NH Personal Injury Basics – Part 2: Filing Lawsuits, Final Judgments

Posted by Ryan Russman | Oct 28, 2013 | 0 Comments

If an offending party's insurance company rejected your attorney's final offer, he may suggest that you file a lawsuit.

Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits
The Statute of Limitations is the time limit in which an individual can take legal action against an alleged tortfeasor (party accused of committing a wrongful act). For most personal injury cases that occur in New Hampshire, the Statute of Limitations runs for three years; it is of paramount importance that a lawsuit be filed before that time. Your attorney will know the Statute of Limitations for any given injury.

The decision to file a lawsuit has to be well thought out. The actual filing is not difficult, but working on the case and presenting it in open court are always challenging. Your attorney will have to prove that the tortfeasor was indeed liable (at fault) and that your damages (injuries, bills, etc.) are really worth what you are seeking.

Before he files, he will want to discuss the pros and cons with you.

Lawsuit Pros
If insurance negotiations have failed and your attorney believes you have a strong case, he may recommend that you file a lawsuit. You may end up with a greater award than if you had accepted the insurance company's final offer.

A settlement can be reached before, during and after a lawsuit has been filed. The insurance company may increase their offer to avoid the expense of going to court — especially if they know you have a good case.

Lawsuit Cons
A lawsuit can be expensive, even though the attorney probably took the case on a contingency basis. There are filing fees, perhaps the cost of expert witnesses, the possible need for accident reconstruction, and more.

A lawsuit is time-consuming. Your attorney will need to depose witnesses (take informal testimony under oath), wait for all expert reports to come in, and wait for a court date.

The outcome of a lawsuit is never assured.

With these factors in mind, talk candidly with your attorney. Let him know what your expectations are. An experienced personal injury attorney will let you know if these expectations are reasonable and attainable and will tell you what he considers the chances are of your winning the lawsuit.

About the Author

Ryan Russman

Attorney Ryan Russman has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of New Hampshire citizens. His practice, based in Exeter (Rockingham County) New Hampshire, is limited to cases involving DWI and DUI, other motor vehicle and criminal cases, and many cases involving personal injury. He is, however, best known as one of New Hampshire's leading legal authorities on DWI.


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