Many victims of negligence are afraid they will be perceived as litigious or “sue-happy” if they take action to enforce their legal rights. The result is that they are victimized a second time by negligent parties who are not held accountable for the devastation they have inflicted, or by insurance companies using “delay-deny-defend” tactics. No one asks to be injured. If you are the victim of someone else’s negligence, you have the right under our system of justice to be compensated for your pain and suffering, emotional trauma, medical expenses, lost wages and lost future earning capacity. Additionally, your spouse may have the right to be compensated for their loss of comfort and companionship due to your injuries. Although New Hampshire and Maine do not generally allow punitive damages (to “punish” the negligent party for its conduct), there are some limited instances, such as certain Federal claims, in which punitive damages may be allowed. Additionally, New Hampshire law allows claims for enhanced damages when the defendant’s conduct was “wanton, malicious or oppressive.” Most of all, you have the right to be treated fairly by both the defendant’s insurance company, as well as your own.
As a client, you have the right to be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion by your attorney and his or her legal staff. Your lawyer should not be offended when you ask questions or seek to educate yourself about your rights under the law and the legal process. You have the right to know the status of your case. Your attorney has a duty to give you honest and candid advice every step of the way. And, yes, you have the right to have your phone calls returned.