Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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.

Attorneys play a vital role during New Hampshire personal injury lawsuits. Civil litigators, ordinarily known as personal injury attorneys, represent clients who have suffered injuries because of another’s negligence or carelessness. These attorneys handle New Hampshire claims stemming from catastrophic accidents, slip-and-falls, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, and other incidents that result in economic and non-economic damages. In many instances, personal injury cases are complex and require a thorough understanding of nuanced tort law. Personal injury attorneys provide critical assistance to those individuals seeking compensation for their injuries.

The professional rules of conduct provide attorneys with ethical rules they must abide by in representing their clients. These rules serve as a foundation to ensure that the attorneys provide their clients with the best possible representation. Additionally, these rules shape an attorney’s role and define their obligations. The most important rule is that attorneys must maintain a commitment to protect their client’s interests.

Commitment to a client includes taking steps to interview the client, reviewing records, interviewing witnesses, investigating the scene of the accident, reviewing applicable rules of law, and representing the client in settlement negotiations and potential litigation. In some cases, especially those involving multiple parties, settlement negotiations and litigation can become a long and drawn-out process. Dedicated attorneys can provide clients with assistance throughout every step of the process.

Accidents happen every day. When these accidents result in a fatality, however, those who are survived by the deceased accident victim may have the ability to file a New Hampshire wrongful death claim in court. These claims can often be complex, and like other states, New Hampshire has state-specific rules governing who can file such claims and what damages and remedies are available for the parties who decide to bring these claims to court.

According to a recent news report, a local New Hampshire man was arrested after a roadway accident killed the passenger on his motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle failed to account for a curve in the roadway and lost control. After losing control, the driver and his passenger were both thrown from the motorcycle off the shoulder of the roadway where his passenger sustained fatal injuries from the crash. The driver sustained life-threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital where he was charged with negligent homicide. The investigation into the crash is still ongoing, but local authorities reported that alcohol was potentially a factor in the crash.

To advance a successful wrongful death claim in New Hampshire, one must first be eligible to bring such a claim to court. New Hampshire allows wrongful death suits to be filed in cases where the “negligent, reckless, or intentional act” of another party causes death. Wrongful death claims are just like other personal injury claims, except the injured person is deceased and no longer able to bring a suit on their own for damages. Instead, the deceased’s estate or family must file on their behalf.

Nothing can bring back a loved one who was lost in a senseless accident. However, when someone is tragically killed in a car accident, or any other type of preventable accident, the family of the deceased accident victim may be entitled to compensation for their losses through a New Hampshire wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits are similar to traditional personal injury claims, in that the person bringing the case must prove that the named defendant was legally negligent. Wrongful death cases are common following truck accidents, nursing home abuse, and instances of medical malpractice.

In this context, the word “negligent” refers to a legal cause of action. To establish that defendant was negligent, a plaintiff must show, 1.) that the defendant owed the accident victim a duty of care; 2.) by some action or omission, the defendant breached that duty; 3.) the defendant’s breach was the cause of the accident victim’s injuries, and; 4.) the accident victim suffered some type of compensable harm. Of course, in the context of a wrongful death claim, the fourth element is not at issue.

Wrongful death claims can provide families with much-needed compensation after the loss of a loved one. Under New Hampshire’s wrongful death law, the damages that are available depend to some degree on the nature of the relationship between the person and the accident victim. For example, common damages in all wrongful death claims include:

Many popular baby product brands who sell infant recliners are receiving intense scrutiny after several babies have died while using these products. These products were designed with incorrect and unsafe beliefs about infant sleep, and as a result, many families have suffered traumatic losses. Under New Hampshire products liability laws, families whose babies have died using a baby infant sleeper may be entitled to monetary compensation for their damages.

Although, many of these companies boasted that these products were a useful remedy for infants who had sleeping difficulties because of acid reflux, experts contend that there is no scientific evidence that an incline is helpful for this condition. Further, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to abide by safe sleep guidelines. These guidelines include always placing infants on their backs on a flat, firm surface without any objects in the area. They report that deviating from these standards can result in suffocation and subsequent brain injury or death. Despite the AAP’s baby sleep guidelines, Fisher-Price continued to market its products as a “sleeper.”

In April 2019, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a consumer warning advising parents not to use their highly-reviewed Rock n’ Play infant sleeper. The CPSC, in conjunction with the AAP, urged the company to issue a recall following several reports that babies died while sleeping unrestrained in the recliner. Following intense pressure and negative exposure, the company voluntarily issued a recall, allowing customers to receive a voucher or refund for their product.

New Hampshire has a wealth of beautiful lakes and coastline, making the state a popular location for boaters and tourists. Boating is a fun and exciting leisure activity, but without proper education and training, the activity can have disastrous consequences. New Hampshire boating accidents can result in injuries to the boat’s drivers, passengers, and those enjoying water sports. Negligent New Hampshire boat drivers may face severe criminal and civil consequences, including jail time, fines, and personal injury claims.

New Hampshire boaters must have a state boating license or certificate; however, if they do not, they must complete a classroom course and pass a supervised exam. Additionally, New Hampshire law prohibits boaters from operating their boats under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a boater’s blood alcohol level (BAC) is .08 or higher, they may face a criminal Boating Under the Influence (BUI) charge in addition to civil liability for injuries they caused. Boating injuries may be the result of other boating accidents, as well. Some common situations that may result in injuries are when a boat hits a wave, another boat’s wake, or a submerged object. The boat itself may be dangerous if it has defective equipment or slippery surfaces. Further, individuals may suffer more severe injuries when a boat does not have adequate safety equipment on board.

A recent news report illustrates the deadly consequences a boating accident can have. Recently, two New Hampshire men died in a boating accident on Lake Winnipesaukee. New Hampshire emergency personnel arrived at the scene after receiving reports that a boat was adrift. Reports indicate that there was a female passenger aboard the boat suffering from severe injuries, and the boat’s operator, who was pronounced dead at the scene. While responding to the scene, helicopters and divers found a deceased man on a submerged boat. Witnesses indicated that two vessels collided with each other. Details are few, and police report that they are still investigating the cause of the accident and determining which boats were involved.

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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