Monday, May 20th, 2013
By Jason R.L. Major – Concord, New Hampshire Attorney
With the ever-increasing proliferation of electronic communications devices, “texting” or SMS messaging, has become as common a means of communicating as telephones and emails. The usefulness of sending short, discrete messages in text form, combined with our on-the-go lifestyles, makes it tempting to try texting while you’re driving your vehicle. However, doing so is incredibly dangerous.
It is not hard to understand the danger with a little simple math. At just 50 mph, your car will cover 73 feet every second. A three second text message saying something as simple as “OK” will require you to travel 220 feet – more than 2/3 of a football field – with you eyes off the road. At 70 mph, you would travel over 300 feet to type the same simple text. More complicated messages could have you covering great distances with your eyes only intermittently on the road, and even then distracted by your thoughts about what you want to read or type on your phone.
This distraction and inattention to the dangerous task of guiding a two-ton missile down the road will predictably lead to serious accidents. TEXTINGNDRIVING.COM
reports that 80% of crashes, and 65% of “near crashes” involve some form of driver inattention in the 3 seconds prior to the incident. According to DISTRACTION.GOV
, the official US Government website publishing statistics on distracted driving, 3,331 people were killed and 387,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011. That number was an increase from the 2010 figure of 3,267 people being killed. It also reports that texting while driving increases your risk of being in an accident by 23 times compared to non-distracted driving.
Because of the increasing number of and severity of accidents involving texting while driving, the State of New Hampshire is joining other states in prohibiting texting while driving by enacting RSA 265:105-a
RSA 265:105-a Prohibited Text Messages and Device Usage While Operating a Motor Vehicle
I. A person operating a moving motor vehicle who writes a text message or uses 2 hands to type on or operate an electronic or telecommunications device, is guilty of a violation. A person does not write a text message when he or she reads, selects or enters a phone number or name in a wireless communications device for the purpose of making a phone call.
In addition to a $100 fine for texting and driving, in the event a driver causes an accident while texting and driving he or she is at risk of being held “negligent per se.” Whenever someone causes another injury by violating a safety-based statutory standard like RSA 265:105-a, a jury is entitled to “presume” that they engaged in negligent conduct. That means that if you are the defendant who was texting and driving, you already have a strike against your ability to defend yourself from a finding of liability. If you are a plaintiff, it means that one element of your negligence case is all but proven right out of the gate, which puts you in a stronger position in a personal injury case.
The attorneys at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. are well-versed in experienced auto accident cases. You should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer such as one at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. at 1-800-240-1988 or fill out our online contact form
for a free case evaluation.
Friday, April 19th, 2013
By Chuck Douglas
– New Hampshire Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Every year the nonprofit organization Public Citizen in Washington D.C. does a review of the data nationally for medical malpractice cases. Their most recent report has the data for 2011, which reveals that medical malpractice payments were at the lowest level since 1991.
The number of malpractice payments made on behalf of physicians fell for the 8th consecutive year in 2011.
While there is always a hue and cry about lawyers driving up the cost of medicine the reality is that medical malpractice payments on behalf of doctors accounted for just 0.12 percent of national health costs last year which translates into only one-eighth of one percent.
Despite allegations that most lawsuits are frivolous, the vast majority of payments compensate for extremely serious harms. In fact, 80% of the money paid in 2011 compensated victims or their surviving family members for harms defined by the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) as involving significant injuries like quadriplegia, brain damage, injuries requiring lifelong care and even death.
As for costs of litigation versus costs to consumers, between 2000 and 2011 the value of medical malpractice payments fell 12% while healthcare spending doubled to almost 97%. Thus, claims that medical malpractice litigation is responsible for rising health costs are totally false.
Unfortunately, not much has changed in terms of care since 1998 when the Institute of Medicine issued its famous report entitled “To Err Is Human.” It concluded that as many as 98,000 patients were dying each year because of avoidable medical errors. Most of those people or their families never knew they had a malpractice case or went forward to file one.
The Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services concluded in 2010 that one in seven Medicare patients in a hospital’s care experienced a serious adverse event. Unfortunately, of those adverse events including death, 44% were preventable. Those findings translate to more than 700,000 Medicare patients that experience a serious, preventable, adverse event every year, including nearly 80,000 suffering preventable adverse events that contribute to their death.
Comparing the prevalence of medical errors with the small number of malpractice payments led the Public Citizen analysis to conclude “that the overwhelming majority of medical errors do not lead to litigation.” In contrast to the thousands of annual, avoidable adverse events discussed above, only 9,758 medical malpractice payments were made on behalf of doctors in 2011. In fact, research shows that about half the value of malpractice payments is intended to compensate for the future medical care and costs of patients. When victims of malpractice do not receive compensation, their future costs have to be borne by somebody. That is often the victims themselves or the government. Thus, what is told to legislators as fact by the hospital associations and medical societies does not reflect the reality of the situation.
If you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice, you should consult an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. at 1-800-240-1988 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation.
