Spinner
Spinner
Spinner
Spinner
Spinner
Spinner

When a New Hampshire driver suffers injuries or property damage in a car accident, they are entitled to seek damages from the party or parties they believe to be responsible for their injuries. One of the first steps to recovering losses is to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. This process may raise some challenges, especially when the other party is underinsured or uninsured. Under state law, New Hampshire drivers must obtain the appropriate amount of car insurance coverage. Having sufficient insurance coverage is particularly important in instances where the other party is either unknown or unable to compensate the injured driver fully.

There are generally nine types of coverage that are available to New Hampshire drivers. The types of coverage are, auto liability, bodily injury, property damage, uninsured or underinsured bodily injury, medical payments, collision, comprehensive, towing and labor, and rental reimbursement expenses. Motorists often do not realize that many New Hampshire drivers lack adequate insurance, and this can result in a financial burden to the injured driver and their passengers, even if they are not at fault for causing a collision.

New Hampshire does not require that motorists obtain liability auto car insurance. However, New Hampshire’s car insurance law mandates uninsured drivers to have adequate assets to pay damages if they cause an accident. Uninsured New Hampshire drivers may risk license suspension if they cause an accident with more than $1000 of damages and cannot pay compensation to the injured party.

The result of a New Hampshire personal injury lawsuit hinges on the evidence a plaintiff presents. A plaintiff’s evidence must demonstrate that the negligent or willful behavior of the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries and damages. Evidence establishing negligence or willful conduct is obligatory in any personal injury lawsuit. It not only proves negligence, but it is used when determining the extent of damages. Protecting evidence is a vital legal requirement that both parties must follow.

When a party in a New Hampshire personal injury lawsuit negligently or intentionally fails to preserve evidence, they may face court fines and other sanctions based on the concept of spoliation. Certain states recognize a specific tort for spoliation, however, many others, including New Hampshire, remedy spoliation by sanctions or adverse jury instructions. Spoliation occurs when one party destroys, damages, fabricates, changes, or loses crucial and relevant evidence. Specifically, New Hampshire courts define spoliation as the “intentional, negligent, or malicious destruction of relevant evidence.” Some common examples of spoliation are behaviors such as; destroying security footage that recorded an accident, tampering with complaint reports that show a prior history of similar incidents, and forging safety compliance documents.

Although New Hampshire courts have yet to determine whether spoliation should be its own tort, they do impose sanctions on the violating party. In instances where a party is adversely impacted by spoliation, that impacted party may request a jury instruction that addresses the spoliation. The jury may be instructed that they can draw adverse inferences towards the offending party and the evidence that they destroyed. This instruction is only appropriate when the evidence was destroyed on purpose with fraudulent intent.

The continuing investigation into Boston’s Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) following the New Hampshire crash that killed seven, revealed that employees knew of computer problems a year before the crash. The inquiry into the RMV follows a tragic New Hampshire accident when a truck driver under the influence of drugs crossed a highway and collided and killed seven motorcyclists. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a detailed investigation of the accident and discovered that the truck driver’s serious traffic and safety violations dated back to 2012. The truck driver obtained a commercial driver’s license despite his disturbing driving and criminal history.

The RMV has been under scrutiny following this accident because it is unclear why a driver with prior arrests in six states for various drug and driving offenses was able to obtain a license. The former head of the RMV admitted that it was her understanding that the agency did not process out-of-state driving histories and notifications until she took over in 2015. She claimed that she began addressing the issue, however, the agency lacked the resources to keep up with the backlog.

According to a recent news report, more recent investigations uncovered a 2018 email written by an RMV officer in which he noted that there were “serious problems” with the agency’s computer system. The email was written in 2018 and forwarded to various RMV employees. It referenced the various lapses and divergence from policies and procedures. The hearings officer also questioned why Massachusetts driving records did not indicate that drivers had out-of-state violations. However, despite being informed that there was a problem with their reporting system, no one at the RMV took steps to address and correct the problem.

