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Nebraska Wrongful Death Laws

The Nebraska Wrongful Death Statute can be found in Nebraska Stat. § 30-809.  Pursuant to the Act, if the death of a person including an unborn child in utero at any stage of gestation is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of any person, such person is liable in an action for damages.

However, no action for damages for the death of a person who is an unborn child shall be brought against:

(a) The mother of the unborn child;

(b) A physician or other licensed health care provider if the death was the intended result of a medical procedure performed by the physician or health care provider and the requisite consent was given; or

(c) person who dispenses or administers a drug or device in accordance with the law if the death was the intended result of the dispensation or administration of the drug or device[i].

Every such action, as described in § 30-809, shall be commenced within two years after the death of such person. It shall be brought by and in the name of the person’s personal representative for the exclusive benefit of the widow or widower and next of kin.

The verdict or judgment should be for the amount of damages which the persons in whose behalf the action is brought have sustained.  The proceeds thereof shall be distributed among the widow or widower and next of kin for each individual’s pecuniary loss in proportion to the total pecuniary loss suffered by all such persons.  A personal representative shall not compromise or settle a claim for damages until the court by which he or she was appointed shall first have consented to and approved the terms thereof.

The amount so received in settlement or recovered by judgment shall be reported to and, if so ordered, paid into such court for distribution, subject to the order of such court, to the persons entitled thereto after a hearing thereon and after notice of such hearing and of the time and place thereof has been given to all persons interested by publication three successive weeks in a legal newspaper published within the county or, if no legal newspaper is published within the county, then in a legal newspaper published in an adjoining county, except that the court for good cause shown may provide for a different method or time of giving notice and a person, including a guardian ad litem, conservator, or other fiduciary, may waive notice or any other requirement for the mailing or receipt of instruments by a writing signed by him or her and filed in the proceeding.

Such an amount shall not be subject to any claims against the estate of such decedent. When the amount of such settlement or judgment is ordered to be paid into the court and is five thousand dollars or more, the county court shall forthwith upon such settlement or payment of such judgment place such amount in interest-bearing certificates of deposit or a savings account in a banking institution pending the entry of an order of distribution by the court, and such interest that may accumulate pending the entry of such order shall be distributed in the same proportions as the settlement or judgment.  The hearing to approve the terms of the compromise or settlement and the hearing for distribution of the amount so received in settlement or recovered by judgment may be combined into one hearing[ii].

[i] R.R.S. Neb. § 30-809

[ii] R.R.S. Neb. § 30-810

Inside Nebraska Wrongful Death Laws