Anyone who has been involved in a car accident in New Hampshire needs to understand the different state laws that could affect a settlement or lawsuit over the crash. This page provides a guide to all of the New Hampshire-specific resources available on All-About-Car-Accidents.com, including details on New Hampshire’s “financial responsibility” requirement for vehicle owners. We’ll also provide tips on when it may be time to contact a New Hampshire lawyer for help after a car accident.
If you decide to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver after a car accident in New Hampshire -- or even if you’re only involved in an insurance claim for now -- there are a few state laws you need to know about, beginning with the time limit for getting a car accident lawsuit started in the state’s civil court system (this is a state law called a “statute of limitations”).
New Hampshire’s statute of limitations gives an injured person three years after the occurrence of an injury (the date of a car accident, for example) to get a lawsuit started -- a step that usually means filing the initial complaint and summons in civil court.
In New Hampshire, this three-year filing deadline is the same whether your lawsuit is for personal injury or for vehicle damage. You can find this law codified at New Hampshire Revised Statutes 508:4.
So, what if you don’t get your lawsuit filed before New Hampshire’s three-year window closes? The court will almost certainly refuse to hear your case if that happens. So it’s crucial to pay attention to this deadline, and that’s true even if you think your case is going to settle out of court. You always want to leave open the option of filing a lawsuit, not just for leverage in settlement negotiations, but also to make sure you can turn to the court system for a remedy if the settlement process isn’t promising a satisfactory solution.
Get details on other New Hampshire laws that could impact your car accident case in our article Car Accident Laws in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire does not technically require vehicle owners to purchase car insurance, but owners must demonstrate their “financial responsibility” to pay for losses if a car accident occurs. Many drivers comply with this requirement by purchasing car insurance.
When a car insurance policy is purchased in New Hampshire, it must provide the following minimum protections:
Uninsured motorist coverage must also be included in any car insurance policy issued in New Hampshire (but remember, you don’t technically need to buy car insurance coverage in order to comply with the state’s “financial responsibility” requirements.)
For more details on vehicle owners and “financial responsibility” in New Hampshire, check out our companion article New Hampshire Car Insurance Laws.
You don’t necessarily need a lawyer for every claim you decide to make after a car accident. For example, in a situation where the other driver’s insurance carrier isn’t disputing that its insured was at fault for the crash, you suffered only minor injuries, and the settlement seems more than fair, it’s probably fine to handle that kind of claim yourself.
But what if the other driver’s insurer is saying that you caused the car accident? Or what if you suffered serious injuries and the insurer is balking at the costs of your treatment? In those situations, things can get complicated (not to mention contentious) very quickly, and it may be time to discuss your situation with a local car accident lawyer in New Hampshire. Remember that most lawyers will take a car accident case on a contingency basis, meaning that the lawyer only gets paid a percentage of any successful settlement or court award.
A good attorney knows how to successfully navigate not just the back-and-forth of settlement negotiations with car insurance adjusters, but also the car accident lawsuit process if your case proceeds to New Hampshire civil court.