Tag Archives: car accident lawyer manchester nh

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.

Experienced, Knowledgeable & Personally Committed to Justice

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.

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 Accident Lawyers: Experts Looking for Answers to Rising Traffic Injuries and Deaths

Cheaper Gas, Better Economy, Distracted Driving Among Contributing Factors

For decades, auto accidents have trended downward. Road fatalities steadily declined from more than 50,000 annually in the early 70s to just over 30,000 in recent years. Credit goes to many advances in safety, including:

  • Crash worthy vehicles that better protect those involved in crashes
  • New technologies like anti-lock braking, vehicle stability controls and self-driving sensors that prevent crashes in the first place
  • Educational programs and tougher laws aimed at seat belt use, teen drivers and driving while impaired

But starting in 2015, road safety hit the skids when the number of people lost in crashes jumped 7.2 percent from 2014, the largest percentage increase in 50 years. And the news for 2016 may be even worse as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently projected an 8 percent increase in traffic deaths for the first nine months of 2016 over 2015.

Some safety experts have blamed the increase on more drivers traveling more miles. Longer commutes and more road trips, coupled with cheaper gas and lower unemployment, add up to more drivers on the road. Even those not in vehicles are at a higher risk as car-pedestrian and bike fatalities have risen as well.

But NHTSA’s Administrator Mark Rosekind said he and his colleagues can’t accept that a better economy means more people are going to die on our roads. “We still have to figure out what is underlying those lives lost,” he said. To that end, NHTSA and the National Safety Council joined forces to launch the Road To Zero campaign which aims to end all traffic fatalities in the U.S. in the next 30 years. This campaign provides grants to non-profits that help research and implement innovative highway safety measures.

Car Crash? There’s an App For That

According to the NH car accident lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman, the spike in injuries and deaths from crashes is often blamed on the use of smartphones. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that almost 80 percent of U.S. adults own smartphones. More than 600,000 of those people are operating a smartphone while driving at any given time.

Texting and driving have proven to be a dangerous combination, with 78 percent of distracted driving-related crashes attributed to texting drivers. However, dangers from non-texting apps that encourage driver interaction have also arisen.

The messaging app Snapchat features a speed filter that tells users how fast they are traveling, which some have argued encourages drivers to travel at unsafe speeds. A man who suffered a traumatic brain injury during a recent collision is suing both the other driver for her recklessness as well as Snapchat for encouraging the teen to drive at unsafe speeds. Waze, a navigation app, rewards users for reporting traffic jams and roadside obstructions while driving. The “Gotta Catch ’Em All” mentality of Pokémon Go has caused accidents when users ignored safety to play the game.

Protect Yourself and Others

According to the NH car accident lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman, traditionally the six root causes of serious accidents are driver inattention, fatigue, impaired driving, speeding, aggressive driving and adverse weather conditions. With those factors in mind, here are some tips you can use to prevent traffic accidents and protect yourself and others:

  • Silence and put away all phones for the duration of your drive.
  • Keep your eyes on the road and leave the distractions at home.
  • When buying a new or used car, prioritize safety ratings and purchase cars with safety features. Also be sure to run a recall check on your car at SaferCar.gov.
  • If you are a pedestrian or bicyclist, pay attention to vehicle traffic even if you have the right of way. A distracted driver could mean disaster.
  • Follow all posted speed limits and wear your seat belt.
  • Always drive alert, awake and sober.

Contact the NH Car Accident Lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman

Our civil justice system provides for victims of negligence to recover full, fair and adequate compensation for their injuries. The NH car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC handle cases in all areas of personal injury law, and we work diligently to ensure that our clients receive compensation for their injuries. There are no up-front costs for our services. All personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis, meaning that we are only paid for our services if we successfully recover damages from the responsible party. For a free consultation, call (603) 239-2315, email us at info@manningzimmermanlaw.com, or contact us by using the “contact us” form or chat feature on our website.

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

New Hampshire motor vehicle accident attorneys

Initial Medical Treatment Following a New Hampshire Motor Vehicle Accident

According to New Hampshire motor vehicle accident statistics compiled by the National Safety Council and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, despite the fact that there are an increasing number of safety features in automobiles, the number of car and truck crashes causing serious injuries continue to rise.

