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Auto Accidents Leave Indelible Memories For Those Left Behind

Drunken driving deaths take their toll in more than just one way.

This is one of those stories that sets you to thinking, “What if?” Drunken driving is almost as prevalent as the common cold, and like a common cold, it has the potential to turn into something else over time. Take this case, for instance. It is one that still resonates with grief and loss, even two years after the fact. The only good thing is that there is a measure of healing involved for the man who killed a family’s son, for the family who lost their son, and for the officer that attended the final chapter of a young man’s life.

It was November, 2010, when four friends were heading back home after a concert, with the designated driver behind the wheel. While heading north on the highway, the four were rammed by a 22-year-old Air Force airman doing an estimated 78 mph. He had opted to drive while under the influence. His decision killed a 21-year-old passenger in the car. The man’s family decided to file a wrongful death lawsuit, not for revenge, but to seek an accounting of responsibility.

The airman’s blood alcohol content was 0.183; he pled guilty to drunken driving, involuntary manslaughter, and three counts of aggravated battery. While on his way out of court to start serving a six-year sentence, he was told by the mother of the dead young man that they forgave him. The family wanted to focus on healing, and not anger. As a step toward healing, the family started a website asking people to perform seven acts of kindness. The detective who was present at the scene of that horrible accident made his first act of kindness: a presentation for schools and colleges about the accident. In sharing the horror of death caused by a drunken driver, a lesson was presented to those who watch.

However, the officer felt that something was missing from the presentation: the convicted drunken driver. Over time, the officer made the effort to get to know the driver: when he is released from prison in 2016, they plan to make the presentation together. It is, in part, a story about faith and healing, about redemption and about the horror of what drinking and driving does. It’s not a hearts-and-flowers presentation. It is factual and graphic. It carries the message that people need to be responsible and do not drink and drive. It hits home, and that is what it is intended to do. Don’t drink and drive. It may be the last time you do.

Not all stories involving a drunken driver end up like this one. Some situations leave families seething with anger and a thirst for revenge. The point is drunken drivers affect all of us in some way or another. It’s time to stop the carnage.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit

Personal Rights Versus Saving Lives; The Cornerstone ToI mplementing a Ban On Texting While Driving

It’s always a tragedy when someone texting on the phone while driving hits another car head-on. The death that occurs was always avoidable.

The whole point of texting and driving is to keep in touch with others. The irony is that we used to be able to do that just fine with a phone used at home or at work. There is no need to chat while driving. Nothing — repeat nothing — is important enough to risk your own life and the lives of others by texting while driving. It appears Oklahoma may be getting with the ban texting while driving movement by dedicating an entire week to this issue.

In fact, there is a new rally cry, or war cry if you will, that calls for stopping texting, to stop the horrific wrecks that happen as a result of this dangerous driving habit. Think about these figures for a moment before blowing off the notion that this article does not apply to you, or anyone else you may know. On average, a texting driver glances down at their phone for five seconds for every text sent or read. Let’s say their speed is 40 mph. In those five seconds, they will travel at least 300 feet, which is the length of a football field. Those five seconds of inattention kill. It’s been proven, time and time again. When does it stop?

Nationwide statistics show that more than 3,000 people died, and just about half a million were injured, as a result of accidents caused by distracted drivers. These figures don’t include the close calls, the near misses when someone manages to avoid an accident, and discovers when they look at the other driver, that they have a cell phone in their hand – or worse yet – they were texting themselves when driving.

There are 39 states that currently ban texting while driving in some form or another, but there are still a few states, and Oklahoma is one of them, that don’t have a single sentence in their laws relating to distracted driving. For some reason, although the idea seems to garner support, the law never comes to pass, and people keep on dying for no good reason, other than they wanted to make sure their friends knew about a party that night.

Of interest is the groundswell of youth speaking out about the dangers of texting and driving. In Oklahoma alone, just about 94 percent of teens want a law banning distracted driving, and close to 84 percent of adults agree. So where is the law? It seems those that live in Oklahoma have a deep down dislike of the government telling them what to do, and they aren’t the only state where people hold similar views.

