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Car accidents can overshadow New Year's Eve revelries

New Year's Eve can be a night of stark contrasts. The height of revelry can end in darkness and destruction when car accidents intrude to deflect the evening's normally good tidings. That was the unfortunate reality for a 58-year-old male passenger in a car at about 10 p.m. on Sunday evening. The New Hampshire State Police say that the driver of the car lost control on Route 125 in Milton, rolling the car over and ejecting the passenger, who was declared deceased at the scene.

The authorities report believe that alcohol was a factor in the accident. The 44-year-old driver was minimally hurt, and she was arrested by the state police at the hospital. They charged her with felony aggravated DUI. It is unclear how the police determined that the woman was under the influence.

The family of the deceased passenger may start an estate for the purpose of making a claim for wrongful death damages against the driver. Contributory negligence is almost never an issue when the injured or deceased victim was a passenger. Where a driver loses control and causes a crash, there is usually full liability by the errant driver.

In a case where the offense is aggravated by impairment, the liability owed to the passenger and other victims of car accidents may even be greater under New Hampshire law. In that case, the victim or his or her representative may claim that there was reckless driving and that the driver is liable for punitive damages to the victim or to the victim's estate. Whether or not a claim for additional damages for reckless or wanton behavior is in order will generally be a decision between the family and their personal injury attorney or between the injured victim and his or her attorney.

Source: boston.com, "Man dies in New Hampshire crash; driver charged with DUI", Jan. 1, 2018

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