Following a New Hampshire motor vehicle accident, you will most likely be asked by paramedics and first responders at the scene how you are feeling and if you wish to be taken to the hospital.

Although you may not be feeling severe pain following a crash, it is still a good idea to be examined by the emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and consider immediately going to an emergency room (ER) or urgent care facility. Particularly with soft tissue neck, back, and shoulder injuries, the onset of pain and symptoms may not occur until days or even weeks following an accident.

This article will explore some treatment options you should consider following a New Hampshire motor vehicle accident and the way insurance companies will likely view these treatment decisions.

Emergency Room Care and Treatment

Immediately following a crash, it is important that you seek medical treatment at a hospital or urgent care center if you are injured – and that you not drive yourself. You are typically better off traveling in an ambulance or having a friend or family member come to the accident scene and take you to the hospital.

If an insurance company learns that you did not seek treatment immediately following a New Hampshire motor vehicle accident, it will negatively affect the way they value your personal injury case. The same is true if you drive yourself to an ER for treatment. Rightly or wrongly, insurance adjusters believe that if you did not seek immediate treatment following a crash, or if you were “well enough” to drive yourself to a hospital, then you must not have been injured all that badly.

Your best bet is to seek ER treatment immediately following a crash if you feel you have been injured, even if you don’t feel intense pain or don’t believe that you have been injured seriously. Unless you have emergency medical training, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Emergency Room Doctors and Other Personnel

Ordinarily, EMTs and ER personnel will ask where you feel pain upon examination. Be sure to answer their questions completely and be thorough in describing your complaints and symptoms. ER physicians and nurses typically dictate a report which is then reduced to writing. These ER reports, along with all imaging studies (such as x-rays and MRI’s taken) and medical treatment reports , are forwarded to the defendant’s insurance company for consideration. Be as thorough and specific as possible when describing the nature and extent of your symptoms to EMTs, ER personnel, and physicians.

Prior to leaving the ER, the doctor will provide you with discharge instructions for treating your medical condition (such as taking medication on an as-needed basis or doing home exercises). The ER doctor may also recommend that you follow up with your primary care doctor – or with a specialist or physical therapist – as soon as possible. When a physician makes those kinds of recommendations, it is essential that you follow through. Failing to do so can have negative ramifications on your personal injury case (at least in the eyes of an insurance company adjuster) and can severely affect your recovery. You should fully comply with any discharge instructions provided by an ER physician prior to your discharge.

Getting Home from the Emergency Room

If you have been injured and it is not safe for you to be driving, it is important that you avoid driving yourself home from the ER following your examination and treatment. Again, from an insurance adjuster’s perspective, driving home from an initial ER visit (or to/from any medical or physical therapy appointment following an accident) raises questions as to the seriousness of the injuries you’re claiming to have sustained. Following a car crash, if you have been injured and need to rely on others for transportation to and from medical appointments, then you should do so. It is important to limit your activities and give your body (and mind) time to rest and get better.

You may want to keep a journal of your activities in the days following your crash. At a deposition or trial, you may be asked what you were able to do and not do as a result of your injuries. Whether you were home due to your injuries, as opposed to being able to get right back into your regular routine, will be important information.

Conclusion

Initial medical treatment following a New Hampshire motor vehicle accident can be stressful and painful. The best thing you can do is surround yourself with a support system of dependable family and friends you can rely on for transportation to/from medical appointments, and for necessary daily care, as you begin the injury recovery process. The last things you want to worry about during this initial treatment period are legal filings and deadlines. That’s where the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC will be of assistance to you.

Contact the New Hampshire Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, contact the New Hampshire motor vehicle accident lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC. There are no up-front costs for our services. All personal injury and workers’ compensation cases are handled on a contingency basis, meaning that we are only paid for our services if we successfully recover damages from the responsible party. For a free consultation, call (603) 624-7200, email us at info@manningzimmermanlaw.com, or contact us by using the “contact us” form or chat feature on our website.

NH personal injury attorneys

New Hampshire Injury Lawyers: What Is My Case Worth?

