How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in New Hampshire?
In New Hampshire, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in most cases is three (3) years from the date of the accident. In cases where the victim’s injury is not immediately obvious, the statute of limitations is three years from the date that he or she should reasonably have known that his or her injury was caused by another party’s negligence.
The three-year statute of limitations applies to all types of personal injury claims, including medical malpractice and product liability claims. In some states, certain types of personal injury claims have different statutes of limitations from others. Wrongful death claims are also bound to the three-year statute of limitations in New Hampshire.
When an individual files a personal injury claim against a government entity, he or she must also file a formal injury claim with the appropriate court within 180 days of the accident.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
There are many ways that an accident can injure someone. Afterward, they need a personal injury attorney to handle their case. Depending on the facts of the case, another person or people, business, or manufacturer might be responsible for the injuries caused. Some of the most common types of personal injury cases include the following:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Commercial vehicle accidents
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Slip and falls or trip and falls
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- Workers’ compensation cases
- Wrongful Death
These are a few of the incidents that can cause someone injuries. After, they likely have a claim for compensation from the damage caused by another. An experienced personal injury attorney will review the facts of your case. and advise you as to whether you need a lawyer to fully represent your claims.
The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims by Minors
When a minor is injured because of another party’s negligence, the three year statute of limitations does not apply in most cases. Instead, individuals who are injured as minors have up to two years following their 18th birthdays to file personal injury claims.
This is not the case with all types of claim, though. When a minor suffers an injury because a foreign object is left inside his or her body after surgery, the three year statute of limitations that applies to adults is applicable. This is also true for wrongful death claims involving minors.
If an individual was under the age of eight when he or she suffered any other type medical malpractice injury, the minor’s parents have until the child’s 10th birthday to file a medical malpractice claim. Otherwise, minors are bound to the same three year statute of limitations that governs adults’ medical malpractice claims.
Other Issues to Note Regarding New Hampshire’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
An individual cannot file a product liability claim if his or her incident involved an item manufactured and sold more than 12 years prior. This is important to keep in mind for anyone considering filing a product liability claim in New Hampshire.
You May Need the Assistance of a Personal Injury Lawyer
Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not you need a personal injury lawyer–
1. How Serious Are Your Injuries?
Whether or not you need a personal injury lawyer depends on the severity of your injuries. Sometimes injuries are minor. A minor injury might require some medical care (i.e. a doctor’s visit or two). But overall, doctors expect the injury to heal completely in a short amount of time. It’s not expected to impact your life or mobility, and you are probably okay working on your own without a lawyer.
On the other hand, if an injury is disabling, causes permanent injury, or results in thousands or tens of thousands of dollars worth of medical bills, you should hire an attorney. The more your case is worth, the more advisable it is that you work with a legal professional.
2. Who Was at Fault?
Fault and accident type may influence your decision to hire an attorney. For example, in a car accident, the process of recovering damages is straightforward. This is especially true when damages are minor. You just file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. But what about injuries sustained from an act of medical malpractice? Or a defective product? How do you bring a claim against a hospital or large company?
These claims can be much more complex and are best pursued with the counsel of a legal professional.
3. Has the Insurance Company Denied Your Claim?
You may have already attempted to pursue damages for your injuries following an accident. It is possible that the insurance company offered you significantly less than your case is worth. Or, they may have denied your claim altogether. If this is the case, you should contact an attorney. A lawyer investigates your case and assesses your losses to determine what your case is worth. They will present your case to an insurance company, and negotiate on your behalf. Overall, they improve your chances of recovering your full compensation award.
When You Need a Lawyer
Minor accidents don’t often the services of a personal injury lawyer. Without serious injuries, the claim is much simpler. These cases resolve easily by making a claim through your insurer to cover any minor costs of the accident. Your insurance rates may go up, but it is not necessary to have a lawyer to resolve the issues.
However, many accidents result in serious injury or significant property loss. Hiring a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to handle your case is the best possible option for you. In these situations, insurers begin building a case against you to deny coverage or blame you for the fault within hours of the accident. They have their own team of investigators and attorneys working on the case. You need an experienced professional by your side protecting your best interests, as well.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
A personal injury attorney can help you after an accident in a number of different ways. First and foremost, a lawyer can begin to build the best case possible for full and fair compensation. They can start immediately after the accident. They handle the particulars of the case while you get medical treatment and focus on recovery from your injuries. This includes gathering police reports, witness statements, photos, and videos of the accident. In addition, they’ll get medical reports of the injuries sustained in the accident. A lawyer can hire their own investigators who can look into the scene of the accident and make any additional inquiries that may bolster your case for compensation.
An attorney also serves as a shield between you and the insurance companies. You should not make a statement to any insurer, even your own, without your lawyer present. They protect you from accidentally making a statement against your own best interests. The insurance companies are looking for anything to try and mitigate your damages or deny your claim altogether. When you hire an attorney, insurers must go through your attorney. They cannot solicit you for statements or attempt to negotiate a settlement without permission.
A personal injury lawyer handles the negotiations with insurance companies. An experienced attorney knows how to handle these negotiations. They also know the true worth of your claim. An attorney can advise you on whether you should accept the settlement offered or if you should take your case to trial. In the instances where the settlement offered is not fair, a lawyer will take your case to court. Here they will fight for your right to compensation in front of a judge and jury. Lawyers understand the intricacies of the legal system and the best arguments to make on your behalf in court.
Once parties reach a settlement for compensation, a lawyer makes sure you receive damages in a timely manner. Then, you do not have to struggle under the weight of mounting financial responsibilities. Sometimes as a strategic tactic or simply out of spite, insurers will delay payment on claims for as long as possible, and a lawyer can ensure that this does not happen to you.
What to Look For in a Personal Injury Attorney
When looking to hire the best personal injury lawyer, there are a few specific traits you should look for in your lawyer. First, you want an attorney that has experience with your type of personal injury case and is knowledgeable about the local court, insurance companies, and others that you may deal with over the course of your claims. Second, you want a lawyer that can provide you with individualized attention and constant communication about your case. Finally, you want a lawyer that will zealously advocate on your behalf and ardently fight for full and fair compensation on your claims.
Contact Sabbeth Law for a free personal injury case review
If you’ve suffered a serious personal injury it’s critical that you act quickly to retain legal counsel. An experienced New Hampshire personal injury lawyer will ensure that you don’t miss the opportunity to recover damages due to legal restraints like the statute of limitations.
We understand just how difficult a personal injury can make your life. At Sabbeth Law, our approach was crafted to allow our clients more dignity through this process and ultimately to produce the best possible results.
Contact Sabbeth Law today for a free case review from attorney Michael Sabbeth.