In order to bring a successful negligence claim in Nebraska, the plaintiff must prove that a duty existed on the part of the defendant, the defendant breached that duty, the defendant’s breach of duty caused injury, and damages resulted from the injury.
Modified Comparative Negligence
Per Nebraska Revised Statute § 25-21,185.09, Nebraska follows a comparative negligence standard in negligence actions. This means that a plaintiff is not completely barred from monetary recovery if the plaintiff was partially responsible for their own injury, provided the plaintiff was not found to have been more than 49% at fault. If a jury determines that a plaintiff was 49% or less at fault for his injury, he will be permitted to recover an amount that is diminished proportionately to the percentage of negligence attributed to the plaintiff, if any. However, if a plaintiff is found to be 50% or more at fault for their own injury, they may be completely barred from monetary recovery.
Modified Joint & Several Liability
Nebraska follows a modified version of joint and several liability. According to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-21,185.10, joint and several liability exists for both economic and non-economic damages if an action involves more than one defendant when two or more defendants as part of a common enterprise or plan act in concert and cause harm.
In other actions involving more than one defendant, the liability of each defendant for economic damages is joint and several and the liability of each defendant for non-economic damages is several only. This means that each defendant is only liable for the amount of non-economic damages allocated to that defendant in direct proportion to that defendant’s percentage of negligence, and a separate judgment shall be rendered against that defendant for that amount.
Where one defendant has paid more than their proportional share of liability that defendant has the right to seek contribution against any other joint defendant who has not paid their proportional share.
Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant(s). The award is meant to restore the plaintiff – as much as possible – to the condition they were in prior to the injury occurring.
Actual damages are meant to reimburse the plaintiff for out-of-pocket expenses for items such as medical expenses. General damages may also be awarded for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of opportunity, and loss of future income.
Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant rather than to compensate the plaintiff, and are available in some jurisdictions in the United States. However, Nebraska Constitution Article VII § 5 states that an award of punitive damages is unconstitutional.
The law firm of Walker Morgan is located at 135 E Main St., Lexington, SC 29072. All lawyers at Walker Morgan are licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina. Should you wish to retain our firm for legal representation regarding a potential case in any other jurisdiction we are required to associate local counsel in that foreign jurisdiction and seek permission from a court of the foreign jurisdiction to temporarily engage in the practice of law therein for purposes of pursuing your potential claim only.
By offering the following information the lawyers at Walker Morgan are not offering legal advice or legal guidance. The lawyers at Walker Morgan are not licensed to practice law in Nebraska. Should you have a question/concern specific to Nebraska law, please contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Nebraska.