Articles Posted in Car Accidents

After someone is injured in a New Hampshire car accident, one of the most important considerations when filing a personal injury case is which parties to name as defendants. This can be a critical decision that impacts the plaintiff’s overall ability to recover compensation for their injuries for several different reasons.

First, New Hampshire injury victims get only one chance to bring their case against all potentially responsible parties. If a plaintiff proceeds to trial against one defendant, and then later discovers that another party also bore some responsibility, the court will likely preclude the plaintiff from bringing another case against the later-discovered defendant. Such a situation allows the named defendant to shift as much blame as possible onto the non-present party. If the defendant is successful in doing so, the jury may find that the non-present party was primarily responsible, leaving the plaintiff with no way to recover for their injuries.

Another essential reason to thoroughly investigate a claim is to increase the chances a plaintiff will be able to recover any monetary award issued by the jury. In many New Hampshire personal injury cases involving individual defendants, the defendant does not have sufficient assets or insurance coverage to fully and fairly compensate the plaintiff for their injuries. By identifying and naming additional parties, especially employers, a plaintiff greatly increases the chance of receiving the full amount of any judgment in their favor.

Many New Hampshire personal injury cases involve multiple defendants. For example, chain-reaction car accident, injuries caused by dangerous or defective products, and even slip-and-fall accidents often result in an injury victim filing a claim against several different defendants. While the jury is ultimately responsible for apportioning liability between the parties, the court’s job is to make sure that the jury follows the rules when doing so. The New Hampshire Legislature provides guidance for divvying up liability in multi-defendant personal injury cases.

After a jury determines that there are multiple parties who are liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, the court will ask the jury to come up with the total amount of damages the plaintiff should receive for their injuries. Then, the court will instruct the jury to determine each defendants’ relative percentage of fault. The court will then apportion the damages among the defendants according to the jury’s breakdown of responsibility.

In many cases involving multiple defendants, each defendant is responsible only for their own share. However, under New Hampshire Revised Statutes section 507:7-e, if a defendant is found to be more than 50% at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries, that defendant will be held jointly and severally liable for the entire damages award. Thus, even if other defendants contributed to the accident, the defendant primarily responsible for the crash must cover their share if the other defendants are unable to pay. In addition, any party who knowingly caused harm to the plaintiff will be subject to joint-and-several liability, even if they were less than 50% at fault.

Losing a loved one in a fatal New Hampshire car accident is an unimaginable tragedy for most. However, in a small state of just 1.3 million people, there are an average of over 100 fatal traffic accidents each year. As a result, over 100 families must deal with the tragedy of having a loved one taken from them too soon. While the most common causes of fatal New Hampshire car accidents are speed and alcohol, driver distraction and drowsiness also contribute to the list.

After someone is killed in a New Hampshire car accident, their loved ones may decide to pursue a claim for financial compensation against the party or parties they believe were responsible for their loved one’s death. Such claims are brought under the New Hampshire wrongful death statute, which is contained in New Hampshire Revised Statutes section 556:12. The statute provides that “any person interested in the estate of a deceased” can initiate a wrongful death claim. Unlike other states that provide a strict list of potential beneficiaries, New Hampshire allows wrongful death claims to be initiated by any number of family members or loved ones.

Families who have lost a loved one in a New Hampshire car accident should keep in mind that section 556:11 imposes a strict time limit for wrongful death cases. Section 556:11 requires that a claim be brought within six years from the death of the deceased; claims filed after this period may be dismissed without consideration. It is also important to note that the six-year deadline applies only to new wrongful death actions, and not to any existing claims that the deceased may have had against another potential defendant.

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