Persons who have been injured in an accident from an assault, by a defect in product design or manufacture, or by medical malpractice have recourse by presenting a legal claim for compensation against the responsible party. Personal injury claims are handled pursuant to the laws and rules governing that particular cause of action, which includes premises liability, product defect, motor vehicle accidents and medical malpractice actions.
What Jurisdiction Will I File My Claim?
It is essential that you file your injury claim in the proper court, or you could risk losing your right to monetary compensation if the statute of limitations expires. You can avoid forfeiting your claim by filing in the New Hampshire court in the county where either the injury or accident occurred or where the defendant is residing.
The jurisdiction of the Superior Court includes personal injury claims that exceed $25,000 and for those actions for which a jury trial has been requested, so long as the alleged damages are at least $1,500. Should your claimed damages be more than $7,500 but less than $25,000 and you do not request a jury trial, your claim can be filed in the Circuit Court-District division.
Injury claims in which you are claiming no more than $7,500 are heard in a separate part of the District Court division and provide for an expedited process for all parties.
New Hampshire Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations establishes a time limit for when a personal injury action must be filed in the proper court. Most personal injury claims in New Hampshire must be filed within three years of the date of injury. For product defect cases, it is three years from the date when the defect was discovered or should have been discovered through the exercise of reasonable diligence. Medical malpractice claims must be filed within two years from the conduct or misconduct leading to the malpractice allegation.
Different rules apply for minors, for those deemed mentally incompetent at the time of the injury and if you are bring suit against the state or a municipal subsidiary.
How Are Damages Awarded?
Most states, including New Hampshire, allow a plaintiff to claim certain damages incurred as a result of injuries from an accident or the misconduct of another party:
- Past and future lost earnings
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of earning capacity
- Lost employment benefits
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages in some cases
You can collect for future loss of income or for future medical expenses, but you usually must present expert financial and medical testimony or documentation that such losses are reasonably expected to occur and in what amount.
Other monetary expenses may include the cost of modifying certain equipment—such as by installing special devices in your car or by altering your home to be wheelchair accessible—if you are physically incapable of performing certain activities as a result of the injury. The costs of in-home nursing care may be also be claimed.
General damages, or non-economic losses, include pain and suffering and loss of consortium. Pain and suffering includes compensation for psychological damages as well as for physical suffering. Loss of consortium is for loss of sexual intimacy, companionship, affection and comfort.
In a wrongful death case, the surviving family members may recover for funeral expenses and the loss of income if it would have supported them for a time. There are some limits on damages that your attorney can explain to you.
What Does a Personal Injury Cost?
Nearly all personal injury lawyers collect their legal fees based on a percentage of whatever funds are recovered, along with their costs and expenses in prosecuting the case. Most cases are taken on a contingency basis ranging from 25 percent to 40 percent based on the complexity of the case.
Consult a New Hampshire Personal Injury Lawyer
The majority of injured plaintiffs collect far more compensation when they have legal representation. To ensure your claim adheres to the applicable New Hampshire laws, speak to a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer.