NH Accidents

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Motorcycle Crashes

With Spring weather, motorcyclists will once again be on the roads. NH has one of the highest rates of motorcycle ownership in the country. That’s not surprising considering our beautiful landscape and the many great places to take a ride.

 A client of mine said that riding his motorcycle was “wind therapy” and he is so right. After he was struck by a driver who wasn’t paying attention, one of the most difficult things was his inability to ride. Taking that away from him was truly emotionally and mentally distressing. It affected his whole life.

Before settling his case, we advocated and insisted the insurance company compensate him for that loss. To him, it was a very big deal. That was taken away from him, against his will, like a theft. No way we were going to minimize or ignore it.

Drivers do not pay enough attention to motorcyclists, that’s a sad fact. Over the years I’ve represented numerous motorcyclists who were injured by the carelessness of other drivers. I’ve also helped families deal with the tragic loss of loved ones on motorcycles.

In 2019, the NH Office of Highway Safety reported 30 motorcycle fatalities.

In one case in particular, the police officer investigating the fatality was too quick to blame the motorcyclist because he was driving just a little too fast. After hiring an expert accident reconstructionist, we were able to prove that the real cause of the crash was the driver of the car making an improper left-hand turn into the motorcyclist. Oftentimes, people are too quick to blame the motorcyclist. There is still a lot of prejudice against motorcyclists.

So, to our friends who drive on our roadways, please be careful to watch out for bike riders who share the road with us.

And to motorcyclists, please drive defensively and as safely as possible. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in the event of a motor vehicle crash than those in a passenger car so it is vital to do everything you can to protect yourself. 

Be sure you are fully educated and licensed. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) 29% of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. were riding without valid motorcycle licenses. To obtain your Motorcycle License in New Hampshire you must pass a vision test and pass a motorcycle Basic Rider Class or take a DMV motorcycle skills test. A good understanding of traffic laws and experience riding are essential in avoiding motorcycle crashes that can result in personal injury.

Wear protective gear. NHTSA recommends that you: “Always wear a helmet meeting the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. Look for the DOT symbol on the outside back of the helmet. Snell and ANSI labels located inside the helmet also show that the helmet meets the standards of those private, non-profit organizations.” Find more helmet selecting tips from NHTSA here. 

Although wearing a helmet is not required by N.H. law for adult operators, may we suggest it is a good, safe practice to do so, although we totally respect your freedom of choice. 

It is also important to cover your arms and legs fully, ideally with heavy duty fabrics such as leather or denim, and to wear bright colors or reflectors.

Be seen. Be safe. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash crash please call Donahue Law at (603) 357-2363 or message Charlie at the bottom of this page so we can fight for you. It’s your story and your settlement. 

It costs nothing to talk with Donahue Law, and we don’t get paid until you win.

Jurors Care

A few days ago I was approached by a fellow at the recycling center. He told me he was a juror in a trial I had years ago. It only took a few seconds before we were reminiscing about the case.

He wanted to know how my client was doing.

After all these years— 25 years or so anyway. At the time my client was a young boy riding a bike when he was struck by a car. How well I recalled the case; it was a great victory and I have such fond memories of his family.

These days my client is a grown man with a good job and his own family.

He’s doing quite well—- something the fellow at the recycling center was happy to hear.

After all these years he still cared about the people involved in the case he was asked to help decide.

Seat Belts and Auto Accident Injuries

In 37 years as a personal injury lawyer in Keene, NH, I’ve seen a lot of needless suffering.

Seat belt use is one of the safest choices a driver or passenger can make according to the National Highway Transportation & Safety Administration ( NHTSA). NHTSA reports that seat belt use can reduce the risk of a fatal injury by 45% and moderate to critical injuries by 50%.

In their 2021 Highway Safety plan, New Hampshire Office of Highway Safety (NHOHS) reports a disturbing trend of decreasing seatbelt usage rate.  The seatbelt usage rate has decreased from 76% of vehicle occupants to 71% between 2018 and 2019, which is in line with the five-year trend. This is alarmingly lower than the 2019 national average of 90.7%.

New Hampshire vehicle occupants younger than 18 are required to wear seat belts and child restraint systems, however, we are the only state that does not legally require adults over the age of 18 to wear a seat belt. Even though its not required, it is the smart and safe choice.

In 2019, 37 of the 90 fatalities in New Hampshire auto crashes were unrestrained drivers.

You can still hire an auto accident lawyer or personal injury attorney to make a claim for damages if you are injured in a car accident and are not wearing a seat-belt.

Allow me to suggest, however, that it’s better to wear your seatbelt, if not for yourself then for others in the car. If there’s a crash and you are not properly restrained, you could land on top of another vehicle occupant and cause serious injury. It’s not worth the risk. Be safe. Buckle up.


