Car Accident Traumatic Injuries: The Lasting Impacts

Car Accident Traumatic Injuries: The Lasting Impacts

Have you been in a car crash that was no fault of your own? Not only are car accidents an incredibly stressful event, but the injuries that could result from them can be severe and long-lasting. Injuries can vary from minor to serious. It is important to note that all injuries should be documented from the time of the accident, through the following weeks, and until you are fully recovered. Not all injuries will present themselves at the scene of the crash or upon impact. For instance, whiplash can take several days for its symptoms to arise. If injuries begin to arise after the accident these should be treated in a timely manner. The following information are common injuries and symptoms that may occur after a car accident.

Physical Injuries

Physical effects from your accident can be both visible and invisible. Because of this it is important to be examined by a medical professional if you have been injured or think you might be injured. Most common injuries resulting from a car accident can include the following:

  • Neck and Back Injuries: these injuries are the result of your head neck and back being thrown at high speeds resulting in what is often referred to as whiplash. When the neck, head, and back are whipped in such an aggressive manner, it can result in severe inflammation and tissue damage and can even result in disc problems.
  • Head Injuries: these injuries in car accidents can be among  the most severe. These injuries can vary from minor concussions to serious brain traumas. The traumas and injuries can follow a victim for the rest of his/her life. Head injury symptoms include, but are not limited to, headaches, loss of vision and hearing, memory loss, changes in personality and mood swings, loss of cognitive function, speech difficulties, and a disruption in sleep patterns. Sometimes your loved ones notice these changes before the actual victim. Take it seriously and talk to your doctor if family members or friends say you are acting differently or forgetting things.
  • Muscular Injuries: like whiplash, when your body is thrown at high speeds the way in which your body can contort results in serious injury. Common muscular injuries can affect the neck, back, hands, hips, shoulder, and knees. Injury to muscles resulting from a car accident can affect your abilities to work, play sports, or participate in everyday activities.
  • Broken Bones: high-speed impacts can result in broken bone or fractures. Depending on the severity this can leave you out of work or immobile. Broken bones and fractures can have an effect on your everyday life and normal activities.

Emotional Damages

Car crashes do not just affect an individual physically. The emotional impacts can be just as severe as physical impacts. Following a car crash many individuals experience anxiety related stress that can affect personal and work lives. Because of that it is important to watch for these symptoms following your accident. These symptoms might include:

  • Intrusive thoughts: Involuntary, distressing thoughts, or recurrent nightmares.
  • Negative mood: Inability to experience positive emotions.
  • Dissociative symptoms: Time slows down, you feel numb, or you’re in a daze.
  • Avoidance: An inability or refusal to think about anything associated with the trauma.
  • Arousal symptoms: Trouble falling asleep, irritable behavior, and concentration issues.
  • A fear of driving or the actions that other drivers around you might take.

Above all, if these feelings continue, be sure to inform both your doctors and attorneys as these might be a result of your accident.

Contact Experienced New Hampshire Car Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured by another person’s careless acts, contact the experienced NH car crash attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 605-0547 and by email at info@MZLawNH.com. You may also use the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

It is essential that you have competent legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too!

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

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Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident?

Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident?

Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident

Who is at fault in a car accident? When it comes to auto accidents and car insurance, states are either considered no-fault or fault-based. New Hampshire is considered a fault-based or tort state when it comes to car accident claims. What does that mean, exactly?

Well, a determination is made to establish which party caused, was at fault for, or to blame for the accident. This party, then, is held liable.

If you’ve been in a recent car accident and sustained serious injuries, a personal injury attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC can help you recover the full amount of damages that you are owed. In this article, we’ll discuss determining fault, filing claims with insurance companies, and what that process is going to look like.

Seeking Compensation in a New Hampshire Auto Accident

In no-fault states, drivers turn to their own insurance companies when there is an accident. This insurance pays out regardless of who is at fault. In no-fault states, you have three options. Those are:

  • File a claim with your own insurance company
  • File a claim against another driver’s insurance company
  • Sue the driver directly in court

Negligence: Determining Who Is at Fault

For those who elect to file claims against the other driver’s insurance or sue them in court, the process will involve establishing that the other party’s negligence was responsible for the accident. Negligence has a three-factor test. This is:

  1. Does the defendant owe a duty of care to the plaintiff?
  2. Did the defendant breach that duty of care?
  3. Did the plaintiff’s injuries result from that breach?

When the answer to each of those questions is “yes” then the plaintiff has established that the defendant was negligent and that the defendant owes the plaintiff for damages.

What Determines If a Driver Is Negligent?

This is a very broad question that depends entirely on the situation. For instance, in accidents in which one driver rear-ends another driver, the court will almost always find in favor of the driver who was rear-ended. On the other hand, there may be mitigating factors that reduce that driver’s negligence. For instance, what if the driver who was rear-ended did not have functioning brake lights? This could very well have contributed to the accident.

Generally speaking, there is a clear reason why the accident happened. One party violated the rules of traffic and this resulted in a car accident. One party may have been driving intoxicated or was distracted while they were driving. They may have been paying more attention to their cell phone or infotainment system than on the road. Those folks are obviously negligent when they cause a car accident. Other accidents, however, are not so black and white.

What Happens If Both Parties Are Partially at Fault?

In some accidents, both drivers are assigned some of the blame. This is known as comparative fault or comparative negligence. So long as you are not more than 50% at-fault for an accident, you can pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, you are only entitled to collect damages on their “share” of the blame.

