Archives

New Hampshire motor vehicle accident attorneys

Elements of a New Hampshire Personal Injury Claim

What are the Elements of a New Hampshire Personal Injury Claim?

What exactly is negligence and how is it proven in a New Hampshire personal injury claim? First, someone must owe you a duty to act or refrain from acting in a certain way. For example, when anyone drives a motor vehicle, they have a duty to drive in a prudent and safe manner, observing what are known as the Rules of the Road. They have a duty to avoid causing collisions on the roadway that can lead to the filing of a New Hampshire personal injury claim.

Second, someone must breach one of those duties owed to you. For a property owner, that could mean they have failed to clean up a spill or repair a portion of their property they know will cause a hazard to you and other people entering the property. Proving that someone owed you a duty and that they breached that duty is often the biggest hurdle in filing a New Hampshire personal injury claim.

Third, the breach of the duty owed to you must cause some kind of damage to you, whether to your person or your property. Damages must be proven in a court of law through testimony, documents and/or expert witnesses. At the end of the trial, the jury will decide how much your New Hampshire personal injury claim is worth.

Valuation and Proof

It is difficult to estimate what kind of verdict a jury will return based on these three elements of negligence. At best, your attorney might be able to provide you with an estimated range that might be close to what the jury decides.

What may seem like clear negligence to you may not be as clear to twelve strangers sitting in the jury box. An experienced New Hampshire personal injury claim attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman will identify problems with convincing a jury, and will explain the specific challenges in your case before you enter the courtroom.

With a New Hampshire personal injury claim, you will be the plaintiff petitioning the court for a monetary award against the defendant, the person who was negligent. The defendant will be allowed, just like you, to present evidence and witnesses, and can even testify themselves. Experienced personal injury attorneys are used to hearing defendants tell a completely different story than the plaintiff. It is the jury’s job to listen to you and the defendant, your attorney, the defendant’s attorney, any eyewitness or other witnesses, and expert testimony, as well as review evidence submitted to the court.

An experienced New Hampshire personal injury claim attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman will prepare you with regard to what to expect when testifying in court. They will have carefully gathered all relevant evidence well before trial. As a plaintiff in a negligence action, you and your attorney are responsible for proving to the jury that the defendant was negligent and directly caused you harm or damage as a result of his/her negligence.

Two Types of Damages

There are two main types of damages — special and general damages. Special damages are damages that can be proven down to the exact penny. They include items like medical bills, prescription receipts, repair bills, credit card receipts, lost wages shown by tax returns or pay stubs, etc. General damages are considered items that cannot be assigned a dollar value easily. General damages include, past, present, and future pain and suffering, permanent injury, loss of a normal life, etc. In many cases, the general damages suffered are far greater than the special damages. An experienced attorney can readily secure documents proving your special damages. An experienced attorney will also know to talk to witnesses about your general damages. Some of the best witnesses to prove your general damages are family members and close friends. People close to you will able to testify about how your life has changed and can give the jury an idea of how you have suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant.

Once our attorneys have submitted evidence and called witnesses to testify for your case, the defendant’s attorney may choose to present evidence and call witnesses. In some personal injury actions, the defendant may not submit any evidence or call any witnesses. However, that does not mean the jury will render a verdict in your favor. As the plaintiff, you and your attorney bear the “burden of proof.” What this means is that if there is not enough evidence showing that the defendant owed you a duty, breached that duty, and caused you damages that can be proven in a court of law, the jury will not award you anything … even though the defendant and their attorney did not present any evidence or witnesses.

Trial Experience

It is important that you select an attorney experienced in not only settling personal injury claims, but also with trial experience. The attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman have many years of trial experience in both federal and New Hampshire courts.

 

How to Prove a Wrongful Death Claim

The death of a spouse or a family member through the action of another is one of the most stressful and traumatic events that can occur in a person’s life.

wrongful death claim attorneys

Wrongful death statutes allow the representative of a deceased person (usually the decedent’s estate or a surviving spouse) to file a lawsuit against the party legally responsible for the death.  If you have lost a loved one through the wrongful act of a third party, you have rights against the wrongdoer and could have a right to a substantial monetary recovery.  This is an overview of how a wrongful death claim can be proven, and the damages you can reasonably expect in a successful case.

