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Rights of New Hampshire Drunk Driving Accident Victims

December 10, 2021

The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that New Hampshire’s DUI-related arrests are significantly above the national average. Despite widespread knowledge of the dangers of impaired driving, motorists continue to engage in this risky behavior. State officials permit sobriety checkpoints and ignition interlock laws to prevent severe New Hampshire drunk driving accidents. However, approximately 55 people in New Hampshire die in an alcohol-related accident every year.

For instance, local news sources reported that a New Hampshire man died and another individual suffered serious injuries in a drunk driving accident. According to State Police, a 37-year-old pickup truck driver veered into the center line and slammed into a small sedan. The sedan driver suffered fatal injuries in the accident, and his passenger remains in critical condition. Law enforcement arrested and charged the pickup truck driver for negligent homicide and aggravated driving while intoxicated. The initial investigation indicates that the driver’s impairment was the leading cause of the accident.

Under New Hampshire’s wrongful death statute, the families of fatal accident victims may recover damages from an at-fault party or entity. Unlike many other state’s New Hampshire permits “any person interested in the estate” of the accident victim to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages available after a successful lawsuit typically include compensation for economic and non-economic losses such as payments for the psychological and physical pain the victim endured before death, medical and funeral expenses, lost income the victim could have earned if they survived.

In contrast to other jurisdictions, New Hampshire does not permit punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, these damages focus on punishing the defendant for their conduct. Instead of punitive damages, the state allows plaintiffs to pursue enhanced compensatory damages. These damages are appropriate in a narrow set of circumstances where the defendant’s actions were “wanton, malicious, or oppressive.” However, the law does not entitle a plaintiff to these damages solely because the accident involved an intoxicated driver.

In drunk driving cases, those wishing to pursue enhanced compensatory damages must establish that the defendant engaged in some conduct that rises to the level of a reckless indifference of consequences. A plaintiff may also meet the standard if they can prove that the at-fault party acted with hostility, hatred or, ill-will. An attorney can help families understand their rights and the extent of remedies available.

Have You Lost a Loved One in a New Hampshire Drunk Driving Accident?

If you have suffered serious injuries or experienced the death of a loved one because of an intoxicated or impaired driver, the New Hampshire car accident lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates can help. The attorneys at our law firm understand that no two accidents are the same, and we provide clients with individualized representation that focuses on their needs and desired outcomes. We handle New Hampshire claims involving auto accidents, slip-and-falls, playground accidents, dog bites, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, and more. Our dedicated and experienced attorneys have recovered significant sums of compensation on behalf of our clients. Contact our team at 800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation with a New Hampshire lawyer on our team.