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What Is the Statute of Limitations on Insurance Claims in New Hampshire?

Statute of Limitations on Insurance Claims | Car Accident Manchester NHYour ability to file a lawsuit after a car accident is governed by New Hampshire’s “statute of limitations” which restricts the amount of time you have to sue for damages. So, if you wait too long, you may give up your legal right to sue someone in court.

If you suffered injuries and vehicle damage in a car accident, an experienced Manchester NH car accident lawyer can help.

At the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, we pride ourselves on our experience, client service, and professionalism. Contact us today to learn more.

New Hampshire’s Statute of Limitations

New Hampshire law generally limits you to three years to file a lawsuit for injuries and damages related to a car accident. This is true whether you were the driver, passenger, pedestrian, or someone whose property was damaged.

There may, however, be shorter timelines which apply. For example, if you have a claim for a car accident caused by a federal government employee, you may be required to file a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act within two years of the date of the car crash. An experienced personal injury lawyer can review the facts of your case and advise you as to the time limits which apply to your claim.

When you sue someone in a car accident, you are asserting that their conduct was intentional or negligent. You are also claiming that their wrongful conduct resulted in your injuries or property damage.

You may be entitled to recover expenses you paid for treatment of your injuries, for your pain and suffering, and for other impacts to your life. In addition, you could be compensated for repair or replacement of your car and lost wages from missed work.

When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin to Run?

The clock on the three-year statute of limitations on a car accident typically starts the day your claim came into existence — that is, the date of the accident. So if you suffered injuries or property damage because of another person’s negligence, you have three years to file a suit against the party at fault. For some types of claims (such as an underinsured motorist claim) there may be different deadlines and calculations which apply.

In a wrongful death claim, or if the driver of the vehicle that caused the crash has died, there may be different deadlines which apply and/or you may be required to open an estate before a lawsuit is filed. Again. An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine the specific deadlines which apply to your claim.

The clock does not start running when you file an insurance claim but when the cause of the claim arose. Whether you may file a claim promptly or not change the time limit within which the claim must be filed in court. However, keep in mind that New Hampshire law requires drivers to report serious crashes within 15 days. They must do so in writing to the Division of Motor Vehicles. The report must describe any injuries or deaths, along with property damage above $1000. More information on these reporting requirements can be found here: https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/dmv/financial-responsibility/accidents-crashes.htm

The point is to act quickly. You have a limited window of time to be compensated for your losses from a car accident. You should not wait until after your insurance claim is processed to talk to a lawyer. Settling insurance claims and preparing to file a lawsuit both take time.

How Does New Hampshire’s Modified Comparative Negligence System Work?

An important question you may have is whether you can still sue for damages when you are partially at fault. New Hampshire follows a modified “comparative negligence” system. Under this rule, the good news is you can still recover damages from a car accident even if you were partly at fault. The bad news is your award will be limited to the percentage you were not at fault. If you were more at fault than the defendant, you cannot recover anything.

For instance, let’s say that your damages total the amount of $10,000. But the jury determines that you were 10% at fault for the accident. In this case, the total amount of your damages would be reduced by 10% by the judge, and you were receive a total reward of $9,000.

Unfortunately, determining how much you were at-fault is not a science. There is no formula for assigning fault to you and the defendant. Assigning liability comes down to the judgment of the insurance claims adjuster, or the judge and jury. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced car accident attorney who can help you negotiate with the claims adjuster or persuade the court that you were less at fault.

Speak to a Manchester NH Car Accident Attorney Today

To learn more about New Hampshire’s statute of limitations on insurance claims, speak to an experienced Manchester NH injury attorney. At the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, we can help you seek recovery for damages from a car accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.

SHERO

Manning and Zimmerman Honored With SHERO Award

Attorneys from Manning and Zimmerman Law honored by the New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association

Manning and ZimmermanMay 21, 2019 – Attorneys Maureen Raiche Manning and Anna Goulet Zimmerman, partners with the Law Office of Manning and Zimmerman, have received special recognition from the New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association (NHWBA).  Both attorneys were honored with the SHERO awards at NHWBA’s 20th Anniversary celebration.  The awards are designed to celebrate pioneering women who serve as role models and who make a difference for other women in the practice of law.

Maureen Raiche Manning

Maureen Raiche Manning is a founding member of the New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association and served as its first president. Maureen is a past-President of the New Hampshire Association for Justice (NHAJ) and received the Board of Governors’ Award for her advocacy before the New Hampshire legislature.

Anna Goulet Zimmerman

Anna Goulet Zimmerman has an extensive background in personal injury litigation.  She is a past-President of the New Hampshire Association for Justice and is the 2014 recipient of the association’s President’s Award. She is also a member of the Manchester Bar Association and the New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association.