A wrongful death claim is appropriate when there is either an intentional act or negligence of a third party that causes the victim’s death.  That is, when a victim who would have otherwise had a personal injury claim is killed through the intentional act or negligence of a third party, a wrongful death claim is substituted for a personal injury claim.

These are some examples of situations can give rise to a wrongful death claim.

  • A victim is intentionally killed by a third party. An example would be when a third party takes a gun and shoots and kills a person without mitigating circumstances.  Another example would be when a person hits a pedestrian with their car intentionally and the pedestrian is killed
  • A victim dies as a result of medical malpractice. This refers to situations in which a treating health care professional provides substandard medical care, or fails to diagnose or takes other negligent action during the course of providing medical care to the decedent which caused their death.  An example would be if a physician fails to properly administer medication in a timely manner which causes the death of their patient.
  • A victim dies in an auto accident involving negligence. This would be any situation in which a vehicle driver’s negligence caused the death of the victim.  An example would be if the driver of a vehicle runs a red light, hits a car, and kills the driver or passenger.
  • A victim dies in an auto accident involving a drunk driver. If a drunk driver hits and kills a pedestrian or the driver of a vehicle, this could give rise to a wrongful death claim.  This would be in addition to any criminal action, fines, and penalties.

In order to be successful in a wrongful death claim, you will have to prove the same elements as you would have in a personal injury claim if the victim had lived.  These are some examples of what a claimant would have to prove in a personal injury case.

  • An intentional or reckless tort or act. This refers to a situation where a third party acts either with the intent to harm another or acts so recklessly that it is likely to harm another.  An example would be if the wrongdoer throws a bomb into an office building intending to harm the owner of the building.  A guest is in the office at the time and is injured or killed along with the owner.  Even though the bomb thrower did not know that there was a guest in the building it is reasonably foreseeable that the owner of a building would have a guest now and again.  Thus, the bomb thrower would be liable for any injuries to the owner of the building and the owner’s guest or their deaths.
  • Medical malpractice. A successful medical malpractice claim can be proved with evidence that the treating health care professional was negligent in providing medical care to the victim and that negligence caused the decedent’s injuries.  For example, if a doctor improperly treated a patient while the doctor was intoxicated and the patient died as a result of the improper treatment and would have otherwise have lived but for the inadequate medical care, then this would probably be a successful medical malpractice claim and wrongful death case.
  • Auto accident involving negligence. This refers to a situation where the driver of a vehicle is negligent in the operation of a vehicle which causes an injury to another.  An example would be if the driver of a vehicle is driving 30 miles over the speed limit, does not stop in time, rear ends another vehicle, and kills the driver or passenger.  This would be the negligent operation of a motor vehicle and likely result in liability.
  • Auto accident involving a drunk driver. This refers to any situation in which the driver of a vehicle has an illegal blood alcohol level, drives the vehicle anyway, and kills a third party.  In this situation, the injured party or wrongful death claimant would likely have a strong wrongful death case.

These are the types of damages which a wrongful death plaintiff can reasonably expect to recover in a wrongful death claim.

  • Reasonable medical expenses and funeral expenses for the decedent.
  • The compensation that the deceased would have earned or could have reasonably been expected to earn if the deceased had lived. This is based on actuarial tables and may require an expert to prove the decedent’s life expectancy and estimated earnings.
  • Pain and suffering endured by the deceased before death.
  • Unlike many states, in most situations New Hampshire law does not allow for punitive damages – which are designed to not only compensate the victim but to punish the defendant. However, New Hampshire does provide for “enhanced compensatory damages” when the negligence was particularly severe.
  • For the surviving spouse, damages are available for the loss of care, comfort, companionship, and guidance of the deceased.
  • For surviving children under the age of 18, damages are available for the loss of a familial relationship.

