Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law
New Hampshire Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury law in New Hampshire falls under tort law, allowing you to pursue a lawsuit to recover damages from a person who intentionally or negligently hurts you. These claims may come from car accidents, negligent medical care, injuries on someone’s property, a defective product, or a number of other scenarios.
New Hampshire approaches aspects of injury claims differently than other states, so you may want to go over your case with an experienced attorney. For injuries in Concord, Manchester, Nashua, or anywhere else in the state, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the law to see how it may affect your rights and your options for seeking compensation.
Why Are New Hampshire Negligence Claims Different?
Generally, a personal injury claim based on negligence requires four elements to prove the person who hurt you is liable for your injuries. The other party:
- Owed you a duty to act reasonably within the interaction
- Breached their duty through their actions
- Caused your injury because of the way they acted
- Made you suffer damages as a result
When dealing with negligence injury claims, New Hampshire uses a modified version of the comparative negligence doctrine, meaning it considers any fault on your part as well. If you are 50% or less at fault, your compensation will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault. For example, if you are 40% at fault, you will only be able to recover 60% of the compensation. On the other hand, if you are found 51% or more at fault, you could not be compensated at all.
How Are New Hampshire Claims Processed?
Every personal injury lawsuit is unique depending on the facts, so it can be helpful to keep thorough records of bills, medical appointments, and time you miss from work to help build your claim as you move forward.
Your claim may be as simple as working with insurance companies to achieve a settlement, or it may lead to a lawsuit.
New Hampshire sets a time in which you have to bring a claim by your type of injury. The statute of limitations bases the time limit from the date of your injury, typically allowing three years to file your claim. Claims involving minors, mentally incapacitated adults, or injuries involving government negligence may change the cut-off date. If you have questions, it is wise to consult with an attorney to see how this could affect your case.
Car Accidents in New Hampshire
Filing a claim for a car crash may be a little less clear cut than you think, even if you are the one hit by another car. Since New Hampshire uses modified comparative negligence, your claim will examine your “reasonableness” as well. This will include whether you were speeding, running through an intersection, driving recklessly, or committing other careless actions at the time of the accident.
You may primarily deal with your car insurance provider as well as the provider of the driver that hit you. If you are a hit-and-run victim or the driver who hit you does not have insurance, your own policy may cover these damages. New Hampshire sets the mandatory minimum coverage for drivers as $25,000 for physical injuries per person as well as $25,000 for property damage.
If the other driver is found at fault, their insurance company may offer you a settlement amount for the damages. However, sometimes insurance companies may try to hurry you into a settlement before you realize the full extent of your damages. If you are not satisfied with the settlement offer, you could pursue the matter further with a lawsuit.
Premises Liability in New Hampshire
You may have a premises liability claim if you are injured in a situation like a slip-and-fall, dog attack, or suffer any physical injury on the property of another person or a business. The property owner’s responsibility to warn or protect you of hazard may depend on your status as a visitor, or reason for being there. This responsibility may increase drastically if they know children may enter the property.
New Hampshire law provides that the owner of a property needs to take reasonable measures to care for, inspect, and maintain the premises. Taking reasonable care of the premises includes a number of factors such as:
- The likelihood of injury
- Risk level of injury if the premises remains in its current condition
- Any benefits to society or a person to keep the premises in its current condition
- The cost and inconvenience to provide protection against potential injuries
When it comes to dog bite cases, New Hampshire imposes strict liability, and the owner does not need to know about their dog’s “dangerous propensity,” or a history of violence. This means that the dog owner may be held liable for your injuries by simply proving your injuries are from a vicious attack by their dog. However, it is important to remember that any comparative negligence on your behalf may affect your claim.
Product Liability in New Hampshire
If you have an injury from a defective product or warning label, you may wish to pursue a product liability lawsuit. This type of claim covers products like toys, cars, household goods, electronics, and more. It is the company or manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure that a consumer like yourself is not hurt while normally using their product.
You may base your claim on the manufacturer’s negligence, or a breach of warranty, but product injury claims commonly use strict liability to recover damages. This means you may hold them liable for your damages regardless of negligence or fault by proving it is their defective product that caused your injury. You can bring an injury lawsuit against anyone in the chain of manufacturing of the defective product.
What Could I Recover For Damages?
In New Hampshire, the type and amount of damages depends on the kind of injury claim you have. Damages depend on the facts of your situation, severity of your injuries, and negligence of all people involved. Any preexisting injuries, prior claims, or medical history may be a contributing factor as well.
Actual or economic damages allow you to recover for costs like medical expenses, loss of wages, property damage, and other related bills. Non-economic damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you experience as a result of your injuries. Typically, New Hampshire law does not allow you to seek punitive damages, which intend to punish the opposing party.
Should I Hire An Attorney?
If you have suffered serious injury or large financial burdens, you may find it wise to hire an attorney to guide you through this more intricate claim. Determining fault in New Hampshire often complicates these lawsuits, so having an experienced lawyer on your side may help you resolve your claim efficiently. An attorney could also help determine the value of your case and advise you on the best course of action to pursue it.
For smaller claims that do not involve substantial medical bills, serious injury, or extensive property damage, small claims court may be a better option for you. These claims involve matters involving damages of $10,000 or less.
If cost is a concern of yours, a majority of personal injury attorneys take claims without requiring a large upfront fee. Attorneys typically charge a contingency fee for these claims, meaning their fee is based on receiving an agreed upon percentage of your potential compensation if you recover for your injuries. Commonly, if the case settles outside of court this fee will be smaller.