Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,273
Occupant protection system; three-point safety belt system; violation; evidence; when admissible.
Evidence that a person was not wearing an occupant protection system or a three-point safety belt system at the time he or she was injured shall not be admissible in regard to the issue of liability or proximate cause but may be admissible as evidence concerning mitigation of damages, except that it shall not reduce recovery for damages by more than five percent.
- Laws 1985, LB 496, § 7;
- Laws 1992, LB 958, § 7;
- R.S.Supp.,1992, § 39-6,103.08;
- Laws 1993, LB 370, § 369;
- Laws 2015, LB231, § 38.
A court should apply this section before applying a statutory cap on damages. Werner v. County of Platte, 284 Neb. 899, 824 N.W.2d 38 (2012).
Under this section, evidence that a person was not wearing a seatbelt is admissible only as evidence concerning the mitigation of damages and cannot be used with respect to the issue of liability or proximate cause. Fickle v. State, 273 Neb. 990, 735 N.W.2d 754 (2007).
Evidence of seatbelt misuse or nonuse was not admissible under this section where the plaintiff had dropped her claim that the seatbelt was faulty and stipulated before trial to a 5-percent reduction in the judgment. The trial court's reduction of the jury's award by 5 percent represented the full mitigation of damages available. Shipler v. General Motors Corp., 271 Neb. 194, 710 N.W.2d 807 (2006).
Evidence of plaintiff's failure to wear a seatbelt may be introduced for mitigation of damages if defendant has demonstrated a causal connection between plaintiff's failure to wear an available seatbelt and the damages sustained by plaintiff. Jury instruction on plaintiff's failure to wear a seatbelt is proper to reduce damages by 5 percent or less, but only when defendant has demonstrated a causal connection between plaintiff's failure to wear an available seatbelt and the damages sustained by plaintiff. Vredeveld v. Clark, 244 Neb. 46, 504 N.W.2d 292 (1993).