 

 

NH nursing home abuse attorneys

How to Prove a NH Nursing Home Liability Claim

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by the year 2030, three million Americans age 65 and over will live in nursing homes. Elderly residents in nursing homes and assisted care facilities need more care than most. As a result, they are more dependent on good quality care and professionals working in those facilities are held to a higher standard of care.  Though most facilities meet this higher standard of care, many others do not, sometimes with tragic results. According to Masters in Health Care, more than 30% of all nursing homes experience some form of resident abuse, including sexual abuse of the elderly.

Standard of Care for NH Nursing Home Liability Claims

When a health care professional fails to meet the standard of care and an elderly resident is injured, that facility may be the subject of a NH nursing home liability claim. This is an overview of how NH nursing home liability claims work and how a nursing home or assisted care facility may be liable for injuries sustained by an elderly loved one.

To prevail in a NH nursing home liability case, you must prove the following:

  • That a duty of care was owed to the elderly resident. Any liability that is incurred must involve some duty of care.  This is relatively easy to prove if the elderly resident was a patient or resident at a particular facility.
  • There was a breach of that duty of care. Essentially this requires a showing that the care provided to the elderly resident was not up to the standards established by the medical care profession and standards for elder care.  Evidence that can be used, for example, would be testimony from doctors or health care providers in similar facilities as to standard practices and procedures that should be employed to care for an elderly resident. For example, if an employee was not properly supervising an elderly resident with dementia and that resident wandered off the premises and was injured, then the facility providing that resident’s care could be subject to a NH nursing home liability claim for those injuries.
  • Causation (the but for factor). This requires that the plaintiff (the injured person) prove that their injuries would not have happened but for the care provider’s negligence.  It is the cause and effect part of the case.  For example, if a health care provider allows an elderly person to walk unassisted on a wet floor and that elderly person falls and breaks their hip, liability is likely.  Conversely, if an elderly person is at home visiting family for the weekend and is injured, the health care provider and facility would not likely be liable unless there was a medication error or some other negligence that contributed to the elderly person’s injury.
  • Plaintiff’s (the injured person’s) damages. This refers to the actual damages incurred as a result of the health care provider’s breach of their duty of care to the elderly resident. For example, an elderly person slips and falls on a wet floor in a nursing home while walking unassisted.  If that elderly person sustains injuries, such as a broken bone, the nursing home would be liable.   However, if the elderly person was not injured at all from the fall, there would be no damages.  In some cases, emotional distress and punitive damages are available to successful plaintiffs.

These are some instances in which nursing home and assisted care facilities could incur liability if they are negligent or do not otherwise provide health care to an elderly resident at an appropriate standard of care.

  • Negligent supervision. This refers to a situation where the facility failed to exercise proper supervision of an elderly resident and the elderly resident was injured. Some examples of negligent supervision are improper hygiene resulting in infection, an elderly patient with dementia wandering off the premises, ignoring financial and physical abuse, improper feeding procedures, and slip and falls either due to improperly maintained premises.
  • Negligent supervision of employees. Each facility has a duty to properly supervise its employees.  If the failure to do so results in an injury to an elderly resident, the facility could be liable.  Some examples would be mistreatment of an elderly resident, financial and physical abuse, leaving an elderly resident unattended, or failing to provide prescribed medications in a timely manner.
  • Medication errors. This refers to a situation where a nursing home or assisted living facility makes a mistake on an elderly resident’s medication which results in injury.  Some examples are administering improper medications, over-medicating a patient or failing to administer medication in a timely manner.
  • Abuse. These are situations where the elderly resident is being abused by a staff member at the nursing home or facility.  Some examples include sexual abuse, financial abuse, physical abuse, and sexual harassment.
  • Wrongful death. This occurs when an elderly resident dies as a result of the assisted care facility’s negligence.
  • Failure to properly maintain the premises. These are situations where the premises are not maintained according to medical and established practices.  For example, if the premises are not kept clean and up to the hygiene standards established by the medical profession and other state laws and an elderly resident becomes ill because of it, then the nursing home or assisted care facility would be liable.