Those good citizens have a right to feel that way. Personal liberty is a precious thing, and it may be that instead of implementing more new laws on top of the existing laws, it is time to consider that current laws against driving while distracted are sufficient as they stand. The government may need to step back and find a happy medium to make the situation work.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit

When Your Car Is More Connected Than Your Office, Something Is Wrong

These days, people may have more technology in their cars than in their offices. This is not safe.

Those with connectivity in their vehicles swear their productivity has increased and that they can multi-task and drive at the same time. These are often the same people that the police and EMS crews have to pull out of their wrecked cars with the Jaws of Life. They are often the same individuals who are either seriously injured or killed in an auto accident. It is a no brainer that someone cannot drive, text, talk, adjust equipment, send faxes or watch a computer screen without serious consequences.

Been lucky so far, and nothing has happened to you? While that is good news, it does not mean that you are not at risk. Nor does it mean that another driver, doing the same thing you are, will not slam into you and leave you badly injured. For safety’s sake, for the sake of your own life, and the lives of people you don’t know, who also have families, do not use mobile technology while you are driving.

All of our technology is addictive. We did just fine without any of it. Now we think we can’t live without “all” of it. As an injury lawyer, I see lots of needless suffering caused by distracted people. It is a good practice for all of us to spend some time away from our computers and iPhones to see that we can manage just fine without being connected all the time. It seems like we are always on high alert waiting for the next message. It is good for us to take a step back from all of it.

Don’t think this is an issue? The average American spends over two hours in their car every day. The rest of the day is typically spent “communicating” with everyone by updating a Facebook place, posting a Tweet on Twitter, visiting a Google+ site, texting or whatever else comes to mind during the day. Technology is terrific, but know when and where to use it. If you only spend about two hours a day in the car, why not do it without being connected to multiple social media sites? Your safety is far more important than what you want to eat for supper, or what your golf score was that day.

What is the obsession with being out of touch for a short period of time? We never used to have mobile devices in our vehicles, and there were far less accidents. But, people sputter, the devices are so useful! True, but they can be useful in a safe environment, like an office or at home. There is no need to text and drive. If you don’t think this applies to you, then research the number of people who have died doing just that. If you don’t want to be a statistic, ditch the technology while driving.

The end results of technology in use prior to a driver meeting another car or semi head-on is awful. If you could see that, and listen to the family’s distress and grief, you would never use a cellphone, smartphone, tablet or anything else in your vehicle again, ever. Get smart.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit

Is a Vehicle Accident Really an Accident or Plain Stupidity?

Most car accidents tend to involve an element of negligence on someone’s part.

Most of us have been in a car accident or two or three over our lifetime. There are very few people, other than those who don’t drive, who can say they have never caused an accident or been in one. The interesting question when it comes to car accidents is, “Are car accidents really accidents or are they the result of just plain stupidity?”

Over the years that I have practiced personal injury law, I’ve seen an awful lot of things that would try the patience of a Saint. The things that people do in their cars just boggles the imagination. In fact, some of those things are so astounding it makes me wonder “why” people would do them in a moving vehicle in the first place. Cars don’t drive themselves and if you don’t control them, they control you.

Certainly people don’t get into a potentially deadly machine with the intention of getting into a crash. However, one wonders if they at times leave their brain cells in neutral while driving. While “you” may be a safe driver, that doesn’t mean the “other” person is, and that they aren’t doing something they shouldn’t either.

The examples I am going to mention in this article are cases that I have either handled or have heard about, and some of them will make you wonder how some of these people got driver’s licenses.

There was the case of the big rig driver who was watching an X-rated movie on his laptop computer while driving. He struck and killed a young mother and her child. There was one case involving a 20-year-old driver who was heading home after a long day at work. For some reason he decided to text while driving at highway speeds. He never saw the big rig that hit him head-on.

There was also the case of a teenager eating on his way back to school and trying to drive at the same time. He ran a red light and creamed the side of a TV news van, putting the driver into hospital. Along these same lines was the instance where a woman was trying to get a shoe off the floor of the driver’s side mat when she hit another vehicle and sent in into the oncoming lane of traffic. That vehicle flipped several times and killed all the occupants.

One of the more graphic cases I’ve ever heard about was the biker who zig zagged past a big rig and then abruptly cut back in front of him and jammed on the brakes because there was another car in the road. The trucker had no place else to go and couldn’t stop in time.

