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New Hampshire injury lawyers

New Hampshire Injury Lawyers: Protecting Civil Justice

Profit Motive Fuels Attack on Civil Justice Protections in 2017

Advocates for individual rights, including the New Hampshire injury lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law,  might someday call 2017 The Year of Reversal for an unprecedented number of attacks on America’s civil justice system. Pick your poison, for examples:

      • The rollback of restrictions on forced arbitration
      • Passage of legislation that will weaken protections against medical malpractice and nursing home abuse
      • A slew of proposed “tort reform” measures

      At the root of these initiatives is corporate profits rather than the safety and legal rights of all Americans. Here’s a closer look:

      Forced Arbitration Is Forced Injustice

      New Hampshire personal injury lawyers

      Forced arbitration clauses, now used in a wide range of product, service, and employment contracts, prevent a wronged party from bringing a case to court. Instead, the dispute must be settled in secret arbitrations, usually by an arbitrator chosen by the defendant. These clauses often ban class-action lawsuits as well. Such lawsuits are used by thousands of consumers to hold major companies accountable for illegal or deceitful behavior. Think Wells Fargo charging millions of customers for accounts they didn’t open, for example. Or the recent Equifax data breach that exposed 143 million people to identity theft and fraud.

      Following a comprehensive, multiyear study, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a rule banning financial institutions like credit card companies and banks from adding forced arbitration clauses to customer contracts. However, in October the Senate voted to overturn this rule, giving big financial corporations the upper hand when customers are ripped off.

      Forced arbitration clauses buried in employment contracts also keep employees from suing, in some instances, for discrimination, sexual assault and harassment, and workplace safety concerns. An executive order called the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule prohibited these clauses in federal contracts. But in March this rule was eliminated, compromising workplace protections and denying 28 million American workers their day in court if wronged on the job.

      Medical Malpractice Caps Penalize Injured Patients and Families

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      An estimated 200,000 to 400,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors. Patients are injured or killed by mistakes at hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and nursing homes, or by faulty medical devices. Many victims of medical malpractice have little choice but to retain the New Hampshire injury lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law to take those responsible to court to receive some semblance of justice. But a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives was passed earlier this year that will cap medical malpractice damages at $250,000. That’s a slap in the face for those who have suffered extreme trauma or loss. It makes it clear that some members of Congress will only protect insurance companies and negligent healthcare providers. They should instead protect injured people.

      “Tort Reform” Will Delay and Deny Justice

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      Several other attacks on civil justice were launched this past year under the guise of “tort reform.” This is a phrase used by corporations and their allies to justify measures that would curtail access to the courts. It is also intended to reduce compensation to injury victims. One such bill, H.R. 725, would allow corporate defendants to move cases from qualified state courts into overburdened federal courts, resulting in delays and increased costs to plaintiffs and taxpayers. Another bill, H.R. 985, will “shield powerful corporations from being held accountable from scamming, injuring and discriminating against Americans” by limiting the ability of consumers and workers to join together in class action suits. One part of this bill even forces asbestos victims to add their private information to publicly accessible databases. This furthers their victimization and makes them vulnerable to identity theft and online trolls.

      According to the New Hampshire injury lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law, both of these anti-safety, anti-consumer bills passed the House and are now before the Senate.

      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 Manchester injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 239-2315, by email at info@MZLawNH.com, or by using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

      Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

      nh car accident lawyers

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What to Expect at Your First Meeting With a Personal Injury Attorney

1. Bring all relevant documents

These may include accident or incident reports, medical bills, medical records, witness statements and/or lists of potential witnesses. Also included are any papers or journals you have kept to describe your injuries, recovery, and limitations, etc.

2. Write things down before the meeting

It is important to have all information available that may help your attorney get you a fast and positive result. Remember, it’s a team effort. Make lists of potential witnesses, insurance companies covering your property damage and injuries, and healthcare providers, with contact information. Keep a journal listing your injuries, your limitations, your doctor visits, and how your injuries are progressing over time. A meeting (and a legal case) will always progress more smoothly if you come prepared.

3. Be prepared to fill out some paperwork

When a personal injury lawyer decides to take your case (and sometimes before taking the case), one of the first and most important things that will happen is the collection of medical records related to your injury. You will be asked to sign releases to allow the medical providers to send your records to your attorney for review and use in your case. If the attorney takes your case, he or she will mail these releases to everyone who has treated you, with
requests for your records.

