WHAT'S THE MAX YOU CAN GET?Find out in just minutes how much your injury is worth!

New Hampshire Auto Accident Laws and Resources

The “Granite State” is home to approximately 1.4 million people. Residents and tourists enjoy exploring New Hampshire’s 17,029 miles of scenic roadways. Yet the state’s roadways can be dangerous. According to research, New Hampshire ranks 5th in U.S. among states with the worst driving records. 15.71% of drivers have a prior at-fault accident. Another 12.78% have a prior speeding violation. 

If you live in or plan on visiting New Hampshire, it is a good idea to become familiar with New Hampshire auto accident laws. New Hampshire auto accident laws give car accident victims important rights. Yet New Hampshire auto accident laws are complex. Those that do not have a lawyer often do not know what their options are. 

This guide will cover some important New Hampshire auto accident laws. The guide provides a brief overview of laws that will likely be important to your case. For more information, contact an experienced New Hampshire car accident lawyer.

New Hampshire is an “At-Fault” State 

New Hampshire auto accident laws operate on a fault-based system. This means that the person that was at-fault for causing the accident must pay for damages. In most cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for damages up to the policy limits. But New Hampshire’s comparative negligence standard could limit damage awards. 

Comparative Negligence in New Hampshire Auto Accident Cases 

New Hampshire follows a “modified comparative negligence” standard in car accident cases. New Hampshire Revised Statutes Section 507:7-d provides the standard. Under the statute you can recover damages for your injuries and property damage. But you cannot be more at-fault for the accident than the other party. If you are, then you will not recover damages. If you are less at-fault your damage award may reduce. The court determines the amount of the reduction based on your level of fault for the accident. 

For example, suppose you get into a crash on Interstate 89 in New Hampshire. You suffer serious injuries. The insurance company refuses to settle.  You file a lawsuit against the other driver and her insurance company. At trial, you prove that the other party was negligent. The jury determines that your total damages are $150,000. But the jury also finds that you were 20% at-fault for the car accident. You will receive $120,000 ($150,000 – 20%).  

Suppose the jury determines that you were 55% at-fault for the car accident. Since you were more at-fault for the car accident, you will not recover damages. 

New Hampshire’s comparative negligence standard does not apply to insurance settlements. But the insurance adjuster will still make a fault determination. The insurance company will use the determination to calculate an adequate settlement. 

New Hampshire Auto Accident Laws Statute of Limitations 

In New Hampshire, you must file a lawsuit by the deadline set in the statute of limitations. If you fail to file by the deadline, you will likely lose the right. The defendant will object to your complaint. Unless an exception applies, the court will dismiss your claim. 

The statute of limitations that applies to car accidents is New Hampshire Revised Statutes Section 508:4. Under the statute, car accident victims have 3 years to file a lawsuit. This includes lawsuits for injuries and property damages. The deadline is 3 years from the date of the accident. 

The 3-year period also applies to wrongful death claims. Surviving family members and the victim’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim. But the 3-year period starts running from the date of the victim’s death.  

The statute of limitations does not apply to the insurance settlement process. Your insurance policy will list the procedures for filing a claim. But if you miss the deadline the insurance company has little incentive to settle. They know that you lack recourse through the court system. 

Missing the deadline set by the statute of limitations can have disastrous consequences. Consult with an experienced New Hampshire auto accident lawyer to protect your rights. 

Car Insurance Requirements in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is one of the only states in the U.S. where car insurance is not required. But many drivers still choose to buy liability coverage. Liability coverage pays for medical bills, property damages, and other damages incurred.

Buying liability coverage protects them from personal liability. Because under New Hampshire law, the at-fault driver must pay for any damages he causes. 

If you decide to buy liability coverage, it must meet the following requirements: 

  • $25,000 liability coverage for property damage caused by the owner or driver of the vehicle; 
  • $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death of one person caused by the owner/driver; and 
  • $50,000 liability coverage for total bodily injury or death liability caused by the owner/driver. 

New Hampshire Revised Statutes Title XXI Section 264:16 imposes another requirement. Liability policies must include medical payments coverage of at least $1,000. Medical payments coverage covers your medical costs regardless of who was at-fault. Some other rules that apply to medical payments coverage include:

  • Coverage only applies to medical costs incurred during the 3-year period from the date of the accident; 
  • Policy holders are not entitled to duplicate payments. You cannot collect under MedPay and a health insurance policy.

If you buy liability insurance, you must also buy uninsured motorist coverage (UM). UM covers damages that you incur from a driver that lacks adequate insurance. It also protects you in accidents involving a hit-and-run.  Under New Hampshire auto accident laws, you must carry the same amount limits as listed above. 

If you are at-fault for the accident, liability insurance will not cover your damages. You will need to rely on other insurance. For example, collision coverage will reimburse you for the costs of fixing your car. 

Reporting Requirements for Car Accidents in New Hampshire

New Hampshire Revised Statutes Section 264:25 provides car accident reporting requirements. Under the statute, drivers must report an accident if: 

  • The accident resulted in injury or death to any person; or
  • The accident resulted in property damages of more than $1,000.

Drivers must report the accident to the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles within 15 days.

Recovering Damages in a New Hampshire Car Accident Case 

New Hampshire does not have a cap on personal injury damages. This means that a jury can award you the full amount of your economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that are easy to calculate. For example, medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages are those that are difficult to calculate. For instance, damages for pain and suffering and mental anguish. 

There are several different ways injured drivers can recover damages in New Hampshire. If you or the other driver have liability coverage you should contact them to report the accident. 

Your insurance company will work with the other driver’s to make a fault determination. 

If you are at-fault, the other driver’s insurance company will not pay for your damages. You will need to turn to your own insurance company for compensation. For example, you may have purchased collision coverage. Collision coverage will pay to repair or replace your vehicle. If you have MedPay coverage, you can seek reimbursement for medical expenses. 

If the other driver is at-fault, his insurance company will pay for 

your damages. They will usually try to settle. The first offer is often low. Accepting is usually a mistake. You should consider consulting with an experienced New Hampshire car accident lawyer. The lawyer can inform you of your rights and help value your claim. 

If the other driver does not have insurance, you can attempt to settle directly with him. Parties are often willing to settle to avoid litigation. If you are unable to reach a settlement, you can file a lawsuit. 

Your suit will usually name the other driver and/or his insurance company as defendants. In some cases you may also need to list third party defendants. If you go to trial, you will need to prove negligence. Negligence means that the other driver failed to exercise a reasonable standard of care. And his failure must have caused the accident. Remember, you cannot be more at-fault for the accident. If you are, you will not recover under New Hampshire auto accident laws.

New Hampshire Car Accident Settlement Calculator 

Did you or someone that you know suffer an injury in a car accident in New Hampshire? Use our free online Injury Settlement Calculator to see what your case might be worth.