Articles Posted in Car Accidents

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration, the purpose of a guardrail is to provide a safety barrier to shield motorists who leave the roadway. However, several prominent guardrail manufacturing companies have come under fire for defective products. Defective guardrails can pose serious dangers to New Hampshire motorists, passengers, and bystanders.

In the best-case scenario, a driver veering off the roadway would come to rest without colliding with any vehicle or object. However, many New Hampshire roadways abut embankments, slopes, trees, bridge piers, and utility poles. In these cases, a guardrail provides a stopping point that may be safer than the alternative. The guardrail can deflect a vehicle back to the roadway, slow the vehicle down to a complete stop, or slow down to a safer stopping point.

While federal safety experts do not claim that guardrails completely protect drivers and passengers, they are still responsible for ensuring that the guardrail is installed correctly and free of defects. Many factors, such as the size and speed of a vehicle, can affect how well a guardrail protects drivers. However, guardrails that contain serious defects can pose additional dangers to motorists.

Car accidents involving pedestrians often result in the most serious injuries and damages. A recent fatal New Hampshire pedestrian accident is shedding light on worrying crash statistics in the state. In 2020, 16 New Hampshire pedestrians suffered fatal injuries; 2021 has seen seven pedestrian deaths. While statewide traffic accident data involving vehicles and pedestrians is similar to the prior year, bicycle incidents are rising. There were 113 bicycle accidents in 2020, and as of July 2021, New Hampshire reported 77 bicycle accidents. Moreover, New Hampshire motor vehicle accidents are on the rise.

The New Hampshire State Police Captain reported that there had been a rise in fatal traffic accidents. While speed and driver impairment are often cited as reasons for these accidents, distracted driving seems to be the leading cause. A recent pedestrian accident highlights this harrowing issue. News sources reported that a part of Route 28 east shut down following a pedestrian accident. According to witnesses, a pedestrian attempted to cross a busy roadway to get to a gas station when a driver hit him. The accident occurred during inclement weather conditions. Emergency responders transported the man by helicopter to a trauma hospital. The driver remained at the scene of the accident and explained she was devastated by the incident. According to investigators, the area lacks a crosswalk, and the driver explained that she did not see the man until it was too late. The police captain explained that the roadway is difficult to cross in good weather conditions, and the dark and rainy weather only made conditions worse.

Unlike many other types of accidents where damages may be split amongst several drivers, pedestrians often take the brut of the damages. While drivers tend to be responsible for these accidents, various factors may contribute to the incident. For instance, a dangerous roadway, missing sign, or contributory negligence on the pedestrian’s part may increase the likelihood or severity of the accident. Pedestrians should consult with an attorney to discuss the best way to pursue a claim and recover compensation. An attorney can identify all responsible parties and apportion liability accordingly. After these accidents, victims may be entitled to damages for their medical expenses, ongoing medical costs, rehabilitation, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Under New Hampshire law, “reckless driving” occurs when a motorist operates their vehicle in a manner that presents a “substantial and unjustifiable” risk to others, and they were aware of the risk but disregarded the risk. Those engaging in this conduct may face serious criminal or civil penalties. In the context of civil law, reckless driving generally falls under the state’s negligent driving statute.

In New Hampshire, negligent driving refers to situations when a driver fails to meet their duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of others on the road. While negligence does not always meet the standard of recklessness, the consequences can be the same. Both negligent and reckless driving can result in serious injuries or death to anyone in the vicinity of the motorist. The difference between these two types of conduct generally rests with the driver’s intent. While negligence tends to fall under the category of “careless” or “accidental,” recklessness requires an element of intent.

During a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, the distinction may impact the amount of compensation that a victim recovers. Some common examples of reckless or aggressive driving are:

Buses are integral to the efficient and swift transportation of children throughout New Hampshire. School buses are the most prominent public transportation system in the United States. Statistics by Stanford University and The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report that nearly 24 million school-aged children take the school bus every day, not including those who use the system for extracurricular activities. Approximately 17,000 children visit the emergency room every year for school bus injuries. Over 40 percent of these injuries involve motor vehicle accidents. The other incidents typically involve getting on or off the school bus or other onboard events.

