According to a recent news report, the driver who killed seven in a New Hampshire crash in June will face 23 criminal charges. The driver admitted to being under the influence of drugs when he crossed a double yellow line and slammed into seven motorcyclists, fatally injuring them. Prosecutors indicted the driver on seven counts of manslaughter, negligent homicide, and one count of aggravated driving while intoxicated and reckless conduct. In addition to the seven motorcyclists that the driver killed, he also seriously injured one other motorcyclist and placed 14 people in danger of bodily injury. The driver may face civil charges from the family members of the motorcyclists, along with a potential 30-year prison sentence.
According to statistics released by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health Services, New Hampshire motor vehicle crashes are the most common cause of severe bodily and fatal injuries in the state. In many cases, these accidents are the result of distracted or inattentive driving, speeding, or mechanical issues. However, many fatalities are the result of a driver driving while impaired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The injuries in these cases are typically the most severe and have the most devastating impact on the victim and their family.
Under New Hampshire law, injury victims who want to recover against another driver must establish that the driver was negligent and that negligence caused the victim’s injuries and damages. However, plaintiffs may be able to recover under the theory of negligence per se when the other party caused the accident because they were under the influence or impaired. Negligence per se applies when a party violates a law and causes injuries that the law was designed to prevent. When negligence per se applies, the defendant is determined to be legally negligent and the plaintiff need only prove that the defendant’s acts caused their injuries. For example, in this case, the driver admitted that the accident occurred while he was driving under the influence; therefore, the families may be able to recover damages based on negligence per se.
Plaintiffs in these cases may be able to recover three main types of damages; economic, non-economic, and enhanced compensatory damages. Economic damages include direct and indirect losses that the victims suffered because of the accident. This often includes losses related to home care, lost wages, and medical expenses. Non-economic damages are intangible losses. Intangible losses are things such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Finally, enhanced compensatory damages or punitive damages are awards designed to punish the culpable party. Typically, these are only available when the defendant’s behavior was malicious, oppressive, or wanton.
Have You Been Injured by a New Hampshire Drunk Driver?
If you or a loved one been injured by a New Hampshire drunk driver, you should contact the dedicated attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates. The New Hampshire accident attorneys at our firm understand how devastating these types of accidents can be and the lifelong impact that it can leave on everyone associated with the event. We have helped countless New Hampshire car accident victims get the compensation they deserve, including economic, non-economic damages, and, in some cases, enhanced damages. Contact our New Hampshire accident attorneys at 800-804-2004 to schedule your free consultation.