Think when you’re driving. It could save someone’s life, including your own.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit

Running from a Deadly Accident that Caused Serious Harm

This crash involving an SUV and two other vehicles resulted in three people being seriously injured. One person never made it home that day.

“This is one of those accidents that seem to come out of nowhere and leave the victims wondering what hit them,” said Charlie Donahue, a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. “Cases involving hit and runs, like this one I heard about, are always difficult for the victims, especially when the perpetrator leaves the scene,” he added.

Evidently what happened in this particular case is that an unidentified car made a left turn in front of a northbound vehicle being driven by teenager, York Lewis (names have been changed to protect the victims). Lewis lost control of his Mitsubishi, swerved across the median and crashed head-on into a southbound Ford Expedition. The vehicle continued, and then also hit a Toyota that was traveling behind the Ford Expedition.

When EMS crews arrived at the scene of the grisly accident, they had to pronounce the driver of the Ford Expedition, as he had died as a result of his injuries sustained in the accident. The other victims, including the seriously injured Ford driver’s daughter, were taken to the nearest medical facility for treatment. The driver of the Mitsubishi was badly hurt as well and taken to another center for assistance. The third victim, with minor injuries was treated and released.

Evidently, eyewitnesses indicated that the cause of this horrific smash-up may have been street racing. Unfortunately, no one was able to get a clear look at, description or license plate number of the driver that left the scene of the accident. “When the police do find the driver of that mystery car, it’s likely he will be charged. When he is found, there will be several victims wanting to recover compensation for their injuries and for the wrongful death of the father driving the Ford Explorer,” indicated New Hampshire personal injury lawyer Charlie Donahue.

“This case cries for justice, and with some good police work, justice is what these families will get when all is said and done. If you have been in a situation like this, in a car accident that caused you or a family member serious harm or death, give me a call and I will let you know what your rights are and what to expect if you wish to file a personal injury lawsuit. That is what I do and that is what I am good at – fighting for your rights and for justice,” stated Charlie Donahue, a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer who works long and hard to make the legal system work for those who need his help.

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They Just Don’t Make Things Like They Used To

Unfortunately most of the products on the market today either fall apart or have the potential to harm or kill someone. They don’t make things like they used to make them.

If you spend any time reading, watching or listening to the news, one of the first things that will strike you is that there are an awful lot of defective product recalls. Think drop-side cribs for the risk of strangulation; Mt. Vikos Brand Manouri – Sheep & Goat’s Milk Cheese because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes;  chopper-style bicycles because the bicycle stem on the handlebars can crack and cause the rider to lose control, posing a risk of serious fall and injury; and 2004 Chopper Bulldog, Ridgeback, Mastiff, Boxer and Pitbull motorcycles because of a loose connection between the harness connector and the harness controller, increasing the risk of a crash.

This list is endless and so is the potential for harm to consumers already using these and other defective products. It’s not much wonder why there seems to be an increase in the number of defective product claims these days. One thing is for sure, if you have a product like this on your hands, talk to a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer quickly and find out what your rights are and what you may do to recover compensation for any personal injuries.

A defective product claim happens when someone is hurt because of a faulty or hazardous product. Anyone who has been badly hurt, or even killed, because of a defective product, has the right to file a claim for compensation for their personal injuries, or someone may file a personal injury wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased person. This area of the law holds a variety of people responsible for product harm – distributors of the product, manufacturers, retailers and developers.  In other words, there are really three major categories of defective product claims.

The first area is referred to as design defect claims and this means that the defect in the product in question is inside or an integral part of the item. The second area relates to production defect claim which refers to an item or merchandise that became flawed at some point during its production.

And finally, there are advertising and marketing deficiency lawsuits. These suits relate to a product being put on the market without having the proper caution labels or recommendations for use; having partial warning labels or instructions; or having the wrong warning label or wrong information with a particular item. Any one of these three areas or all three may be used in a defective product lawsuit filed by a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer.

In any of the above circumstances, it’s best to talk to an experienced lawyer simply because you can’t handle a claim like this on your own. In addition, defective product law does tend to be applied a bit differently in each state and you need to know what is applicable in your state before assuming you have a “good to go” case.

If you’re not sure you have a case, but are sure you got hurt badly using a product, it’s a smart idea to contact the nearest New Hampshire personal injury lawyer and explain what happened to you. If you have a case, you’ll know about it quickly.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit

Is a Medical Emergency an Excuse in a Bus Crash?

