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Car accidents with a rear-end collision usually go one way

The liability of drivers involved in vehicular accidents in New Hampshire and other jurisdictions is sometimes determined by what are generally called the "rules of the road." These are basic principles of vehicle operation that help determine which driver was at fault or more at fault for purposes of evaluating liability in car accidents. In some cases, rules of the road are incorporated into the statutory laws of a state.  

These rules roughly parallel examples of negligent driving and are often also reflected in traffic citations issued by the police. One very popular rule is that whenever a car rear ends another vehicle, especially a stopped vehicle, the driver of the car that does the rear ending is negligent. This is true even if the drivers are in stop-and-go congested traffic. The driver must drive defensively and must take care not to hit the car that is ahead in a line of slow moving traffic.

That rule may become an issue in determining liability in a hit-and-run accident in which a 21-year-old man was killed in a recent New Hampshire collision. The crash occurred in Effingham on Route 25 when the motorcycle operator crashed into a car ahead of him. The car had reportedly stopped suddenly.  

The motorcyclist died, and the car and driver fled the scene. Apparently, the police have witnesses. They stated that they believe that the two drivers may have been in an argument prior to the crash. The police also have a description of the other car and its driver, making it almost certain that the vehicle will be found.

Car accidents like this one invoke the rule that the driver of a car that rear ends another is at fault. However, if the car in front stopped intentionally to take the motorcyclist by surprise, that is about the only possible exception to the rule. Several complexities exist in these facts, making it a difficult claim for monetary compensation, and certainly one that will need to be skillfully engineered by an experienced personal injury attorney. However, as the facts are discovered and developed, there may be a wrongful death case under New Hampshire law that could potentially be successful against the car driver.

Source:, "Maine man dies in NH hit-and-run, police seek driver", Jonathan Kauffman, July 11, 2016

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