Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Winter drivers in New England are expected to modify their driving habits in response to the road conditions, and often should drive much more slowly and cautiously than would be required if the roads and weather were clear. So far this winter, several significant storms have made for very dangerous roads in the region. A recently published local news report from New Hampshire discusses some of the hazards and risks of winter driving in New England

According to the recently published news report, freezing rain, sleet, and slush have made for very hazardous roads in New Hampshire this month. Drivers are responsible to operate their vehicles in a safe manner regardless of the road conditions. It is not enough to simply follow the posted speed limit without paying attention to the roads. A driver who is traveling at a speed that is unsafe considering the road conditions (even if that speed is lower than the posted limit) can face civil and criminal liability for unsafe driving in the event of a crash.

New Hampshire state law sets the speed limits on state roadways, requiring that drivers travel at a speed slower than the posted speed limit during inclement weather conditions. Because state law mandates a lower speed limit depending upon weather conditions, a driver who is traveling at a dangerous speed (below the speed limit) can still be cited and held liable for a traffic violation as well as negligence in the event of an accident.

Although car accidents can take place in a variety of ways, one of the deadliest is the notorious head-on collision. This is usually because when two vehicles collide head-on, they are both moving at faster speeds than usual and the force of both vehicles moving in opposite directions usually results in deadly consequences.

According to a recent local news report, a fatal head-on crash left one man dead and a woman seriously injured. Local authorities reported that a man was driving his Toyota northbound when he crossed over the center line and collided head-on with another vehicle traveling southbound. The man driving the Toyota was pronounced dead on the scene. The driver of the other car was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries and was later flown to a separate hospital for further treatment. The crash remains under investigation, but so far officials have noted that neither speed nor alcohol appears to be factors contributing to the accident.

Although only two percent of all car accidents are head-on collisions, they account for nearly 10 percent of all driving accident fatalities. Head-on collisions can take place for a variety of reasons but are most commonly caused by negligent drivers who are distracted, speeding, or driving recklessly.

Earlier this month, an accident between a motorhome and a passenger car resulted in two of the vehicles’ occupants being hospitalized with severe injuries. Accidents such as these often result in serious, life-changing injuries for those involved. Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit may provide accident victims with meaningful compensation, allowing them to more easily move on with their lives after the collision.

According to a recent news report, at around 11:45 a.m., law enforcement officers received a call reporting a two-vehicle accident on Route 3A in Hill, New Hampshire. Evidently, a Honda Accord was traveling south when the driver began to drift into the northbound lane. At the same time, a motorhome was approaching. Because the Accord was encroaching into the motorhome’s lane, the driver of the motorhome tried to swerve in an attempt to avoid a collision. However, the driver of the motorhome was unable to do so, and the vehicles collided. As a result, the motor home went off the highway and burst into flames.

The driver of the motor home was able to exit the vehicle before it became completely engulfed in flames. However, the driver of the Accord had to be extricated by an emergency crew. Both drivers suffered serious injuries in the collision and had to be hospitalized as a result. Thankfully, both are expected to make a full recovery.

New Hampshire motorists should exercise a higher duty of caution when driving during bad weather conditions. While inclement weather may increase the likelihood of a collision, the weather alone is rarely the cause of an accident. Under New Hampshire traffic laws, drivers must adjust their driving to the pertinent road and weather conditions. Even if an accident occurs because of bad weather, a negligent driver may still be held liable.

Drivers can avoid an inclement weather accident by:

Reducing their speed – Slick road conditions contribute to many New Hampshire weather-related collisions.

Leaving a greater distance between vehicles – Allowing a greater distance between cars can provide motorists with additional time to brake.

Maintaining their vehicles – Drivers should take extra steps to conduct maintenance before the winter season.

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Driving while impaired (DWI) refers to operating a vehicle while under the influence of any substance that impairs the driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that higher numbers of drunk driving deaths generally tend to be in more populated states. However, the most recent 2021 New Hampshire statistics indicate that nearly 40% of all car accident fatalities involved alcohol. In addition to the myriad of issues this negligent conduct has on society as a whole, families directly impacted by drunk driving can face a lifetime of financial, emotional, and psychological struggles. As such, the law permits individuals to recover damages from driving while impaired and causing an accident.

Generally, New Hampshire law permits three types of damages to injury victims or their families:

  • Economic damages

Drunk driving and other impaired driving accidents have devastating and potentially fatal consequences. Despite widespread public service campaigns against this conduct, motorists across the country continue to engage in this risky behavior. While some New Hampshire personal injury lawsuits involving drunk drivers may be straightforward, many involve complex theories of liability. This is especially relevant in cases involving a negligent bartender or another party who serves alcohol to someone who goes on to cause injuries because of drunk driving.

Drunk driving cases involving a third party typically fall under New Hampshire’s Dram Shop laws. New Hampshire statute § 507-F:4, third party liability applies in cases when an establishment that serves alcohol serves to:

  • A minor; or

The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that New Hampshire’s DUI-related arrests are significantly above the national average. Despite widespread knowledge of the dangers of impaired driving, motorists continue to engage in this risky behavior. State officials permit sobriety checkpoints and ignition interlock laws to prevent severe New Hampshire drunk driving accidents. However, approximately 55 people in New Hampshire die in an alcohol-related accident every year.

For instance, local news sources reported that a New Hampshire man died and another individual suffered serious injuries in a drunk driving accident. According to State Police, a 37-year-old pickup truck driver veered into the center line and slammed into a small sedan. The sedan driver suffered fatal injuries in the accident, and his passenger remains in critical condition. Law enforcement arrested and charged the pickup truck driver for negligent homicide and aggravated driving while intoxicated. The initial investigation indicates that the driver’s impairment was the leading cause of the accident.

Under New Hampshire’s wrongful death statute, the families of fatal accident victims may recover damages from an at-fault party or entity. Unlike many other state’s New Hampshire permits “any person interested in the estate” of the accident victim to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages available after a successful lawsuit typically include compensation for economic and non-economic losses such as payments for the psychological and physical pain the victim endured before death, medical and funeral expenses, lost income the victim could have earned if they survived.

Although most drivers stay on the scene after an accident, some drivers choose to flee the scene of the accident, often complicating things for other drivers and for themselves. In New Hampshire, any driver of a motor vehicle that causes a death, personal injury, or combined damages of more than $1,000 must report the accident in writing to the state’s DMV within 15 days of the accident. In the event that police respond to the scene and investigate the accident, the officer will send a written report of the state—otherwise, the driver is required to file the report after a New Hampshire motor vehicle accident. Under the New Hampshire Revised Statutes, any driver who “knows or should have known” that they were involved in an accident that resulted in property damage, personal injury, or death, must “immediately stop” their vehicle and give any other involved drivers, any injured persons, and any vehicle owners, their name and address, license plate number, insurance provider and policy information, registration number, and the name and address for every occupant of their vehicle.

When another driver flees the scene of the accident, it is important to report the accident and allow law enforcement to investigate. They may be able to locate the driver or the owner of the vehicle. Drivers should also take down any information about the vehicle or the driver that they have, including the license plate number and a description of the person and the vehicle. Even if the driver cannot be located, the victim may be able to recover compensation through their own insurance. Uninsured motorists coverage provides coverage for injuries resulting from a hit and run or accidents with an at-fault uninsured driver. In a lawsuit, victims may be able to recover financial compensation, including medical expenses, property damages, mental suffering, and more.

Driver Flees After Two Injured in New Hampshire with Disabled Vehicle

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.

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