This unusual case has many twists and turns. The bottom line is whether or not a sudden medical emergency is a defense for wrongful death.

I’ve been practicing personal injury law in New Hampshire for over 27 years, and I’ve seen a lot of interesting cases and a lot of lives thrown into chaos. This case was interesting to me when I read about it, because it has a variety of elements that will make it a difficult case in the long run for the families of the two dead women who lost their lives in a bus crash.

In this instance, the young son of one of the deceased women filed a wrongful death suit against the driver of a tour bus and the tour bus company itself. The crash in question took place in 2009. The deceased was 52-years-old at the time of the wreck. She and several other people were on the bus that had taken them to a casino, when all of a sudden it went out of control, crossed the median and flipped over on its side in a ditch. Two passengers were killed and 20 others were seriously injured.

The woman’s son, who was 17 at the time of the wreck, filed the wrongful death suit when he turned 18 and is seeking compensation for the death of his mother. The suit argues that the driver of the bus failed to control it and was reckless and negligent in driving it, causing it to crash. The suit further alleges that the driver was unfit to be driving that day and that the bus tour company was negligent in entrusting their bus to his care.

The bus line company filed a countersuit asking to have the case dismissed, as they state the driver had a medical emergency that he didn’t cause to happen, and thus under the rule of law in the state where the accident took place (Minnesota), the crash was a “sudden, unforeseen medical emergency” and state law precludes any liability on the part of the defendants in those circumstances. They added the driver was fit to drive at the time of the crash.

The interesting thing here is that the driver alleges he lost consciousness because he had a rapid onset of an undiagnosed condition. This makes me consider something about human nature. If he lost consciousness then, due to a medical condition, chances are he had done that before and had not informed his employer because it hadn’t happened at work – yet. Certainly the case would bear closer scrutiny, but there are some warning flags for a personal injury attorney that would make me dig deeply into the bus driver’s medical condition.

Every personal injury case is different, and while things may look one way on the surface, what you find later may be something entirely different. Never take an accident at face value. Talk to a skilled New Hampshire personal injury attorney and find out if there is more than meets the eye in “your” personal injury accident.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit

Narcotics and Cars Don’t Mix

Why people think that taking narcotics and driving is safe is unbelievable. This case is a clear example of the deadly consequences of mixing narcotics and cars.

Being a New Hampshire personal injury attorney, I often have the chance to read about other cases that involve things like car crashes, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, and medical malpractice and wrongful death. This one case stood out for me because it seemed senseless. It involved a rollover that killed one and injured four others, including a toddler.

This was a single vehicle crash and from the looks of the police report, it happened when a silver Infiniti was heading east on the highway, when the driver tried to pass a slower vehicle on the left. Just as the passing Infiniti got to the midway point in passing, the driver saw another oncoming car, swerved right suddenly and hit the right shoulder, causing the vehicle to flip over and land on its roof in the ditch.

When EMS crews arrived they immediately took the backseat passenger, a 60-year-old man, to the local hospital. He was dead on arrival. The driver, a 32-year-old man, his wife and two kids (2 and 12) were taken to the hospital by other rescue teams. Thankfully, although badly shaken up and sporting a variety of crash related injuries, they were all treated and released. Narcotics were found on the 60-year-old man who died in the hospital. There will be a full investigation.

The presence of narcotics raises a lot of unanswered questions, and it’s a good bet the local police will be running tests on the driver of the car to check for drugs and other substances. No one knows for sure if the man in the back seat was related in any way to the driver and his wife, or was a friend.

This would raise the issue of whether the man’s family could file a wrongful death lawsuit for the negligence of the 32-year-old driver for attempting to pass while it was not safe. If the investigation shows negligence, a civil suit can be expected. There may also be a chance of a criminal investigation. In circumstances like this, you sometimes you get both. “Frankly, it looks like someone screwed up, because passing while unsafe to do so is negligence, plain and simple, and this case screams for a civil suit,” added Donahue.

