Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Some New Hampshire car accidents, such as drunk driving crashes, may result in criminal charges being filed against the at-fault party. The county prosecutor decides whether to bring criminal proceedings against a driver, and which charges to file. Criminal cases typically begin after an arrest or investigation, and these cases must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If a defendant is found guilty, the defendant may be sentenced to probation or incarceration, and may be required to pay various fines and penalties. However, in most situations, criminal cases do not provide any compensation to victims.

Unlike the criminal justice system, civil proceedings start when an accident victim files a complaint against the party or parties they believe to be responsible for their injuries.  Plaintiffs must only prove their case under a “more likely than not” standard. Civil defendants are not entitled to an attorney, and consequences usually include monetary compensation for damages that the plaintiff suffered. Injury victims and their families often suffer long term financial consequences. In many cases, state victim aid falls short, and civil cases allow plaintiffs to recover damages for their medical bills, lost wages, and other associated losses.

For example, a recent news report sheds light on the financial burden that many families face after New Hampshire car accidents. A young woman died when her boyfriend, drunk at the time, crashed the vehicle she was riding in as a passenger. The young woman’s mother petitioned the state’s Victims’ Compensation Fund for assistance with funeral and medical expenses. However, the Fund denied her claim, stating that her daughter was partially responsible for the accident because she knew her boyfriend was under the influence when she got into the vehicle with him. This case is a prime example of issues that plaintiffs and their families often face after an accident.

Research indicates that there is an average of 6 million car accidents in the United States, and close to 100 people die in a car accident every day. A startling 20% of these accidents involve a parked or unoccupied vehicle. Although these accidents may seem to result in less damage and injuries, many of these collisions result in fatalities. For example, earlier this month, a 30-year-old man died in a New Hampshire accident with a parked car. Reports indicate that the man was driving south on a Rochester, New Hampshire road in the early morning hours when his Jeep swerved into the northbound lane. His Jeep slammed into a parked, unoccupied sedan and rolled over. The man was transported to a local hospital and died later that morning

As the above case illustrates, New Hampshire car accidents involving parked and unoccupied vehicles can still have disastrous consequences. New Hampshire, like most states, requires that drivers use reasonable care when operating their vehicles. Reasonable care means acting in a way that another similarly situated prudent person would. When a driver deviates from that standard of care and causes an accident, they may be held liable for any resulting injuries and damages. These individuals may be responsible for compensating injury victims for their economic and non-economic losses, including property damage, medical bills, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering.

New Hampshire drivers who are involved in an accident with a parked or occupied vehicle must take steps to identify themselves and mitigate any potential damage. After hitting a parked car, drivers should leave their identifying information, speak to witnesses, contact the police, and speak to their insurance company. In some instances, the driver will be liable for the accident and responsible for the damage they caused. In other situations, the owner or occupier of the parked car may be liable because they negligently or unsafely left their vehicle in a dangerous location.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), close to 10 percent of fatal car accidents involve a distracted driver. Specifically, data suggested that six percent of all drivers involved in a deadly accident were distracted at the time of the crash, and nine percent of teenage drivers between 15 and 19 years old were distracted. Moreover, there were close to 600 non-occupants, such as pedestrians and bicyclists, who were killed by a distracted driver. Distracted drivers may be liable for New Hampshire car accidents caused by their negligent driving.

Distracted driving occurs whenever a driver diverts their attention from driving and paying attention to the road to something else. Common distracted driving behaviors include texting while driving, dialing a number on a cell phone, eating, changing the music on a device, watching a video, tending to passengers or animals, and fatigue. These behaviors can have potentially deadly consequences for everyone on the road.

For example, recently, a national news report described the harrowing details of a fatal accident that occurred because a driver was texting. A woman was texting her husband about their dinner plans when she rear-ended the car in front of her. As a result of the impact, the vehicle that she rear-ended crashed into a woman who was taking a walk while on a work break. Tragically, the pedestrian died a few days after the collision. The texting driver stated that she only looked down for a moment, and when she looked up, the car was right in front of her. A jury found the woman guilty of vehicular manslaughter, and she is facing up to 10 years in prison, in addition to possible civil claims.

In 2002, New Hampshire lawmakers passed Jessica’s Law in response to the tragic death of a 20-year-old woman who died when ice flew off a moving truck, hitting another truck, which then collided with the young woman’s vehicle. The woman’s mother lobbied for the law to prevent other parents from having to suffer the tragedy that her family endured. The law allows police officers to fine drivers between $250 and $500 for first offenses, and $500 to $1,000 for subsequent violations. Moreover, drivers who fail to abide by this law and cause New Hampshire car accidents may face civil personal injury lawsuits as well. These negligent drivers may have to pay compensation for the damages that they caused.