SHERO Awards

Over the last year, a total of 70 women who are admired and serve as role models, have been nominated by their peers and colleagues for the SHERO Awards. The nominees include both young and veteran attorneys, and those who work as solo practitioners, at large firms, and in the public sector. Judges, professors, and entrepreneurs are among those who have been chosen by their fellow attorneys.

“We are so pleased to be honored by the New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association with their SHERO award,” said Attorney Maureen Manning.  “We have spent decades working for gender equality and fair representation for all women in the legal community.  To be nominated by our colleagues is an incredible honor and to receive this special recognition is particularly meaningful.”

About the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman

The Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC has a long history of effectively representing clients state-wide who have suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence. Our Manchester, New Hampshire personal injury law firm strives to provide clients the highest standard of legal assistance.

Pain and Suffering After a Car Crash Accident Attorney Manchester NH

Can You Get Compensation for Pain and Suffering After a Car Crash?

Pain and Suffering After a Car Crash | Accident Attorney Manchester NHUnlike damage to your car and injuries to your body, pain and suffering is subjective and sometimes difficult for others to understand. What are pain and suffering damages, and how can you seek compensation for them?

If you sustained injuries in a car accident, an experienced Manchester NH car accident lawyer can help. At the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, we pride ourselves on our experience, client service, and professionalism. Contact us today to learn more about recovering damages for pain and suffering in a car accident.

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

Most car accident damages are tangible, and can therefore be measured objectively. For example, a broken leg or a smashed bumper are both things that a doctor or an auto body shop can attest to. In much the same way, an employer can verify that you had to miss work while trying to recover from your injuries. Damages in these situations may include real out-of-pocket costs, such as medical treatment, prescriptions, vehicle repair, and lost wages from missing work.

These economic damages, however, are not the biggest part of the impact. Pain and suffering, the interruption of life, the loss of enjoyment of life and the activities which are important to you, are often very significant but not as easy to calculate. Legally speaking, pain and suffering damages are the total cost of your physical (pain) and emotional (suffering) damages.

Pain and suffering damages can apply to both major and minor car accidents. They take into account stress from both the accident and any injuries caused by it. So, for example, if an accident caused serious burns, you could seek pain and suffering damages for the mental and emotional toll you were under due to the pain of the injury itself, stress of undergoing treatment, the impact the injury had on your ability to continue your daily routine or to earn a living, and the emotional damages associated with the scarring.

How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?

Though there is no simple rule to calculate pain and suffering damages, they can be expressed in financial terms. Insurance companies look at two things when they calculate pain and suffering:

  1. Severity – Pain and suffering damages will be higher the more serious your bodily injuries from the accident are. For example, damages will be more for temporary loss of sight than whiplash in the neck.
  2. Permanence – Pain and suffering will also be higher the more permanent your bodily injuries from the accident are. A broken arm will eventually heal, but permanent disfigurement from burns will justify higher pain and suffering compensation.

An experienced car accident attorney can help you calculate pain and suffering damages in your car accident claim. There is no fixed multiplier. It all depends on what the impacts were on your life. Because of this, it is important to try to track the activities you miss out on, the vacation you had to skip, how you felt, etc.

How Do You Recover Pain and Suffering Damages in New Hampshire?

Most states, including New Hampshire, hold at-fault drivers financially liable for all reasonable damages resulting from the accident they caused. So, you can sue them in court for damages and negotiate a settlement with their insurance provider. If a settlement cannot be reached, then you will sue the driver (the insurance company will pray for the driver’s attorney, cover the driver’s expenses, and pay the judgment, but the process requires that you sue the driver and you will not be allowed to tell the jury that there is insurance). If your case goes to trial, a jury will value your damages. You attorney may suggest to the jury an amount that is fair, but the jury is not bound by what either attorney requests.

Why You Need an Injury Attorney After a Car Accident

After suffering injuries in a car accident, your first priority should be to look after your own safety and health. Seek medical treatment if you need it. If you delay in calling for medical help, your injuries might worsen. Also, document the accident and injuries with photographs, gather witness information, and keep an injury diary tracking the major impacts.

Your next step should be to hire an experienced Manchester NH car accident attorney. Your lawyer will help you weigh your legal options based on what they know worked in prior car accident cases. They’ll also deal with the at-fault driver’s lawyer and insurance company for you. However, time is of the essence. New Hampshire limits the amount of time you have to file a suit after a car accident.

Contact an Experienced Manchester NH Car Accident Attorney Today

If you suffered injuries in an accident, it’s important to maximize the amount of compensation you can receive. An experienced Manchester NH car accident attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Determining Fault by Location of Damage NH Car Accident Lawyer

Determining Fault by Location of Damage in Car Crashes

Determining Fault by Location of Damage | NH Car Accident LawyerIf you’ve been in a car accident, you may know that the crash happened differently than the at-fault driver is now saying. And you’re probably well aware that determining who was at fault for the crash is critical to negotiating compensation for damages and making sure that you protect your rights.