Another thing that might happen is that the attorney will ask you to sign a contract for his or her services. In a personal injury case, this will usually mean that you agree that your attorney will receive a percentage of your compensation in the case of a courtroom victory or settlement. This is known as a contingency fee arrangement which is agreed upon instead of paying for legal services on an hourly basis.

The Importance of Being Thorough and Truthful with Your Attorney

4. Answer all your lawyer’s questions thoroughly

Your lawyer will need to gather as much information as possible to assess whether your case is worth pursuing and what the likely outcome of your case will be. Questions can include, among other things:

• The details of the accident;
• The details of your treatment;
• Which daily tasks you can and cannot do since becoming injured;
• How long will your recovery take;
• If a full recovery is possible;
• How the injury has impacted your personal and professional life;
• Your pain level; and
• Your medical bills and costs to date.

This is where journaling about your injuries and writing down the information about your accident and the health care providers can really come in handy! Lists of other people the attorney can talk to, like witnesses, insurance companies, and healthcare providers, are also useful at this stage. The more information you can provide, the
easier it will be for the attorney to decide how to move forward with your case.

5. The importance of being truthful with your attorney

In addition to providing all the necessary information, it is also important to be truthful with your personal injury attorney. Do not withhold details that you are concerned to talk about because they are too personal or even embarrassing. Your attorney has a duty of confidentiality. Your case will go more smoothly if your attorney has all the information about your case.

Be Sure to Listen to Your Personal Injury Attorney

6. Listen to your attorney: He or she will give you a preliminary opinion and explain what happens next

If you have been able to provide your attorney with a pretty thorough breakdown of your injuries, expenses, and limitations, the attorney will most likely be able to provide a preliminary opinion on your case at the initial consultation (though he or she may need to gather more information first).

You might find out if the attorney thinks you can win this case in court, whether it is best to settle your case outside of court, and what some of the parameters are for figuring out the compensation you should seek. Considered here are your medical and loss-of-work expenses, your long-term limitations, and the level of fault of the other party. Your attorney may decide to take your case or, in some cases, refer your case to another attorney who may be able to better assist you due to your particular circumstances.

The personal injury attorney representing you may also tell you that you should wait to begin your case until you have reached your maximum level of recovery from the injury.

Contact an Experienced New Hampshire Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured by another person’s careless acts, contact a personal injury attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC at (603) 239-2489 for a free consultation. 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!

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Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

© James Publishing

Laura, a New Hampshire Personal Injury Client

“Anna and her staff were very helpful and still are available for any questions we have had about our case and really anything. I felt she truly puts her heart into her work. You can tell she became a lawyer to help people. Hopefully, I won’t need a lawyer again but if I did she would be the one I would call.”

New Hampshire personal injury attorney

Contact New Hampshire Personal Injury Attorneys for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one have been injured through no fault of your own, 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! New Hampshire personal injury attorney Anna Goulet Zimmerman has more than 20 years experience representing injury victims and would be glad to speak with you about your case.

For a free consultation, contact the experienced New Hampshire personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman at (603) 239-2489, complete a request for a consultation on our website, or send us an email.

To subscribe to our newsletter, click here. We are also on Facebook and you can follow us on Twitter.

Experienced  *  Knowledgeable  *  Personally Committed to Justice

Manchester Injury Attorney Named to Super Lawyers List

Manchester Injury Attorney Maureen Raiche Manning represents injury victims throughout New Hampshire

Manchester injury attorney Maureen Raiche Manning has been named to the 2017 Super Lawyers listing for attorneys representing injury victims. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas. Each lawyer selected for this recognition has attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Attorney Manning has been practicing personal injury law in New Hampshire for 31 years, representing clients in New Hampshire federal and state courts. Maureen is proud to represent individuals who have sustained injuries through no fault of their own in motor vehicle crashes, workplace accidents, medical negligence, and all other areas of personal injury.  She also represents the estates of victims of wrongful death.

Maureen is a lifelong resident of Manchester, the mother of three adult sons, and a former three-term state legislator. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and a Law Degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law. Maureen is a faculty member at the Keenan Ball Trial College where she instructs other trial attorneys.

Manchester injury attorneyMaureen’s law partner is Manchester injury attorney Anna Goulet Zimmerman. Joining Maureen and Anna in the practice of law is associate attorney Michaila Oliveira. Both Attorneys Manning and Zimmerman are past-presidents of the New Hampshire Association for Justice, a statewide professional association of trial attorneys working to protect constitutional rights and to ensure that all citizens receive justice through the legal system.

