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New Hampshire Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury & accidents in New Hampshire is three (3) years (Ref: N.H. Section 508:4). 

What this means is that you (or your attorney) must file a lawsuit against a defendant within three years of the date of your accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within three years, generally you forfeit any potential claim against the defendant as a matter of law - meaning there will be no opportunity for a settlement, arbitration or trial. 

Disclaimer: Although the information presented on this page is generally true there are some exceptions to this information, and the New Hampshire Statute of Limitations (and the exceptions) may change over time. If you or a family member was involved in an accident and considering seeking compensation for your injuries it is crucial that you speak to an New Hampshire personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and potential recovery.

Variations on Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in New Hampshire

There are some variations & exceptions to the 3 years statute of limitations on personal injury cases in New Hampshire. Because of this, it is critical you discuss your matter with a lawyer who is highly experienced in personal injury law.

  • Damage Caps: Damages in personal injury cases are intended to compensate for all harm and losses resulting from the accident or injury. Several states "cap," or limit, these damages. Non-economic or "pain and suffering" damages are frequently capped, as are damages in medical malpractice cases. But as of 2012, New Hampshire had no caps on damages in any kind of personal injury case. The last cap on damages in the state applied to medical malpractice cases, but it was overturned in 1980.
  • Claims Against the Government: If you suspect that your injury occurred as a result of the negligence of a New Hampshire state government agency or employee, your claim falls under a different set of rules. You still have three years to file your claim, but you must file it in a county court in the county where your injury took place, and you must first file a formal injury claim within  180 days of your injury.
  • "Strict" Liability for Dog Bite/Attack Cases: In many states, dog owners are protected (to some degree) from injury liability the first time their dog injures someone if they had no reason to believe the dog was dangerous. This is often called a "one bite" rule. In New Hampshire however, a specific statute (N. H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 466:19) makes the owner "strictly liable", meaning regardless of the animal's past behavior, the dog owner is responsible for a personal injury caused by his/her dog. Specifically, the statute reads:
    “Any person" [caused injury to person or property by another person's dog] "shall be entitled to recover damages from the person who owns, keeps, or possesses the dog, unless the damage was occasioned to a person who was engaged in the commission of trespass or other torts. A parent or guardian shall be liable under this section if the owner or keeper of the dog is a minor.

What if You Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?

If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit and the New Hampshire statute of limitations passes (barring any exceptions), the opposing party will almost surely move for case dismissal and it will likely be granted. This also means that nearly any hope of a settlement will also be forfeited because there is no leverage to potentially pursue a trial (since it would immediately be dismissed). 

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