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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.

The Need to Buy as Much Car Insurance as You Can Afford

Manchester Car Crash Lawyers Discuss Insurance Claims for NH Car Crashes

According to the Manchester car crash lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law, it is very important to buy as much car insurance as you can afford. This recommendation is made to protect you and your family. Insurance is purchased to provide coverage and protection in the event that we harm someone else. Insurance can also protect you if you are injured by someone who has no insurance or insufficient insurance. In New Hampshire, insurance is not required for drivers unless that driver has already had an uninsured at-fault crash.

Have you been injured by an uninsured driver? If so, your Uninsured Motorist Coverage will protect you and compensate you and your family for your losses and harms. If someone else causes a crash that results in injuries, you may have an insurance claim. Be sure to gather the other driver’s insurance information, provided they have insurance. You may also have to request a copy of the investigative report from the police department.

If the responsible driver has insurance, you will likely receive a phone call or a letter from the insurance company. We do not recommend that you give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster before you speak with the Manchester car crash lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law.  Insurance adjusters are trained to take statements that help them delay, deny, and defend against compensating you for your losses. We provide a free consultation for those hurt in a car crash or in any other personal injury matter.

Contact Experienced New Hampshire Injury Attorneys for a Free Consultation

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

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

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

manchester car crash lawyers

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

 

Medical Treatment Following a New Hampshire Car Crash

How You Handle Medical Treatment After a New Hampshire Car Crash Will Affect the Value of Your Case

New Hampshire car crash

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

Seeking Medical Treatment

Following a New Hampshire car crash, you will be asked by paramedics and first responders how you are feeling. They will likely ask if you wish to be taken to the hospital.

You may not be feeling severe pain immediately following a car crash. It is still a good idea to be examined by the EMT and consider immediately going to an emergency room. Particularly with soft tissue neck, back, and shoulder injuries, the onset of pain and symptoms may not occur until days or even weeks following a crash.

This article will explore some treatment options you should consider following a New Hampshire car crash. We also look at the way insurance companies will likely view these treatment decisions.

Emergency Room Care and Treatment

Immediately following a crash, if you are injured it is important that you seek medical treatment. You should consider not driving yourself and you may be better off traveling in an ambulance or having a friend or family member (i.e. who comes to the accident scene) take you to the hospital.

If an insurer learns you did not seek treatment following a crash, it will affect how they view your case. The same is true if you drive yourself to an emergency room for treatment. Rightly or wrongly, insurance adjusters believe that if you did not seek immediate treatment following your 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 emergency room treatment immediately following a crash if you feel you have been injured. This is true even if you don’t feel intense pain or don’t believe you have been injured seriously. Unless you have emergency medical training, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Emergency Room Physicians and Other Personnel

Ordinarily, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and emergency room personnel will ask you where you feel pain upon examination. Be sure to answer their questions completely and be thorough in describing your present complaints and symptoms. Emergency room physicians and nurses typically dictate a report which is then reduced to writing.

These emergency room reports, along with all other imaging studies (such as x-rays and MRI’s taken at the emergency room) and medical treatment reports following the crash, are forwarded to the defendant’s insurance company for consideration. Be as thorough and specific as possible when describing your symptoms to EMTs, emergency room personnel, and physicians.

Prior to leaving the emergency room, the doctor will likely provide you with some discharge instructions for treating your medical condition (such as taking medication on an as-needed basis, doing home exercises, or following up with your doctor or a specialist). If the ER doctor recommends that you follow up with your primary care doctor – or with a specialist or physical therapist – you should do so as soon as possible.

When a physician makes those kinds of recommendations, it is essential that you follow through. Failing to do so could severely affect your recovery and could have negative ramifications on your case in the eyes of an insurance company adjuster. 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 emergency room following your examination and treatment. Again, from an insurance adjuster’s perspective, driving home from an initial emergency room 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 you sustained. Following a New Hampshire car crash, if you have been seriously 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 crash can be stressful and painful. The best thing you can do is to surround yourself with a support system of dependable family and friends. They will be needed for transportation to/from medical appointments and for 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 Car Crash Attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law

Have you or a loved one been injured due to 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!

There are no up-front costs for our services. All personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis. We are only paid for our services if we successfully recover damages from the responsible party.

