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.
Generally, New Hampshire waives its immunity to tort and contract liability. However, The State maintains its immunity for several claims stemming from:
- The exercise or a judicial or legislative duty
- An act or omission of a New Hampshire state employee or official when they were exercising due care in the execution of a New Hampshire law
- Discretionary functions that include executive or planning functions; and
- Intentional torts such as assault, libel, and slander
Although New Hampshire allows specific claims against the government, they do impose limitations on recovery. New Hampshire damage cap statutes provide that damage awards arising out of a single incident cannot exceed $475,000 per plaintiff and $3,750,000 per occurrence, or the proceeds from an insurance award, whichever is higher. Further, states are not liable for any punitive damages.
Have You Suffered Injuries and Damages Because of a Negligent New Hampshire Government Entity?
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries or death because of the negligence of a New Hampshire governmental agency or employee, contact the injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates. The attorneys at our law firm have a long history of successfully advocating on behalf of New Hampshire injury victims. We represent clients in a variety of cases, including New Hampshire car accidents, truck accidents, workplace injuries, and defective products. Our attorneys possess the skills and experience to handle even the most challenging cases. We have recovered significant compensation on behalf of our clients, which have included payments for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and other economic and non-economic damages. We continue to represent clients during the COVID-19 pandemic diligently. Contact our office at 800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our law firm.