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Understanding New Hampshire Comparative Fault Laws

May 31, 2023

When determining fault in negligence lawsuits, New Hampshire follows a system known as modified comparative negligence. Comparative negligence refers to a plaintiff’s responsibility for the injuries they suffered. For example, if a driver strikes a pedestrian, that person may sue the driver for negligence. However, the pedestrian may also share some portion of fault if they ran across a busy street and failed to use a crosswalk. In these scenarios, if a judge or jury finds that the plaintiff was negligent, they may attribute some responsibility for the accident to the plaintiff. The rationale behind many comparative fault laws is that courts should only hold defendants accountable for their share of fault.

Decades ago, the majority rule among states would prohibit the plaintiff from receiving damages if they shared any portion of fault for their injuries. Today, New Hampshire and many states follow a modified comparative negligence system. New Hampshire passed these rules for recovery under Section 507 of the state’s Revised Statutes. Under this law, plaintiffs in New Hampshire can recover damages against defendants so long as they were less than 51% at fault for the accident. If plaintiffs are more than 50% at fault, they cannot recover any damages. On the other hand, if plaintiffs are equally at fault or less, they can still recover damages. When a plaintiff sues multiple defendants, the plaintiff’s level of fault still must be less than 51% to recover from each defendant. In turn, defendants are only liable for their portion of the fault.

Additionally, plaintiffs should be aware that New Hampshire law, specifically Section 507, will reduce their damages award based on their portion of fault for the accident. For example, if a judge or jury finds the plaintiff 10% at fault for the accident, they will reduce the plaintiff’s ultimate damages award by 10%. Because defendants would then pay less in damages, they will often argue that the plaintiff shares some level of responsibility for the accident. To make their case, defendants may seek to introduce evidence that the plaintiff acted negligently. Under Section 507, each party has the burden of proving the other is at fault. An experienced New Hampshire personal injury attorney can help you understand the state’s comparative fault and develop a case theory to help prove you were not at fault for your injuries.

Do You Need a New Hampshire Personal Injury Attorney?

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from another person’s negligence, contact Peter Thompson & Associates today to discuss your case. Our award-winning attorneys have over 60 years of combined experience representing clients in personal injury lawsuits throughout New Hampshire. The attorneys on our team can help you navigate comparative fault laws and develop a strategy to help recover the compensation you need and deserve. Through our skilled and dedicated representation, we have secured significant damages awards for our clients. To schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team, call our office at 800-804-2004 or reach out through our website.