All posts by M. Manning

Manning & Zimmerman Distracted Driving Scholarship

Manning & Zimmerman Distracted Driving ScholarshipGiving back is important to our firm. We believe that part of our responsibility as attorneys and citizens is to lead by example and to give back to our community. That’s why four years ago we launched the Manning & Zimmerman Scholarships, where we offer a $1,000 scholarship to two New Hampshire high school students who plan to pursue any type of secondary education or vocation/technical school.

Interested students are asked to submit an essay or video on the topic of distracted driving. The winners will then be selected as the recipients of a Manning & Zimmerman Distracted Driving Scholarship. One scholarship will be awarded for the best-written essay and one will be awarded for the best video entry. For more details on submissions, please visit the scholarship section of our website.

What Are Our Goals With These Scholarships?

We have two goals with these scholarships:

First, as part of our desire to give back to others, we are hoping that this program will help two New Hampshire students on their pathway to higher education.

Second, personal injury attorneys are painfully aware of the devastating consequence of distracted driving and hope to raise awareness around this issue and motivate others to think carefully about the dangers associated with distracted driving.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving means a motorist has taken their attention away from their primary responsibility — driving. While most people now associate distracted driving with cell phone use, it can also be the result of eating, diverting attention to the stereo or navigation system, putting on makeup; basically, anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road, including using a cell phone.

Texting while driving can be one of the most dangerous distractions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. So, if you’re traveling at a speed of 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. On their website, NHTSA states that in 2016 nearly 3500 people were killed in crashes that involved distracted driving. They also state, “that teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.”

New Hampshire Distracted Driving Laws

New Hampshire takes distracted driving very seriously. In 2015 the state legislature passed a distracted driving law. RSA 265:105-a “prohibits text messages and device usage while operating a motor vehicle.” However, motorists are allowed to use a Bluetooth, hands-free device.

You cannot drive safely unless your full attention is focused on the road and the task of driving. At Manning & Zimmerman, we want our roadways to be as safe as possible and that is why we are trying to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, hoping that those who submit entries for our scholarships will learn from this experience and be safer because of their participation.

If you or someone you know has been injured because of distracted driving, it’s imperative that you speak with an experienced attorney. You could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other crash-related damages. At Manning & Zimmerman we have decades of experiencing helping people who have been injured in a crash because of distracted driving. We offer free consultations and are more than happy to speak with you about your case. Please contact us today. We stand ready to speak with you and fight for your rights.

How to Submit a Scholarship Application

The deadline for scholarship submissions is May 1, 2019. The process is as follows.

Video Entries

Record a video up to two minutes or write an essay or not more than 750 words addressing:

1: How significant is distracted driving in your peer group and describe the problem as you see it?

2: What can be done to reduce or eliminate distracted driving to reduced or eliminated to make our roadways safe?

To submit the video: Publish the video on your YouTube channel and title the video “Manning and Zimmerman Scholarship Entry” and then send an email to Jackie@MZLawNH.com with: a link to the video, your contact information, including name, mailing address, email address, and phone number, and the name of your high school.

Written Submissions

1: Mail or hand deliver to Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC, 87 Middle Street, Manchester, NH 03101;

2: Fax to (603) 624-7201; or

3: Email to Jackie@MZLawNH.com. Be sure to include your name, mailing address, email address, and phone number. Also include the name of your high school with all submissions.

For more information about our scholarship program, click here.

Sideswipe Collision Fault Car Accident Attorney Manchester NH

How Is Sideswipe Collision Fault Determined in New Hampshire?

Sideswipe Collision Fault Car Accident Attorney Manchester NHSideswipe collisions can be just as catastrophic as head-on or rear-end collisions because they often happen at high speeds. But how is sideswipe collision fault determined? And how does New Hampshire’s comparative fault system work?

If you’ve been in a sideswipe accident, an experienced Manchester NH car accident lawyer can help you recover damages. At the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, we pride ourselves on our experience, client service, and professionalism. Contact us today for a free consultation.

How Do Sideswipe Collisions Happen?