For a free consultation, contact the NH personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 239-2101 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.

How To Prove That Distracted Driving Caused A Crash

distracted drivingAn allegation that another driver was distracted is not enough to prove that distracted driving caused a car crash. If the police officer suspects that a driver is alcohol-impaired, the officer can have the driver take a breathalyzer test. But how can you prove that the other driver was not giving their full attention to the road and that distraction caused the crash?

We use many ways to prove that the other driver was not paying as close attention to the road as they should have been. They include any of the following:

• Cell phones: Sometimes police will check the cell phones of people who have crashed to see if they had apps open or were talking or texting at the time of the crash. The officer may confiscate the phone as evidence of distracted driving. However, in our experience, this is rare.

• Cell phone records: If the evidence is not on the cell phone, your personal injury lawyer can subpoena the records of the other driver’s cell phone service provider to prove that the driver was not giving the road their full attention. But there must be evidence the driver was using a cell phone first.

• Car data: Many newer cars contain technological advances geared toward safety. Some of these gadgets keep a record of essential safety information, such as how fast the car was going or whether someone was fiddling with the stereo or navigation system controls just before the crash.

• Fellow Passengers: A passenger of the negligent driver may testify that the driver was engaging in distracted driving, especially since the driver’s behavior exposed that passenger to the risk of harm.

• People in other vehicles: Unfortunately, we frequently see drivers in other cars texting and engaging in other dangerous acts while driving. You do not have to be in the car to see this behavior. We can interview drivers and passengers of other vehicles who may have seen the driver from your accident focused on things other than driving.

• Other eyewitnesses: Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and bystanders may have seen the driver driving recklessly before the crash. We do not limit ourselves to asking only drivers and passengers what they saw. Other eyewitnesses can provide compelling testimony.

• Security camera footage: With more closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras going up all the time, we can trace back the route the driver took to see if there were security cameras that might have captured valuable video evidence of distracted driving. We will contact the owner of the security camera and request the footage to see if it contains useful evidence.

• Crash reconstruction experts: In some cases, we use crash reconstruction experts to prove that the only explanation for the crash was the driver not paying attention to the road.

WHAT CONSTITUTES DISTRACTED DRIVING?

Distracted driving occurs when a driver engages in any behavior that takes their mind off of the road. Distractions can include:

• Texting
• Talking on the phone, even in hands-free mode
• Using apps, such as Facebook, messaging, games, and music apps
• Using the car’s audio system (changing radio stations, etc.)
• Checking email
• Using the car’s navigation system
• Grooming
• Eating
• Talking with passengers in the front or back seat of the vehicle
• Reading – yes, people do read books and other things while driving
• Taking photos or videos

WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO DRIVE DISTRACTED?

Driving while distracted is a common problem for everyone, but statistics suggest that it is a larger problem for some groups than others.

• People stuck in traffic jams: Insurance industry experts suggest that during periods of heavy traffic congestion, people are more likely to use their cell phones to call people, send text messages, and read their emails. And when traffic is congested, people have many opportunities to be distracted. So, when you are stuck in heavy traffic, stay alert to what the drivers around you are doing.

• Teens: According to AAA, teen drivers are the most distraction-impaired drivers on the road. They found that teen drivers are not paying attention to the road about one-quarter of the time. Even when the teen turns their attention back to the road, it takes about 27 seconds for them to be fully engaged in driving. A lot can happen in 27 seconds. A car traveling 65 miles an hour will travel more than 2,500 feet in 27 seconds, a distance of more than eight football fields!

Pro Tip: Get as much information as possible on the scene of the crash. Witnesses who were not involved in the crash can
often be critical and are most often lost because people don’t make sure to get their names and contact information.

Contact Experienced New Hampshire Attorneys for Your Distracted Driving Injury Case

Have you or a loved one been injured by another person who was engaged in distracted driving? 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 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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We invite you to subscribe to our newsletter. You can also follow us on Twitter.

So Why is it Called an “Accident” Anyway?

NH personal injury attorneysWe all know that words have meaning. Choose the right word and everyone knows what you mean. But use the wrong word, usually by mistake, and you cause confusion and misunderstanding.  We’ve all done this. We’ll say or write a word and then realize a different word probably would have been better and more easily understood. We also know that the world is full of “word police” who are only too eager to point out errors in vocabulary, and they’re not all teachers!