Recently, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire issued a ruling in an appeal stemming from a premises liability lawsuit against a property owner. The case originated after a man fell on a property while leaving a New Hampshire business. The man suffered injuries because of the fall, and he and his wife collectively filed a lawsuit against the property owner for negligence and loss of consortium. The couple alleged that the fall occurred because the stairs were inadequate, dangerous, and did not meet building codes. The complaint stated that the stairs were too steep and missing handrails.

Under New Hampshire law, property and business owners must ensure that their land is safe for guests and visitors. In most cases, if a person sustains injuries because of a dangerous condition on the property, they may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the owner. Some common places where these types of injuries occur are stores, apartment complexes, sidewalks, parks, restaurants, and residential homes.

In these cases, the victim must be able to establish that their injuries were because of the owner’s negligence or carelessness. Typical premises liability actions stem from slip and falls, property collapses, and animal bites. Often, a plaintiff will offer evidence that the property did not comply with applicable building and safety codes to establish liability. They may also point to dangerous aspects of the location, such as defects, missing safety features, poor lighting, disrepair, and lack of warning signs.

In 2015, New Hampshire passed a “hands-free” law to combat the rising rate of distracted driving accidents. However, despite the passage of this law, inattentive drivers continue to cause a significant number of serious car accidents in the state. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) examines crash data throughout the United States and provides detailed information regarding the causes of car accidents. The NHTSA separates accident causation into five broad categories: recognition error, decision error, performance error, nonperformance error, and unknown driver error.

Recognition error includes behaviors such as, inadequate observation, internal and external distractions, and daydreaming. Decision errors include drivers who cause accidents because of speeding, illegal maneuvers, misjudgment, and aggressive driving. Performance errors consist of actions such as panic, poor direction control, and overcompensation. Finally, nonperformance errors encompass situations where the driver falls asleep or has a medical condition that causes an accident.

According to the NHTSA, recognition errors are the leading cause of accidents in the United States. It may not come as a surprise to learn that inattentive or distracted drivers are among the leading causes of New Hampshire motor vehicle accidents. The most common types of distracted driving are talking and texting. Despite New Hampshire’s “hands-free” law, this type of driving continues to cause serious accidents.

Earlier this month, one man was killed in a New Hampshire motorcycle accident on Route 106, in Belmont, just north of Brown Hill Road. According to a local news report, the driver of a car was traveling southbound on Route 106 when she veered over the center median. The motorist traveled for about 300 feet before crashing head-on into a motorcycle. Another northbound car was struck by both the at-fault motorist’s car and the motorcycle.

The motorcyclist, who was wearing a helmet at the time, was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders. The at-fault motorist was initially trapped inside of her vehicle, but was freed by responders. The driver of the third vehicle was able to walk away from the crash. Police are in the midst of an official investigation, and are trying to determine the driving behavior of the motorists immediately before the collision.

The fatal accident is the third in 14 months on this particular portion of Route 106 near Belmont. In the wake of the most recent accident, one state representative has called for rumble strips to be installed along the median to prevent this type of accident.

Three people lost their lives in a tragic New Hampshire Car accident, according to a recent news source. Evidently, the crash occurred when the vehicle carrying all three victims was traveling northbound on a New Hampshire interstate. The vehicle inexplicably left the road from the left-most lane of travel. Police told reporters that another vehicle “may have merged” in front of them.

The victims’ car swerved into the median and rolled over, throwing all occupants out of the vehicle. The accident occurred around 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Responding police officers are not sure who was driving the vehicle containing the three victims, as all three were thrown from the vehicle and none were believed to be wearing a seat belt. Police did not suspect that anyone was impaired by drugs or alcohol, but the crash is still being investigated and police are requesting the help of additional witnesses.

