Car accidents can be devastating. Not only can your vehicle sustain property damage, but an injury to you can be life-threatening or life changing.
Auto accidents typically occur from negligent driving. Everyone who drives has a duty to use caution, to drive within the speed limits, obey the traffic laws, and to drive safely for whatever conditions exist.
When a driver breaches that duty and causes an accident, such as by driving through a red light or turning in front of another vehicle, then that driver can be held liable for certain damages caused by his or her negligent driving conduct.
There are different facets to an automobile accident. The following provides some information regarding car accidents as it pertains to New Hampshire drivers. However, if you've been injured by the negligence of another driver we recommend you meet with an accident attorney to discuss a compensation personal injury claim.
Car Insurance Requirements for NH Drivers
New Hampshire is the only state that does not require all motorists to maintain liability insurance on their vehicles. If you choose not to insure your car, however, you must be able to show proof of financial responsibility to protect yourself and others should you be involved in an accident.
Otherwise, you are required to maintain at least a minimum coverage of $25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury, and $25,000 for property damage liability. The $25,000 is for each person injured with a maximum payout of $50,000 for multiple claimants.
If you choose to insure your vehicle, you are also required to have uninsured motorist coverage at the minimum level, which also includes underinsured coverage at the minimum levels of coverage.
Personal and Passenger Injury Compensation
Should you be injured in an accident, you have to prove another party was at fault before you can be compensated. Witnesses and a police investigation may determine fault, but often an accident attorney is needed to help you if fault is at issue.
If another party is at fault, you are entitled to be compensated for the reasonable value of your medical costs and any future medical costs directly related to your injuries. You can also collect for lost wages, the value of any benefits used or lost, and the loss of any future wages.
A major part of your injury claim is for your pain and suffering. While there are no guidelines for determining this amount, your attorney can help you determine the reasonable value of these damages based upon the nature and extent of your injury.
Sometimes a student is unable to complete his or her education and their entry into the labor market is delayed. A forensic economist can determine the value of the wages and benefits that were lost in this case.
Passenger injuries are also compensable. A passenger in a bus, car or cab can bring an injury claim against both the driver of the vehicle they were in and the driver of the other vehicle, especially if fault is not easily determined or if more than one party caused the accident.
If you live in or near Exeter and you've been injured do not hesitate to contact accident attorney Ryan Russman for a free consultation to discuss your case. In New Hampshire, you have three years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit in court. Filing a suit is required if you are unable to settle your injury claim; otherwise, you will be forever barred from seeking damages for your personal injuries.
Uninsured Motorists and Hit-and-Run Accidents
If your accident was caused by an uninsured motorist or from a hit-and-run driver, then you can make a claim for damages under your uninsured liability policy.
In these cases, your claim is negotiated with your own insurer. If you are unable to reach a satisfactory settlement, your claim will go to arbitration rather than a court or jury trial. An arbitration has many of the same evidentiary requirements as trial so retaining an NH car accident attorney is highly recommended.
Another circumstance is if your injuries and damages exceed the value of the other party's coverage. To collect more compensation that is commensurate with your damages, you are required to first settle or obtain the insurance limits of the other party's policy before you can make a claim under the provisions of your underinsured policy.
You can only collect up to the limits of your own policy, however, after deducting the amount you already received. For example, if you collected the policy limits of $25,000 from the other party and you have $50,000 in underinsured coverage, you can only collect a maximum of $25,000 under your own policy.
Every state makes it illegal for any driver to operate a car with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more. For minors or drivers under 21 in New Hampshire, the legal limit is only 0.02 percent.
If you are injured by a drunk driver, you can collect compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Some states allow you to also collect for punitive damages from the drunk driver. Punitive damages are meant to punish the person for egregious behavior that was more than merely negligence.
In New Hampshire, however, you cannot collect any punitive damages from the drunk driver, no matter how high his or her blood alcohol was at the time of the accident since there is no state statute that permits such damages.
Personal injury accidents require the professional experience of an NH car accident attorney. If you reside in the Exeter area, contact an accident attorney there to protect your rights and to receive the compensation your case deserves.