Sideswipe collisions most commonly involve two cars moving in the same direction that crash into each other. They often occur at high speeds after one driver changes lanes when it’s not safe to do so. Typically, the right side of one car and the left side of the other car will be damaged.

The most common causes of sideswipe accidents are drunk or distracted driving and changing lanes without signaling or carefully checking blind spots. This type of collision can also occur when two drivers move into the same lane at the same time.

Who Is at Fault in a Sideswipe Collision?

Drivers in New Hampshire have a duty to maintain a single lane of travel. If you change lanes, you must do so only when it’s safe to do so. So a driver who leaves their lane and sideswipes another car is considered at fault. If two drivers changed into the same lane at the same time before sideswiping each other, both may be at fault.

Fault is usually determined in the accident report completed by the responding police officer, but this is not the final determination. If there is disagreement regarding who is responsible for a crash, ultimately it is a jury that gets to make the decision about how much fault to give each driver. An experienced personal injury attorney can carefully review all the facts and help evaluate what a jury might decide in any given case.

Because New Hampshire is a comparative negligence state, you can pursue a personal injury claim against the other at-fault driver. However, you can only recover if you were 50% or less at fault. If you were 51% or more at fault, you will receive no compensation for your injuries. If you were 50% or less at fault, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

What Should You Do If You Are Sideswiped?

Anytime you are in an accident, you should, first and foremost, tend to your own safety and the safety of others at the scene. Prevent the occurrence or worsening of any injuries by calmly regaining control of your car. Move over to the side of the road without suddenly changing lanes.

If you feel you’re not at-fault, you should take action to protect your rights. Here are five things you should do to preserve the evidence about what happened:

  1. Call the Police.Once you’ve safely moved over to the side of the road, call the police and request medical assistance if needed. Do not let the other driver convince you not to call the police. You will need the police to create an accident report and gather all the proper information about who is at the scene and what happened.
  2. Take Pictures.While you’re waiting for the police to arrive and if you are safely able to, take photos of damage to your and the other driver’s cars and any debris or skid marks on the road. Also, take photos of the accident scene and any injuries you may have suffered. Photos can help prove who changed lanes and caused the sideswipe collision.
  3. Gather Witnesses.If there are witnesses to the accident, write down their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Their testimony will be valuable to proving the other driver’s negligence.
  4. Get a Copy of the Accident Report.After a day or so, go to the police station to request a copy of the accident report.
  5. Speak With a Lawyer.Even if you don’t have serious injuries from the sideswipe collision, you may need an experienced New Hampshire lawyer. A good car accident lawyer can help you understand the process, gather additional evidence you will need for your case, and protect your rights.

Learn More About Sideswipe Collision Fault

If you’ve been in a sideswipe collision, don’t delay. Learn more about how sideswipe collision fault is determined in New Hampshire and whether you can recover compensation for your losses. Contact the experienced Manchester NH car accident attorneys at Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC at (603) 671-3156 for more information.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

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New Hampshire Injury Lawyers Discuss Jessica’s Law

New Hampshire Injury Lawyers Discuss Jessica's LawImagine driving down the highway after a snowstorm. The roads have been cleared and traffic is moving along. Suddenly, snow and ice fly off the vehicle in front of you and strikes your windshield. It’s unsettling, dangerous, and can be deadly.

Since 2002, New Hampshire drivers have been legally required to clear snow and ice off their vehicles before getting on the road. According to the New Hampshire injury lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law, Jessica’s Law was named after 20-year-old Jessica Smith. She was killed in a car crash in Peterborough after a 9-foot piece of ice flew off a tractor-trailer, hitting a box truck, which crashed head-on into her car.

What is Jessica’s Law?

Jessica’s Law falls under New Hampshire’s broader negligent driving law which means that anyone who “drives a vehicle negligently or causes a vehicle to be driven negligently” or “in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property shall be guilty of a violation and shall be fined not less than $250 nor more than $500 for a first offense and not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 for a second or subsequent offense.”