These violations are taken seriously by police because the consequences of flying snow and ice can be deadly to New Hampshire drivers, motorists, and pedestrians. Flying snow and ice can cause property damage to other vehicles, vision obstruction, and loss of control. Statistics indicate that close to 2,000 deaths and 137,000 injuries occur each year related to icy and snowy road conditions. Snow and ice removal before traveling does not take much time and can go a long way toward preventing a potentially fatal situation.

In some cases, ice and snow accumulate while a driver is already on the road. To address these situations, safety experts recommend that drivers keep a roadside safety kit in their car. Some essential items in the kit include cables, blankets, ice scrapers, and kitty litter. These items can help drivers safely and quickly remove snow while they are on the go. Additionally, it is a good practice for drivers to check a vehicle’s brakes, batteries, lights, tires, and seat belts before the winter driving season.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, inclement weather, including snow and ice, is responsible for over 1,800 deaths and 136,000 injuries each year. Some car accidents are not preventable; however, many occur because drivers, property owners, and pedestrians do not take appropriate precautions when driving or walking through snow and ice. The high rate of weather-related car accidents should serve as a warning to drivers that it is crucial to operate their vehicles safely during these weather conditions.

New Hampshire drivers should make sure to prepare their vehicles for winter conditions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some steps that drivers can take to avoid a weather-related car accident are to clear off headlights and windshields, remove snow from their car, make sure that their car has enough antifreeze, and periodically inspect their tires. Drivers should also check weather reports to prepare for the road conditions and consider alternative routes, since bridges and overpasses may become icy before other surfaces do. Furthermore, drivers should take steps to improve their visibility by keeping their headlights on. Most importantly, drivers should reduce their speed and keep a safe distance from the car in front of them. The winter season brings both higher rates of vehicle travel and treacherous weather conditions, so drivers must engage in these safe behaviors. Recent reports indicate that many cities are urging their residents to take additional precautions when traveling during the holiday season. Some are suggesting that residents use public transportation and evaluate whether travel is necessary or safe.

When New Hampshire drivers engage in unsafe driving behaviors, they may be liable for the injuries that their actions cause. Accidents can occur when snow and ice fly off car roofs, when a driver follows too closely, or when their excessive speed causes a collision. Additionally, New Hampshire has statutes in place that require property owners to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of their property. This means that property owners that do not rely on commercial salt applicators must ensure that their property is salted for people visiting their property.

When injuries happen as a result of a New Hampshire car accident, there can be seriously large medical bills resulting in accident victims suffering a financial strain. In an ideal world, the at-fault driver’s insurance company would cover the costs incurred by the accident’s victims. However, while New Hampshire law requires drivers to have auto insurance, there may be times that the at-fault drivers are either uninsured or underinsured and therefore cannot pay fully for the harm caused. Currently, in New Hampshire, recent statistics indicate that about 9% of drivers don’t have any car insurance.

To solve this problem, New Hampshire requires that all drivers who purchase auto-insurance also purchase Uninsured Motorists Coverage of the same amount. This coverage will help drivers cover the costs of injuries that result from an accident with an at-fault uninsured or underinsured driver. It will also protect drivers from hit-and-runs, where the victim has no chance to discover who the at-fault driver is. However, what happens if a driver’s Uninsured Motorists Coverage is still not enough to cover all the costs?

Under New Hampshire law, accident victims may be entitled to “stack” their Uninsured Motorist Coverage limits if they purchased the insurance for more than one vehicle. For instance, a couple may purchase auto insurance, and thus Uninsured Motorists Coverage as well, for both of their vehicles and have coverage of up to $50,000 per vehicle. If the husband is then in a crash with an uninsured driver, and his resulting medical bills are $80,000, the $50,000 will not cover it all. Depending on his insurance policy, however, he may be able to stack the coverage from his wife’s car as well, which adds up to $100,000 and would allow him to cover the $80,000.

When a New Hampshire driver suffers injuries or property damage in a car accident, they are entitled to seek damages from the party or parties they believe to be responsible for their injuries. One of the first steps to recovering losses is to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. This process may raise some challenges, especially when the other party is underinsured or uninsured. Under state law, New Hampshire drivers must obtain the appropriate amount of car insurance coverage. Having sufficient insurance coverage is particularly important in instances where the other party is either unknown or unable to compensate the injured driver fully.

