WERNER v. COUNTY OF PLATTE
824 N.W.2d 38 (2012)
284 Neb. 899
Brian J. WERNER, Appellee,
COUNTY OF PLATTE, Nebraska, a Political Subdivision of the State of Nebraska, Appellant.
Supreme Court of Nebraska.
December 21, 2012.
William M. Lamson, Jr., and Cathy S. Trent-Vilim, of Lamson, Dugan & Murray, L.L.P., Omaha, and Thomas M. Fehringer, Columbus, of Fehringer & Mielak, L.L.P., for appellee.
HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, McCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.
Brian J. Werner sued the County of Platte (County) under Neb.Rev.Stat. § 13-911 (Reissue 2012) for injuries he sustained during a vehicular pursuit by a law enforcement officer. Werner was a passenger in the car that the officer was pursuing. Section 13-911 authorizes compensation for damages to an "innocent third party" who is injured by such a pursuit. The primary issues are whether the district court properly (1) admitted testimony over the County's hearsay objections, (2) found Werner to be an "innocent third party," and (3) calculated the damages for which the County was liable.
For the most part, we conclude that the court did not err in its evidentiary rulings, either because the testimony qualified under an exception to the hearsay rule or because it was not hearsay. What error we did find, we conclude, did not unfairly prejudice a substantial right of the County. Both the law and the record support the court's finding that Werner was an "innocent third party." And we conclude that the court properly calculated the County's liability under the relevant statutes. We affirm.II. BACKGROUND
In October 2008, Werner went to a bar in Humphrey, Nebraska. Werner testified that as he was walking home, he saw Joey Korth in his car and Korth asked Werner to get in. The weekend before, Korth had gotten in a fight with one of Werner's friends, and Korth wanted to explain to Werner what had happened. After Werner got in the car, the two of them headed toward Lindsay, Nebraska.
At trial, the parties contested who was driving, Korth or Werner. The court found that Korth was the driver. The admissibility of some of the evidence the court relied on in making that finding is at issue. But as we explain in detail later, either the court properly admitted the evidence it relied upon or its erroneous admission did not unfairly prejudice a substantial right of the County. Because the record supports the court's factual determination, it was not clearly wrong. So we refer to Korth as "the driver."