In 32 years of personal injury practice, I have represented thousands of individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents. I can tell you that people who are injured while riding motorcycles suffer far more serious injuries than those in cars or trucks. Unfortunately, in many of these cases, the "at fault" driver either has no insurance or insufficient insurance, and the motorcyclist has NO insurance. As a result, any compensation for these life changing injuries is often minimal. You can and should protect YOURSELF by purchasing motorcycle insurance - it will provide you with uninsured motorist protection in the event you are injured by someone with no or insufficient insurance themselves. And, you should have limits of NO LESS THAN $250,000.00 per person. You should also have medical payment coverage of at least $5,000.00, even if you have health insurance, but particularly if you do not. If you need further advise of the right amount of motorcycle coverage, please feel free to give me a call for my free recommendations.
Fall in New Hampshire brings with it earlier sunsets, falling leaves, and fall rain. All of this can lead to slippery and dangerous road conditions - importantly, roads that are more hazardous than in the summer months. Drive carefully, make sure your windshield wipers are working properly, keep your lights on and slow down. Accidents can cause serious injuries and financial catastrophe. And, with winter approaching, there is no better time than to review your auto insurance to make sure that you have adequate coverage in the event that you are in an accident. We at the Hutchins Law Offices recommend no less than $250,000 / $500,000 in liablity and uninsured motorist limits, and no less than $10,000 in medical payment benefits. Any questions about New Hampshire auto insurance law, or if you were unfortunate enough to have been involved in an accident where you were injured - give us a call for a free consultation - (603) 625-5555.
Most people don't really pay much attention to their personal insurance until they need it - and unfortunately, when they need it, they find they don't have enough, or don't have the right coverage. In New Hampshire, it is not mandatory to have automobile insurance. Unlike Massachusetts and other states, New Hampshire does not have no-fault insurance. Therefore, it is critical that you purchase sufficient insurance to protect not only your personal assets from a lawsuit and judgment, but also sufficient insurance to protect you and your family in the event that you are seriously injured in an automobile accident that is the fault of an uninsured motorist. In New Hampshire, an insurance company MUST provide you with the same limits for uninsured motorist protection that you purchase for liability protection. While a minimum policy in New Hampshire is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, my recommendation is to purchase a minimum of $250,000 per person, and $500,000 per accident. The added cost is really minimal, and you should shop around for a reasonable premium. I also recommend purchasing at least $5,000 in medical payment coverage - which protects you and anyone in your car for medical bills arising from an accident - regardless of fault. Finally, you should consider an "umbrella" or personal liability policy. You can purchase $1,000,000 in additional coverage with an umbrella policy that will provide coverage in excess of both your automobile and homeowners' limits. Better safe than sorry, especially with the high cost of medical treatment these days.
Driving in the winter months in New Hampshire is not only treacherous, but potentially dangerous or deadly. More than ever, it is critically important to drive at a reduced speed, avoid all forms of inattention, including cell phones and texting, and keeping a long distance and thoughtful lookout to see what the "other guy" is doing. Sometimes, however, accidents happen. If you are seriously injured in an auto accident, you should consult with an attorney who can assist you with all of the difficult questions and situations you will confront - property damage, medical bills, various insurances, rentals, etc. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Peter Hutchins, PLLC can help. Give us a call, and let us go to work for you. The first consultation is always free of charge.
Under New Hampshire law and the law of most states, governmental units are immune from civil liability for certain governmental functions. However, when it comes to the operation of a motor vehicle, employees of government units, including the state, cities and towns, can be held liable just like any other citizen. Also, while snow plows are certainly entitled to a certain level of deference from other drivers since they are doing difficult jobs during difficult weather conditions, by the same token plow operators must use reasonable care in the performance of their duties. Therefore, the bottom line is that if a motorist is injured in an accident caused by the negligence of the operator of a snow plow, they can recover for their injuries. Quite often, government units purchase special liablity insurance specifically for their fleets of vehicles including plows. So, if you are injured through the fault of a state or city vehicle, you should contact a personal injury attorney to pursue your rights under the law.
The answer to this question, unfortunately, is probably "no." New Hampshire has an immunity statute which affords broad protection to ski area operators from claims for injuries to skiers. The statute, which prohibits civil lawsuits for injuries arising from "inherent risks" of the sport, has been very broadly interpreted by the New Hampshire Supreme Court, particularly in the case of Cecere v. Loon Mountain, a case which I handled a number of years ago. Basically, if you are injured due to any defect in the mountain or its maintenance or operation, no matter how gross the negligence or serious your injury, you cannot bring a lawsuit for your injuries. Cases which do survivie include collisions with other skiers, however, your claim must be against the skier him or herself, and NOT the ski area. The hope in that instance is that the negligent skier has homeowner's insurance which will cover your damages. Another exception is a defect in the tramway or lift - if a lift collapses or otherwise causes an injury to a skier, there may be an exception in the immunity statute which would allow the injured person to recover. The lesson to be learned, therefore, is that when it comes to skiing in New Hampshire, you are on your own, and the law will find that you accepted the risks of skiing when you made the decision to ski. So, be CAREFUL out there.