As NH personal injury attorneys, the most commonly misused word we encounter  is “accident.” Is there such thing as a “car accident?” Although rare, it is possible that what happened was unavoidable. But why, when a crash takes place that is clearly not accidental, is it referred to as an “accident?” Did a driver reading something on their phone and failing to see that a traffic light turned red “accidentally” crash into the car in front of them? Of course not! Is the word accident the most appropriate word to use in that scenario? Of course not! So why is the word accident so often used when it is clearly not, in anyone’s understanding, the right word?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Continued use of the word accident implies that these events are outside human influence or control. In reality, they are predictable results. These are not “Acts of God” but predictable results of the laws of physics. The concept of accident works against bringing all appropriate resources to bear on the enormous problem of highway collisions. Use of accident fosters the idea that the resulting damage and injuries are unavoidable.”

So, again, why do we use the word “accident?” If a drunk driver collides with another car and injures or kills its occupants, why is a polite word like “accident” used when another, much more accurate word, is so clearly appropriate? According to the NH personal injury attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law, it’s a case of common usage, otherwise known as word persistence. We tend to use words we hear repeatedly despite not being correct for the situation. And when we hear a different word, though it may be more accurate, we perceive it as being incorrect. In this instance, the word “wreck” is used in the southern states in place of “accident” in New England. Now think again about the drunk driving scenario. Clearly, it would be better to say that a drunk driver responsible for a collision caused a “wreck” and not an “accident.”

In the context of a car crash, the word accident is actually what is known as a misnomer. Classic examples of misnomers include several types of berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc) that are not actually berries. Jellyfish and starfish are not actually fish. Peanuts are not actually nuts – peanuts grow underground and nuts grow on trees. But sometimes, words are used incorrectly to be purposely misleading. Would anyone actually use the word “accident” to be purposefully misleading? Yes – the U. S. Chamber of Commerce and the insurance industry.

Every year, Americans spend billions of dollars on insurance premiums. This includes life, homeowner’s, renter’s, and business policies, and policies providing protection in case of a motor vehicle crash. One cannot turn on a television without being subjected to a steady stream of car insurance commercials featuring talking geckos, retired football players, and a number of other clever ad devices. What do all these insurance companies want you to do? To part with your money by purchasing their insurance product. And what do they not want you to do – ever? To file a claim against one of their policyholders.

Doesn’t it sound nice and polite for an insurer to claim that your injury was caused by “accident?” Doesn’t it make financial sense for the insurance industry to persist in calling these events “accidents?” Nothing makes it easier for insurance companies to undervalue claims and underpay compensation to injury victims than the use of the word “accident.” Yes, it’s cynical. And yes, it works.

Fortunately, progress is being made. Many drivers use Waze, a GPS app that warns drivers when there are dangers on the roadways such as crashes, cars that have broken down, and roadkill. As recently as last year, Waze used the word “accident” but they now use “crash.” As far back as 1997, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) dropped the word “accident” from their lexicon. Nevada has changed its laws and legally no longer refers to car crashes as accidents. And the advocacy group “Crash Not Accident” has launched a campaign asking that people pledge to not use the word “accident” to describe crashes that are anything but accidental.

There is still a long way to go. Hopefully soon, though, we will use the word “accident” only when something has happened – by accident.

Contact Experienced NH Personal Injury Attorneys for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured by another person’s careless acts, contact the NH personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 210-4464, by email at info@MZLawNH.com, or by using 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 car accident lawyers

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

Resolving your New Hampshire personal injury case

There are a number of different ways to resolve your New Hampshire personal injury case. They include:

    1.  Settlement negotiated between your attorney and the insurance adjuster
    2.  Trial
    3.  Mediation
    4.  Arbitration
    5.  Summary jury trial

New Hampshire personal injury

Settlement Negotiated Between the Attorneys

In many cases, after discovery is complete, and the insurance adjuster and attorneys from both sides have had an opportunity to review all the evidence, the attorneys can come to an agreement about the value of the case, who is at fault, and what is a reasonable settlement offer. If that occurs in your case, your New Hampshire personal injury attorney at Manning & Zimmerman will contact you to convey the settlement offer. As the injured party, you are able to make a determination about whether or not you will settle for the amount offered. Your attorney’s job is to assist you in making an informed decision.  This means they will tell you if they believe you could receive more money at trial, or if your expectations about a certain settlement is unreasonable for your injury. If you agree to settle, the lawyers will notify the court and take care of the necessary paperwork for you.

