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.
Robert Dellinger of Sunapee, NH has been criminal charged for a weekend auto accident on I-89 that resulted in the death of Vermont couple Amanda Murphy and Jason Timmons. Autopsy reports today disclosed that Ms. Murphy was 8 months pregnant at the time.
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.