These are just some of the signs to look for if you have good reason to believe that a loved one in an assisted care facility is not being cared for properly.

  • Poor hygiene.
  • Infections, wounds, bruises, or broken bones.
  • Signs of fear, distress, disorientation, or other discomfort with the elder care facility.
  • Any changes in the elderly person’s emotional or physical well-being.
  • Loss of contact with the elderly person whom you once communicated with regularly.
  • Depleted bank accounts or changes in spending habits such as taking out new credit cards or unexplained charges or large amounts of cash being withdrawn from accounts.
  • Changes in mood or behavior. For example, if an elderly person who once trusted family members now starts accusing a family member or others of stealing or other inappropriate behavior when there is no basis for it, it could be a sign that the elderly person is being manipulated or otherwise abused.

If you need help bringing a NH nursing home liability claim, or have any questions about a nursing home requiring the signing of a forced arbitration clause, we are available to help.

How Much Is My Motorcycle Injury Case Worth?

motorcycle injury caseWith Spring finally arriving in New Hampshire, the weather is warmer and the days are longer – and motorcyclists are taking to our state’s roadways. All motorists are reminded to safely “Share the Road” with motorcycles, to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists and their passengers safe, and to avoid causing a motorcycle injury case.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcycles are less stable and less visible than cars and often have high performance capabilities. When motorcycles crash, their riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so they’re more likely to be injured or killed. The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that per mile traveled in 2013, the number of deaths on motorcycles was over 26 times the number in cars.

Before setting off on what should be a fun and safe ride,  be sure to take the time  to educate yourself about how to avoid a motorcycle accident in the first place. There are plenty of things you can do to educate yourself on how to avoid motorcycle accidents and we are pleased to share this article from the folks at Best Motorcycle Jackets.

What are the factors you should consider when evaluating what your motorcycle accident case is worth?

Motorcycle accidents are unique and results will depend on the facts of your case, but here are the most influential factors.  Your personal injury lawyer in Manchester NH at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC can also be an excellent source of valuation information.

Actual costs

Actual costs are the real costs that you incur as a result of your motorcycle injury.  These are similar to car accident damages.  Damages such as lost wages or earning capacity, reasonable value of medical bills, vehicle damage, and related expenses are certain damages which are relatively easy to prove.  Make sure that you have all of your paperwork to prove your damages.

Subjective costs

Subjective costs refer to damages, such as pain and suffering, and are harder to quantify for purposes of settlement.  A motorcycle injury case attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC can help give you a range of pain and suffering damages so that you have an understanding of what your case is worth.  It is important when detailing your pain and suffering damages, that you give a clear picture of how your life was affected.  For example, if you were an active person before the accident and are no longer able to be physically active because of the limitations from your motorcycle injury, details as to your loss of enjoyment of life and your life before and after the accident can help you obtain a bigger settlement.

Evidence of the defendant’s fault in a motorcycle injury case

Whether you can prove that the defendant was at fault in your motorcycle injury case will significantly increase your chances of a higher monetary recovery.  For example, if you have evidence that the defendant was driving too fast or ran a red light or was otherwise not observing traffic laws, establishing liability becomes much easier and the chances of a larger monetary recovery increase.  Evidence such as witness statements, police reports, and traffic cams can be used to prove a defendant’s fault in your motorcycle injury case.

Whether the defendant can afford to pay on a jury award

Whether the defendant can afford to pay the total a jury may award is another consideration when deciding whether to accept a settlement offer.  If the defendant has no assets or ability to pay on a judgment, then your attorney may advise you to accept an offer from their insurance within policy limits.  Conversely, if the defendant has assets which you can collect upon, it may increase a settlement offer or your chances with a jury.  Your attorney can advise you as to whether it is worth collecting against a defendant’s assets and how long it would take to collect on a judgment as opposed to accepting an insurance company’s settlement offer.

