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Expert testimony is a critical portion of New Hampshire product liability cases. An expert witness is a person who possesses education, training, and skills in a particular field relevant to the case or specific issue at hand. Based on their credentials, these individuals can provide testimony to support a plaintiff’s contention of negligence and the appropriate damages. The most common types of experts are medical and technical professionals such as physicians, forensic analysts, scientists, engineers, mental health professionals, and economic professionals.

Both federal and New Hampshire state civil rules of procedure follow the Daubert standard to determine the admissibility of an expert witness’s testimony. The Daubert standard consists of five factors that the court will use to determine whether an expert’s methodology is valid. The standards include:

  • If the technique or theory has been tested;

The last year has brought significant changes to the daily lives of most people throughout the country. One of the major changes involved the rising sales of home exercise equipment. Despite the various benefits of home exercise equipment, these devices can be dangerous when they are defective or not used properly. New Hampshire personal injury accidents involving home, public, or private exercise equipment can result in severe injuries and even death. Gym equipment accidents may involve defective treadmills, stationary bikes, weights, and resistance bands. Moreover, gym accidents can occur because of the negligence of personal trainers, gym staff, unhygienic gym equipment, and unsafe fitness centers. Those that have suffered injuries because of potentially defective or unreasonably dangerous exercise equipment should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

Although people of any age can suffer injuries on home exercise equipment, data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System indicates that around 12,174 children visit the emergency room for home exercise-related injuries every year. Over 70% of these individuals were under ten years old. The overwhelming majority of the injuries involved lacerations. About 30% of the injuries involved the child’s head, 22% involved fingers and hands, and over 10% involved foot injuries. Stationary bikes, treadmills, and jump ropes accounted for the majority of the injuries. The rising number of injuries highlights the importance of additional safety measures to prevent these devastating incidents.

Recently, a national news report described a harrowing incident involving a child’s death on a Peloton treadmill. Although details surrounding the incident are unclear, Peloton’s CEO expressed sadness about receiving the news of the child’s death. A company spokesperson explained that the treadmill comes with safety warnings that advise consumers that the machine should only be used by individuals who are at least 16-years-old and weigh more than 105 pounds.

New Hampshire state laws and federal laws maintain several statutes relevant to victim’s rights and compensation after an injury. However, in the criminal trial process, New Hampshire’s victims’ compensation program rarely provides victims and families with the financial assistance they require after an injury or accident. Although no amount of money can ever fully compensate a victim or their loved one after a serious accident, the state’s civil compensation laws can help a New Hampshire accident victim work towards becoming whole again.

After an accident, a New Hampshire injury victim can recover general and economic damages. Damages usually involve losses related to medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. General damages refer to intangible losses that result because of another’s negligence. These damages typically include losses related to emotional distress, pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, permanent physical disabilities, and reduced quality of life. In contrast, economic damages are tangible losses related to the costs associated with home or personal care, past and prospective medical expenses, loss of wages, and reduced lifelong earning capacity.

Many states maintain punitive damages statutes that work to compensate victims in cases where the defendant acted with malice or egregiously. New Hampshire courts have a long-standing history of refusing to award punitive damages, and essentially outlawed these damages in 2015. In addressing the public’s concern that there are situations where these awards are necessary, the state offers enhanced compensatory damages instead of punitive damages. The doctrine allows courts to award supplemental or enhanced damages when the defendant’s conduct was “wanton, malicious, or oppressive.” These damages undergo a detailed case-by-case analysis, and plaintiffs should retain an attorney to ensure that they appropriately present a compelling case for enhanced compensatory damages.

New Hampshire car accidents can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Whether it’s poor weather conditions, reduced visibility, negligent or reckless driving by another party, or mechanical failure, the possibilities are endless. One of the most dangerous and potentially fatal accidents, however, are wrong-way accidents. When these collisions take place, there is a high likelihood of serious injury or death because of the nature of the accident.