In spite of the law, according to statistics provided by New Hampshire State Police, some drivers still don’t adequately clear snow and ice from their vehicles. During the month of February, troopers pulled over 268 vehicles under the Negligent Driving Statute, and after a recent snowstorm, one trooper reported stopping 20 vehicles for Jessica’s Law violations in just under three hours!

Just last month on Route 202 in Henniker, police reported that snow and ice shattered a motorist’s windshield. And in Massachusetts, a 6-year-old girl was injured when a large piece of ice flew off a tractor-trailer. The ice hit the windshield of the vehicle she was riding in on Interstate 495.

In New Hampshire it is your legal responsibility to clear the snow and ice off your car before proceeding onto the roadway. It only takes a few minutes and it can save a life

What You Should Do

But what should you do if snow and ice from someone else’s vehicle strikes your vehicle and causes damage? Experts say your safety is always the highest priority. Make sure you have control of your vehicle and that you and your occupants are safe. If you can get the license plate of the vehicle responsible that can be helpful to authorities for their investigation.

“It takes not even five minutes to clean off your car,” stated Linda Smith, Jessica’s mother, in an interview. “It can take three seconds to kill somebody.”

Contact Experienced New Hampshire Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Have you or a loved one been injured by another person’s careless acts? If so, 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!

For a free consultation, contact the New Hampshire injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 624-7200, by email at info@MZLawNH.com, or by using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

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Post Car Accident Symptoms Car Accident Lawyer Manchester NH

Post Car Accident Symptoms: What If My Injuries Don’t Show Up Right Away?

Post Car Accident Symptoms - Car Accident Lawyer Manchester NHAfter a car accident, you’re overwhelmed and disoriented. Your adrenaline is pumping through your body, and you may be more concerned with the safety of your passengers or damage to your vehicle than that of yourself. And when there are no obvious broken bones or major injuries, it can be easy to assume that you are okay.

But what if you develop pain over the next day or two? It’s not unusual for post car accident symptoms to be delayed, and in many cases you may not realize you sustained injuries until days or even weeks later. Below, we explain what types of pain after a car accident may not show up until later, and what you can do to protect your rights.

To learn more, speak to a car accident attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC today.

Don’t Underestimate Your Injuries

The combination of being excited and distracted after an accident can mask your pain and numb you to any signs of injury. While some trauma is pretty obvious, (i.e. displaced fractures or lacerations), other injuries are more subtle at the outset. For example, you could have suffered a concussion or injury to your spine without being aware of it at the time. What seemed like a slight headache could be a sign of a serious head injury. Or an ache in your neck be the result of a herniated disc.

That’s why seeking medical attention immediately after a car crash is vital. Even if you initially think you are symptom-free, you need to know the signs and types of pain after a car accident so you can get the treatment you need if you have suffered injuries.

5 Post Car Accident Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

Even minor aches could point to more serious, life-threatening conditions and injuries. No matter the severity of your crash, look out for these symptoms:

1.     Headaches

Headaches or dizziness may mean you have a concussion, whiplash, a neck injury, or a blood clot. Most importantly, if you bounced around violently or banged your head during your car accident, a headache may be a sign of a life-threatening traumatic brain injury (TBI). Any impact to the head can damage the brain’s soft tissue, causing bruising, bleeding, and swelling. Remember, you can walk away from a car accident and still suffer a traumatic brain injury, which may impact your ability to speak, increase your sensitivity to light and sound, and cause memory and concentration problems.

2.     Back Pain

If you experience pain in your back a few days or weeks after an accident, consult a doctor. Back pain may be a symptom of a sprain, a spinal injury, a herniated disk, or a soft-tissue injury. Damage to muscles, ligaments, or tendons are soft-tissue injuries. They often are difficult to diagnose because they cannot be identified, like broken bones and fractures, on x-rays.

3.     Neck or Shoulder Pain

Whiplash, which is an injury to the neck muscles and/or ligaments, is one of the most common soft-tissue injuries that is often overlooked. People often assume the pain is no different than a sore muscle and will quickly go away with time. However, if these injuries go untreated you may experience long-term crippling pain and mobility problems.

