If the court orders the defendant not to drive any motor vehicle for any purpose in the State of Nebraska for a period of up to one year from the date ordered by the court, the court shall also order that the operator’s license of such person be revoked for a like period.”
That means mandatory license suspension upon conviction for violation of the statute.
What is a reportable accident in Nebraska?
Under state law, if the accident results in death, injury, or property damage surpassing $1000, you must report the incident to the police. You may do that via telephone call or otherwise.
How long do you have to file a police report in Nebraska after an accident?
Under state law, you have ten days to file an accident report. Failure to file a report within that time gap is a class V misdemeanor, a crime punishable by a maximum fine of $100. Remember, your insurer may use your failure to file a report to deny you compensation. Therefore, it is in your best interest to do it as early as possible.
If the victim dies or the accident results in expensive damage, we recommend consulting with an attorney before filing your report or talking to the police.
Tip: avoid saying anything prosecutors may use against you in your report and while at the scene. Words to avoid include:
- It was my fault.
- I am sorry
- Or other words that prosecutors may see as an admission of guilt or responsibility.
Experts recommend that you give a truthful account of the events and let the jury or investigators decide who is to blame.
What if I hit a parked/unattended vehicle in Nebraska?
Subsection 2 of the statute states that if you hit an unattended vehicle or property, you should make a reasonable effort to locate the property owner. If you cannot locate the property owner, you must leave a note on a conspicuous section of the vehicle containing your name, address, telephone number, and vehicle registration.
The statute also requires that, quote:
“In addition, such driver shall, without unnecessary delay, report the collision, by telephone or otherwise, to an appropriate peace officer.”
Is a hit and run a felony in Nebraska?
Leaving the scene of an accident involving death or injury is a felony in Nebraska. To be specific – Suppose the accident results in serious injuries such as disfigurement, loss of limbs, facial damage, or organ loss. Then, you are guilty of a felony if you do not have a good reason for leaving.
Remember, state law requires you to offer reasonable assistance to anyone who needs it.
In short. If you fail to comply with the statute requirements and someone suffers a serious injury, leaving the scene is a class IIIA felony. Whereas if anyone dies, the crime escalates into a Class III felony.
Nebraska vehicular homicide laws
Section 28-306 “motor vehicle homicide,” reads in part, quote:
“Motor vehicle homicide is a Class I misdemeanor. If the proximate cause of the death of another is the operation of a motor vehicle in violation of sections 60-6,213. Or 60-6,214, motor vehicle homicide is a Class IIIA felony.”
Section 60-6.214 defines reckless driving. Meaning if the death of someone was the result of reckless driving, the accused individual will likely face class III felony charges.
DUI hit and run Nebraska
In Nebraska, most first and second offense DUIs are misdemeanors. However, if there are “aggravating circumstances” such as reckless driving, causing bodily injury, or death, the crime escalates into a felony. Also, for a third or subsequent DUI arrest, the individual may face felony charges.
In short, if you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and hit someone causing death or injury, you are guilty of a Class IIIA felony. Remember, the facts presented may lead to multiple charges.
What to remember:
- A DUI hit and run is a class IIA felony.
- Prior DUI convictions may lead to felony charges if you kill or injure someone.
- Nebraska DUI laws apply to all drugs, including alcohol.
- “Serious injury” refers to any type of injury that involves the risk of death or substantial risk of permanent disfigurement.
What is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in Nebraska?
- Leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage/ unattended vehicle: class II misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine not exceeding $1000.
- Hit and run, repeat offender: class I misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1000.
- Leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury: class IIIA felony, punishable by up to three years in prison, post-release supervision for up to one year, and a maximum fine of $10000.
- Hit and run resulting in death: class III felony, punishable by up to four years in prison, post-release supervision for up to two years, and a $10000 fine. The court may revoke the individual’s driving privileges for up to 15 years.
- DUI hit and run/reckless driving resulting in death or injury: class IIIA felony.
Note. Upon conviction, the court will revoke or suspend your driving privileges.
How do victims of a hit and run recover compensation after an accident in Nebraska?
The statute of limitations on car accidents in Nebraska is four years. Failure to file a lawsuit within that time gap may cost you your compensation if you file a claim. You may recover hospital bills, pain and suffering, loss of earnings, future loss of earnings, property damage, etc.
To increase the odds of a successful claim, we recommend:
- Gather evidence at the scene, including the fleeing driver’s description, plates, car make, color, or anything else that may be useful to the police.
- Do not admit fault, apologize, or take responsibility for the accident.
- Gather witness testimonies and information. If possible, get dashcam footage of the incident.
- Immediately call law enforcement.
- Do not comment about your health before speaking with a professional.
- Document and photograph everything.
- If the accident results in death or expensive property damage, contact your lawyer before you file your report.
- Remain at the scene and contact law enforcement.
- Offer reasonable assistance to anyone who needs it.
Can you leave the scene and come back?
When you leave the scene of an accident, you have broken the law. Because of that, you must have a good reason for leaving, maybe you went to get help, or perhaps you feared for your safety.
How is fault determined in Nebraska?
You should not apologize or take responsibility for an accident in the state because Nebraska is an “at fault” state. What that means is if you cause an accident, your insurer must pay the other driver. Remember, police reports and evidence collected -determine the at-fault party, not you.
As mentioned, the victim has the right to take civil action on the grounds of negligence. Negligence refers to irresponsible behaviours on the road, meaning if your actions or inactions contributed to the accident, the victim might recover compensation. Furthermore, the court may impose punitive damages depending on the facts presented.
In a negligence claim, the victim needs only prove three elements, that is:
- The accused owed you a duty of care.
- That person breached that duty.
- The breach of duty was the cause of the accident.
It is also worth noting that Nebraska has a “comparative negligence” rule that allows claimants to recover compensation If their share of responsibility for the accident is not higher than the at-fault party. In other words, your percentage of fault diminishes the amount you may recover if you are 50% responsible for the accident. Then you are not eligible for compensation.
Leaving the scene of an accident in Nebraska defenses
If the other party involved in a collision acts aggressively towards you or if the person makes you fear for your safety, you may leave the scene. Remember, your safety trumps your legal obligations at the scene of an accident. You may argue a hostile mob formed, the victim brandished a weapon or threatened physical harm, etc.
Other possible defenses
- You were unaware of your involvement in an accident.
- No one suffered injury or property loss.
- Mistaken identity
- The victim refused to take your information or claimed to be in good health.
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