For instance, let’s say you win a lawsuit and you have $20,000 in damages. If it turns out that 25% of the blame is yours for the accident, the at-fault driver will only be required to pay 75% of your damages, or $15,000.

Insurance Company’s Role

When you file a claim against a negligent driver’s auto insurance, the insurance company wants you to be at fault for the accident. This reduces their liability. In cases where you’ve sustained serious injuries, they will be going over your old medical reports and attempting to determine what was caused by the accident and what might have been a pre-existing injury. They are going to be doing everything in their power to ensure that they have to pay you as little as possible. This could mean partially blaming you for the accident to reduce their liability or it could mean saying that your injuries were caused in another incident.

Speak to a New Hampshire Traffic Accident Attorney

The more serious your injuries are, the higher the stakes are when pursuing a lawsuit or an insurance settlement. You are entitled to collect on missed time from work, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and a host of other things as well. If you’ve been in a serious car accident, you may be wondering “who is at fault in a car accident, and who will have to pay up?”

Contact the personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning and Zimmerman. We have successfully resolved numerous cases favorably for our clients.

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New Hampshire Workers’ Compensation: Third-Party Claims

In the New Hampshire workers’ compensation system, employees are prohibited from suing their employers or co-workers for their workplace injuries. However, an injured worker may be able to bring a lawsuit against a third-party wrongdoer. These are non-employees (known as “third parties”) who, at least in part, may have contributed to the employee’s injuries. Below is a list of issues that the New Hampshire workers’ compensation attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law consider when handling work injury claims:

Was a third-party potentially responsible for the injuries?

The best time to examine the possibility of a third-party claim is during your first meeting with a New Hampshire workers’ compensation attorney. The reason for this is two-fold: 1) The existence of a third-party claim could substantially impact the value of your case. 2) There may be a different statute of limitations for the two claims.

If your work injury lawyer decides to open both claims, best practices include opening a separate file for each claim. This is done to keep track of each statute of limitations independently. Ideally, your injury attorney would handle both the workers’ compensation and third-party liability claims. However, if that is not possible, the attorneys should communicate regularly. This ensures that neither attorney takes an action that would negatively impact their mutual client’s other claim. It also reduces the amount of duplicative work.

Scrutinize asserted New Hampshire workers’ compensation lien amounts

When there is a third-party liability claim, New Hampshire workers’ compensation insurance carriers are, by law, entitled to liens for payments previously made, and for future payments made on your behalf, either through settlement or judgment. There is no need for the insurance carrier to intervene in the third-party suit to protect its lien. The lien arises by operation of law. The insurance carrier’s lien rights are divided into two separate and distinct rights – its right to recoupment and it’s right to a “holiday” or “offset” against future payments. The carrier may waive one right while retaining the other.

These liens can be negotiated by the New Hampshire workers’ compensation lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law. First off, per the lien statute, the lien must be reduced by the carrier’s pro rata share of expenses and costs for bringing the third-party claim. Additionally, certain expenses incurred by the insurance carrier are prohibited from inclusion in any lien but may appear in the itemization of amounts paid provided by the insurance carrier. For example, administrative claims costs, vocational rehabilitation expenses, and interest cannot be recovered and, accordingly, should be removed from the calculation of a lien amount. In addition, work injury lawyers should consider negotiating an even lower repayment or holiday if, in your third-party claim, you have limited insurance available, there are significant liability problems, or the claim would be expensive to pursue.

If the insurance carrier refuses to negotiate or appropriately reduce its lien, your New Hampshire workers’ compensation attorney at Manning & Zimmerman Law  can request a hearing on the equitable repayment of the lien before the Superior Court.

Hearing at Department of Labor

During the litigation of your claim, the insurance carrier may deny coverage of one or more of your medical bills. In order to get that bill paid, a hearing on payment before the Department of Labor would normally be requested. Before you do so, however, if you have a third-party liability claim, your injury attorney should take time to consider the effect of a Department of Labor decision upholding the carrier’s decision to deny payment of that particular bill(s) on your future ability to present that bill as evidence of an injury-related medical expense in any hearing or trial regarding your third-party claim. A negative decision from the Department of Labor will be binding. Also, the potential detriment of requesting a hearing on a particular bill may outweigh the potential benefit under certain circumstances.

Third-party claim settlements must be approved

The New Hampshire workers’ compensation attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law know that no settlement by an employee against a third-party is binding until approved by the Labor Commissioner. Actions that have already commenced are subject to approval by the court or arbitration proceeding where the action is pending. The purpose of this process is to protect the lien rights of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Accordingly, the documents submitted to the Labor Commissioner upon settlement, or the Court through a Petition to Approve the Settlement, require that the amount of the lien be provided. Also, a portion of the settlement funds must be paid to the insurance carrier in satisfaction of its statutory lien.

Contact Experienced New Hampshire Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Workers are often worried about how they are going to pay for an attorney. Attorneys in the NH workers’ compensation system  are generally paid on a contingency fee basis (percentage of any future recovery). They may alternatively be paid by the insurance company after a successful hearing. Thus, in most cases, workers do not need to pay any fees up-front.

At Manning & Zimmerman Law, we are proud to fight for the rights of workers who have suffered workplace injuries. It is essential that you have experienced legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too! For a free consultation with our NH workers’ compensation attorneys, call (603) 671-3156, send us an email to info@MZLawNH.com, or use the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

new hampshire workers' compensation

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