In New Hampshire, to recover in negligence action, a plaintiff must show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care; that the defendant breached the duty owed; that the defendant’s breach of that duty was a proximate cause of injury to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff suffered damages as a result.
Modified Contributory Negligence
Per RSA 507:7-d, a plaintiff may only recover damages under a negligence theory if it is determined by a court that the plaintiff’s percentage of fault for their own injury did not exceed 50%. If a court finds that a plaintiff was 51% or more at fault for their injury, they will be completely barred from obtaining a monetary recovery. If a court attributes a plaintiff’s own level of fault at 50% or less, their recovery will be diminished in proportion to their level of attributed fault. The burden rests with the defendant to prove that the plaintiff was partially responsible for their injury.
Modified Joint & Several Liability
RSA 507:7e states that, in general, joint tortfeasors are held jointly and severally liable for damages caused in a negligence action. However, if any tortfeasor is found to be less than 50% responsible for the injury by the court, that tortfeasor will only be severally liable. Several liability means that a party is only responsible for his own obligations. If a court finds that joint tortfeasors acted in concert with one another to bring about harm, both tortfeasors will be held jointly and severally liable, regardless of their percentage of attributed fault.
Where one defendant has paid more than their proportional share of liability that defendant has the right to seek contribution against any other joint defendant who has not paid their proportional share.
Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant(s). The award is meant to restore the plaintiff – as much as possible – to the condition they were in prior to the injury occurring.
Actual damages are meant to reimburse the plaintiff for out-of-pocket expenses for items such as medical care and treatment. General damages may also be awarded for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of opportunity, and loss of future income.
Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant rather than to compensate the plaintiff. New Hampshire does not allow for an award of punitive damages unless provided for by statute. However, where the plaintiff can show that the defendant acted with actual malice, New Hampshire law does permit a plaintiff to seek enhanced compensatory damages.
The law firm of Walker Morgan is located at 135 E Main St., Lexington, SC 29072. All lawyers at Walker Morgan are licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina. Should you wish to retain our firm for legal representation regarding a potential case in any other jurisdiction we are required to associate local counsel in that foreign jurisdiction and seek permission from a court of the foreign jurisdiction to temporarily engage in the practice of law therein for purposes of pursuing your potential claim only.
By offering the following information the lawyers at Walker Morgan are not offering legal advice or legal guidance. The lawyers at Walker Morgan are not licensed to practice law in New Hampshire. Should you have a question/concern specific to New Hampshire law, please contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of New Hampshire.