Trial

Trials are available for cases that cannot be resolved by negotiation, or by using one of the many forms of alternative dispute resolution available to the parties. At a trial, the parties both make opening statements, witnesses are examined by both sides, evidence is admitted, and the lawyers make closing arguments. Then the case is given to a judge or jury, who will decide the case. Trials can be stressful for lay people. Trials also run the risk of a lack of finality. This is because, in addition to the uncertainty that comes with letting others determine your fate, if the insurance company doesn’t want to pay the amount awarded or otherwise believe that some injustice occurred during trial, they can appeal the verdict in certain circumstances. This makes an already long wait for resolution even longer.

Alternative Dispute Resolution
In New Hampshire, all civil cases must go to some form of alternative dispute resolution. Typically parties either go to a non-binding mediation or a binding arbitration. Alternative dispute resolution proceedings are confidential. Things that are said to attempt to resolve the matter at these hearings cannot be used against the other party if the case does not settle and ultimately goes to trial.

The Effects of an Agreement

If you participate in an alternative dispute resolution to resolve your personal injury case, your New Hampshire personal injury attorney, along with the lawyer for the other side, will execute a written agreement for the court, documenting the terms of the agreement. It has the same strength and is enforceable just as any other written contract would be.

Mediation

Mediation involves a mediator, who is a neutral third party such as an attorney or retired judge. The job of the mediator is to remain impartial during the proceedings. Mediators attempt to facilitate a discussion between the parties. The goals of mediation include promoting an understanding between the parties, reconciliation, and settlement. However, the mediator is not permitted to substitute his or her judgment for the parties’ own. Alternative dispute resolution proceedings are confidential. Things that are said to attempt to resolve the matter at these hearings cannot be used against the other party if the case does not settle and ultimately goes to trial.

If you participate in an alternative dispute resolution to resolve your personal injury case, your attorney, along with the lawyer for the other side, will execute a written agreement for the court, documenting the terms of the agreement. It has the same strength and is enforceable just as any other written contract would be.

Arbitration

There are two kinds of arbitration: binding arbitration and non-binding arbitration. Regardless of whether the arbitration in binding, both parties will present their position to impartial third parties called arbitrator(s). The arbitrator or arbitrators will issue a specific award. If the parties have agreed to a binding arbitration, the arbitration decision is final and will be enforceable like any other contract. If the decision is not binding, the idea is that the decision will provide a basis upon which the parties can negotiate further.

Summary Jury Trial

A summary jury trial is designed for early case evaluation and provides a way to develop realistic settlement negotiation. In a summary jury trial, attorneys for both sides present their position to a panel of six jurors. The parties can agree to more or less jurors if they are so inclined, but typically six jurors are used. After hearing the positions of the parties, the jurors make decisions about what damages might be reasonable, and who is at fault. This is also an advisory opinion, and as such, is not binding on the parties.

Injured? Contact the New Hampshire Personal Injury Attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law

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 New Hampshire personal injury attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman are ready to represent you immediately.  Call (603) 239-2459 today for a free initial consultation, send us an email to info@MZLawNH.com, or reach out to us using the “contact us” or the chat feature on our website.

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

Experienced • Knowledgeable • Committed to Justice

Stephanie, family member of a New Hampshire personal injury client

The Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman were absolutely phenomenal when it came to helping our family. My husband got into a horrible car accident and they made everything so easy and the amount of kindness and professionalism shown was comforting. Anna and Brenda were such a good team and my family was truly lucky to have them all on our side. We were satisfied with the outcome and are eternally grateful. Thank you!!

New Hampshire Personal Injury Law and Proportioning Fault

New Hampshire Personal Injury Lawyers: “What is Negligence?”

