New Hampshire and Massachusetts share similar histories, but over time their laws have become different. In the context of motor vehicle collisions, slip and fall injuries, dog bites, and other personal injuries, this becomes important in how your claims are handled. One law in particular is the Massachusetts’ consumer protection act (M.G.L 93A) and its sister law M.G.L 176D which regulates the practice of insurance in the state. The key difference is that the Massachusetts’ consumer protection statute applies to insurance companies conducting business in the Commonwealth, while New Hampshire’s supreme court decided that New Hampshire’s consumer protection statute (RSA 358-A) does not apply to insurance companies.
In Massachusetts, M.G.L 93A provides that if an insurance company violates M.G.L 176D, then the injured party (the Plaintiff in most cases) could be entitled to two to three times their damages, plus costs and attorney’s fees. In a lot of cases, this means a doubling or trebling of the judgment obtained in the underlying injury case. The case could be a motor vehicle accident, dog bite, slip and fall, or other injury. This law provides a significant incentive to insurance companies to deal in good faith with injured Plaintiffs, as if they do not they can get hit with large judgments for their unreasonable practices.
In New Hampshire, our only statute governing the insurance companies when they are unreasonable is RSA 417. This statute does not have much effect, if any, on the practices of insurance companies as they know the penalties for violating that statute are minimal. Thus, insurance companies have a lot more leeway to be unreasonable in negotiations, and this has had the effect of creating more civil cases in Court that should have been settled.
No matter where you are at, most motor vehicle accidents require the insurance companies to be involved from the beginning. Having an experienced personal injury attorney like Rory Parnell and the attorneys at Parnell, Michels & McKay can help level the playing field, and ensure you get the fair compensation you deserve.
While dealing with insurers can be a frustrating practice, it is important to know your rights in both states when you are injured. The Personal Injury attorneys at Parnell, Michels & McKay can help you navigate the legal field and get the best benefit possible in your case. If you are injured in either New Hampshire in Massachusetts, contact our office today to find out what rights you have.