Earlier this month, a former Fortune 500 executive was depressed and attempting suicide when his pickup truck crossed the Interstate 89 median and collided with an oncoming car, killing a pregnant woman and her fiance, a prosecutor said in court.
It is winter in New Hampshire. Roads can be covered with snow and ice. When this happens, we witness what can often be a dramatic increase in winter related automobile accidents. The question may be if you sustain a personal injury, do I have a case? Just because you are struck in your motor vehicle and are injured, does not mean that you automatically have a case. It is necessary to prove that the person who hit you was legally at fault. This can be complicated by slippery roads, allowing the other driver to claim that his or her loss of control and the resulting accident was caused by the slippery conditions, and not negligence. In these cases, it is critically important to make sure the police are called to investigate the accident, and if you noticed driving on the part of the other driver that was negligent but not winter related, i.e., speeding, texting, swerving, etc., make sure the police officer is aware of that. Make sure your insurance company is aware of that. Take photos of the tire marks in the snow if possible. There is a strong chance that if you do not develop your case early and properly, you could lose due to the "slippery road" defense. If in doubt, contact a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer to assist you as early in the process as possible.
In addition to seeking criminal prosecution against the perpetrator, victims of sexual abuse in New Hampshire have the right to bring a civil case to obtain just compensation for their injuries. In New Hampshire, the statute of limitations for such claims is three years. However, if the victim is under the age of 18, they will typically have until their 30th birthday to bring a civil lawsuit against those responsible. Typically, the perpetrator of the sexual assault, rape or abuse does not possess personal assets sufficient to justify long and difficult civil litigation. Moreover, even if the perpetrator has insurance, such as a homeowners policy, such insurance will not provide coverage for intentional wrongful conduct such as sexual assault. The cases which carry the highest chances of a successful result are those brought against institutional defendants. This class of defendants include employers of the perpetrator, schools, day care centers, boy scout troops or camps, churches and religious organizations, agencies who provide services to children or disabled adults, and a variety of other companies or institutions who wrongfully employ or harbor perpetrators. Generally, in order to succeed in one of these cases, it is necessary to prove that the institution exercised a certain level of control over the perpetrator, i.e., hiring, training and retaining. It is also necessary to show that the institution knew or should have known of the propensity of the perpetrator to sexually abuse others. Finally, it is also typically necessary to show that the institution owed a duty of care to the victim - a duty to protect. These cases are always very emotional, and can be difficult to prove and to litigate. In a case where the allegations can be proven, however, and where the legal requirements of civil liability can be established, the filing of a civil action can provide the sexual abuse victim both with validation and a sense of closure, and also financial compensation from the responsible party for the terrible and life long impact of sexual abuse. A personal injury lawyer or attorney experienced in these cases and familiar with New Hampshire law can provide sound advice and counsel to a victim survivor of abuse about their potential right to seek civil justice.
Wrongful death cases in New Hampshire are controlled both by statute statute and common law interpreting those statutes. A wrongful death case is, quite simply, a personal injury negligence case in which the injured party dies as a result of the negligent act or occurrence. As such, the liability considerations are the same as an injury case in which the victim survives, i.e., legal fault or negligence must be proven against the responsible party. Damages in a wrongful death case, however, are quite obviously different than in a typical bodily injury claim. A wrongful death case is brought by the Estate of the decedent. Therefore, it is necessary to have an administrator appointed by the Probate Court before proceeding. Once a claim or lawsuit is brought, the Estate is entitled to claim monetary damages for: (1) any medical bills associated with the treatment of the decedent; (2) conscious pain and suffering; (3) funeral expenses; (4) economic loss to the Estate; and (5) loss of the enjoyment of life of the decedent. Economic loss to the estate requires expert testimony. The damages are calculated by determining the life expectancy of the decedent. Then, the decedent's educational and work background are considered, as well as their income prior to death. That "income" factor is then roughly multiplied by the number of working years before retirement - a factor which may vary depending upon the person. Interest rates and calculations for loss of benefits are included to come up with a figure representing the "income" the decedent would have "brought into" his or her Estate. Then, a discount is applied for "retirement years" when the person would have been consuming, and not earning. The final figure is what would have been left in the Estate had the person lived to their normal life expectancy. The calculations can vary significantly depending upon the person's age, education, earning history, working years remaining, and general health prior to death. This is why economic and sometimes medical forensic expert testimony is necessary to establish this element of loss. The element of "loss of enjoyment of life" is relatively new, having been established by Supreme Court decision in the 1990's. This is an open ended damage claim which allows the Estate to receive compensation for the loss of the decedent's life, i.e., the years of enjoying life that the decedent lost as a result of the accident. This element can be significant in the case of a child or young person who does not yet have an solid earnings history to prove the "loss to the estate" element. It is also significant in cases of retired individuals since it is during retirement years that a person, while not earning income, is theoretically freed to enjoy life without the burden of working. The key in these cases is in the manner in which the damages are developed and presented to an insurance company for settlement, or to a jury for a verdict. These cases are complex, and typically very emotional for the family involved. Therefore, it is recommended that a highly regarded New Hampshire personal injury lawyer be consulting as soon as possible so that case investigation and development can proceed in such a manner as to maximize the value of the claim. Also, by retaining counsel early, much of the emotional work and worry can be removed from the family members and turned over into the hands of a professional.