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Statistically, airplane crashes are rare; however, people often suffer other injuries and accidents during air travel. The international treaty, known as the Montreal Convention (the Treaty), governs liability and compensation in cases where a New Hampshire victim suffers injuries or death during airline travel. The treaty provides that airlines may be liable for personal injury or wrongful death of a passenger on an international flight, between two qualifying nations. New Hampshire injury victims who wish to recover under this treaty must establish that their injury or death arose from an “accident” on board of an aircraft, in the “course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking.”

An “accident” is an unexpected or unusual event that is external to the victim. Courts have applied this nebulous term to injuries that result from hijackings, passenger assaults, and an airline’s failure to provide adequate medical attention to a passenger. Issues often arise when the injury-causing event occurs outside of the plane. In these cases, courts will determine whether the victim was in the “operation” of embarking or disembarking. This inquiry typically requires the court to evaluate factors such as where the passenger was when the event occurred, what the victim was doing at the time of the incident, and the location of the passenger to the plane.

Additionally, the Treaty requires that a passenger brings their suit within two years of the “date of the arrival at the destination, or from the date on which the aircraft should have arrived, or from the date on which the carriage stopped.” Plaintiffs who do not abide by the strict statute of limitations may risk dismissal and waive their right to recovery. For example, in a recent case, a state appellate court issued an opinion addressing issues that may apply to when someone is injured while on an airplane.

Sometimes when an accident occurs, it’s because of unpredictable circumstances beyond our control. However, sometimes tragedies occur because of the negligence of parties who have a responsibility to make public areas safe for passing pedestrians. These individuals may be held accountable for their actions through a New Hampshire personal injury lawsuit. In order to explain a complex accident situation to a jury, an expert witness is often needed during a trial. Unfortunately, plaintiff’s are frequently prevented from presenting compelling expert witness testimony.

In a recent First Circuit appellate opinion, a plaintiff was struck by a car while working in a construction zone. While attempting to cross the street after grabbing dinner, the plaintiff was standing on the roadway’s divider when traffic suddenly rushed towards him from both directions. The change in traffic trapped the plaintiff on the divider, where he was subsequently struck head-on by a westbound SUV. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff has become quadriplegic and will require extensive medical care for the rest of his life.

Following his accident, the plaintiff filed a negligent-design lawsuit against several entities responsible for the construction project that laid the backdrop for his injuries. He also retained a single expert to testify on the standard of care that these entities owed to pedestrians in construction affected areas. Through this expert’s testimony, the plaintiff hoped that he would be able to successfully establish his claim that the defendants’ negligence caused the accident to occur. The evidence that was going to be provided through the expert’s testimony was crucial to the plaintiff’s claim.

Sometimes, a car accident is truly an accident. However, more often than not, accidents are caused by a motorist’s negligence. This is especially true when it comes to New Hampshire drunk driving accidents. Getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink is a choice, a choice that – according to a recent report – many New Hampshire residents continue to make despite the known dangers involved with intoxicated driving.

According to a recent news article discussing the results of the report, New Hampshire ranks in the top third of states when it comes to the total number of drunk driving incidents. Specifically, the Granite State comes in 14th place, with more than 383 drunk driving arrests per 100,000 residents. This figure is almost 25 percent higher than the national average of 301 arrests per 100,000 people.

The report compared the number of DUI arrests in recent years with years prior, bringing to light some concerning statistics. For example, the rate of New Hampshire drunk driving arrests increased over three percent between the years of 2014 and 2018. In 2009, DUI arrests peaked, with over 400 arrests per 100,000 residents. However, all the way looking back to 2009, the rate of drunk driving arrests in New Hampshire decreased by 3.2 percent. While that may seem like a good thing, the national rate of drunk driving arrests decreased by 35 percent over that same period. Nearby Vermont was the only New England state that ranked above New Hampshire, with 418 drunk driving arrests per 100,000 people.

New Hampshire law allows those who are injured by the use of a defective product to bring a personal injury claim against the product’s manufacturer, retailer, supplier, or even sometimes another related party. These suits, called “product liability” lawsuits, sometimes lead to a discussion of what exactly constitutes a product. For example, if a water slide at an amusement park is defective and leads to a user’s injuries, can they file product liability suit against the park? Recently, a state appellate court considered this exact issue in a decision that may shed insight into how New Hampshire courts would handle the same situation.