If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, call Donahue Law at (603) 357-2363 or message me at the bottom of this page. I recognize every impact of an auto accident – financial, mental, and physical and am determined to make sure that the insurance company does too so you get the best outcome possible after one of your life’s most trying times.

It costs nothing to meet with me and I don’t get paid until you win. 


Negligent Driving

Most car accidents are totally preventable and are caused by driver negligence — failure to pay attention, speeding, distraction, and poor decision making.

Drunk drivers cause over 10,000 fatalities every year.

Many auto accidents are caused by drivers acting negligently, as opposed to intentionally driving to hurt someone. It could happen to anyone at any time.

Our goal is not to make anyone’s life miserable. It’s the insurance company’s job to step up and pay all damages caused by its insured. Rather than do so, it does whatever it can to deny or delay.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have an experienced car crash lawyer on your side, someone who knows how they operate and is fully prepared to hold them accountable.

I’ve been an auto accident attorney for over 37 years. I’ve seen a whole lot of needless suffering caused by inattentive drivers.

A car accident can turn your life upside down. Most people are struggling to get by under the best circumstances. The last thing they need is to be harmed due to someone else’s choice to drive negligently.

If a negligent driver causes a car crash, a good auto accident lawyer will make sure nothing is over-looked, so that you are fully and completely compensated under the law.

The opposing insurance company will not like it, but with the right legal help, it will know you mean business.

It’s always bothered me when injury lawyers seem apologetic for making claims for their clients or diminish their own clients’ damages.

At Donahue Law, we look at the whole landscape. It’s critical to make sure your future is protected.


If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto crash caused by negligent driving call me for a free consultation at (603) 357-2363 or send me a message at the bottom of this page.

Drunk Driving

What is Drunk Driving?

The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTA) has found that every 50 minutes there is a death caused by drunk driving totaling more than 10,500 lives per year. The fatality rate is the worst during the winter holiday season. According to NHTA, drunk driving car crashes account for a third of all traffic related fatalities.

Alcohol impairs brain function; thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination – all of which are essential to safely operating a vehicle. As Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) rises, so do the impacts on one’s central nervous system. BAC is measured by the weight of alcohol in a particular volume of blood – grams of alcohol per deciliter (g/dL) of blood. BAC is measured with a breathalyzer which determines the amount of alcohol in one’s system using their breath.

NHTA describes the compounding impacts of BAC (in g/dL) on driving as follows:

    • .02: decline in ability to visually track moving targets and perform more than one task at a time
    • .05: reduced coordination, increased decline in ability to track moving objects, reduced response time to emergency driving situations
    • .08: reduced concentration, short-term memory loss, lack of speed control, reduction of information processing capability such as signal detection, impaired perception
    • .10: reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately
    • .15: significant impairment in vehicle control, attention, and visual and auditory information processing.

At a BAC of 0.08 g/dL, the risk of a car crash rises exponentially. It is illegal in the entirety of the United States to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. It is important to remember that lower levels of BAC still impair driving and in 2018 1,878 fatalities were caused by drivers who had BAC levels between .01-.07 g/dL.

Promisingly, NHTA has recorded that drunk driving automobile accidents have reduced by one-third in the past 30 years.


Drunk Driving in New Hampshire

Impaired driving is an all too common issue and in their 2021 Highway Safety Plan, New Hampshire Office of Highway Safety (NH OHS) reports that 32.2% of all 2019 fatal crashes were alcohol related. In 2019 there were 4,945 impaired driving arrests resulting in 20 victim fatalities. The impaired drivers who caused these fatalities had BACs between 0.040 and 0.309 and 77.4% of the impaired operators involved in these fatal accidents died themselves.

The number of arrests and fatalities are on the decline and in 2019 NH had a 28.88% decrease in alcohol/drug impaired traffic fatalities which NH OHS attributes to education, enforcement and media efforts.


What New Hampshire Laws Prevent Drunk Driving?

New Hampshire has strict penalties for those driving while intoxicated under NH RSA 265-A.

First time offenders convicted of Driving While Intoxicated:

      • Be guilty of a class B misdemeanor, class A misdemeanor, or class B felony.
      • Have their license revoked for 90 days to 2 years.
      • Pay a fine of $500-$1,000 or more.
      • Submit to drug tests.
      • Be required to be evaluated and follow a service plan determined by NH Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP) subject to the sentencing court’s decision.
      • Be required to complete a department of health and human services impaired driver education program.
      • Be required to install an ignition interlock device (a breathalyzer connected to one’s car that prevents the car from starting if their BAC is above the level determined by the sentencing court) subject to the sentencing court’s decision.
      • Be sentenced between 0-35 consecutive days in the county correctional facility, some of which shall be suspended if the offender schedules an evaluation with IDCMP and follows their service plan.


Repeat offenders are subject to all of the above, longer sentencing to county correctional facilities, and longer or indefinite license revocations.