How your case will look to a jury

Juries are comprised of human beings, each with their own ideas about motorcycle accidents, perceptions of trials and litigants, and values.  How you will present to a jury, how the defendant will present to the jury, and how the facts of your case will present to a jury can factor into what a jury will award you and whether the defendant’s or the insurance company’s settlement offer is the best choice for you.  Your personal injury lawyer is your best choice for guidance in this area.  An experienced personal injury lawyer in Manchester NH can value your case and give you a realistic idea of what to expect with a jury and how that can help your case.

Do you want to have your case tried before a jury?

When deciding whether to accept a settlement offer in your motorcycle injury case, you do have to ask yourself whether you really want to go to trial and whether this is something that you can handle.  Some personal injury claimants relish the idea of taking their chances in court while other claimants would not want to go to trial under any circumstances.  Ask yourself honestly whether you want to go through the trial process.  There is no right or wrong answer.

Jury verdicts and settlements in your courthouse

There is a considerable amount of motorcycle injury case data available on jury verdicts and settlements in New Hampshire.  It is worth reviewing those jury verdicts and settlements to get an accurate understanding of what juries tend to award in a motorcycle injury case. Your personal injury attorney can give you a reasonable, well-researched idea of what to expect from jury verdicts and settlements in New Hampshire.

Call Experienced Motorcycle Injury Case Attorneys

Big companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly by an insurance company, the NH personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC can help. When representing injured victims, we are only paid for our services when we successfully recover damages from the responsible party. For a free consultation, call (603) 239-2459, email us at info@manningzimmermanlaw.com, or contact us by using the “contact us” form or chat feature on our website.

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

Experienced, Knowledgeable & Personally Committed to Justice

Our NH Personal Injury Attorneys Discuss What to Do After an Injury

NH Personal Injury Attorneys Wood gavel on sound block and white backgroundNH personal injury attorneys understand all too well that if you’ve suffered an injury, your number one job is to get better. The law calls this process of recovering from your injury is called “mitigating your damages.” The law requires you to do what you can to improve upon your condition. There are a number of reasons to do this, and some of the more important ones will be covered in this article.

 

Your Best Chance to Recover

When it comes to mitigating your damages, NH personal injury attorneys will urge you to see a doctor and closely follow their guidance. All too often, people want to take a “John Wayne” approach and skip seeing a doctor. Remember, this is not the time to be a tough guy and say “it’s just a flesh wound.” Some injuries, especially those involving trauma to the neck, ribs, back, spine, or hips can seemingly appear to get better on their own. Years later, chronic pain issues will arise that stem from the original injury. By that time, it may be too late to fully recover. In this event, people find themselves having to manage the pain of a chronic condition that could have been fully resolved had they only taken the time and effort to abide the prescribed treatment plan. It is important to know that just because you start feeling better, your treatment is by no means over. Follow through with every appointment with the treatment provider until they release you from treatment. Whether it’s a chiropractic adjustment or a physical therapy session, following through on the recommended treatment plan will help ensure you make the best possible recovery.

Financial Incentive

NH personal injury attorneys understand their clients seek a settlement or a jury verdict that will compensate them for their injuries. However, in order to get the best possible settlement, you must complete your treatment as outlined by your treatment provider. If the medical report shows you failed to show up for an appointment or did not follow the treatment plan, the amount of your settlement offer or jury verdict can be negatively impacted. While any personal injury attorney will affirm that there is no substitute for good health, a potential cash settlement can act as an incentive for you to do all that is required to mitigate the damage.

Contact NH Personal Injury Attorneys

Recovery from an injury is nothing short of your number one job. Your attorney is not a miracle worker; they are a vital member of your team. If you do your part well, they will be able to seek the best possible settlement offer or jury verdict. NH personal injury attorneys, especially those at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, understand the role they and their clients play in successful recovery and subsequent settlement offers or jury verdicts. Contact the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC today at (603) 624-7200.