According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff in the case was visiting a theme park operated by the defendant. He went down a water slide at the park, but during the course of his ride, he accidentally slipped from a seated position on an inner tube onto his stomach. When he entered the splash pool at the end of the slide, his feet hit the bottom of the pool, causing him to fracture his hip and his pelvis.

The plaintiff sued the defendant under a theory of product liability, claiming that the water slide was a defective product that caused his injuries. The plaintiff argued that he could sue the operator of the park because they were in the water slide’s “chain of distribution.” The defendant asked the court to dismiss this claim, arguing that the doctrine of product liability did not apply because they were not supplying the plaintiff with the product, but instead delivered an amusement “service” to him. As such, the court had to consider this important question: is purchasing a ticket to an amusement park and riding a water slide at an amusement park considered a product or a service? Put another way, were guests to the amusement park buying tickets to the park primarily to use the water slides, or primarily to obtain a service which may involve the use of water slides? If the former, then product liability is appropriate. If the latter, then is it not.

As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to affect individuals across the country, more and more New Hampshire residents are working from, and spending more time in, their homes. For many, this has prompted an increase in purchasing new furniture online—a new desk for working from home, a comfortable sofa for nights in, or a new mattress for a family member who’s moved in. In fact, NBC news recently reported that Wayfair, an online furniture marketplace, has had massive spikes in their revenue and active customers since early March of this year. While new furniture can be helpful or beneficial for many families, improperly designed furniture can be dangerous and can even cause serious injuries. While these injuries can be devastating and unexpected, New Hampshire law does protect consumers by allowing those injured by improperly designed or defective furniture to recover in a product liability lawsuit.

For example, last month the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission published information on a recall of dressers and cabinets that were sold in the United States and Canada. The recalled dressers and cabinets were found to be unstable and could tip over if not anchored to the wall, which poses a serious threat to children who may unintentionally cause them to tip over. According to the recall, the hazard could cause serious injuries or even death. About 2,700 units were sold, and consumers who purchased the unit are entitled to a full refund.

The above example is just one of many recalls that occur each year on cabinets, refrigerators, dressers, couches, desks, and more. Typically, these recalls offer refunds to those who purchased the unit. However, if someone has already been injured due to the product’s defect or design, the refund may not be enough to cover their medical bills and expenses. Alternatively, sometimes a consumer may be injured by a product that has not yet been recalled. In these situations, injured consumers may consider filing a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer and/or the seller of the item. If successful, these suits can lead to monetary compensation to cover the injured victim’s past and future medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

New Hampshire motorcyclists are at a heightened risk of being involved and suffering serious injuries in an accident. According to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, there are over 1,000 motorcycle accidents every year. Additionally, research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that motorcyclists are over 25 times more likely to die in an accident than car drivers or occupants. These startling statistics exemplify the serious consequences of a motorcycle accident.

For example, recently, a New Hampshire news report described a deadly motorcycle accident involving a delivery truck. According to police, a UPS truck driver was leaving a driveway when a motorcycle lost control of his bike and slammed into the truck. The motorcyclist did not suffer serious injuries, but his passenger died. Police are still conducting an investigation, but preliminary evidence suggests that speed may have been a contributing factor.

Although some motorcycle accidents involve a negligent biker, more collisions are the result of the other driver’s negligence. These accidents can result in severe injuries to motorcyclists. In fact, after an accident, many bikers suffer traumatic brain injuries, bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, and lacerations. Although New Hampshire law allows injured bikers to file claims against negligent parties, these motorcyclists often face difficulties when trying to recover.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one of the leading causes of death for New Hampshire children, teens, and young adults are motor vehicle accidents. According to the New Hampshire State Police, the majority of fatal car accidents are the result of impaired driving, distracted driving, and the failure to abide by traffic and safety laws. In a recent study, the Insurance Information Institute (III), found over 10 percent of these accidents were head-on collisions.

Frontal crashes or head-on collisions typically occur when one vehicle was on the wrong side of the road and collides into an oncoming car. These accidents usually happen when a person improperly drives down a one-way road or highway, or if they were driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Head-on collisions often result in severe injuries and damages because of the nature of the impact. Individuals or representatives of those who suffer injuries in a New Hampshire head-on collision may be able to recover for their damages against the at-fault driver.

