The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one of the leading causes of death for New Hampshire children, teens, and young adults are motor vehicle accidents. According to the New Hampshire State Police, the majority of fatal car accidents are the result of impaired driving, distracted driving, and the failure to abide by traffic and safety laws. In a recent study, the Insurance Information Institute (III), found over 10 percent of these accidents were head-on collisions.

Frontal crashes or head-on collisions typically occur when one vehicle was on the wrong side of the road and collides into an oncoming car. These accidents usually happen when a person improperly drives down a one-way road or highway, or if they were driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Head-on collisions often result in severe injuries and damages because of the nature of the impact. Individuals or representatives of those who suffer injuries in a New Hampshire head-on collision may be able to recover for their damages against the at-fault driver.

New Hampshire head-on collision victims who wish to recover for their losses must be able to establish that the other party was negligent. Under New Hampshire’s negligence per se standards, an at-fault party may be liable for violating a statute that was designed to prevent the same type of harm the plaintiff suffered. This theory may be applicable in cases where the at-fault party was texting and driving or failing to keep to the right side of the road. In these instances, proof that the at-fault driver was engaging in these behaviors is sufficient to show negligence. In cases where negligence per se does not apply, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant did not meet the standard of care in operating their vehicle, and the result was injuries to the plaintiff.

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.

Head-on car accidents can wreak havoc on the lives of New Hampshire residents. Because of the angle and speed of the two vehicles, these accidents are often deadly, meaning drivers should always be on guard when driving on one-way streets and aware of the possibility that a car may cross the median.

A recent tragedy from last month illustrates the danger associated with these accidents. According to a local news report covering the incident, the at-fault driver, a 43-year-old woman in a 2017 Volvo, was driving north on I-495 southbound just after 8:30 p.m. on a Saturday night when she crashed headfirst into a 2018 Chevrolet driven by a 27-year-old man. Tragically, both drivers were pronounced dead on the scene. The Chevrolet’s passenger, an 83-year-old woman, was transported to the hospital immediately, where she remains in critical condition. The crash led to the highway being closed for about three hours as authorities investigated the scene and tried to reconstruct the accident to determine what happened. The incident remains under investigation today.

Tragic instances such as this one are a sobering reminder of how quickly life can change, and how one New Hampshire car accident can change people’s lives forever. Many people do not ever think that their lives will be uprooted by someone else’s careless mistake, and suddenly find themselves unsure what to do when they are injured in a car accident. Although nothing can undo the damage these accidents cause, New Hampshire law does provide accident victims an avenue for monetary relief: filing a civil negligence suit. These suits can be filed against a responsible driver when they, for instance, drive the wrong way on a highway.

Nothing can bring back a loved one who was lost in a senseless accident. However, when someone is tragically killed in a car accident, or any other type of preventable accident, the family of the deceased accident victim may be entitled to compensation for their losses through a New Hampshire wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits are similar to traditional personal injury claims, in that the person bringing the case must prove that the named defendant was legally negligent. Wrongful death cases are common following truck accidents, nursing home abuse, and instances of medical malpractice.

In this context, the word “negligent” refers to a legal cause of action. To establish that defendant was negligent, a plaintiff must show, 1.) that the defendant owed the accident victim a duty of care; 2.) by some action or omission, the defendant breached that duty; 3.) the defendant’s breach was the cause of the accident victim’s injuries, and; 4.) the accident victim suffered some type of compensable harm. Of course, in the context of a wrongful death claim, the fourth element is not at issue.

Wrongful death claims can provide families with much-needed compensation after the loss of a loved one. Under New Hampshire’s wrongful death law, the damages that are available depend to some degree on the nature of the relationship between the person and the accident victim. For example, common damages in all wrongful death claims include:

A local news outlet recently reported on important updates in the tragic New Hampshire truck accident that took the lives of seven motorcyclists. Last June, a truck driver crossed into a double yellow line and killed seven motorcyclists. The man admitted that he was reaching for a drink when he swerved into the other lane. Further, police reports indicate that the man appeared impaired at the time of the accident, and an investigation revealed that the man had narcotics or amphetamines in his system at the time of the collision. Despite a lengthy and disturbing unsafe driving history, police permitted the man to leave the scene of the accident. However, he was arrested several days later in Massachusetts.