The New Hampshire injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC are frequently asked how we determine what is fair compensation for a case. In other words, how do we determine what a personal injury case is worth? The answer to this question varies as every personal injury case is unique. However, we wanted to provide our readers with an explanation for how damages are generally calculated in a New Hampshire personal injury case.

Compensatory Damages

Different types of damages exist in every personal injury case, whether the victim was injured as a result of an automobile collision, a dog bite, a workplace accident, or any other type of personal injury. Compensatory damages are amounts of money that directly compensate the injured victim for the physical and financial injuries suffered as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing (known as “negligence” in the law). Compensatory damages include medical bills from physicians and other medical professionals. Also potentially included within compensatory damages are out-of-pocket charges such as prescription medication costs, mileage costs for traveling to physician appointments, and financial losses that are tied directly to the victim’s injuries (i.e. lost wages).

Pain and suffering is also considered a compensatory damage because the injured victim is being compensated for enduring pain and the loss of enjoyment of life that would not have been suffered without the negligence of those who caused the injuries. In some cases, if the actions of the person who caused the injuries were exceptionally or knowingly negligent, the injured party may be awarded what are known as enhanced damages. For information on enhanced compensatory damages, see this article from Manning & Zimmerman Law.

Two Types of Compensatory Damages

Specific damages

Specific damages are those that can be quantified on paper. For example, if an injured victim goes to the emergency room to receive medical treatment, the bills from the hospital and medical professionals qualify as specific damages. The injured victim would receive a bill showing what treatment was received and the cost of each item. It is very easy to get copies of physician bills, prescription receipts, and medical supplies receipts.

Regarding lost wages, for those who are W-2 employees and unable to work, it is very easy to calculate how much income was lost as a result of the injuries. For those who are not hourly or salaried employees, or have infrequent periods of work or payment, it may be difficult to  prove special damages with their own testimony. The New Hampshire injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman may need to hire an expert to calculate what an injured victim’s lost wages are based on. This is generally done by an analysis of an injured person’s past income and the income of those who work a similar job in the area.

The most difficult type of lost wages to calculate and prove is lost opportunities. New Hampshire injury lawyers must be able to prove to a jury or judge that, had a victim not suffered any injuries, they would have been able to accept employment, while also calculating how much income would have been received as a result. Given how difficult this is to prove in a court of law, injury victims are not always guaranteed to recover all of their lost wages unless they are employed on an hourly or salaried basis.

In addition to compensation for past and present specific damages, if the injuries are severe or permanent, a claim may be made for future medical expenses. The New Hampshire injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC  can determine future medical expenses when the injured victim’s physician performs a medical evaluation and finds that the injured person will require future medical treatment to maintain their quality of life.

General damages

General damages are those that cannot be assigned a dollar value on paper. Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and permanent injury are the most common types of general damages. New Hampshire injury lawyers may present to the jury an amount or a formula for calculating general damages, but ultimately it is up to the “enlightened conscience of an impartial jury” to determine the compensation an injured victim receives for general damages. Also, where a lawsuit goes to trial is very important in determining how much a jury might award a plaintiff for general damages. In New Hampshire, a lawsuit may be filed in the county where either the plaintiff or the defendant(s) reside.

A good rule of thumb (while not infallible) is that general damages will be based loosely on the amount of these types of damages, particular in regard to medical bills. The amount of pain and suffering also depends on the severity of the victim’s injuries. Juries award more general pain and suffering damages to those who, for example, lose a limb, than those who experience six months of neck and back pain.

It can be a very complex process to determine the value of personal injury cases. Often the true value of a personal injury claim cannot be assessed until the injured victim has received the bulk of their medical treatment. Medical providers must determine the full extent of a victim’s injuries and provide that information to the injured person’s New Hampshire injury lawyers via bills and medical records.

Contact the New Hampshire Injury Lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman

If you or a loved one have been injured through no fault of your own, contact the New Hampshire injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning and Zimmerman, PLLC. There are no up-front costs for our services. All personal injury and workers’ compensation cases are handled on a contingency basis, meaning that we are only paid for our services if we successfully recover damages from the responsible party. For a free consultation, call (603) 624-7200, email us at info@manningzimmermanlaw.com, or contact us by using the chat feature on our website.