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.
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.
As pedestrians in New Hampshire, we encounter a lot of snow and ice during the winter months. These slippery and often hazardous conditions cause slips and falls which can result in serious personal injury. Often victims of these accidents wonder whether they have a case, and whether they can recover compensation for their damages, which many times are significant. The answer is yes, however pursuing such a case is not always easy. First, there must be a responsible party who has a legal duty to properly and safely maintain the hazardous area, whether it be a sidewalk, parking lot, steps and grounds of a condominium or apartment, or any other public or private place. Second, it must be demonstrated that the responsible party was negligent in their maintenance of the area, i.e., snow clearing, salting and sanding. Third, under a new law passed last year by the New Hampshire legislature, if the property owner or snow removal contractor is "certified" by the state, they may well have civil immunity for claims arising from a failure to properly salt or sand. Fourth, responsible parties in these cases always blame the injured person, claiming that the should have done a better job watching where they were walking. Therefore, in these cases like most other injury cases, it is very important for the victim of a slip and fall to contact an attorney at the earliest possible time. It is also important to take contemporaneous photographs of the area of the fall. Property owners and businesses will often quickly rectify a negligent situation after receiving notice of the injury, so therefore, in order to preserve evidence of the condition for future use in the claims process or in court, photographs are critical. The Law Offices of Peter E. Hutchins, PLLC represent scores of injured people who have suffered due to winter slips and falls. Please call for an appointment.
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.
So far, we have experienced a snowy and cold winter here in New Hampshire and in the Northeast. The evening newscasts seem daily to feature stories about serious auto accidents where the occupants are seriously injured and sometimes, unfortunately, killed. Under New Hampshire common law and statutory law (RSA 265:60, I), all drivers are required to operate their vehicles at appropriate and reasonable speeds "under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing." What this means is that we are all required to reduce our speeds in order to maintain control of our vehicles in the event of bad weather and slippery, icy or snowy roads. More often than not, an accident in winter weather is the result of one driver failing to reduce their speed, losing control, and then typically overreacting to that loss of control. The result, an accident with someone being injured. It is important for all of us to take special care when diving under these conditions. If you are injured through the negligent failiure of another driver to drive carefully on winter roads, you should contact a personal injury attorney to advise you as to your rights.
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.
The driver in a horrific car crash occurring in Derry, New Hampshire on New Year's Eve has died from his injuries. The accident occurred at around 10:30pm on Gulf Road in Derry. The vehicle crashed into a tree at a high rate of speed.
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.
Another tragic holiday season auto accident has taken the life of a well known and highly regarded former fire chief in Amherst, New Hampshire. The accident was a hit and run accident. The driver has turned himself in to authorities, and has been arraigned on charges of negligent homicide. It appears as though this is yet another tragic case of distracted driving, with the driver admitting to have been emailing on his phone at the time he struck and killed the pedestrian. He was arraigned at the Nashua District Court on Tuesday, and has been released on bail into the custody of his parents.
The tragic fatal auto accident which took the life of 30 year old Katie Hamilton in Hollis / Brookline, New Hampshire on Christmas Eve has brought us all a reminder that tragedies do not take holidays. The story was made all the more heartwrenching by the fact that Katie's father, Stephen Whitcomb, who is a volunteer firefighter, responded to the scene of the three car accident which took the life of his daughter.