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.
Once a claim is filed, the plaintiff must establish that the named defendant was legally negligent to recover for their loss. This requires a showing that the defendant was negligent or reckless in bringing about the death of the plaintiff’s loved one. A New Hampshire wrongful death plaintiff can prove negligence or recklessness in several ways, including by showing that the defendant violated a traffic law or otherwise failed to exercise reasonable care while driving.
If a plaintiff is successful in their claim against the defendant, they are eligible for several types of damages awards, including compensation for their pain and suffering, reasonable medical and funeral expenses, as well as the compensation that the accident victim would have been expected to earn in their lifetime. Courts permit surviving spouses to recover additional compensation for the loss of the comfort, care, companionship and guidance of the deceased. These damages are capped at $150,000.
Have You Lost a Loved One in a New Hampshire Car Accident?
If you have recently lost a loved one in a New Hampshire car accident, the compassionate yet aggressive attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates can help. Attorney Peter Thompson has dedicated his career to helping accident victims recover financial compensation for their injuries, and has assembled a team of like-minded attorneys from the top of their respective practices. To learn more about how Peter Thompson & Associates can help you with your situation, call 800-804-2004 to schedule a free consultation today.