According to a recent news article, two people were injured following a wrong-way car accident. Evidently, a driver entered the freeway southbound at an exit to a northbound freeway and crashed head-on into a Toyota Camry that was traveling northbound in the correct direction. When local authorities arrived on the scene, both vehicles had heavy front-end damage, with the at-fault party’s car facing south in the northbound lane. Following the collision, both drivers were transported to local hospitals and their injuries were reportedly not considered life-threatening. Both vehicles were towed from the scene, and for a short period of time, all northbound traffic was closed. The collision remains under investigation by local authorities.

Based on data from the Department of Transportation, wrong-way driving accidents account for between 300 to 400 deaths in the United States each year, with many more injured from these collisions. Although they may be less common compared to other types of accidents, they are often fatal, and more than 60 percent occur because of drunk driving or operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs.

Many parties may be responsible for a victim’s injuries and damages after a New Hampshire trucking accident. Injury victims often seek compensation through an insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit. Accidents involving trucks are complicated because injuries are usually more severe, and there is typically more than one responsible party. These accidents are more complex than collisions involving two cars and require an in-depth investigation.

In cases involving two vehicles, injury victims can pursue a claim against the driver, the car owner, or the driver’s employer if they were operating the vehicle as part of their employment. After a trucking accident, the victim may file a claim against the negligent truck driver, their employer, the trucking company, or the truck’s manufacturer. A driver may be directly responsible for their negligent actions, such as speeding, impairment, or distraction. A driver’s employer may be liable under vicarious liability or their direct negligence. Similarly, a truck’s manufacturer may be responsible for a truck’s defects that contributed to the accident.

Vicarious liability is a theory that holds employers responsible for their employees’ actions. Vicarious liability is only applicable if a plaintiff can establish certain elements that prove that the negligent driver was an employee acting within their employment scope when the accident occurred. Trucking companies often find loopholes to avoid potential liability by classifying their workers as independent contractors instead of employees. Further, there are many affirmative defenses that truck companies purport to avoid liability. However, vicarious liability claims against a trucking company can significantly impact a victim’s recovery because most companies maintain sizeable commercial insurance policies.

New Hampshire car accidents happen for all kinds of reasons every year—negligence, distracted driving, illicit substances, and bad weather conditions, are only a few examples. An unexpectedly dangerous and common cause of car accidents, however, has also claimed hundreds of lives: drowsy driving has consistently been a significant cause of car accidents and is more common than you think—and could also affect anyone behind the wheel.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving has claimed 795 lives in 2017 alone. Between 2013 and 2017, 4,111 fatalities were recorded that were associated with drowsy driving. When evaluating general motor vehicle crashes involving drowsy driving, 91,000 collisions were recorded in 2017.

Fatigue, which often results in drowsy driving, affects millions of Americans on a daily basis. Whether it is caused by a poor night of sleep, a late shift, or just pure exhaustion, fatigue can be costly and result in negative outcomes. When you operate a vehicle and become drowsy or were drowsy when you got in the car, the consequences can be disastrous. According to NHTSA, fatigue most frequently results in impaired cognition, car crashes, and other significant health-related consequences.

Sometimes, car accidents only involve two parties—an at-fault party, and the party who was harmed as the result of the accident. Not all accidents, however, are this simple. When an initial collision leads to accidents that take place after it, it is often referred to as a chain reaction accident. Chain reaction accidents often involve three or more cars and are usually complex cases because multiple parties and their negligence may have caused you to suffer property damage or injuries.

These chain reaction accidents often occur more frequently than you may expect. According to a recent news article, local authorities found a vehicle rolled over on its roof with a woman trapped inside after she crashed into a guardrail and her car slid into the travel portion of the highway. Shortly after the initial accident, there was a two-vehicle crash just south of the initial collision. No one was injured in the second accident, but the woman involved in the first was transported to a local hospital to be treated.

