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Immunity for Governmental Units for Personal Injury in New Hampshire

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2014 | Firm News |

In New Hampshire, there exists statutory immunity for all government units from liability for personal injury and bodily injury except for in limited circumstances.   If you are injured due to a governmental unit’s ownership, maintenance, use or operation of a motor vehicle or premises, you are entitled to sue for compensation for your injuries.   If, however, you are injured due to the negligence of a government employee that is not directly related to an automobile or premises, the governmental unit is immune.   This immunity has been upheld and entrenched in two recent New Hampshire Supreme Court opinions, Dichiara v. Sanborn Regional School District in November of 2013 (an injury during a high school baseball practice drill where negligence of the coach was alleged), and Huckins v. McSweeney on April 11, 2014 (police officer injured plaintiff while using a stun gun).   The court upheld the constitutionality of the immunity statute, as well as its broad application to all injury cases except those with a clear nexus between the injury and an automobile or building / premises.  In some cases, federal court remedies may be available to plaintiffs, however it is clear that pure tort negligence claims against governmental units in this state will be very difficult to prosecute and survive a Motion to Dismiss.