4.     Numbness or radiating pain

Feeling a stinging sensation or slight prickling anywhere in your body following an accident can mean you have a pinched nerve or a herniated disk. This type of injury could also cause pain radiating down your legs or arms. A ruptured disc in your spine can leave you paralyzed. If you begin experiencing numbness, tingling, or radiating pain in any body part, get evaluated by a physician.

5.     Stomach Pain

Stomach pain may indicate internal bleeding or injuries. Pain can start hours or days after an accident and require emergency treatment. If in addition to the pain, if you feel dizzy, go to the hospital immediately.

6.     Other

We aren’t doctors and you know your body better than anyone else. So, if you feel different or off after a car crash, or have any symptoms that are concerning, whether listed in this article or not, we recommend that you promptly speak with a medical professional.

Your Doctor’s Notes Will Be Valuable Evidence in Your Injury Claim

Always consult with a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. Your doctor’s notes will be important evidence in your injury claim. This is because they will document your earliest post car accident symptoms and link them to the car accident. These notes could also help future medical providers better understand your injuries so they can make sure you get the proper care.

Taking this step may minimize the challenges that can arise when you experience delayed car accident injuries. Insurance companies in these cases often assume victims are exaggerating or lying about their post car accident symptoms. Insurers also will try to claim that delayed symptoms are the result of other activities or accidents that occurred after the crash.

Learn More About Delayed Post Car Accident Symptoms

If you experienced delayed pain after a car accident and are wondering how you can hold the other party liable for your injuries and obtain the compensation you need, speak to a Manchester NH car accident lawyer at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC at (603) 671-3156.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

Rear End Collision Fault

How Is Rear End Collision Fault Determined in New Hampshire?

Rear End Collision Attorney New HampshireRear end collisions can result in severe injuries, and the damages can be devastating. Your vehicle might be ruined, especially if you’re pinned between the car that hit you and a car in front of you in a “ripple” accident. The damage can even propagate to other vehicles ahead of you in heavy traffic. But how is rear end collision fault determined?

Is the Guy in Back Always to Blame?

In some states, investigators always assign rear end collision fault to the person who hit the other driver. New Hampshire is not one of those states. Admittedly, rear end collisions most often do often result from the following driver not being alert, following too closely, or otherwise failing to stop in time. However, that’s not always the case — and New Hampshire law recognizes that reality.

For example, a rear-end accident could be caused by the leading driver pulling out unexpectedly in front of another car, changing lanes into the path of another car, or driving without taillights at night.

Can You Recover Damages in a Rear End Collision?

Whether you were the person who did the rear ending or the person struck, you may be able to get compensation for your damages in a rear end collision. The accident investigators will apportion the blame for the accident between the drivers. If you’re 51% or less to blame, you can make a claim for damages against the other person’s insurance.

If you were rear ended, it’s easier to make a case. You do have to produce evidence that you were exercising due care when the accident occurred, while the other person was not. Documentation to prove the other driver’s liability could include:

  • a police report,
  • notes and photos from the scene,
  • photos of the auto damage,
  • witness statements, and
  • medical bills and records.

If you rear ended someone else, you may be able to prove that one of the circumstances mentioned in the previous section caused you to strike the other vehicle. However, if you are found to be more than 51% to blame, you won’t have a case.

What Happens If You Decide to Make a Claim Against the Other Driver?

If you decide to sue for damages, we strongly recommend that you hire an experienced Manchester NH injury lawyer to represent you in court. As part of their due diligence, they’ll advise you on the types of damages to consider while making your case.

You can expect vehicle damage from a rear end collision, and it may be significant. This is the most obvious type of damage to consider, along with any injuries. Don’t forget to take photos of both your auto damage or personal injuries to you or your passengers for use in court.

When you make the claim, remember also to take lost wages into account, and any potential long-term harm. If you end up with a hurt neck or back, it may result in years of pain. Include those potential costs in your medical expenses, as a step toward making you legally whole. This is especially true if the injury will likely impact your ability to earn future income.

You can also request compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and even punitive damages, though the latter are rarely awarded. Needless to say, you’ll need the documentation to back up any and all claims.

