In New Hampshire, punitive damages are not allowed under the law when filing an injury lawsuit. Only compensatory damages are allowed in NH. Punitive damages are “penalties” and are designed to punish the person or company responsible. The most obvious example of this is with tobacco. Cigarette manufacturers faced large punitive damage verdicts when the juries were advised about what they knew about cigarettes causing cancer, and whether they hid any of those facts. Unlike other states, NH does not allow this type of damage. New Hampshire does, however, have “enhanced compensatory damages”.
Enhanced compensatory damages result in a jury being instructed to double the damages if the facts warrant a finding for enhanced damages. However, these damages are “compensatory” and not designed to punish. A good example is when a person is injured by a drunk driver. Many superior courts have found that someone injured by a drunk driver can be found to behave recklessly and/or wantonly. As a result, in NH, there is a good chance if you were injured by a drunk driver you could receive enhanced damages.
If you are awarded enhanced damages, this will result in your damage award being doubled. The view from the Court is that when someone is injured due to conduct like the above drunk driver, the conduct is so nefarious that someone would have been injured more as a result of this conduct. Thus, enhanced compensatory damages are allowed.
Knowing these areas of law are important when hiring an attorney. If you were injured due to no fault of your own, contact the experienced attorneys at Parnell, Michels & McKay to ensure you are getting fair compensation for what you went through.
We have 2 office locations: 25 Nashua Rd., Suite C5, Londonderry, NH 03053. Phone number is (603) 434-6331. Our 2nd office is at 137 Main St., P.O Box 669, N. Woodstock, NH 03262. Phone number is (603) 745-8600.