In our blog we will try to provide you with general information regarding car accidents, motorcycle crashes, and personal injury cases, as well as updates in important cases and statutes dealing with family law in New Hampshire. This is not to be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and small facts can make a difference.
New Hampshire’s Laws and Statutory Rules For Personal Injury Lawsuits
The state of New Hampshire has established certain state laws that are applicable to insurance settlements and personal injury lawsuits. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at how these specific laws come might come into play in your lawsuit.
Deadlines For NH Personal Injury Claims
Each state possesses a deadline, also referred to as a statute of limitations, in which a personal injury claim must be filed in a court of law. New Hampshire is no exception to this legal concept. In our state, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of the accident.
It is imperative for potential plaintiffs to track this three year statute of limitations. If a claim is not filed within this time frame, then a New Hampshire court will more than likely refuse to hear your claim and throw it out. If this occurs, then you have lost the opportunity to hold any secondary parties responsible for their negligence or accountable for their actions.
The Rules of Shared Fault
Most New Hampshire personal injury lawsuits will be heard by a jury. The jury will determine whether fault is shared between the victim who was injured and the business, organization, or individual they are attempting to hold responsible for the injuries. New Hampshire utilizes a modified comparative fault standard in lawsuits where fault is shared among multiple parties. Simply stated, this standard eliminates or reduces the monetary damages an injured victim can recoup, depending upon the percentage of fault or responsibility they share for the accident.
Here is an example of how the modified comparative fault standard operates: Let’s say a person is relaxing in a lawn chair one day when the chair suddenly breaks, throwing the individual to the ground and causing substantial injuries. The label on the chair stated that it was for indoor use only, but before the accident occurred, the chair had been stored on an outdoor patio for several weeks. In a court of law, a jury determines that the victim is 35% responsible for the accident, while the manufacturer is 65% responsible. The total damages awarded to the victim in the accident is $10,000.00.
The modified comparative fault standard that New Hampshire utilizes would reduce the amount of monetary damages the victim was entitled to from $10,000.00 to $6,500.00. The $3,500.00 difference in the two amounts represents the 35% of the fault assigned to the victim. So long as a victim’s fault percentage is under 50% in a New Hampshire personal injury claim, the victim can collect monetary compensation from another at fault party. If the fault percentage is higher than 50%, then a victim cannot collect any damages.
A New Hampshire court will always apply this standard because existing state laws necessitate it. There is also a distinct possibility that an insurance adjustor will bring state laws into settlement negotiations, so it is important for you to know how this legal standard works.
Caps On Damages
In personal injury lawsuits, damages are designed to compensate for all losses and harm that result from an injury or accident. States often limit, or “cap”, these monetary damages. Pain and suffering and other non-economic damages usually have caps, as do damages awarded in medical malpractice cases. However, starting in 2012, New Hampshire has removed all caps on damages involved in any sort personal injury lawsuit.
Strict Liability In Dog Attack and Dog Bite Cases
In most states, the owners of canines are, to some degree, protected from personal injury liability on the first occasion that their dog injures a second party, particularly if there was no prior indication that the animal should be considered dangerous. This is referred to as the one bite rule. However, in New Hampshire, there is an explicit statute that causes an owner to be “strictly liable” in a dog attack/bite case regardless of what the animal’s prior behaviors might have been. A pet owner is responsible for any injuries inflicted by their animal.
Personal Injury Claims Against the Government
If you believe that any injuries you suffered were incurred as a result of negligence on the part of a New Hampshire government agency or one of its employees, then your personal injury claim will be subject to a different set of rules. The three year statute of limitations still applies, but the claim must be filed within a county court within the county where the injuries occurred. Furthermore, a formal personal injury claim must be filed within 180 days of the date the injury took place.
Only specific types of claims can be filed against the state government in New Hampshire. and state what claims can be brought against the New Hampshire state government.
These are just a handful of the state laws and statutory rules that apply to New Hampshire personal injury cases. To find out if you have a valid claim or to learn more information, please contact our law firm today. Your initial consultation with one of our experienced NH personal injury attorneys is free, and we will evaluate the facts of your case and offer recommendations on how to proceed.
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