To Learn More About How to Determine Rear End Collision Fault

At the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, we pride ourselves on our experience, client service, and professionalism. If you have questions about a rear end collision fault, contact us for a free consultation at (603) 624-7200.

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Steps to Take After a Car Accident in New Hampshire

nh injury attorneysEven minor car crashes can be unsettling. And you’ll probably be pumped up with adrenaline and emotion for a while afterward. So while you may think common sense will guide you after a car crash, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself ahead of time by keeping these tips in mind. Below, the New Hampshire Car Accident Attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC discusses 7 steps to take after a car accident:

Step 1: Stop and Pull Over

Hit-and-run can be a felony if someone is injured or killed in the accident, so don’t immediately leave the scene. Stop and pull over to the side of the road if you can. Be sure to turn on your hazard lights if you can. These actions increase the safety of the accident scene while making it easier for other motorists to pass.

Step 2: Check to See If Anyone is Hurt

Don’t get out of the car yet. Check your passengers for injuries and have them do the same for you. If you’re alone, check yourself carefully. In the aftermath of a collision, an adrenaline surge may temporarily mask the pain of some injuries. If you see and feel nothing major, wait until it’s safe to get out of your car before doing so.

Check with the occupants of the other car(s) involved. If the accident caused any injuries, call 911. Render first aid if necessary, but try not to move anyone unless you know they’re in danger.

Until everyone is safe and the authorities have arrived, don’t worry about trying to assign fault or blame.

Step 3: Call the Police If Necessary

Even if it’s not an emergency, you may need to call the police to inform them about the accident. This won’t be necessary if you’re on a busy or regularly patrolled road. If you’re on a low-traffic road or rural highway, call them as soon as possible. Don’t call 911 unless it really is an emergency. You can get the local police station’s phone number from Information.

Step 4: Swap Contact and Insurance Info

While you’re waiting, exchange insurance and contact information with all other drivers. This is one of the most important steps to take after a car accident, as it will eventually come in handy in your accident claim. Get all names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and plate numbers. If someone decides to leave the scene, try to get their license number. It may also help your insurance claim later if you can get contact information from any passengers in the other car(s).

Step 5: Take Notes and Photos

Document the crash. Don’t worry about offending anyone. Take notes on paper or on your phone’s notes app. Include where the accident occurred, the drivers involved, your car’s damage, and any injuries. Try to get the names of all the passengers and witnesses. Include the road conditions and any road hazards. Get the names and badge numbers of the police officers who respond, too. Take photos of everything above, especially your injuries and vehicle damage.

Step 6: Ask for a Police Report

Most insurers consider the officers who handle a scene to be reliable, solid sources of information. Ask them for a police report at the scene. They should be able to tell you when it will be ready and how you can get a copy. This can help you when you make your claim.

Step 7: Call Your Insurance Agent

Contact your insurance agent ASAP. If they’re unavailable, leave a message. When they call you back, they’ll fill you in on what to do next.

Learn More About Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Because auto damages can range into the thousands of dollars — and injury claims can go even higher — some insurance companies will do all they can to minimize or avoid paying a claim. If you get a low settlement offer, they deny your claim, or you feel you’ve been unfairly found at fault, we may be able to help. Talking to an experienced New Hampshire car accident lawyer may be one of the most important steps to take after a car accident.

For a free consultation, contact the NH injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 624-7200 or by email at info@MZLawNH.com. We may also be contacted by using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

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The NH injury lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law invite you to subscribe to our newsletter. You can also follow us on Twitter.

texting while driving

Texting While Driving: It CAN Wait

According to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2015 distracted driving was responsible for 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries.

NHTSA also estimated that, in 2011, 660,000 drivers were using an electronic device while behind the wheel. Nearly 3,500 people were killed because of texting while driving. So, was it worth it? Of course not!

texting while driving

What Can Cause Distraction?

