Fall Is Active Time for Deer, Be Alert!

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You are on your bike and a deer is in front of you on the road at dusk or dawn, do you try to swerve to avoid a collision?  NO, says the experts.  Swerving may likely cause bike to go down, hit a tree or guard rail or even hit the deer as it makes a last minute leap to “safety.”  Stay the course. Using a horn and control brake is the best action.  Deer are traveling the most during October and November.  Remember, a deer is not a stationary article.  What has your experience been?

Deer in the headlights? Don't swerve to avoid it

Robert Duffer, Chicago Tribune, reprinted Manchester Union Leader.

Wrong Way Driver Blames GPS


We have all experienced strange routes that our GPS sends us down.

Once a rider was directed to a dirt road over a mountain since it was a couple of miles longer to take the beautiful paved road around the mountain. A recent driver drove up a highway exit ramp beginning to enter the high-speed highway in the wrong direction when, fortunately, only a minor collision occurred.

Can the driver be relieved of liability by claiming she was following GPS? NO! All drivers have an obligation to drive in a reasonable and prudent fashion. They are obligated to follow the reasonable speed limits, and highway signs including "do not enter" signs that are located on every highway exit. Just because the person on the GPS monitor instructs you to take a left now does not mean that a driver could or should follow any directions blindly.

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Since there are increasing reasons for individuals to get in car accidents, now GPS being a new one, it is important that all drivers insure themselves and their families through adequate under insured or uninsured motorist coverage along with an umbrella policy. We recommend that all drivers maintain at least a $250,000 liability and uninsured motorist level. We also recommend that the family expend another $200 or so to have a $1 million umbrella policy. That policy should provide under insured coverage so that in the event of a serious accident, the medical bills will not gobble up all of the insurance coverage available with sufficient left over to cover potential lifetime lost earnings, pain and suffering disabilities and other damages that frequently go uncompensated because of the lack of insurance coverage. Feel free to give our office a call for any insight in this area. The call is always free

Letter from Bob Beauregard

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In 2011, I was involved in a head on truck accident with a State Trooper who was going 102 mph and had crossed over the median. Even though I was the one who was hit, I was treated like a criminal at first. The accident was awful and took three years for me to recover from. I was hurt, shaken up, and having a hard time with the insurance companies. The State, my worker’s comp, my truck insurance, and my health insurance were all being a hassle. I was referred to Attorney Jim Normand, and after I met with him I could finally relax.  He took over dealing with the insurance companies and let me get back to my recovery. All of his staff knew what they were doing and they helped me keep track of my treatment and calmed me down when I got frustrated with the insurance companies and their lawyers. Jim made a good deal with my worker’s comp and got the state to pay close to the limit for the car accident at mediation. This law firm cared for me. They treated me like family and told me to calm down when needed. They really delivered results. They got my worker’s comp for me, they got me a fair settlement for the truck accident and they helped my family with good advice when we were trying to get a house after the settlement. You can’t go wrong with the people at Normand|Higham.

 

Robert Beauregard

Commercial Driver

Hudson, NH

Snowstorms and New Hampshire Drivers

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Can you believe it? In New Hampshire, you do not have to have a liability policy to drive an automobile. And if you do have insurance, the minimum rate in New Hampshire is $25,000. That is woefully inadequate to cover most injuries.

 

If you are driving on a snowy day and someone is coming up behind you too quickly, fails to react to changing traffic and rear ends you, pushing you into the vehicle in front, you have actually sustained not one, not two, but maybe three or four actual impacts to your body. That generally has significant adverse effects to your neck, shoulder, and back muscles, as well as the ligaments and tendons. Whiplash is a real thing. You may be out of work for a week or two. You may have been taken to the hospital, given diagnostic testing, had your test reviewed by a radiologist, been checked out by a neurologist, or a hospital emergency room physician and other professional staff, all for which you will be billed for. That trip to the hospital may have cost $1,500 in ambulance fees and $5,000 in hospital and diagnostic specialist fees. If you are out of work for two or three weeks then that may be another $3,000 or $4,000 out of your pocket.

 

At Normand Higham, we encourage all drivers to protect themselves, their family, and their car occupants with adequate uninsured motorist coverage. Frequently, you are able to increase your uninsured motorist coverage from $50,000 or $100,000 to at least $250,000 at modest prices, usually much less than even $100. Yes, you can have four or five times the coverage, including uninsured motorist coverage at a very low rate. Speak to your insurance agent about it.

MOTORCYCLIST KILLED BY WRONG WAY PICKUP TRUCK DRIVER-NH

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A 32 year old female motorcyclist, driving on a one way entry ramp, was killed recently when a pickup driver, in a 1997 Dodge truck, was driving the wrong way down the ramp and struck the motorcyclist head on. What options are available to her family?