About Manning & Zimmerman Law

The Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC represents injured plaintiffs throughout New Hampshire from their office in Manchester’s Historic District. Click here to learn more about Manning and Zimmerman Law.

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Experienced • Knowledgeable • Committed to Justice

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New Hampshire Personal Injury Lawyers: Rear-End Collisions

The New Hampshire personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC have seen a dramatic rise in rear-end crashes in recent years.  One of the major factors in these crashes is drivers distracted behind the wheel.

Texting, phone calls, searching for music, and many other distractions have fueled the spike in crashes. Many collisions are to the rear-end of vehicles that have come to a stop.

Contact Experienced New Hampshire Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If you have been injured by another driver, including injuries sustained in a rear-end collision, give us a call at (603) 239-2489 for a free consultation. 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!

To subscribe to our newsletter, click here. We are also on Facebook and you can follow us on Twitter.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

These “10 Liability Factors in Rear-End Collisions” are presented courtesy of James Publishing to help with understanding how to assess fault in one of these crashes.

new hampshire personal injury lawyers

new hampshire personal injury lawyers

new hampshire personal injury lawyers

new hampshire personal injury lawyers

new hampshire personal injury lawyers

new hampshire personal injury lawyers

new hampshire personal injury lawyers

new hampshire personal injury lawyers

new hampshire personal injury lawyers

 

personal injury attorney

Manchester Injury Lawyers: Rear-End Collisions

Rear-End Collisions

The Manchester injury lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law know that for a number of years, car crashes were declining due to several factors. This includes the manufacturing of automobiles with advanced safety devices such as anti-lock brakes, stability control, and multiple airbags. Recently, however, the incidence of collisions on American roadways has increased sharply.  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 37,461 people died on American roadways in 2016, a 5.6 percent hike over 2015.

Research has shown that one of the major factors in this rise is collisions caused by drivers who are distracted behind the wheel, primarily, though not exclusively, from the use of hand-held devices. Texting, phone calls, searching for music, and many other distractions have fueled the spike in crashes, many of which are collisions to the rear-end of vehicles that have come to a stop.

Rear-end collisions have always been one of the most common types of auto accidents, but in the past few years they have been occurring more frequently due to the increase in distracted driving. Most rear-end collisions occur when the stopped vehicle is waiting in traffic, waiting to turn left or right, or waiting for a light to change, and the driver is struck from behind by someone who is distracted and not focused on the road ahead.

Manchester injury lawyers

Police Reports and Insurance Companies

The police report written following a crash will frequently place fault on the moving vehicle, usually for following too closely or for inattentiveness.  The driver of the moving vehicle will often admit liability to the police officer, you, or other witnesses.

Insurers usually pay considerable attention to police reports.  However, sometimes insurance carriers or their defense attorneys will claim no liability due to sudden and unexpected stopping, failure to signal when stopping to turn, not yielding before pulling into traffic, or brake defect.

Assessing Liability in Rear-End Collisions

The  experienced Manchester injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC will want to learn about the following items when assessing the certainty of liability in your rear-end collision:

    • Vehicle position. Was your car stopped in traffic, waiting for a light to change, turning left or right, slowing down for traffic, waiting to turn into a driveway, etc.?
    • The other driver’s speed. What was the approximate speed of the vehicle that struck you?
    • His or her following distance. Did you see how far away the colliding vehicle was before the crash?
    • Your use of turn signals. If you were about to turn, did you have your turn signal on?  If so, for how long?
    • The vehicle damage. Is the damage to each car minimal, moderate, or severe?  Do you have any pictures?
    • Any driver statements. Did either you or the other driver say anything about fault at the scene?
    • The existence of witnesses. Were there any impartial witnesses to the accident?
    • Any alcohol use. Were either you or the other driver drinking prior to the accident?
    • Any credible passengers. Did either car have other riders?  How persuasive are their accounts of the accident?
    • The driving conditions. Was the road slippery due to rain or snow?  Was it sunny, dark, foggy, or stormy?
    • The functioning of your lights. Were your signal and brake lights working?
    • Any defenses. Is the insurer suggesting that brake defect, icy conditions, sun in the other driver’s eyes, or your failure to signal is to blame?

Contact the Manchester Injury Lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law Today

If you have been injured in a New Hampshire motor vehicle collision, 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. To contact the experienced Manchester injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman for a free consultation, call (603) 239-2315, complete a request for a consultation or chat with us on our website, or send us an email.

