Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Planes are one of the safest forms of travel. However, small private planes sometimes fly too high or get caught in inclement weather. Unfortunately, these complications can have tragic consequences.

A recent plane crash involving New Hampshire residents shows the devastating toll a plane crash can take on a victim’s loved ones. As two recent news articles reported, family members are grieving after a plane crash killed a New Hampshire mother and daughter, along with their nanny and the pilot. The accident occurred near Waynesboro, Virginia, when a private plane went unresponsive to attempts by U.S. fighter jets and civilian aircraft to make contact. Crash investigators believe the pilot and passengers went unresponsive due to hypoxia, a shortage of oxygen that occurs when a plane reaches too high an altitude.

Can You Recover Damages for the Loss of a Loved One?

If you have lost a loved one in a New Hampshire accident, you may be able to hold the at-fault party responsible in court by bringing a wrongful death claim. Under New Hampshire law, a person can file a wrongful death lawsuit if they have an interest in the deceased person’s estate. In practice, this often includes the deceased’s immediate family. A deceased victim’s loved one can sue a defendant so long as the victim would be able to sue had they survived. In essence, a wrongful death claim puts plaintiffs in the victim’s shoes as if the victim brought the claim. However, in addition to the usual damages available in a negligence suit, the deceased’s spouse can also pursue damages for loss of consortium. This term refers to the loss of the deceased’s companionship and comfort. When bringing a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must show it is more likely than not that the defendant was at fault for the victim’s death.

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In New Hampshire, there are various claims a person can bring if he or she suffers damages from a car accident. One of the most difficult and, unfortunately, the most common, cases we encounter in our practice is a wrongful death claim, which allows family members of a deceased car crash victim to sue for monetary compensation in light of their loved one’s death.

Recently, a crash in Rollinsford, New Hampshire, left four people dead – two upon impact and two after short stints in the hospital. Police officers reported that a 2014 Subaru Forrester crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with a 2010 Dodge Caravan. Tragically, one of the drivers and one of the passengers involved in the crash were pronounced dead at the scene. The remaining two individuals were transported to the hospital, where they later died from accident-related injuries. Reports thus far have not included details on potential causes of the accident.

In general, when family members grieve from accidents of this nature, there can be a lot to think through and consider. And while filing a wrongful death claim can often be the last thing on a loved one’s mind, it is important to fully evaluate options moving forward. In many states, wrongful death claims are only available for immediate family members. In New Hampshire, however, anyone with a legal interest in the deceased person’s estate is eligible to file a wrongful death claim.

Too often in our practice, we meet with clients who are injured because one driver violated what seemed (at the time) to be a minor traffic law. Unfortunately, these apparently minor violations can have dire consequences, injuring and even killing other drivers and passengers on the road.

According to a news article from early September, one driver’s snap decision to cross a yellow line ended up killing another driver on a New Hampshire highway. Around 7:30pm one evening, a white sedan and a dark-colored Jeep collided head-on after one of the vehicles crossed the yellow line. Each of the cars had one driver and one passenger, and three of the individuals were immediately rushed to the hospital when emergency responders arrived at the scene.

Police officers closed the highway for approximately five hours as they cared for the victims and cleaned up the damage from the roadway. Shortly after the accident, one of the women involved tragically died due to injuries suffered at the scene.

Too often in our practice, we see firsthand how one seemingly minor mistake can have dire consequences. Unfortunately, driving is an inherently dangerous activity, and when drivers fail to obey traffic laws, it often affects other drivers and passengers on the road for the worse.

Recently, a driver in a 2006 Toyota Camry was driving eastbound on a major highway when it crossed over a yellow line and into the westbound lane. A second driver in a Jeep was going westbound on the same road and the two cars collided. Emergency responders immediately arrived at the scene to survey the damage and to address the needs of the two drivers and their passengers. Three people were rushed to the hospital, two of them flown by helicopter. One of the women was eventually pronounced dead.

It took police officers approximately five hours to re-open the part of the road where the accident occurred. Even as traffic began operating as usual, though, the families of the woman who died mourned her death and worked with investigators to figure out exactly what happened to cause the collision. Reports thus far have not indicated on whether any alcohol was involved in the accident.

Car crashes of any type can upend and disrupt families’ and victims’ lives, work, and finances. But when an entire family is killed or injured in an accident, the fallout can be catastrophic. While many families can lean on friends, family, and the community for help in this trying and devastating time, often the resulting financial strain can be too much to bear.