My first concern, as an attorney, is for the search for adequate insurance coverage to compensate for the obvious catastrophic losses that this motorcyclist and her family have sustained at the hands of the carelessness of another.  The fact that the faulty driver was in a 20 year old pickup suggest that perhaps he has either none or inadequate insurance coverage.

I encourage all motorcyclists to examine their own insurance policies with their agent to assure adequate uninsured and under insured coverage.  That coverage steps in when the faulty driver has inadequate coverage for the harm caused.  My recommendation is at least $250,000 in uninsured motorist coverage.  I also recommend an umbrella policy with at least $1,000,000 uninsured motorist coverage.  I frequently find that the umbrella policy usually costs only an additional $200 per year.  That is great additional protection for a catastrophic loss such as this instance at modest additional cost.

I ride motorcycles and am making general commentary as an interested rider.  I am not commenting on this specific accident, that was reported in the NH newspapers, and wish the family of the deceased motorcyclist our condolences.

Atty. James Normand

Normand|Higham Law

Manchester, NH

Bedford Bicyclist Hit and Killed in Wilton, New Hampshire

Spring is upon us and riders are on the roadway.  Sadly, a bicyclist was recently struck and killed while safely riding along the shoulder of the roadway.  What options are available to the family?

Obviously, the youthful car driver probably has primary liability, but may not have sufficient automobile liability coverage to satisfy the loss.  In that event, the family would look to their own motor vehicle policies to make claim through the under-insured motorist provisions of their policy.  Better still, if the family had an umbrella policy, there maybe up to another $1,000,000 in coverage available through their own umbrella policy.

While this is a sad tragedy for this family, it is an important time for all of us to review our own insurance coverage. When we suffer a calamity on the roadway at the fault of another, frequently we must look at our own automobile policies for coverage through uninsured or uninsured motorist coverage.  Make certain that you have enough coverage to satisfy the needs of you and your family.

STATE COMMISSION APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE

Is anyone interested in serving on the NH Executive Branch Ethics Committee? We meet for 2 hours about 10 times a year. Our jurisdiction is over NH Executive Branch officials and appointed board and commission members. Two vacancies are available for appointment by the Govenor. One for a Democrat, and one for an independent. Direct interest to Jim Normand or directly to the governor’s office at catherine.george@nh.gov

Be Safe This Halloween

This October, make sure your family’s Halloween is full of treats, not tricks, with these Top Halloween Safety Tips to include in your personal protection plan:

  1. Be Cautious – Car accidents involving pedestrians see a sharp spike every Halloween – do not become a statistic! Make sure everyone is always looking both ways before crossing the street (hand-holding recommended but not required).
  1. Avoid Driving During Peak Trick-or-Treating Times – On the same note, play it cool for the night and stay off the road for a few hours while the little monsters roam. Pedestrian traffic and drunk-driving numbers are at an all-time high on Halloween night.
  1. Stay in Familiar Areas – Everyone knows Mrs. Robinson on the corner gives out the king-size candy bars. Set boundaries, and establish your child’s route before they leave.
  1. Arrive with Them, Leave with Them – Nobody wants to go looking for a missing Jedi in the middle of the party, so keep an eye on your friends.
  1. Keep the Tricks to a Minimum – Not everyone shares the same Halloween spirit, so don’t turn your night of fun into a night of fright. Understand the dangers of “harmless” pranks like egging, ding-dong ditching, and scaring innocent trick-or-treaters.

Teenage Pedestrian Dies After Car Collision

A New Hampshire teenager recently died in the hospital two weeks after being struck by a motor vehicle in Hooksett, NH.  What are her rights? What are the options to her family?

First, a petition for estate administration at the probate court should be established in order to have an entity able to speak on behalf of this young teenager.

Second, while the automobile insurance company for the responsible party may be speaking to the family and advising that they will take care of bills, the family should look into their own insurance policies as well.

We strongly recommend that the family obtain legal advice, at least a consultation, to discuss their options and rights. That usually could be accomplished at no charge to the family.  There are several sources of recovery.

We would look to the liability insurance policy for the individual operating the vehicle and any other policies that this individual may have coverage under.

Additionally, the teenager would be covered under her parents’ liability policy under the uninsured motorist coverage area.  That would be true for both the policy for her mother and perhaps the policy for her divorced father.  If the parents have joint custody, for example, then the youth may actually have two residences.

In addition to medical bills, funeral, and other such expenses, the estate for the decedent is entitled to receive recovery for lost earnings in life and most importantly the loss of the enjoyment of living.

An insurance claim is never a substitute for not being injured at all.  But when the worst happens, make certain that the decedent received what she deserved.