To subscribe to our newsletter, click here. We are also on Facebook and you can follow us on Twitter.

Experienced • Knowledgeable • Committed to Justice

 

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Manchester Law Firm Discusses Road Safety for Teens

Distractions, Inexperience and Risky Behavior Spell Trouble

According to the Manchester law firm of Manning & Zimmerman, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have reported that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. It is estimated that on average, six teenagers die every day in the United States from a car crash. As teens head back to school, you should know how to keep them, and others, safe.

Manchester law firm
Teens who text and drive are outside of
their lane about 10 percent of the time.

The Stats

The Manchester law firm of Manning & Zimmerman knows that a teen driver on the road is more likely to cause a car crash than any other driver. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash. Young men are two times more likely to get in a crash than young women.

If your teen driver has recently received his or her license, inexperience can spell disaster out on the road.  According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teen drivers ages 16 to 17 are twice as likely to get in a car crash compared to teen drivers ages 18 to 19.

Teens are also less likely to practice safe driving behavior, such as using seat belts or maintaining a safe following distance. In 2015, only 61 percent of high school students reported they always wear seat belts when riding with someone else.  [Download report.]

The Risks

Teens are also much more likely to drive distracted. Drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related crashes. Carpooling seems like a convenient way to get to school, but teens riding with other teen drivers increase the risk of distraction with every additional teen passenger. Here are all eight of the CDC danger zones most often linked to teen crashes:

1.  Driver Inexperience
2.  Driving with Teen Passengers
3.  Nighttime Driving
4.  Not Using Seat Belts
5.  Distracted Driving
6.  Drowsy Driving
7.  Reckless Driving
8.  Impaired Driving

The Parents

Manchester law firm

So what can parents do to prevent teen driving tragedies?

  • Most important, lead by example. Forty-eight percent of young drivers have seen their parents talking on a cell phone while driving, and 15 percent of those have seen their parents texting while driving. Show your kids how to drive responsibly by driving distraction free, wearing your seat belt, and following all speed limits and traffic laws.
  • Set limits. Multiple teen passengers and late-night driving lead to more crashes. Limit the number of passengers for your teen drivers and set a curfew.
  • Buy a safe car. The car your teen drives should be reliable. Purchase from a reputable dealer, and check all cars at Safercar.gov for recalls. Make sure your young driver knows what to do if a car breaks down.
  • Practice driving with your teen. Provide your teen driver with 30 to 50 hours of supervised driving practice over at least six months. Practice on a variety of roads, at different times of day, and in varied weather and traffic conditions. Stress the importance of continually scanning for potential hazards including other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
  • Create a Parent-Teen driving agreement. Put your driving rules in writing to clearly set limits, as well as the consequences for not following those rules.

Injured? Contact the Manchester Law Firm of Manning & Zimmerman

If you or a loved one have been injured through no fault of your own, it is essential that you have competent NH injury lawyers representing you from the onset of your case through litigation.  Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too. The experienced Manchester law firm of Manning & Zimmerman has  NH injury lawyers ready to represent you immediately.  Call (603) 239-2489 today for a free initial consultation.

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Do I Still Have a Personal Injury Claim If I Am at Fault Too?

The most common questions we receive in a personal injury claim are “How do I prove my case?” and “What is my case worth?” Which party is at fault determines what financial recovery you have a right to in any personal injury case. New Hampshire follows a comparative fault system. That is, the amount of liability of all parties involved in a case and the amount of the plaintiff’s financial recovery is determined by the degree of fault of each party.

Determination of Fault

Comparative fault law seeks to determine which party is, more or less, at fault for your injuries. During settlement negotiations or in a lawsuit, it is not unusual for the defendant(s) to allege that the plaintiff is partly or completely at fault for any injuries they may have suffered.

personal injury claim

Calculating Damages

Say you are walking through a grocery store talking on your cell phone and you slip and fall on a wet floor because it was not properly cleaned. In this situation, a possible outcome could be some liability by the store because of their failure to clean up the wet floor or to properly warn that it was unsafe. However, if it can be proven that you were not paying attention because you were talking on your cell phone when you fell, the percentage of the store’s liability could be reduced.

In this case, if the store was found to be 80% at fault and you were found to be 20% at fault, any financial settlement or award would be reduced by 20%. Therefore, if a jury awards you $100,000, the amount would be reduced by $20,000. However, if you were found to be more than 50% at fault, the law does not allow for you to recover for your injuries.

