Historically, the concept of sovereign immunity provided federal and state governments with protection against lawsuits stemming from its negligence. Although the concept originated from British common law’s idea that the “King can do no wrong,” the notion persisted for centuries. This doctrine hindered New Hampshire injury victims from pursuing claims against governmental entities. However, a shift occurred when Congress passed the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA provides waivers for various tort claims against government entities.
The New Hampshire legislature has various statutory immunities in place designed to protect governmental entities and their agents. These statutes provide immunity from lawsuits for bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage. However, in response to the fundamental unfairness of these statutes, New Hampshire lawmakers provide some waivers to these immunities. These claims must abide by the strict notice and filing requirements. To avoid dismissal, potential plaintiffs should seek legal representation to assist them through these complex lawsuits.
New Hampshire law provides that plaintiffs who wish to sue the state must commence their lawsuit within three years. Plaintiffs must provide the relevant agency with written notice of their intent to sue within 180 days of the injury. The Board of Claims for the state will have jurisdiction over any claims alleging less than $5,000 in damages. The Superior Court maintains jurisdiction over claims that are more than $5,0000.