Nebraska Revised Statute 81-8,215.01
Chapter 81 Section 8,215.01
Vehicular pursuit by law enforcement officer; liability to third parties; reimbursement.
(1) In case of death, injury, or property damage to any innocent third party proximately caused by the action of a law enforcement officer employed by the state during vehicular pursuit, damages shall be paid to such third party by the state employing the officer.
(2) Upon payment by the state of those damages sustained by an innocent third party, whether upon voluntary settlement or in satisfaction of a judgment, the state shall be entitled to reimbursement of the amount of damages paid by the state from each and all of the following sources:
(a) The driver of the fleeing vehicle;
(b) Any organization, including a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation, liable for the conduct of the driver of the fleeing vehicle;
(c) Every insurer or self-insurance surety of either the driver of the fleeing vehicle or any organization, including a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation, liable for the conduct of the driver of the fleeing vehicle, except that no such insurer or self-insurance surety shall be required to pay in excess of the liability limit of its applicable policies or bonds;
(d) Any uninsured or underinsured motorist insurer or self-insurance surety legally liable to the innocent third party, except that the sum recoverable from such insurer or self-insurance surety shall not exceed the highest limit of liability determined in accord with the Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage Act; and
(e) Any political subdivision employing law enforcement officers whose actions contributed to the proximate cause of death, injury, or property damage sustained by the innocent third party, except that the liability of any such political subdivision shall not exceed the lesser of (i) its maximum statutory liability pursuant to the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act or (ii) the damages sustained by the innocent third party apportioned equally among the state and all political subdivisions employing law enforcement officers whose actions contributed to the proximate cause of the death, injury, or property damage sustained by the innocent third party.
(3) This section shall not relieve any public or private source required statutorily or contractually to pay benefits for disability or loss of earned income or medical expenses of the duty to pay such benefits when due. No such source of payment shall have any right of subrogation or contribution against the state.
(4) This section shall be considered part of the State Tort Claims Act and all provisions of the act apply.
(5) For purposes of this section, vehicular pursuit means an active attempt by a law enforcement officer operating a motor vehicle to apprehend one or more occupants of another motor vehicle when the driver of the fleeing vehicle is or should be aware of such attempt and is resisting apprehension by maintaining or increasing his or her speed, ignoring the officer, or attempting to elude the officer while driving at speeds in excess of those reasonable and proper under the conditions.
- Laws 1984, LB 590, § 4;
- Laws 1988, LB 864, § 26;
- Laws 1996, LB 952, § 4.
The actions of a law enforcement officer during a vehicular pursuit need to be merely a proximate cause of the damage, and not the sole proximate cause. Meyer v. State, 264 Neb. 545, 650 N.W.2d 459 (2002).
This section creates strict liability on the part of the State when a claimant suffers death or injury which is proximately caused by the actions of a pursuing law enforcement officer and the claimant is an innocent third party. Meyer v. State, 264 Neb. 545, 650 N.W.2d 459 (2002).
The language of this section makes the pursuee's conduct merely a factual circumstance that must be proved in order to establish that a vehicular pursuit occurred. It is not part of a proximate cause analysis. Adams v. State, 261 Neb. 680, 625 N.W.2d 190 (2001).
This section does not create on the part of the State a secondary liability derived from the pursuee's liability during a vehicular pursuit; rather, it creates a primary liability based on the actions of officers the State employs. Adams v. State, 261 Neb. 680, 625 N.W.2d 190 (2001).