Preserving Evidence of Liability in Your Personal Injury Claim

There are many things you can do to preserve the evidence in your case. This is true whether you are in settlement negotiations, a jury trial, or arbitration.

Photograph the accident scene

If you are able, take as many photographs as possible of the crash scene from different angles. In a NH car accident case, take pictures of where the vehicles came to rest and the damages to all the vehicles involved in the crash. Also photograph property damages, skid marks, and grooves in the road or dirt. If you fell in a supermarket from liquid on the floor, take a picture of the area, especially if there were no warning signs in place. If you were injured from a defective product, take a picture of the product and the product packaging.

Obtain police or incident reports

If you reported the accident to the police or business owner, a report should have been generated. Obtain a copy of that report. The police report should include a description of the crash, identification of the parties involved, and any witnesses. It should also include witness statements, a diagram of the crash if necessary, whether any party was transported to a medical facility, and the police officer’s investigative findings. An incident report from the business owner should include your description of the accident. Be sure to include any complaints of injuries, along with the incident date, time and location. Some incident reports may also include an employee’s own investigation, such as confirming whether liquid was present.

Obtain any video-recordings or photographs

Witnesses may have photographed or video-recorded the accident or incident. Traffic cameras or security cameras may have also recorded the accident. Seek a copy of the video recording or photographs or have an attorney demand preservation of that evidence. This must be done as soon as possible since witnesses may delete any evidence they may have. Video recordings may be erased from traffic or security cameras that are usually set in a loop, so after a specified amount of time, the recording would be recorded over by more current data.

Obtain witness information

If possible, ask for the full name, address and telephone number of all witnesses.

Contact a New Hampshire Injury Attorney to Discuss Your Personal Injury Claim

If you were partly at fault for an accident that caused your injuries, speak to the experienced New Hampshire personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC to discuss your personal injury claim.  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. Call (603) 239-2489 today for a free initial consultation.

To subscribe to our newsletter, click here. We are also on Facebook and you can follow us on Twitter.

Experienced, Knowledgeable & Personally Committed to Justice

 

nh car crash attorneys

Bikers, Walkers Threatened By Increase In Distracted Driving

More Cars, More Walkers and Bikes, More Distractions = Higher Traffic Deaths

nh car crash attorneys
Use marked crosswalks: Eighty-two percent of pedestrian deaths occur outside the crosswalk.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), almost 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2016 in traffic accidents. In 2015, more than 800 bicyclists lost their lives in motor vehicle-involved crashes. Pedestrian deaths shot up 10 percent between 2014 and 2015, bicyclist deaths by 13 percent – both more than any other category of traffic-related fatalities, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

According to the NH car crash attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, the cause of this deadly trend has been greatly debated, with different groups pointing to a stronger economy and hence more cars on the road, more people walking to work or for recreation, and distraction due to the skyrocketing use of smartphone technology. Meanwhile, most efforts to prevent distraction are focused on motor vehicle drivers and passengers rather than pedestrians and bicyclists.

Teens Account for 25 Percent Increase in Pedestrian Deaths Over Past Five Years

nh car crash attorneys
Bicycle fatalities have risen sharply for adults (especially men) 20 years or older since 1975. Click on graph to enlarge.

Even if a person is not behind a wheel, they can be at risk if walking while talking on a cell phone or listening to music through headphones. Among kids, teens account for 50 percent of all pedestrian deaths in the United States, and unintentional pedestrian traffic injuries are the fifth leading cause of fatalities for ages 5 to 19. Older teens have accounted for a staggering 25 percent increase in pedestrian injuries in the past five years. Over half of all adults have been involved in a distracted walking encounter.

Tips To Stay Safe

Walking or bicycling are healthy for both people and the environment. Perhaps that is why we’ve seen a 60 percent increase in commuter biking during the past decade. But while bicycle deaths among children have thankfully decreased by 88 percent since 1975, deaths among bicyclists age 20 and older have more than tripled. From the NH car crash attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind that will increase your chances of arriving safely at your destination, whether on foot or by pedal!