Negligence is defined as “the failure to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to another” and is the crux of a New Hampshire personal injury case.  In order to receive compensation for personal injuries suffered in a motor vehicle collision, an injured person (known as the “plaintiff”) has the burden of proving negligence on the part the person being sued (known as the “defendant”) – usually, the other driver.

In order to prove negligence in a New Hampshire personal injury case, an injured plaintiff must show that the defendant driver owed him or her a duty; that this duty was breached; and that 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

In New Hampshire personal injury 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.

For example, a defendant may have a duty to drive slower when road conditions are bad or if driving through an area where there are a lot of pedestrians or children present. 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.

Defendant’s Admission of Fault vs. Taking Responsibility

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. Although a defendant may “admit” fault for collision, this is not the same at taking responsibility.

In fact, when this is done and the case proceeds to trial anyway it is because the defendant (or his/her insurance company) is still failing to accept financial responsibility for all the harms and losses which were caused by the defendant’s conduct. The admission of fault is often done simply because the defendant wants to avoid the jury hearing about what he or she did wrong, with the hope that this might result in a smaller verdict.

Causation and Damages

In a New Hampshire personal injury case, 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.  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

Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering; aggravation and inconvenience, psychological and psychiatric harm, loss of earning capacity, and loss of companionship or consortium (i.e. spousal support).  The value of these losses can be difficult to determine, but are often far greater than the non-economic damages as this is the category of damages within which the jury is compensating a plaintiff for the change in the plaintiff’s ability (whether for a period of time or permanently) to live and enjoy life in the same what that he or she once did. Again, the injured plaintiff must demonstrate that these damages were proximately caused by the accident.

Plaintiff’s Contributory and Comparative Negligence in New Hampshire

New Hampshire personal injury law penalizes 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 exceeding the speed limit, violating a traffic law, or engaging in some type of distracted driving, IF this conduct contributed to the accident.

New Hampshire, like most 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 personal injury law, a judge will reduce an injured plaintiff’s damages (the total amount of the damages as determined by a jury) 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 damages found by the jury.

Contact the New Hampshire Personal Injury Lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman

If you or a loved one have been injured through no fault of your own, contact the New Hampshire personal 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) 239-2427, email us at info@manningzimmermanlaw.com, or contact us by using the “request a free consultation” feature on our website.

NH Car Crash Attorneys Share Winter Driving Tips

NH Car Crash Attorneys Share Winter Driving Tips

Reduce Speed

* When it snows, the NH car crash attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law urge you to use your head – not your feet. Slow down for wet, snowy, or icy conditions; when visibility is poor; or when conditions are changing or unpredictable. Stay alert!

* Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shady spots. These are all candidates for developing black ice – a thin coating of clear ice can form on pavement surfaces that may be nh car crash attorneys, nh injury lawyers, nh car crash lawyers, nh accident lawyerdifficult to see.

* Drivers should allow additional room between their vehicles and others. Winter road conditions often result in longer stopping distances.

* Don’t take chances when pulling out in front of approaching vehicles. Remember, they may not be able to slow down, and you may not be able to accelerate as quickly as on dry pavement.

* Avoid using cruise control in winter driving conditions. You need to be in control of when your vehicle accelerates based on road conditions – don’t let cruise control make a bad decision for you.

Driving Maneuvers

* Stopping on snow and ice without skidding requires extra time and distance. If you have anti-lock brakes, press the pedal down firmly and hold it. If you don’t have anti-lock brakes, gently pump the pedal. Either way, NH car crash attorneys urge you to give yourself plenty of room to stop.

* On snow and ice, go slowly, no matter what type of vehicle you drive. Even if you drive an SUV with four-wheel drive, you may not be able to stop any faster, or maintain control any better, once you lose traction. Four-wheel drive may get you going faster, but it won’t help you stop sooner.

* When you’re driving on snow, accelerate gradually. Avoid abrupt steering maneuvers.

* When you’re driving on snow, ice or wet roads, merge slowly, since sudden movements can cause your vehicle to slide.

* It takes more time and distance to stop your vehicle in adverse weather conditions, so use your brakes carefully. Brake early, brake slowly, brake correctly, and never slam on the brakes.

* Look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do. Actions by other vehicles will alert you to problems more quickly, and give you that split-second of extra time to react safely.

* Avoid distracted driving – texting, eating, handheld devices, etc.