There are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual: Taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: Taking your mind off the road

These three distractions are all involved when texting while driving. Reading or sending a text takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.5 seconds. This doesn’t sound like very long now does it? But taking your eyes off the road for just 4.5 seconds while traveling an average of 55 mph  would be equal to driving the entire length of a football field…blind folded! These distractions played a crucial role in the New Hampshire law, known as the Hands-Free Law, that went into effect on July 1, 2015. This law was designed to create safer conditions for everyone on the road. The bottom line is that no one can multitask enough to make texting and driving safe. Drive now text later, it will save lives.

Our New Hampshire distracted driving crash lawyers can provide assistance in the event of an injury caused by a texting or cell-phone using driver.

It Could Happen to You

This is the story about two individuals whose lives changed in the matter of seconds. Chad Belleville of Barnstead, NH was driving to pick up his order of Chinese food on December 23rd, 2010 when he looked down at his phone to read a text.

“The next thing you know, I crashed,” he told state troopers.

In the time that Belleville looked down at his phone to read a text, he crossed over the median line, nearly missing one car before plowing into the next. In that car was 17 year-old D.W. Flanders who was ejected from the vehicle. D.W. suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of the crash, leaving him developmentally incapacitated and wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. The young man who once dreamed about joining the Marines was now working on relearning the alphabet.

David Rothstein, Belleville’s lawyer, said that this was a case “where you say, ‘Gosh, I might have done that. I have done that.’’’

The New Hampshire Supreme Court unanimously upheld the conviction of second-degree assault. Belleville was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

Belleville said in response to this tragedy, “Texting and driving is like playing Russian roulette. It’s not if but when.”

Drive Now Text Later

If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving crash that was no fault of your own, contact the Law Office of Manning and Zimmerman at (603) 624-7200. Our attorneys are here to fight for you.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

Was Your Car Insurance Claim Denied?

Car Insurance Claim Denied New HampshireWas your car insurance claim denied by the other driver’s carrier after a recent crash? If so, you’re probably confused and unsure of what steps to take next. Car crashes are expensive, and if you or someone else suffered injuries, the costs can run into tens of thousands of dollars. Few of us have that much money available.

If you were careful to take notes, speak with the police, and cooperate with the insurer, and your car insurance claim was still denied, you may be wondering, “Now what?”

In this article, we’ll help you answer that question by explaining why your car insurance claim may have been denied. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC today.

Why Your Claim May Have Been Denied

While insurance companies are picky, they also tend to be very careful, if only because they don’t want you to sue them. Most of them will work with you in good faith to try to get your claim resolved ASAP. However, sometimes there are hiccups in the process.

The main reasons an insurance company may deny your car insurance claim is because it either hopes you won’t pursue the claim any farther and will just go away, or it thinks the claim lacks merit. They may be relying on an unreliable witness or some other form of evidence you lack. Even if their driver was totally at fault, they won’t admit it. Their primary evidence may be the other driver anyway, and their story is almost always going to contradict yours — especially if they lack a police report.

Other reasons for an insurance claim denial are more feasible. They include:

  • Exclusions. The at-fault driver may have provisions in their policy whereby the insurance company can get out of paying you. The most common is the “acts of God” exclusion, where they claim a natural event actually caused the crash. They can argue there was a bad storm when the crash occurred and was not the result of their driver’s wrongdoing.
  • Lapsed Policy. The insurer can refuse to pay if their driver failed to pay their premium on time and had no coverage when the crash occurred. At this point, your own uninsured or underinsured motorist provision may have to pick up the slack.
  • Failure to Notify. Most car insurance policies specify a certain time-frame during which you must report the crash. If you fail to do so, they may deny your claim when you do. Always report a crash to both insurers ASAP.

What to Do If Your Claim Is Denied

You’ll need an experienced NH car crash attorney to help you fight the insurance company on a denied claim. Usually, the process starts with a demand letter, which includes:

  • Your side of the story in detail.
  • The total cost of your vehicle damages.
  • Your medical expenses.
  • Your argument as to why the other driver was responsible.

Once your NH injury attorney has prepared and sent a demand letter to the insurance company, they either have to provide you with a specific reason they denied your car insurance claim, pay you the full amount, or make you a smaller offer.

What Is the Appeals Process?