In addition to criminal charges, the man and his employer are facing several civil lawsuits. One of the survivors filed a complaint seeking monetary compensation for his personal injuries, including pain and suffering, financial losses, and medical expenses. The man’s wife is also seeking loss of consortium damages. New Hampshire allows loss of consortium claims by a spouse or family member of a person who has suffered serious injuries or death because of a defendant’s negligence. The claim is based on the idea that because of the defendant’s conduct, the injury victim cannot provide their family member or spouse with the same companionship, comfort, or sexual relations that they could before the accident. Typically, judges and juries only award these damages if the person injured suffers a permanent or long-lasting and severe injury.

Additionally, the truck driver’s employer is facing negligence charges because the truck driver was operating as an employee when the accident occurred. The plaintiffs contended that the truck driver’s employer should be responsible because they negligently hired the driver despite his many arrests and license suspensions. A judge denied the company’s request to dismiss the lawsuit.

After several months of investigation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that manufacturers of over-the-counter and prescription drugs containing ranitidine, such as Zantac, must immediately pull their products from the market. The FDA’s announcement comes after researchers discovered that many of these drugs contain unsafe levels of a contaminant, commonly referred to as NDMA. New Hampshire individuals who suffered injuries after consuming an unsafe medication, such as Zantac, may have a claim for damages under the state’s product liability laws.

Despite numerous studies indicating the link between ranitidine and cancer, for years, doctors and pharmacists have recommended these drugs for heartburn, stomach pains, and gastrointestinal issues. Moreover, evidence suggests that to protect their financial interest, some pharmaceutical companies concealed the link between cancer and the products for several years.

The FDA began conducting more extensive preliminary testing of the products’ NDMA levels after an online retailer alerted the agency of the extremely high levels of the cancer-causing agent in their products. Although, many food and drinks contain small levels of NDMA, the agency warns that the drugs in issue contain levels that are unsafe for human consumption. Some of the samples they tested contained insignificant levels of the contaminant; however, others had significant levels of the impurity. They discovered that the impurity level increased when the product was left out at higher temperatures for more extended periods.

In New Hampshire, motorists involved in a car accident may be held liable for the damages caused by their negligence. The state’s “at-fault” laws allow injury victims to recover from third-parties, such as insurance companies, as long as they can prove that the policyholder is liable for their losses. However, insurance companies typically look out for their own best financial interest and will go to great lengths to reduce or dispute an injury victim’s claim. Therefore, New Hampshire car accident victims must understand and apply the best theories to their case.

Under New Hampshire law, injury victims who wish to recover for their damages must prove that the defendant was negligent. To prove negligence, the plaintiffs must establish that the defendant owed them a duty to keep them safe, and they breached that duty. Generally, plaintiffs must be able to prove the standard of care that a defendant owed them and present evidence that a reasonable person would have been more prudent in the same situation. In some instances, plaintiffs may accomplish this by establishing that the defendant was “negligent per se.

Negligence per se applies when a person causes an injury while they were violating a law that was designed to protect the public. For example, the theory applies in situations where a person causes an injury while they were driving under the influence, speeding, driving recklessly, or running a red light. Negligence per se allows the inference that the defendant was negligent, thus allowing the plaintiff an easier path to recovery. In these cases, the fact finder does not have to consider whether the defendant’s behavior was unreasonable. Instead, the defendant’s actions are deemed unreasonable because they violated a rule, regulation, or statute. In these cases, there is a presumptive standard of care, so juries will only need to determine whether the defendant violated the applicable law and then whether the defendant’s violation caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

According to a recent New York Times article, the Trump administration proposed loosening regulations that govern nursing homes. Many of the federal regulations at issue are designed to control the spread of deadly infections, such as COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus. New Hampshire nursing homes and assisted living facilities provide a variety of medical and personal care services to individuals who cannot manage their health and safety. Although many long-term care facilities (LTCF’s) fail to provide complete and accurate information, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 to 3 million serious infections occur every year at these facilities. Infections often include deadly staph infections, gastrointestinal diseases, and urinary tract infections. These infections are the leading cause of hospitalization and death in the United States.