Like many personal injury car crashes, sometimes things look one way on the surface, and yet on further investigation, they turn out to be something else. If you have been involved in a car accident or other vehicle crash, and you suspect drugs may have been involved on the part of the other driver, you might want to speak to a seasoned New Hampshire personal injury lawyer; one whose only job is to help injury victims.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit

Two Teens Injured by Snowplow

Following the rules of the road applies to everyone. That includes snowplows.

“The way I heard about this case was that it involved a snowplow operator who blew a yield sign,” explained Charlie Donahue, a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer.

The way this accident happened was that two teens were headed home in their white Pontiac Grand Prix when they were broadsided by a snowplow. “While the plow operator admitted he was tired and wasn’t seeing straight, there is still a duty on the driver to take care and obey the rules of the road – more so because of the size of the vehicle he was driving and the fact that he didn’t pay attention to a sign right in front of him,” said Donahue.

The other question here was how fast was the snowplow operator going, as the impact totally crushed the car; enough so that the EMS crews needed the Jaws of Life to extricate both teens. “Both teens were immediately taken to the nearest medical facility for treatment, where it was discovered they had sustained non-life threatening, yet serious head and leg injuries,” Donahue outlined. At the scene, the plow operator admitted he’d put in some very long hours clearing snow. If that was the case, one wonders why he was behind the wheel of a deadly vehicle.

“It should be mentioned here that head injuries have a nasty habit of turning out worse than they may appear, simply because the head is a very vulnerable area. If there was any traumatic brain injury involved and it is permanent and debilitating, one or both of these kids will need a serious settlement to be able to live a normal life,” Donahue added.

Responding police personnel issued the snowplow driver with a citation for failure to yield the right of way causing bodily harm. Whether or not alcohol or another drug played a factor in this case, no one is quite sure. The investigation will turn up that kind of evidence later.

Both teens will be in a good position to file personal injury lawsuits to recover the costs of their medical expenses, therapy, medications, pain and suffering, disability, impairment, anguish, counseling, loss of wages if they had jobs, possible wheelchair and rehab expenses, renovations to homes to allow for their injuries and possible home care if one of both of them are permanently impaired. While it may take a while for the case to get to court, they should stand a good chance of getting a fair and equitable settlement.

Being in an accident like this, or any other type of accident, is devastating for those involved and they feel like their lives are out of control. “My best advice to those facing something like this is to call an experienced personal injury attorney immediately and discuss the case. Find out what your rights are; find out how to handle the fallout from the case; and find out if you may be able to receive compensation from the person at fault in the accident,” added Charlie Donahue, a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit

Falling Asleep at the Wheel Causes Serious Injury and Death

This vehicle rollover killed one and severely injured four others. Falling asleep at the wheel can be fatal.

This is a case that Charlie Donahue, a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer, heard about that took place in Idaho and involved several young adults. The odd thing is that it took place early in the morning, not late at night, and thus falling asleep at the wheel was rather strange. It would likely prompt the responding police to check for alcohol or drugs in the driver. The outcome of any tests would certainly make a difference in what types of charges may be laid, or what evidence would be needed in court.

The Chevrolet Cobalt was heading east on the highway when the driver, a 20-year-old male fell asleep while driving. When the car sideways angled toward the side of the road, the driver jolted awake, instantly over reacted and did a sudden and deadly overcorrection at high speed.

The vehicle responded by rolling over and ejecting three backseat passengers, none of which were wearing seatbelts. The backseat passengers ranged in age from 9 years old to 22 years old. The 17-year-old ejected from the backseat and was alive when EMS crews arrived and airlifted him to a medical facility where he later died from his trauma.

The other survivors, including the driver who dozed off and another front seat passenger, were transported to the nearest medical facility to have their injuries treated. Both the driver and front seat passenger managed to come out of the crash with non-critical injuries.

In this case the driver is clearly at fault for this horrific single vehicle crash, and he can be thankful he didn’t hit another vehicle at the time or the body count would be higher. The survivors of this accident will have solid grounds to file personal injury lawsuits to recover damages for their medical bills, etc. The family of the young boy killed in this accident should be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit based on the facts of this case. All they would need to do is to contact a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer.

If anyone is faced with a situation like this one, don’t wait to contact a skilled New Hampshire personal injury lawyer. Time is of the essence in any case like this and if you wait too long before filing, you may run afoul of the Statute of Limitations. Find out what your rights are. It’s a call well worth making.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit

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