* Winter conditions call for different driving tactics. “When there’s ice and snow, take it slow” is sound advice from the NH car crash attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC.

Safe Travel Around Snowplows

* Don’t crowd the plow. Snowplows plow far and wide – sometimes very wide. The front plow extends several feet in front of the truck and may cross the center line and shoulders during plowing operations.

* Don’t tailgate or stop too close behind snowplows. Snowplows are usually spreading deicing materials from the back of the truck may need to stop or take evasive action to avoid stranded vehicles. If you find yourself behind a snowplow, stay behind it or use caution when passing. The road behind a snowplow will be safer to drive on.

* On multiple lane roads, watch for snowplows operating in either lane.

* Snowplows can throw up a cloud of snow that can reduce your visibility to zero in less time than you can react. Drive smart. Never drive into a snow cloud – it could conceal a snowplow.

* Snowplows travel much slower than posted speeds while removing snow and ice from the roads. When you spot a plow, allow plenty of time to slow down.

* A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them but they may not see you.

* Plows turn and exit the road frequently. Give them plenty of room.

Trip Preparedness

* Before leaving home, find out about the driving conditions. Safe drivers know the weather, and they know their limits. If the weather is bad, remember, ice and snow, take it slow, or just don’t go.

* Before venturing out onto snowy roadways, make sure you’ve cleared the snow off all of your vehicle’s windows and lights, including brake lights and turn signals. Make sure you can see and be seen. Always buckle up, and remember, when driving in winter, ice and snow, take it slow.

* Give yourself extra time to reach your destination safely. It’s not worth putting yourself and others in a dangerous situation, just to be on time.

* Winter conditions can be taxing on your vehicle. Check your vehicle’s tires, brakes, fluids, wiper blades, lights, belts, and hoses to make sure they‘re in good condition before the start of the winter season. A breakdown is bad on a good day, and can be dangerous on a bad-weather day.

* Wear your seat belt! Nearly three-quarters (71%) of all traffic fatalities in New Hampshire over the past 10 years have involved non-seat belt use.

Contact Experienced NH Car Crash Attorneys

If you or a loved one have been injured through no fault of your own, contact the New Hampshire car accident 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.

Source: https://www.nh.gov/dot/

 

 

New Hampshire Personal Injury Damages

New Hampshire Personal Injury Damages

New Hampshire personal injury damagesAccording to the New Hampshire personal injury damages attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, under New Hampshire law, injured plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for the injuries they sustain as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing. The main purpose of monetary damages is to make an injured plaintiff whole – to the greatest extent possible under the law. While money may be a poor substitute for the loss of a limb, spinal cord injury, severe brain damage, or other catastrophic injury, it is unfortunately the only means of compensating injured plaintiffs under the law.

In this article, the New Hampshire accident lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law will explore some common types of economic and non-economic damages that are available in New Hampshire personal injury cases, as well as some basic techniques for proving these types of damages.

Economic vs Non-Economic New Hampshire Personal Injury Damages

Economic damages are those types of damages that can readily be calculated in dollars and cents. These damages include compensation for medical treatment, medical bills, and lost wages sustained as a result of the plaintiff’s injuries.  Non-economic damages are not as easily calculated and proving these damages will often require the in-court testimony of lay witnesses and experts.  Non-economic damages include compensation for loss of enjoyment of life, for pain and suffering, psychological/psychiatric harm, permanent injury, loss of future earning capacity, and loss of companionship.

Medical Bills

An injured plaintiff in New Hampshire is entitled to payment of related medical and physical therapy bills that result from injuries sustained in an accident.  The first step to proving these types of New Hampshire personal injury damages is for all medical records and bills to be submitted to the insurance company’s adjuster.  Assuming that liability is uncontested, these bills, along with information about how the injury affected you, will assist the adjuster in placing an initial settlement offer on the case.  Since initial settlement offers made by adjusters are typically very low, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in order to trigger a more favorable response from the insurance company or to prepare for trial by jury.