When it comes to determining fault, the location of damage to the cars involved often sheds light on the circumstances leading to the accident and any laws that could have been broken. But determining fault by location of damage has its limits. There are situations where damage doesn’t tell a clear story about who had the right of way.

If you have questions about car accident fault, a Manchester NH car accident lawyer can help. To learn more, speak to a car accident attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC today.

Why Is Determining Fault So Important?

Determining fault in a car accident is necessary to recover costs you may have incurred. If the other driver is at fault, you can seek reimbursement from them for damages – this is usually done through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. These damages can compensate you for repair expenses, medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering.

How Does Location of Damage Help in Proving Who Was at Fault in a Car Crash?

Location of vehicle damage often tells a story, and can shed light as to how the accident may have occurred. A car moving in a certain direction at a particular speed will often cause specific type of damage to the other vehicle. Looking at this damage immediately after an accident can be useful to corroborate your story events.

Sometimes, the location of damage paints the whole picture of how the accident unfolded. Other times, it tells only part of the story. But is still useful to rule out what didn’t occur. An experienced car accident attorney can examine both vehicles and help establish that you were not at fault for the accident.

Example of When Damage Location Proves Fault

For example, a rear-end crash will leave damage to the back of your vehicle and the front of the other car. Most often, the driver that rear-ended you will be determined at fault in the accident. This is because drivers are required to leave sufficient stopping distance between themselves and the car in front of them. When they crash into the car in front of them, they fail to maintain this distance and are at fault.

But what if the other drive claims their brakes didn’t work? In a rear end collision, an evaluation of the heights of the vehicles at rest and at the time of impact can help show if the rear car was breaking hard (which causes the front of the car to dip down slightly) or not.

When Does Location of Damage Not Prove Fault?

Sometimes, looking at the location of damage to both vehicles isn’t enough to establish fault. For example, damage to your passenger side and the front of the other car could show that you were the collision occurred. But it wouldn’t show which car ran the red light. If you had a green light and the other driver ran through a red light, they would be at fault. But if you turn ran the red, then you would be at fault. In this case, location of damage alone wouldn’t provide sufficient proof of who was to blame for the crash. Witnesses (if available) and the credibility of the driver’s become key in these cases.

That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced Manchester NH car accident attorney who can help you gather additional information about the accident. This information could include speeds, acceleration, weather, intoxication, and tire marks. Such evidence could be gathered from witness testimony and supplement location of damage to complete the paint the whole picture.

Learn More About Determining Fault by Location of Damage in a Car Crash

If you’ve been in a car accident and are seeking recovery for damages, an experienced Manchester NH injury attorney can help. At the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, we can explain the evidence you need to build your case. Contact us today.

The Helmet Debate

motorcycle helmet lawMay is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.  Warmer weather means the snow has melted, the roadways are clear, and once again the sound of pipes can be heard as motorcyclists return to the roadways, many without wearing a helmet.  New Hampshire is one of just three states that does not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet, along with Illinois and Iowa.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 19 states and the District of Columbia has motorcycle helmet laws that require all riders to wear a helmet. Twenty-eight states have a motorcycle helmet law that only requires some riders to wear a helmet.

In New Hampshire, opponents to any sort of motorcycle helmet law argue that motorcyclists understand the risks and Live Free or Die means they are entitled to the personal liberty and freedom to choose whether or not they want to wear a helmet.

Bills mandating helmet use have repeatedly failed to pass the Legislature. The most recent attempt (HB 1162) was proposed in 2010 but died in the House Transportation Committee.  Both sides have their arguments on whether New Hampshire should once again consider a mandatory helmet law.

Opponents believe adults should have the choice to wear a helmet and those who ride without one are only endangering themselves. Some even argue that Motorcycle Week in Laconia is incredibly popular and generates so much revenue on an annual basis because the riders who flock to New Hampshire every year revel in the fact that they don’t have to wear their helmets.

Proponents of mandatory helmet laws say head injuries cost everyone through increased hospital costs, rehabilitation, and loss of employment.  That argument would be supported by data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which estimates that helmets cut the risk of a motorcycle fatality by 37 percent and are about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.

Interestingly, Michigan, which weakened its helmet law in 2012, saw an increase in insurance payments.  According to the Highway Loss Data Institute the average insurance payment for injuries to motorcyclists in crashes rose substantially after the law changed.  A separate study published in The American Journal of Surgery, found that the average acute care cost of unhelmeted riders at a single Michigan trauma center was nearly $28,000, 32 percent higher than for helmeted riders.

Whatever your position, the data is clear, your chances of survival in the event of a crash on a motorcycle are much higher if you are wearing a helmet.

At the Law Office of Manning and Zimmerman, we care about your safety and encourage you to ride safely.  If you or someone you know has been injured in a crash involving a motorcycle, we encourage you to 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 all sorts of different types of crashes. We offer free consultations and are more than happy to speak with you about your case. Please contact us today.