Tag Archives: Manchester car accident lawyers

Pain and Suffering After a Car Crash Accident Attorney Manchester NH

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

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

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

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

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

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

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

How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?

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

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

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

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

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

Why You Need an Injury Attorney After a Car Accident

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

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

Contact an Experienced Manchester NH Car Accident Attorney Today

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

Rear End Collision Fault

How Is Rear End Collision Fault Determined in New Hampshire?

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

Is the Guy in Back Always to Blame?

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

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

Can You Recover Damages in a Rear End Collision?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Learn More About How to Determine Rear End Collision Fault

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

texting while driving

Texting While Driving: It CAN Wait

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

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

texting while driving

What Can Cause Distraction?

There are three main types of distraction:

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

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

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

It Could Happen to You

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drive Now Text Later

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

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

NH Injury Lawyers Ask: “Who’s Driving Your Life?”

Who’s Driving Your Life?

The NH injury lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law know that for many people, driving themselves from point A to point B has become a thing of the past. Today we all have access to apps on our phones. We tell the driver where we are and where we want to go, and within just a few minutes we’re on our way to our destination!

Statista reports that a recent survey found that about 53 percent of people used ride sharing services in 2017, and that Uber had net revenue in 2016 of $6.5 billion.

So who is this driver you’re trusting to be behind the wheel? What are the risks of a car crash, and what is being done to keep you safe? Let’s explore some of the precautions that transportation companies should take to ensure that you get where you’re going safely, and to minimize the risks of car crashes.

What are the precautions?

Various companies take different steps when it comes to hiring their employees. A majority of these companies perform background checks, but is that enough? Uber has come under fire over the past few years due to unsafe conditions for users. New Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, has taken a deeper look into keeping users safe during their rides. Khosrowshahi has implemented safety standards across the board for Uber drivers, with Uber telling CNN it had started running screenings on their drivers’ driving records every two years, beginning in mid-2017. Uber may be setting the precedent for other transportation companies, but is this enough?

As the NH injury lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law point out, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 2,046,000 car crashes were the result of driver wrongdoing between 2005 and 2007. With Uber and Lyft servicing more than 195 million users during the first three months of 2018, it is time to look deeper into these modes of transportation and explore ways to limit car crashes across the country.

So the driver has a clean record, but what about their car?

Is it enough to ensure that the driver has a clean driving record every two years? These background screens will ensure that drivers with clean records are the only ones driving a passenger to and from their destination. However, background checks should not be the only precautions taken.

Our NH injury lawyers believe that checking the safety of the vehicles is incredibly important and a crucial aspect of keeping the passengers safe from a hazardous car crash. NHTSA has reported that between 2015 and 2017 more than 44,000 car crashes were the result of critical vehicle-related issues. These car crashes included issues and malfunctions related to the vehicle.  For instance, 15,000 car crash cases were related to tire malfunctions. Below we further examine the study of vehicle-related car crashes.  It is critical for companies to not only screen the capabilities of the driver, but also the vehicle in use as well.

Tragic results caused by a lack of regulation 

The responsibilities of finding safe drivers with up-to-date inspected vehicles is crucial for transportation companies. The consequences of any negligence in these responsibilities can be fatal. On October 6, 2018, the country witnessed one of the deadliest transportation accidents in the past nine years. Twenty individuals perished while riding as passengers in a limousine in Schoharie, New York. This was a devastating result of a company not maintaining safe vehicles, and a lack of regulation in the transportation industry which did not allow for this violation of the safety rules to be identified sooner.

In an interview with The New York TimesSenator Chuck Schumer demanded stricter transportation regulations. “Stretch limos exist in a gray area. They’re not a car. They’re not a bus. And that’s the problem, they fall through the regulatory cracks and there are no safety standards for them. That has to change,” said the Senator.

Companies should be following safety rules regardless of what the regulations require. Tragedies can be reduced by appropriate regulations and by holding the responsible businesses accountable for their actions.

Contact Experienced NH Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured by another person’s careless acts, contact the experienced NH injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 624-7200 and by email at info@MZLawNH.com. You may also use the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

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

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

NH injury lawyers

 

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.

nh car accident lawyers

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.

nh car accident lawyers

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

A client’s review of Attorney Anna Zimmerman

Attorney Anna ZimmermanThis was the second time I hired Attorney Anna Zimmerman to solve a legal problem for me. Based on my first experience I knew I had the right lawyer to represent me, and as expected she did a marvelous job to achieve the result I was seeking.  Anna is very knowledgeable in the law and aggressive in pursuing the case, always responsive to phone calls and questions. She is sensitive to the needs of a client. As a retired Colonel of Marines and possessing a PhD, I do the detailed homework before hiring anyone, particularly a legal representative. I will definitely use her next year for advice on my will. I would highly recommend her to anyone. In fact, I already have and they were impressed with Anna and said they should have hired her sooner in lieu of the lawyer they originally hired. – Normand