Although bus companies continue to add safety features to make their fleet safer for riders and those nearby, accidents continue to occur. Data reveals that each year about seven children suffer fatal injuries in school bus crashes. However, every year, about 19 children die from injuries related to getting on or off the bus. Safety advocates continually lobby to have seatbelts and other safety devices on school buses; however, not every bus company complies with these requests.

Recently, local news reports described a New Hampshire school bus crash after driving into the woods. A preliminary investigation revealed that the driver experienced a medical emergency that caused her to crash into the woods. One child experienced a leg injury, but the others on board did not suffer serious injuries. Emergency responders extricated the driver from the bus and transported her to a local hospital.

Tires are one of the most critical parts of a car, and a defect can have disastrous consequences to a vehicle’s occupants and anyone in its vicinity. New Hampshire drivers, passengers, and bystanders who experience injuries because of a tire blowout or other defect may have a claim for damages against multiple parties.

Defective tires are hazardous because of the inherent role tires play in balancing a vehicle’s weight and ensuring proper braking. Further, motorists rely on tires to maneuver the vehicle while traveling at high speeds and avoiding obstacles. Defective tires can cause a motorist to lost control of the car and cause an accident.

The most dangerous and common type of tire defect is tread separation. Tread separation occurs when the tread experiences delamination from the tire. This can occur in cases where the tread is defective, to begin with, or if it has been retreaded using inferior materials. This tread separation can cause vehicles to skid or even cause a tire to blow out. Blowouts occur when a tire explodes while the vehicle is in motion. This is often the result of the rubber losing its connection to the steel belting and reinforcement. However, blowouts may occur if a vehicle owner overpacks a car with too much cargo. The sudden loss can result in the tire rupturing.

Police throughout the country engage in high-speed chases every day. Many of these high-speed chases result in serious personal injury, death, and property damage. While many of these high-speed pursuits result in capturing a fleeing suspect, they often have serious consequences to New Hampshire motorists and bystanders. The law defines pursuits as instances when an on-duty officer in a patrol car is involved in an active attempt to apprehend one or more occupants of a moving vehicle. Although many law enforcement agencies maintain policies and procedures concerning high-speed chases, accidents continue to occur.

For example, national news reports recently reported that federal prosecutors announced that a police officer would be charged with second-degree murder, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice following the death of a 20-year-old. The 20-year-old died after his moped slammed into a car while officers were chasing him. The officers stated they were chasing the young man because he was riding his moped on the sidewalk without a helmet. The chase made its way into an alley, and when the moped driver emerged from the alley, he slammed into the passenger door of a passing vehicle. D.C. City police rules forbid high-speed chased over minor traffic violations. In addition to criminal charges, the officers may face civil claims from the deceased man’s family.

After a typical car accident, the negligent party’s conduct is measured against the “reasonable person” standard. However, under the civil system, law enforcement officers are viewed differently than ordinary citizens. In most cases, the law requires these parties to exercise reasonable care in their actions according to their unique training and abilities. Therefore, the degree of care they exercise while in the pursuit of a fleeing suspect must be appropriate relative to the circumstances at hand.

In many two-vehicle accidents, determining liability and apportioning fault is relatively straightforward. Complications tend to arise, however, in New Hampshire car accident cases involving multiple vehicles. While many car accidents involve driver distraction, driver fatigue, and adverse weather, multi-vehicle accidents tend to involve a combination of these factors. As such, determining fault and apportioning liability can pose many challenges.