There are generally nine types of coverage that are available to New Hampshire drivers. The types of coverage are, auto liability, bodily injury, property damage, uninsured or underinsured bodily injury, medical payments, collision, comprehensive, towing and labor, and rental reimbursement expenses. Motorists often do not realize that many New Hampshire drivers lack adequate insurance, and this can result in a financial burden to the injured driver and their passengers, even if they are not at fault for causing a collision.

New Hampshire does not require that motorists obtain liability auto car insurance. However, New Hampshire’s car insurance law mandates uninsured drivers to have adequate assets to pay damages if they cause an accident. Uninsured New Hampshire drivers may risk license suspension if they cause an accident with more than $1000 of damages and cannot pay compensation to the injured party.

Three people lost their lives in a tragic New Hampshire Car accident, according to a recent news source. Evidently, the crash occurred when the vehicle carrying all three victims was traveling northbound on a New Hampshire interstate. The vehicle inexplicably left the road from the left-most lane of travel. Police told reporters that another vehicle “may have merged” in front of them.

The victims’ car swerved into the median and rolled over, throwing all occupants out of the vehicle. The accident occurred around 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Responding police officers are not sure who was driving the vehicle containing the three victims, as all three were thrown from the vehicle and none were believed to be wearing a seat belt. Police did not suspect that anyone was impaired by drugs or alcohol, but the crash is still being investigated and police are requesting the help of additional witnesses.

In a New Hampshire personal injury case, there are different types of damages a plaintiff may be able to recover. The first category of damages is generally referred to as economic damages. They generally cover the costs associated with the plaintiff’s injuries caused by the accident. These damages can include medical bills and other past medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost employment wages, loss of earning capacity, and other generally quantifiable damages.

A local New Hampshire news report indicated that a driver involved in a head-on collision is facing reckless conduct charges. State police reported that the 21-year-old driver crossed through a center line on a New Hampshire road and collided with another driver. The at-fault motorist was arrested and then taken to a local hospital for treatment of the injuries he sustained in the accident. Both the young driver’s passenger and the woman driving the vehicle he collided with sustained severe injuries. They were transported to the hospital for life-threatening injuries. State police explained that the case is still under investigation to determine why the young man crossed through the center line.

Under New Hampshire law, a criminal reckless conduct charge is taken very seriously and can carry significant penalties, including jail time and significant fines. Moreover, if a New Hampshire driver is injured because of another’s reckless or aggressive driving, they can pursue civil remedies and may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Under state law, drivers are required to operate their vehicles with ordinary and reasonable care. Ordinary and reasonable care means that drivers should follow posted speed limits, safely change lanes, keep a safe following distance, properly pass other drivers, and not engage in reckless or aggressive driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains that aggressive driving occurs when an individual operates a vehicle in a way that endangers or is likely to endanger someone or their property. Further, New Hampshire law specifies that reckless driving includes driving in a manner that poses a “substantial and unjustifiable” risk to others when the driver knew of the attendant dangers and disregarded them. Some common scenarios that may result in a reckless driving charge are street racing, speeding over 100 mph, and swerving through traffic at a high speed. These behaviors are likely to result in severe injuries to passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. If an aggressive driver’s behavior causes an accident and injuries, they should be held liable for the resulting damages.

New Hampshire car accidents claim upwards of 90 lives per year. Many of these accidents involve the fault of multiple parties. As we have discussed in previous posts, New Hampshire uses the modified comparative fault doctrine when determining whether an accident victim can recover for their injuries. Under this doctrine, an accident victim can pursue a New Hampshire personal injury claim, so long as their fault is less than the combined fault of all defendants. In other words, as long as the accident victim was less than 50% at fault for the accident, they can bring a claim.

Not surprisingly, given how the comparative fault doctrine works, defendants frequently claim that an accident was not their fault, but was instead caused by the plaintiff’s negligence. One question that often arises is whether a defendant can point to a plaintiff’s failure to wear a seat belt as evidence of the plaintiff’s negligence. In New Hampshire, the answer is “no.”

Almost every state in the U.S. has at least some kind of law specifying when motorists need to wear their seat belt. In fact, New Hampshire is the only state with no seat belt law on the books. (Note: children are required to be safely secured in car seats, and minors under the age of 18 are required to wear a seat belt). Not surprisingly, in a recent study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, researchers found that just 69% of New Hampshire motorists wear their seat belts compared to 86% of motorists nationwide.

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