In a New Hampshire personal injury case, there are different types of damages a plaintiff may be able to recover. The first category of damages is generally referred to as economic damages. They generally cover the costs associated with the plaintiff’s injuries caused by the accident. These damages can include medical bills and other past medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost employment wages, loss of earning capacity, and other generally quantifiable damages.

A local New Hampshire news report indicated that a driver involved in a head-on collision is facing reckless conduct charges. State police reported that the 21-year-old driver crossed through a center line on a New Hampshire road and collided with another driver. The at-fault motorist was arrested and then taken to a local hospital for treatment of the injuries he sustained in the accident. Both the young driver’s passenger and the woman driving the vehicle he collided with sustained severe injuries. They were transported to the hospital for life-threatening injuries. State police explained that the case is still under investigation to determine why the young man crossed through the center line.

Under New Hampshire law, a criminal reckless conduct charge is taken very seriously and can carry significant penalties, including jail time and significant fines. Moreover, if a New Hampshire driver is injured because of another’s reckless or aggressive driving, they can pursue civil remedies and may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Under state law, drivers are required to operate their vehicles with ordinary and reasonable care. Ordinary and reasonable care means that drivers should follow posted speed limits, safely change lanes, keep a safe following distance, properly pass other drivers, and not engage in reckless or aggressive driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains that aggressive driving occurs when an individual operates a vehicle in a way that endangers or is likely to endanger someone or their property. Further, New Hampshire law specifies that reckless driving includes driving in a manner that poses a “substantial and unjustifiable” risk to others when the driver knew of the attendant dangers and disregarded them. Some common scenarios that may result in a reckless driving charge are street racing, speeding over 100 mph, and swerving through traffic at a high speed. These behaviors are likely to result in severe injuries to passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. If an aggressive driver’s behavior causes an accident and injuries, they should be held liable for the resulting damages.

A national news outlet recently reported that a truck driver was under the influence of drugs and reaching for a drink when he crashed into seven motorcyclists on a New Hampshire highway. The truck driver crossed a double yellow line and fatally hit the motorcyclists. These motorcyclists were part of a biker group comprised of Marine veterans and their spouses.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a thorough investigation and released a detailed report regarding the crash. Evidently, after the accident, the truck driver told police officials that he was reaching for an unspecified drink on the passenger’s seat when the accident occurred. The investigation revealed that the truck driver had a lengthy and alarming driving history.

Apparently, before this accident, he was arrested in several other states for various drug and driving offenses. Despite a license suspension, he was still able to receive a Massachusetts commercial driver’s license. His driving offenses date back to when he was 16 years old in 2012. One of the accidents should have resulted in the driver’s commercial driving license being suspended. However, the truck driver slipped under the radar and was able to retain his license. The inspection following this accident uncovered over 20 safety violations with both the driver and his vehicle. The trucking company that employs the driver is also under investigation.

New Hampshire car accidents claim upwards of 90 lives per year. Many of these accidents involve the fault of multiple parties. As we have discussed in previous posts, New Hampshire uses the modified comparative fault doctrine when determining whether an accident victim can recover for their injuries. Under this doctrine, an accident victim can pursue a New Hampshire personal injury claim, so long as their fault is less than the combined fault of all defendants. In other words, as long as the accident victim was less than 50% at fault for the accident, they can bring a claim.

Not surprisingly, given how the comparative fault doctrine works, defendants frequently claim that an accident was not their fault, but was instead caused by the plaintiff’s negligence. One question that often arises is whether a defendant can point to a plaintiff’s failure to wear a seat belt as evidence of the plaintiff’s negligence. In New Hampshire, the answer is “no.”

Almost every state in the U.S. has at least some kind of law specifying when motorists need to wear their seat belt. In fact, New Hampshire is the only state with no seat belt law on the books. (Note: children are required to be safely secured in car seats, and minors under the age of 18 are required to wear a seat belt). Not surprisingly, in a recent study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, researchers found that just 69% of New Hampshire motorists wear their seat belts compared to 86% of motorists nationwide.

Contact Information