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University of New Hampshire Student Injured in Car Accident

January 31, 2023

When an accident occurs, injured victims may seek to hold the person responsible for the harm they suffered. The victim often needs to make a strategic choice about whom to sue. The proper defendants to sue will often depend on who is at fault for the accident. For example, after a car accident, a plaintiff may sue the driver or the owner of the property on which the accident occurred.

According to a recent news report, a student at the University of New Hampshire was hit by a car in Durham, New Hampshire. The driver, also a University of New Hampshire student, struck the victim as he attempted to cross the street. After suffering serious injuries, the victim received treatment at a nearby hospital before a medical helicopter transported him to another hospital for further assistance. The driver, who remained at the scene and cooperated with police, was unharmed. According to police, the driver was not speeding or driving under the influence at the time of the accident. The article does not specify whether the accident occurred on the University of New Hampshire’s campus. If so, the accident would raise questions about the ability of a plaintiff to sue a university for their injuries in New Hampshire.

Can You Sue a University for On-Campus Injuries?

A person who suffers injuries on a college campus, or any other property, may file a lawsuit against the university for premises liability. This type of negligence lawsuit holds property owners responsible for injuries that occurred on their property. The most common example of premises liability arises when a customer suffers injuries at a store or other business. However, a university may also be liable for an on-campus car accident if it fails to give adequate protections to a pedestrian who is struck by a vehicle. Examples may include a failure to provide crosswalks, traffic lights, or any warning to drivers that they are about to enter a pedestrian crossing. On the other hand, if the accident occurred off-campus, the university will likely escape premises liability, even if the victim and the responsible party are both university students. Premises liability seeks to hold property owners accountable for unsafe conditions on their premises, so an accident that occurs elsewhere would not implicate the university.

Two issues may arise in these types of premises liability suits. First, in suits arising from car accidents, the property owner may attribute fault to the driver who caused the accident. Under this case theory, it is the driver, rather than the property owner, who created the unsafe conditions that led to the accident. In these scenarios, the outcome of the lawsuit may turn on the plaintiff’s ability to prove causation for the accident. Second, a plaintiff may run into issues bringing a premises liability suit against public university officials. Unlike a private college, a public university is a state institution, meaning university officials benefit from state sovereign immunity. Under New Hampshire law, state government actors have broad immunity from negligence lawsuits if they are acting within the scope of their official duties during an accident. Questions of state immunity from lawsuits can prove complicated and often depend on the nature of the lawsuit. An experienced New Hampshire personal injury attorney can help you understand how sovereign immunity rules may affect your case.

Do You Need a New Hampshire Personal Injury Attorney?

If you have been injured in a New Hampshire car accident, contact the attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates to discuss your case. Our attorneys possess years of experience handling various New Hampshire personal injury claims. Through our skilled and compassionate representation, we have secured significant compensation for our deserving clients. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us at 800-804-2004 or reach out through our website.