In cases where the insurance company is contesting certain medical treatment, procedures, or bills, it may be necessary to retain an  expert witness, such as a treating doctor or other healthcare provider, who can testify about the necessity of the disputed medical treatment.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

These harms and losses can be the most damaging and will typically require witnesses to talk about what was life like before the injury and afterwards. Testimony about the injured’s passions, like golfing, hiking, skiing, fishing, etc., their family life, the pursuit of their “bucket list”, etc. is important in telling the adjuster or the jury what happened and how life has been impacted.

Psychological or Psychiatric Harm

An injured plaintiff may also receive damages for psychological or psychiatric harm if that treatment can reasonably be connected to the accident.  This might include treatment for anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder that post-date the accident that are documented by the medical records and bills. It is not unusual for people injured in car crashes to experience anxiety about driving fearing that if it happened once it can happen again.

Injured plaintiffs can also recover for missed time from work resulting from injuries sustained in an accident. The insurance company typically requests documentation from the injured plaintiff’s employer referencing the time missed from work and confirming the amount of the injured plaintiff’s daily, weekly, or monthly wages.

Lost Wages

In cases where the injured plaintiff is claiming a significant amount in lost wages, it may be necessary for a healthcare provider to testify in court about why he or she advised the injured plaintiff to be absent from work, including testimony about the extent and severity of the plaintiff’s injuries. It may also be necessary for an employer to testify about the injured plaintiff’s job duties before and after the accident, as well as any job limitations post-accident.

Past, Present, and Future Pain and Suffering

Injured plaintiffs in New Hampshire are also entitled to compensation for past, present, and future pain and suffering that occurs as a proximate result of injuries sustained in an accident.  These damages are called ‘non-economic damages’ because they cannot readily be measured by an exact dollar amount.  These New Hampshire personal injury damages include compensation for all of the inconvenience, pain, and aggravation caused by having to attend medical and physical therapy appointments – and undergoing and recovering from medical treatment. These damages also compensate the plaintiff for the general disruption to his or her life as a result of the injuries sustained.

In order to prove these damages, the most helpful kind of testimony is that of an experienced medical provider.  In cases where serious permanent injuries are claimed, the plaintiff’s attorney will often refer the plaintiff for a permanency evaluation.  The doctor who performs the permanency evaluation will generate a report which is also sent to the insurance adjuster and defense attorney, if one is involved at that point in the litigation process.  You should know, however, that when a doctor performs a permanency evaluation on an injured plaintiff, the insurance company’s doctor will subsequently perform a so-called independent medical examination (IME) on the plaintiff. The IME doctor’s report will typically not be as favorable as that of the permanency doctor and is usually not independent or an actual examination.

Witnesses and Life Tables

In addition, co-workers, family members, and friends of the injured plaintiff can also be helpful witnesses, and their testimony can be used to help prove the injured plaintiff’s social, family, and work limitations following the accident.  This may include testimony about social, work, household, or family activities that, in the witness’ observation, are impossible or much harder for the injured plaintiff to do since sustaining injuries in the accident.

Some attorneys may also introduce life tables or mortality tables into evidence to justify New Hampshire personal injury damages for future pain and suffering.  These tables approximate an injured plaintiff’s life expectancy given his or her current age and gender, among other factors.

Loss of Future Earning Capacity

Injured plaintiffs can also receive compensation for loss of future earning capacity.  These damages are usually available in catastrophic personal injury cases where an injured plaintiff, following an accident, is unable to return to the same job or the same line of work.  In the most serious of cases, the injured plaintiff may not be able to work in any capacity following the accident.  In order to prove these damages, it is often necessary to retain a vocational rehabilitation expert or economist who can testify about the plaintiff’s potential future earnings had he or she not sustained the injuries, as well as the amount of the injured plaintiff’s projected lost income measured over the remainder of his or her life. 

Loss of Consortium or Companionship

Injured plaintiffs can also receive compensation for spousal support, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium.  These New Hampshire personal injury damages compensate an injured plaintiff and their spouse for harm to the family or to a marital relationship, including the ability to socialize and spend time with children or be intimate with a spouse.  These damages are oftentimes hard to prove and will likely require the trial testimony of spouses, family members, or marital relationship experts.  These damages are only available in catastrophic personal injury cases.

Contact Experienced New Hampshire Personal Injury Damages Attorneys

If you or a loved one have been injured through no fault of your own, contact the New Hampshire personal injury damages attorneys 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.