* Look left, right and left again before crossing the street
* Make eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to make sure they see you
* Be aware of drivers even when you’re in a crosswalk; vehicles have blind spots
* Don’t wear headphones while walking or biking
* Never use a cell phone or other electronic device while walking or biking
* If your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic
* Never rely on a car to stop
* Only cross at designated crosswalks (82 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur outside crosswalks)
* Wear bright and/or reflective clothing, especially at night
* Always wear a helmet while biking
* Walk in groups, if possible
* Follow all traffic laws and road signs, and signal to turn

Contact Experienced NH Car Crash Attorneys Today

If you have been injured in a New Hampshire pedestrian accident and sustained any of the types of injuries discussed above, 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. The experienced New Hampshire personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC offer free initial consultations to NH injury victims. Call (603) 239-2489, complete a request for a consultation on our website, or send us an email.

To subscribe to our newsletter, click here. We are also on Facebook and you can follow us on Twitter.

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New Hampshire Personal Injury Law and Proportioning Fault

Negligence is the crux of a personal injury case.  In order to receive compensation for personal injuries, an injured person has the burden of proving negligence on the part the defendant – for example, the other driver. In order to prove negligence under New Hampshire personal injury law, an injured plaintiff must show that:

  • the defendant driver owed him or her a duty;
  • this duty was breached; and
  • breach of this duty factually and legally resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries and damages (including both economic and non-economic damages).

Duty and Breach

personal injury lawIn New Hampshire negligence cases, a defendant’s duty is measured by the standard of a reasonable person.  In the case of personal injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, the injured plaintiff must show that the defendant driver owed a duty to the injured plaintiff (and all other drivers on the roadway) to act as a reasonably prudent driver under the same or similar circumstances.  “Same or similar circumstances” means that a defendant driver’s duty is “fluid,” depending upon environmental circumstances like traffic volume, weather, and other external forces.  These factors are taken into consideration when determining whether or not a defendant driver breached the duty of care owed to the injured plaintiff and other drivers on the roadway.  The injured plaintiff must ordinarily be able to prove this breach to prevail in a personal injury case and receive monetary compensation.

In some cases where the defendant driver’s insurance company is not contesting fault (i.e. where the insurance company concedes that its driver caused the accident), it may “admit” to satisfying the duty and breach elements of negligence.  In many cases, a plaintiff’s lawyer will insist that the defense lawyer stipulate to this admission in writing – especially if the case has a good chance of proceeding to trial.

Causation and Damages

In New Hampshire, an injured plaintiff must ordinarily show that the defendant driver’s breach of duty was both the factual cause and legal (foreseeable) cause of the plaintiff’s injuries and damages.  Tort law sometimes refers to foreseeable cause as the “zone of danger” which the injured plaintiff must be in for negligence to exist.

In addition to causation, the plaintiff must have suffered damages – usually in the form of personal injuries.  These damages are classified into two main types:  economic and non-economic damages.  Economic damages are those damages that can be measured numerically – such as medical bills, physical therapy bills, and compensation for missed time from work (also known as lost wages).  The injured plaintiff must demonstrate that the treatment, bills, and lost wages are the proximate result of injuries sustained in the accident.

Non-economic damages include compensation for permanent injury, pain and suffering, aggravation and inconvenience, psychological and psychiatric harm, loss of earning capacity, and loss of companionship or consortium (i.e. spousal support).  Again, the injured plaintiff must demonstrate that these damages were proximately caused by the accident, and proving these types of damages often requires expert testimony at trial.

Plaintiff’s Comparative Negligence in New Hampshire

New Hampshire personal injury law penalizes personal injury plaintiffs when the evidence shows that they somehow caused or contributed to the accident in which they sustained their injuries.  Examples of contributing to an accident might include slightly exceeding the speed limit, violating a traffic law, or engaging in some type of distracted driving.

New Hampshire, like some other states in the country, uses a modified comparative negligence scheme – otherwise known as the “51% Rule.”  Under this rule, an injured plaintiff’s contributory negligence does not completely bar his or her recovery, so long as the plaintiff’s negligence was not greater than the defendant’s.  Under New Hampshire’s modified comparative negligence scheme, an injured plaintiff’s permissible damages are lessened in proportion to his or her amount of negligence.  For example, if a defendant driver was 75% at fault for the accident, and the injured plaintiff contributed 25% to the accident, then the injured plaintiff is only entitled to recover 75% of the available damages.  New Hampshire’s modified comparative negligence scheme is codified as part of the state statute.

Contact a New Hampshire Personal Injury Law Attorney Today

If you have been injured in a New Hampshire motor vehicle accident and sustained any of the types of injuries discussed above, 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. The experienced New Hampshire personal injury law attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC are ready to represent you immediately.  Call (603) 624-7200 today for an initial consultation.

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Experienced, Knowledgeable & Personally Committed to Justice