Ways to Address Drunk Driving

It is vital to have a plan whether you are driving, riding or hosting:

      • Before drinking, plan a safe and sober ride home (schedule a taxi, or plan with a sober designated driver).
      • Don’t let someone that has been drinking get behind the wheel (consider collecting keys if you are hosting a party).
      • If you are hosting a party, have a plan so that every guest will have a sober ride home or not have to travel that evening.
      • Always wear your seatbelt – this is your best defense against other drivers that are out of your control.
      • Call 911 if you see a drunk driver.


I was in a car accident caused by drunk driving – what should I do?

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident caused by drunk driving, contact Donahue Law. Auto crashes cause personal injury and property damage that can be emotionally, physically, and financially devastating. Car crash lawyers and personal injury attorneys such as Attorney Charlie Donahue can help you navigate the difficult conversations and paperwork with insurance companies so that you receive the best possible outcome.


If you need assistance after a car crash, please call Attorney Charlie Donahue of Donahue Law at (603) 357- 2363 or send him a message here for a free consultation.

Distracted Driving

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving pertains to any action that prevents drivers from being fully in control of their vehicle. Sending or reading a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for 5 seconds according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. At 55mph one would drive the length of a football field during that time period. As of 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 5.7% of drivers at any given time are distracted by electronics (handheld cell phone use, visible headset cell phone use, or visible manipulation of handheld devices).

It is impossible to drive safely without one’s full attention, and the increasing use of cell phones, GPS, and other technologies greatly increases the likelihood of auto accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2018 an estimated 400,000 were injured in crashes caused by distracted driving and 2,841 people were killed by distracted driving.


Distracted Driving in New Hampshire

According to the New Hampshire Department of Safety (NHDOS) it is estimated that 30% of all car crashes are caused by distracted driving, and 11% of the estimated 30% are caused by portable electronic mobile devices specifically. The NHDOS Office of Highway Safety (OHS) reports that these estimates are most likely under reported. These estimates are difficult to determine because often distraction is listed secondary to another cause such as speeding or witnesses are unaware if the other driver was distracted. In their Highway Safety Plan 2021, NHDOS OHS explains that the difficulty of determining distracted driving as the cause of an accident, “…can be somewhat compounded as New Hampshire requires a search warrant with adequate probable cause to seize an electronic device for specific evidence.” In 2019, NHDOS OHS reports there were 970 inattention caused crashes resulting in serious bodily injury. On average between 2015-2019 5 driving fatalities per year in New Hampshire were caused by distracted driving, but NHDOS OHS suspects distracted driving to be greatly underreported in fatal and serious injury collisions.


What New Hampshire Laws Prevent Distracted Driving?

New Hampshire has taken steps to reduce distracted driving with the “hands-free law”. Title XXI Motor Vehicles Chapter 265 Section 265:79-c prohibits the use of mobile electronic devices while driving in an effort to prevent auto crashes. The law applies to all drivers while they are behind the wheel in the flow of traffic including when the vehicle is completely stationary at stop lights and stop signs. Texting and driving is only permitted if the vehicle is parked or removed from traffic. However, this law has a few exceptions including:

  • The driver is making an emergency call to public safety agencies for legitimate reasons.
  • The driver is using a two-way radio.
  • The driver is over the age of 18 and using a hands-free device such as those with Bluetooth.

Violators are fined $100 plus penalty assessment for a first offense, $250 plus penalty assessment for a second offense, and $500 plus penalty assessment for any subsequent offense within a 24-month period.

New Hampshire is dedicated to cracking down on and reducing distracted driving. In 2018 alone the State Police alongside local law enforcement conducted 3,475 distracted driving patrol hours and in their 2021 Highway Safety Plan, NHDOS OHS  focuses on an educational campaign to reduce distracted driving.


Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving in New Hampshire

To ensure road safety and avoid automobile accidents, drivers should abstain from all cell phone use while driving and refrain from other distracting tasks such as eating, reading, smoking, etcetera. Here are some tips drivers may follow to help avoid electronic distractions and car crashes on the road:

  • Turn off or silence all electronic devices. These may attract your attention, but turning them off can eliminate the distracting sounds and lights.
  • Use equipment to make necessary electronics hands free.
  • Prepare turn by turn navigation or music prior to driving.
  • Pull over and park in a legal and safe location to use electronics.


I was in an auto accident caused by distracted driving – what should I do?

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident caused by distracted driving be sure to contact an automobile accident attorney. Auto crashes cause personal injury and property damage that can be emotionally, physically, and financially devastating. Car crash lawyers and personal injury attorneys such as Attorney Charlie Donahue can help you navigate the difficult conversations and paperwork with insurance companies so that you receive the best possible outcome.


If you need assistance after a car crash, please call Attorney Charlie Donahue of Donahue Law at (603) 357- 2363 or send him a message here for a free consultation.


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Atticus Finch was right:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”