If the insurance company’s response does not satisfy you, your New Hampshire injury lawyer at Manning & Zimmerman Law  can engage in an appeals process. Some states require a formal appeals process for all denied claims. New Hampshire isn’t one of them, but it does require insurance companies to provide at least one level of appeal, and ideally two. Either way, you’ll have a better chance of negotiating a settlement.

If the appeal system fails, you can still file a lawsuit against the insurance company. Discuss this with your injury lawyer before you finalize this decision. It may be the best option under the circumstances, though your injury attorney will be sure to let you know if your chances of success are low. If that’s the case, or if the cost of a lawsuit will exceed what you could reasonably recover (assuming you win the case), then they’re likely to caution you against a lawsuit and trial.

Was Your Car Insurance Claim Denied? We Can Help

If you have been injured by another person’s careless acts, contact the experienced Manchester injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 232-7278 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.

NH Injury Lawyers

Do You Have a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful Death Lawsuit: When and Why You Should Sue

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Do you have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit? At the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, we can help you understand the basics of a wrongful death claim, as well as determine whether or not you can sue.

If you have you suffered from a wrongful death in your family, or suspect that you have, read on.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death occurs anytime someone dies because of somebody else’s mistake. That somebody else can be an individual or a corporate entity. For example, a car maker who manufactures a car where the gas tank explodes if somebody rear-ends you may cause a wrongful death. Similarly, a drunk person who fires a large firework into a crowd, killing someone, has certainly caused a wrongful death.

Those who cause such deaths should be responsible for everything from funerary costs to the lost income the victim might have earned during their lifetime. Under most state law, they’re also responsible for other survivor losses.

Can You Sue for Wrongful Death?

Yes, if the victim was important to you and clearly died due to someone else’s mistake, misadventure, or negligence. Most survivors file via an attorney or the executor of the victim’s estate. In legal terms, the survivors are the “real parties in interest.”

In New Hampshire, the law states that “anyone with an interest in the estate of a deceased” may file a wrongful death lawsuit, though you must bring the suit within six years of the victim’s death. Real parties in interest may include:

  • Immediate family.
  • Distant family.
  • Life partners.
  • Financial dependents.
  • Putative spouses (those who believe in good faith that they were married to the victim).
  • Former spouses.
  • Anyone else who suffers a financial loss due to victim’s death.

Whom Can You Sue for a Wrongful Death?

Anyone you can successfully argue caused or contributed substantially to the victim’s death. This may include a trucker, bus, or taxi driver in an auto accident; the architect who designed a structure that collapsed, killing the victim; the contractor who built that structure; the person who owned that structure; the person who maintained that structure, etc. In this case, the term “structure” includes roads, bridges, and other built facilities.

You can sue anyone who manufactured, sold, or installed an item that caused the person’s death, even if the victim was using the product improperly. Anyone who serves someone enough alcohol to make them drunk, resulting in their death due to alcohol toxicity, incautious behavior, or driving while drunk, can also be sued. You can sue the owner of the premises where the individual was “overserved,” too.

Typically, government employees and government agencies are immune from wrongful death suits, though not always.

Types of Damages Claimable in Wrongful Death Suits

Real parties of interest can sue for:

  • Economic damages, ranging from medical and funeral expenses to loss of expected earnings, pensions, benefits, and goods the victim might have provided during their lifetime.
  • Non-economic damages, including less tangible things like mental anguish; pain and suffering; loss of companionship, love, protection, nurturing, and guidance; and loss of consortium (that is, deprivation of a spousal and family relationship).
  • Punitive damages. Monetary punishment for negligence. This can amount to millions of dollars in some cases.
  • Attorneys’ fees.

How Are Damages Calculated?

It can be very hard to calculate damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, and what you can receive may depend on who you are to the victim and why you’re suing. Don’t try to calculate damages by yourself; you need an experienced attorney’s help.

An Experienced New Hampshire Attorney Can Help With Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If you’re considering filing a wrongful death suit in New Hampshire, contact us at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We’ll provide you the advice you need before you start, and the support you need during the lawsuit. With our help, you can prosecute your wrongful death lawsuit with confidence.

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.