According to a recent article, a New Hampshire family is suffering and grieving after being involved in a three-car collision in Albany. An 8-year-old son passed away in the crash, while his 11-year old brother and both parents were seriously injured. Police are investigating the accident, and not much is publicly known. A Ford F550 collided with the Kia belonging to the family, which then collided with a Volvo. According to a GoFundMe page posted by friends of the family, the mother suffered a broken arm and pelvis, the father is recovering from nearly all of his ribs being crushed, and the surviving son suffered a broken ankle.

Navigating New Hampshire Wrongful Death Claims

Although financial damages do very little to repair grieving families, those who are injured and emotionally drained should be able to navigate this time without financial distress. Unlike other states, any person interested in the estate of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim in New Hampshire, so long as the death was caused by an individual or person acting carelessly.

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There are few experiences as harrowing as losing a loved one to a preventable accident. When this occurs, the accident victim’s family may be able to recover damages against the negligent party. This includes individuals, businesses, and even government entities. New Hampshire’s wrongful death statute governs situations when death results from another’s careless, negligent or wrongful act. Wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury claims, except they are filed on behalf of the deceased person. These claims can proceed regardless of whether there are any criminal charges brought against the negligent party.

Wrongful death lawsuits often stem from motor vehicle accidents, incidents of medical, and other situations where someone’s negligence causes another’s injury. For instance, recently, a new source described the tragic death of a 15-year-old girl in a New Hampshire car accident. The girl was a passenger in a Toyota whose 17-year-old driver lost control and crossed into oncoming traffic. An oncoming vehicle struck the Toyota, and the girl was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The 17-year-old was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, and the 15-year-old girl later died at the hospital.

An accident victim’s living relatives or beneficiaries may be able to file a wrongful death claim. However, under New Hampshire’s wrongful death statute § 556.19, anyone with a legal interest in the victim’s estate may file a claim. Nevertheless, parties must abide by the state’s statute of limitations to ensure that the court will hear their claim. Generally, New Hampshire wrongful death cases must be filed within three years from the date of death. However, it is essential that claimants contact an attorney as soon as possible. These cases often require an in-depth investigation and analysis to ensure that the claimants recover what they deserve.

Car accidents can take place in a variety of ways. From the regular fender bender to a T-bone collision, collisions can vary in severity as well. When it comes to head-on crashes, however, the outcome is almost always deadly. When two cars driving at high speeds crash directly into each other from opposite directions, the results can be devastating. Thus, when these accidents take place, those who are responsible must be held accountable.

According to a local news report, two drivers died after a head-on crash took place in Merrimack, New Hampshire. A Honda and an Audi crashed into each other directly from opposite directions and both drivers were pronounced dead on the scene. When local authorities arrived, one of the vehicles was engulfed in flames. Following the accident, the roadway was shut down for two hours and the accident blocked all three travel lanes. There were no witnesses to the events leading up to the crash, so the accident remains under investigation to determine the cause.

In New Hampshire, when these deadly accidents take place and you lose a loved one in the process, filing a lawsuit or a claim against the responsible party may be the furthest thing from your mind. New Hampshire laws, however, provide that a wrongful death claim can be filed when the at-fault party committed a negligent, reckless, or intentional act and it resulted in another person’s death. Wrongful death claims are considered civil claims analogous to personal injury claims. When you bring a claim on behalf of the deceased individual, you may be eligible for compensation.

New Hampshire state laws and federal laws maintain several statutes relevant to victim’s rights and compensation after an injury. However, in the criminal trial process, New Hampshire’s victims’ compensation program rarely provides victims and families with the financial assistance they require after an injury or accident. Although no amount of money can ever fully compensate a victim or their loved one after a serious accident, the state’s civil compensation laws can help a New Hampshire accident victim work towards becoming whole again.

After an accident, a New Hampshire injury victim can recover general and economic damages. Damages usually involve losses related to medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. General damages refer to intangible losses that result because of another’s negligence. These damages typically include losses related to emotional distress, pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, permanent physical disabilities, and reduced quality of life. In contrast, economic damages are tangible losses related to the costs associated with home or personal care, past and prospective medical expenses, loss of wages, and reduced lifelong earning capacity.

Many states maintain punitive damages statutes that work to compensate victims in cases where the defendant acted with malice or egregiously. New Hampshire courts have a long-standing history of refusing to award punitive damages, and essentially outlawed these damages in 2015. In addressing the public’s concern that there are situations where these awards are necessary, the state offers enhanced compensatory damages instead of punitive damages. The doctrine allows courts to award supplemental or enhanced damages when the defendant’s conduct was “wanton, malicious, or oppressive.” These damages undergo a detailed case-by-case analysis, and plaintiffs should retain an attorney to ensure that they appropriately present a compelling case for enhanced compensatory damages.

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.

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