New Hampshire head-on collision victims who wish to recover for their losses must be able to establish that the other party was negligent. Under New Hampshire’s negligence per se standards, an at-fault party may be liable for violating a statute that was designed to prevent the same type of harm the plaintiff suffered. This theory may be applicable in cases where the at-fault party was texting and driving or failing to keep to the right side of the road. In these instances, proof that the at-fault driver was engaging in these behaviors is sufficient to show negligence. In cases where negligence per se does not apply, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant did not meet the standard of care in operating their vehicle, and the result was injuries to the plaintiff.

Historically, the concept of sovereign immunity provided federal and state governments with protection against lawsuits stemming from its negligence. Although the concept originated from British common law’s idea that the “King can do no wrong,” the notion persisted for centuries. This doctrine hindered New Hampshire injury victims from pursuing claims against governmental entities. However, a shift occurred when Congress passed the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA provides waivers for various tort claims against government entities.

The New Hampshire legislature has various statutory immunities in place designed to protect governmental entities and their agents. These statutes provide immunity from lawsuits for bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage. However, in response to the fundamental unfairness of these statutes, New Hampshire lawmakers provide some waivers to these immunities. These claims must abide by the strict notice and filing requirements. To avoid dismissal, potential plaintiffs should seek legal representation to assist them through these complex lawsuits.

New Hampshire law provides that plaintiffs who wish to sue the state must commence their lawsuit within three years. Plaintiffs must provide the relevant agency with written notice of their intent to sue within 180 days of the injury. The Board of Claims for the state will have jurisdiction over any claims alleging less than $5,000 in damages. The Superior Court maintains jurisdiction over claims that are more than $5,0000.

Head-on car accidents can wreak havoc on the lives of New Hampshire residents. Because of the angle and speed of the two vehicles, these accidents are often deadly, meaning drivers should always be on guard when driving on one-way streets and aware of the possibility that a car may cross the median.

A recent tragedy from last month illustrates the danger associated with these accidents. According to a local news report covering the incident, the at-fault driver, a 43-year-old woman in a 2017 Volvo, was driving north on I-495 southbound just after 8:30 p.m. on a Saturday night when she crashed headfirst into a 2018 Chevrolet driven by a 27-year-old man. Tragically, both drivers were pronounced dead on the scene. The Chevrolet’s passenger, an 83-year-old woman, was transported to the hospital immediately, where she remains in critical condition. The crash led to the highway being closed for about three hours as authorities investigated the scene and tried to reconstruct the accident to determine what happened. The incident remains under investigation today.

Tragic instances such as this one are a sobering reminder of how quickly life can change, and how one New Hampshire car accident can change people’s lives forever. Many people do not ever think that their lives will be uprooted by someone else’s careless mistake, and suddenly find themselves unsure what to do when they are injured in a car accident. Although nothing can undo the damage these accidents cause, New Hampshire law does provide accident victims an avenue for monetary relief: filing a civil negligence suit. These suits can be filed against a responsible driver when they, for instance, drive the wrong way on a highway.

Nothing can bring back a loved one who was lost in a senseless accident. However, when someone is tragically killed in a car accident, or any other type of preventable accident, the family of the deceased accident victim may be entitled to compensation for their losses through a New Hampshire wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits are similar to traditional personal injury claims, in that the person bringing the case must prove that the named defendant was legally negligent. Wrongful death cases are common following truck accidents, nursing home abuse, and instances of medical malpractice.

In this context, the word “negligent” refers to a legal cause of action. To establish that defendant was negligent, a plaintiff must show, 1.) that the defendant owed the accident victim a duty of care; 2.) by some action or omission, the defendant breached that duty; 3.) the defendant’s breach was the cause of the accident victim’s injuries, and; 4.) the accident victim suffered some type of compensable harm. Of course, in the context of a wrongful death claim, the fourth element is not at issue.

Wrongful death claims can provide families with much-needed compensation after the loss of a loved one. Under New Hampshire’s wrongful death law, the damages that are available depend to some degree on the nature of the relationship between the person and the accident victim. For example, common damages in all wrongful death claims include:

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