In New Hampshire, in a case like this one, the dispute will primarily be over who should assume more responsibility in causing the second accident—the original initial accident where the woman crashed into the guardrail, or the primary at-fault party in the second accident. For example, the responsible party in the second accident could argue that the crash would not have occurred if the initial accident did not take place ahead and resulted in an increase in traffic. Because of the initial driver’s negligence, the second driver could argue that the initial driver should bear some level of responsibility in the second accident coming to fruition.

Whether you’ve stayed home for the majority of the COVID-19 global pandemic or ventured out safely, the world has changed significantly in New Hampshire since social distancing and stay at home orders were put into place in early 2020. A particularly interesting change, however, has been in traffic safety and car accidents during the pandemic. Although it may make sense to assume that fewer people on the roads means safer roads for everyone, some risky behaviors have actually increased as the pandemic has continued.

Based on a special report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) covering traffic safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, significant changes took place in traffic patterns over the course of 2020. Although driving patterns appeared to slow down in terms of congestion and traffic in the first part of the year because of the initial onset of the pandemic, things seemed to pick back up during the second and latter parts of the year.

During the second quarter of the year, for example, the report noted an increase in sales and consumption of alcohol and other drugs. Compared to 2019 data, retail sales were 19.5 percent higher in July, 21.5 percent higher in August, and 20.6 percent higher in September in 2020. Similarly, in addition to alcohol, cannabinoid, and opioid type drugs all increased in prevalence during the second quarter of the year as compared to the months before the emergence of the public health emergency. In the third quarter of the year, the prevalence of all of these substances remained high compared to the months before COVID-19.

Although any accident can result in serious physical and emotional injuries, New Hampshire hit and run accidents tend to have worse outcomes. In the same vein, motorists who leave the scene of an accident may face significant criminal and civil penalties. Victims of a hit and run should contact an attorney to discuss how they can pursue a claim for financial compensation, as these claims are often complex.

The law imposes specific duties on drivers involved in a traffic accident. Under New Hampshire RSA 264:25, a driver of a vehicle who knows or should have known that they were involved in an accident which resulted in property damage, personal injury or death, must stop their vehicle at the scene. At a minimum, drivers must contact emergency services and provide the victim and law enforcement with their identifying information.

A hit and run accident occurs when a driver leaves an accident scene before law enforcement can respond. Hit and runs often occur because of driver distraction, fatigue, or impairment. Although rare, drivers can claim that they did not know they were involved in a hit and run accident. However, in many situations, a driver flees the accident scene for fear of repercussions. Drivers often flee because:

  1. They have an outstanding criminal warrant,
  2. They are driving without a valid license, or
  3. They are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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Unfortunately, food health and safety issues arise more frequently than we realize. Whether you shop in-person, pick up groceries curbside, or get them delivered, we all have to get our weekly necessities somehow. When you carefully select your items, however, there is a reasonable assumption of food safety and freshness, no matter what you’re buying. In the event that a product is spoiled or contains hazardous materials that could injure you, you may have grounds to file a New Hampshire product liability lawsuit for damages.

For example, according to a recent news report, a frozen food favorite–Hot Pockets–were recalled nationally after extraneous materials were discovered inside the product. According to federal regulatory officials, these frozen food products were recalled after a potential case of glass and plastic contamination was discovered. Following several consumer complaints of extraneous materials in their food and one complaint of an injury, the manufacturing company of the frozen food recalled more than 750,000 pounds of product that had been shipped to various stores across the country.

New Hampshire, like other states, has specific laws that cover product liability claims in the event that a faulty product injures or kills someone. A product liability action can be brought in New Hampshire when personal injury, property damage, or death takes place that was caused by a defective product. The product could have been made faulty or defective in the process of development, manufacture, warning, or advertising, among other things. Manufacturers may also be liable in situations where they misrepresented claims associated with the product or were negligent in the process of production or assembly. Potential plaintiffs can sue manufacturers or other companies in the supply chain that are responsible for bringing a product to market.

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