Years before coronavirus began ravaging the country’s nursing homes, LTCF’s were struggling to abide by the CDC’s necessary infection prevention regulations. These crucial regulations are critical in preventing the spread of viruses and bacteria commonly found at these facilities. The CDC provides that staff and visitors at these facilities exhibit good infection and control techniques. These techniques include washing hands before and after touching residents, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, removing soiled textiles quickly and safely, and wearing personal protective equipment. Further, residents can take steps to prevent the spread of disease by thoroughly cleaning their hands before eating and use the restroom, ensuring that wounds are covered with bandages, covering their mouths with their elbows when sneezing or coughing, taking medication as prescribed, and following isolation directions.

Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services established increasingly stringent guidance for LTCFs. They are advising inspectors to investigate whether employees were following safety precautions thoroughly. However, this comes after the Trump administration’s proposal to relax nursing home rules. Although the relaxed rules may save the nursing home industry millions of dollars a year, the consequences can be dire and potentially fatal. These relaxed rules result in lower fines for LTCFs who violate safety rules.

Many New Hampshire homes were built years ago, and although these residences come with a certain charm, they may also pose serious dangers to residents. One common health hazard that individuals may suffer related to these homes is exposure to lead and lead poisoning. Lead paint was commonly used in New Hampshire homes before Congress’ ban in 1978.

Studies suggest that almost 40 million homes in the United States built before the 60s contain lead paint. Many of the homes containing a concerning amount of lead paint include children under six years old. This is alarming because exposure to lead paint can lead to lead poisoning, which can cause severe permanent damage.

Recently, an appellate court in New Hampshire issued an opinion in a consolidated action between a landlord seeking unpaid rent and tenants who alleged that their children suffered harm as a result of lead exposure while living in the landlord’s property. The couple moved into the landlord’s apartment when their twin children were one year old. Several months later, the parents became concerned about developmental delays. At their check-up, both children received lead testing, which revealed elevated levels. The family moved out of the residence, and their landlord filed an action against them, seeking unpaid rent. The family presented expert evidence suggesting that the children’s delays were related to lead in the apartment. The landlord argued that the expert’s finding should be excluded because his methodology was unsupported by medical literature. The appellate court ultimately remanded the case, but found that experts in these cases are not required to base their opinions on one specific type of methodology, so long as their methods are reliable.

Winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding are a way of life for many in New Hampshire and throughout the Northeast. And while skiing and snowboarding are great ways to get exercise and experience the outdoors, there are also certain risks involved in these activities. Some of these risks are inherent in the sport itself, however, many risks can be greatly magnified when ski resorts fail to take the necessary precautions to ensure that the lifts and ski runs are safe for guests.

Of course, ski resorts should take all steps to make the resort safe. However, each year there are hundreds of people who are seriously injured in New Hampshire ski accidents. While some of these accidents involve the negligence of a skier or snowboarder, many would have otherwise been preventable had the resort exercised reasonable caution. However, under New Hampshire premises liability law, some ski resorts may be immune from liability based on the state’s “ski immunity” statute.

In part because the ski tourism industry is such a vital part of the state’s economy, lawmakers have passed certain statutes that shield ski resorts from liability. Specifically, section 225-A:24 states that “Each person who participates in the sport of skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, and snowshoeing accepts as a matter of law, the dangers inherent in the sport,” and cannot bring a lawsuit against a resort based on these “inherent risks, dangers or hazards.”

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