Driving while impaired (DWI) refers to operating a vehicle while under the influence of any substance that impairs the driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that higher numbers of drunk driving deaths generally tend to be in more populated states. However, the most recent 2021 New Hampshire statistics indicate that nearly 40% of all car accident fatalities involved alcohol. In addition to the myriad of issues this negligent conduct has on society as a whole, families directly impacted by drunk driving can face a lifetime of financial, emotional, and psychological struggles. As such, the law permits individuals to recover damages from driving while impaired and causing an accident.
Generally, New Hampshire law permits three types of damages to injury victims or their families:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Enhanced compensatory damages
The first two types of damages refer to the tangible and the intangible losses a person suffers because of another’s negligence or wrongful conduct. Generally, courts review and assess these damages by examining medical bills, receipts, invoices, medical records, and other documents.
New Hampshire courts award enhanced compensatory damages in lieu of punitive damages. While the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer, enhanced compensatory damages compensate the plaintiff for the aggravating circumstances surrounding their injuries. These damages generally only apply in cases where the plaintiff can prove that the other party engaged in gross negligence, wanton, malicious, or intentional conduct.
Drunk driving in itself does not automatically entitle a victim to these damages. However, certain cases are so egregious that a court may order the defendant to pay these types of damages. A New Hampshire news source recently described an accident that may illustrate a case that demands enhanced damages. According to reports, authorities charged a 37-year-old man with negligent homicide and DWI after swerving his pickup truck over a centerline and slamming into a smaller sedan. The sedan driver died upon impact, and a passenger suffered serious injuries. The court ordered the man to preventative detention. Prosecutors argue that his decision to drink for several hours on an empty stomach and get into his vehicle shows that he is a public danger.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a New Hampshire Drunk Driving Accident
If you or someone you know has suffered severe injuries or died because of another’s negligence, contact Peter Thompson & Associates. The injury lawyers at our office have extensive experience handling these emotionally daunting and challenging cases on behalf of New Hampshire injury victims. We provide clients with excellent guidance and representation throughout all stages of their claim. Our firm handles various types of New Hampshire personal injury and wrongful death cases, such as those stemming from auto accidents, slip-and-falls, dog bites, drowning accidents, medical negligence, and nursing home abuse and neglect. The lawyers on our team use their skills, knowledge, and experience to aggressively pursue compensation for each of our clients. Contact our office at 800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.