Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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.

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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New Hampshire is no stranger to heavy snowfall and storms in the winter, often leaving behind inches, if not feet, of snow. Whenever snowfall is particularly abundant, drivers also face various challenges while on the road. In addition to icy conditions, poor visibility, and slippery streets, snow often also accumulates on cars. Although not every state experiences the same level of snowfall and ice during winter that New Hampshire does, leaving accumulated snow on cars could leave other drivers prone to serious injuries or dangers on the road should the ice fly off your car while traveling. Thus, New Hampshire drivers also have to pay attention to snow that has accumulated on their cars before heading out on New Hampshire roads, or they may face charges or be fined.

According to a recent New Hampshire news report, a chunk of ice flew off a box truck and slammed into another driver’s windshield. The driver suffered significant injuries and had to undergo several surgeries to remove pieces of glass from both of his eyes. The box truck driver failed to remove ice and snow from his vehicle before getting on the road, which led to the accident. Following the accident, the truck driver will face several charges, including vehicular assault, reckless conduct, and negligent driving.

In New Hampshire, Jessica’s Law requires all drivers to remove all snow and ice from their vehicles before driving on the road. The law was enacted after a sheet of ice flew off a truck and hit another one, which resulted in a head-on collision that killed a young woman named Jessica Smith. In addition to New Hampshire, there are currently only three other states that have this law or a similar one enacted to protect drivers during icy conditions.

Any time a car accident happens, at a minimum it’s an inevitable headache for everyone involved. When a hit and run takes place, however, it can be even more frustrating. When a driver flees the scene after an accident, there are no guarantees the damage you have sustained to your vehicle or to you physically will be covered. Sometimes, however, local authorities can be especially helpful following these collisions by conducting thorough investigations to locate the responsible party. Thus, it is imperative to report New Hampshire hit and run accidents.

In a recent news report, a local woman faces drunk driving charges after a hit and run accident because local authorities successfully identified her after a hit and run accident. Local authorities were sent to the scene to find the woman after she was found slumped over and intoxicated in a parked vehicle. After a witness woke her up, the woman backed her vehicle into another car before driving up the street. Police located the woman at her home, and her car appeared to have damage on the rear and front license plates. The woman denied drinking but was clearly intoxicated, and the only other person home denied driving as well. Further investigation revealed that she had hit an additional vehicle earlier in the night in a separate hit and run accident. The woman refused a sobriety test and was subsequently arrested with a DWI, making it her third drunk driving conviction in the last seven years.

If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, it is crucial you take immediate action. Because these collisions could happen either when you’re in the vehicle or when your car is parked and you’re away, you must know what next steps to take.

Even though the holidays may look different this year, individuals continue to find ways to mark their accomplishments, celebrate holidays and the year’s end. Many of these celebrations, even “drive-by” celebrations, include merriment and, unfortunately, alcohol. It is imperative this year, as people are reluctant to hire car shares and taxis, that individuals take steps to ensure that they engage in safe driving to avoid a New Hampshire drunk driving accident.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly 400 people die in New Hampshire drunk driving accidents every year. Despite, sobriety checkpoints, ignition interlock laws, and license suspensions, individuals continue to take life-threatening risks by driving while impaired. Recent statistics from the Division of Motor Vehicles revealed that nearly 8,000 accidents were related to alcohol. The average blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the impaired drivers was almost twice the legal limit. These accidents do not only result in serious harm to drivers and passengers, but more pedestrians die on New Year’s Day between 1 and 3 am, than any other day of the year.

Party goers should plan in advance to avoid drunk driving on New Year’s Eve. Even though law enforcement may abound to conduct sobriety checkpoints, accidents can occur at any moment. The circumstances surrounding this year may require people to plan for safe transportation in advance. Other years people could rely on rideshare companies, but many people are fearful of being in closed spaces with strangers for any duration. However, people should understand that getting behind the wheel while impaired or if the driver is impaired can cause a fatal accident.

With social distancing measures in place, group play dates are less common than ever. This means that our kids are looking for other opportunities to stay engaged and active, and many have taken to heading outdoors on bikes, walks, or playgrounds. However, more kids out and about in the neighborhood means that New Hampshire drivers on the road need to exercise extra caution. Watching for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially as the days grow shorter, is crucial for ensuring everyone’s safety.

According to a local news report, a four-year-old boy was recently killed after being hit by a car. The child was on his bicycle in an alley when a truck driver attempted to make a right turn into the alley and hit him. Police were on the scene shortly after the collision occurred, and found the boy lying in the alley, unconscious and not breathing. Following an investigation, law enforcement found that the vehicle that struck the child was parked nearby with a single occupant inside. The circumstances surrounding the tragic accident are still under investigation, and no charges have been filed.

Like other states, New Hampshire laws allow for parties injured in bike accidents to seek compensation for their injuries. Although bicycle accidents are less common than vehicle accidents or collisions, the same legal principles apply to these collisions. For example, bike accidents can be caused by negligent or reckless drivers just like a typical car accident, and bicyclists have the same rights as motorists and pedestrians.

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