Determine fault after a New Hampshire accident requires plaintiffs to establish the sequence of events that led to their injuries. An attorney can assist injury vicitms in gathering relevant and compelling evidence to establish the cause of their damages. Lawyers typically work with accident reconstructionists and other experts to meet this element of an accident claim. Another issue that frequently arises is insufficient insurance coverage for a plaintiff’s damages. Even the most comprehensive plans may not cover the extent of an injury victim’s losses. This is especially true in cases where an at-fault party’s negligence resulted in damages to several people. Finally, plaintiffs may face jurisdictional and filing issues when asserting a claim for damages against an at-fault driver.

Many drivers experience injuries in accidents while out of state. These accident cases can pose daunting and complex considerations to injury vicitms. In these cases, specific jurisdictional and filing statutes may require plaintiffs to file a claim in unfamiliar territory. An attorney can assist injury vicitms in determining the best venue for a claim and how to recover compensation for their losses in the most efficient and comprehensive way.

New Hampshire is one of the only states that maintain optional auto insurance laws for motorists in the state. Under the law, drivers, excluding those convicted for specific driving offenses, can choose whether or not to purchase coverage. However, New Hampshire’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility laws require drivers to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds if they are “at fault” for an accident. Those who are unable to meet this requirement risk license suspension and other repercussions. Notwithstanding the optional coverage, all motorists should consider the implications of driving without insurance in New Hampshire.

Generally, there are three primary ways to collect damages after suffering injuries in a New Hampshire accident. The first way involves filing a claim with the injury victim’s insurance company; this method is possible if the policy covers the victim’s loss. Many times the insurance company will pursue a subrogation claim against the negligent driver’s insurance carrier. Next, the claimant may file a third-party claim against the negligent driver’s insurance carrier. Finally, the victim may file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist or other entity that may be responsible for the accident.

Despite the optional laws, purchasing auto insurance is an attractive option for many motorists. Those who purchase auto insurance must have coverage that meets the statutory minimums. The minimums include at least:

New Hampshire is a “fault” state, which means that at-fault drivers may be held liable for the consequences of their negligence—as such, establishing liability after an accident is critical to securing compensation for a victim’s injuries and losses. While the law follows the “fault” theory of liability, the process requires an in-depth understanding of complex New Hampshire personal injury laws.

A common inquiry is whether passengers involved in a single-vehicle accident can recover damages against the driver. For many reasons, accident victims in these cases tend to be reluctant to pursue damages against the at-fault party. Victims may feel that their relationship with the driver may limit their ability to recover compensation. However, the law provides victims with the same rights regardless of whether they were passengers in the at-fault driver’s vehicle or another vehicle.

While some hesitate to pursue damages against a friend or family member responsible for an accident, victims must understand that there are options for recovery. Under New Hampshire’s laws, injury victims have three primary options for financial recovery after an accident. These options include filing a claim with their insurance company, a third-party claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or a direct claim against the at-fault driver. In most cases, the law entitles the injury victim for compensation for economic and non-economic losses such as their medical bills, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and mental distress.

Crossover accidents occur when a motor vehicle attempts to change directions by crossing over a road divider. The divider may be a painted line, median, grassy path, or roadway reserved for emergency vehicles. While New Hampshire crossover accidents are not the most common type of collision, the risks associated with the maneuver can have devastating consequences. These accidents tend to be serious because of the speeds of the vehicles involved.

For instance, a news report described an accident involving a driver trying to change directions on I-95. The driver and her passenger were driving southbound on the highway when she attempted to change directions. She used the crossover and entered the passing lane to make the turn. While attempting this unsafe turn, another driver was traveling in the passing lane and could not avoid colliding with the woman. Emergency responders transported the woman to a local hospital for treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. However, her passenger suffered serious injuries and was life-flighted to a nearby medical center. The woman faces charges of Aggravated Driving to Endanger and Operating with an Expired License.

Crossover accidents typically involve a vehicle crossing over a physical barrier or prohibited area on a highway. Barriers are self-explanatory; however, areas without physical barriers tend to have signage indicating that motorists cannot cross the area. Further, changing directions on a major highway is a risky move. Motorists who wish to change directions must do so by exiting the highway and reentering through the appropriate lanes.

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