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.
Enhanced compensatory damages are often relevant after a drunk driving accident. Historically, drunk driving alone has not been enough to amount to an award of these damages, but rather some additional wanton or reckless conduct, such as speeding, must have been present. These damages are necessary because, in certain instances, the criminal system does not appropriately punish a defendant for their actions. For instance, recently, a news report described a New Hampshire mother’s plea asking legislatures to increase the sentences of those responsible for fatal DWI accidents. Her actions were prompted after her son’s death by a drunk driver operating his vehicle with a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a New Hampshire Accident?
If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries or died in a New Hampshire accident, contact Peter Thomspon & Associates for assistance. Our law firm attorneys have years of experience successfully representing New Hampshire injury victims in their claims for general, economic, and enhanced compensatory damages. We understand that no amount of money can erase the trauma and grief many people experience after an accident; however, we work to ensure that victims receive the compensation they deserve. Our office handles cases involving New Hampshire motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, defective products, medical negligence, and more. Contact our office at (800) 804-2004.