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
By Richard J. Lehmann
– Concord NH Criminal Lawyer
The United State Supreme Court issued a decision that could limit the power of law enforcement officers to investigate and prosecute DWI cases in New Hampshire. The decision of Missouri v. McNeely
should be of immediate concern to any person facing a DWI charge. If you have a DWI charge pending in court, you should immediately find out if today’s ruling helps your case. Today’s decision may be the first step toward rolling back what DWI defense experts sometimes refer to as the “DWI exception to the Constitution.”
The Fourth Amendment
to the United States Constitution protects us all against unreasonable searches and seizures of our homes, belongings, and bodies. Under the Fourth Amendment and the New Hampshire Constitution, a search warrant issued by a judge is required to authorize a search. However, an exception is made for emergency situations. One of these exceptions involves DWI cases.
One of the main ways that police officers collect evidence to prosecute DWI cases is by getting a blood or breath sample and having it analyzed for blood alcohol content (BAC). Because the body is constantly removing alcohol from the blood, courts have held that gathering this evidence constitutes an emergency under the Fourth Amendment. In other words, no warrant was required to seize a DWI suspect’s blood.
Today, the Supreme Court changed that. The Supreme Court held that the mere fact that BAC would be lowered while police obtained a warrant from a judge would no longer constitute an emergency under the Fourth Amendment.
DWI cases require specialized knowledge that can only be gained through experience handling this kind of case. If you have been charged with a crime or believe your rights have been violated, you should consult an experienced criminal lawyer at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. at 1-800-240-1988 or fill out our online contact form
for a case evaluation.
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
Attorney Richard Lehmann of Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. represents the Colby-Sawyer College student who alleged that former Police Chief David Seastrand of New London Police Department asked her to pose nude in exchange for dropping charges against her.
Our firm has been contacted by several other women alleging complaints against David Seastrand. Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. is actively and aggressively continuing to investigate allegations of impropriety involving former New London Police Chief David Seastrand.
If you are aware of any misconduct similar in nature to the events described in recent news coverage, please contact our office as soon as possible at (603) 224-1988. We would be interested in speaking with you.
to read more in Union Leader
to read more in Concord Monitor
to watch WMUR news coverage.
to watch WHDH-TV 7 NEWS coverage.
All claims have not been adjudicated and any allegations made are unproven at this time.
Thursday, April 4th, 2013
By Richard J. Lehmann
– New Hampshire Criminal Attorney
Last week, the New York City Police Department issued a statement revealing that it had received a scanning machine that reads terahertz — the natural energy emitted by people and inanimate objects — and allows police to view concealed weapons from a distance. The device, which fits inside the trunk of a car and can be easily transported, may be coming to New Hampshire. But does the use of such a device, without probable cause or any other reason to believe that the person being scanned has done anything wrong, violate the Fourth Amendment’s
prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures?
A scanning machine that reads terahertz — the natural energy emitted by people and inanimate objects — and allows police to view concealed weapons from a distance
In the landmark decision Kyllo v. United States
, the police used a different type of scanner to view thermal radiation emitting from a home. Police subsequently obtained a search warrant based on information gained from the scanning device, and found that the homeowner was using grow lights to cultivate marijuana in his home. The homeowner was convicted of possessing marijuana and appealed his conviction to the United States Supreme Court. In a razor-thin 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court reversed his conviction, finding that a person has an expectation of privacy in his or her home, and that the use of the thermal imaging device intruded upon that expectation of privacy. The case also expressed a prescient concern about the future ability of technology to allow the government to intrude upon the privacy of citizens.
The use of portable scanning devices to determine whether citizens are carrying concealed weapons raises similar concerns. New Hampshire, like New York, prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit. While permits are more easily obtained in New Hampshire, both states have permit requirements and both states punish violations with possible jail time.
The Constitution protects your right to remain from invasions of privacy by the police If you have been charged with a crime or believe your rights have been violated, you should consult an experienced criminal lawyer at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. at 1-800-240-1988 or fill out our online contact form
for a case evaluation.
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
By Stephen A. Duggan
– New Hampshire Family Law Attorney
The month of January typically is a big month for divorce filings. In fact, more divorces are filed early in the year than any other time. This may not be a surprise because people want to get through the holidays and the start of the new year is viewed as the time to make a fresh start. If you are considering filing for divorce in 2013, you should consider the following.
Before you file for divorce, the first step is to collect all of your financial documents. As you receive year-end statements from your bank, credit card company and other financial institutions, review them for discrepancies. They may provide clues that your spouse is hiding assets that should be part of the marital property or that he’s been spending money on another person. Then make copies of all of your records and secure them in a safe place your spouse can’t access.
The next step is to start securing your own financial future. Obtain a copy of your credit report
and make sure everything is in order. Good credit will be important, so if there are any errors on the report, make sure to get them corrected right away. Get at least one credit card in your own name, and open separate bank accounts too.
The final step is to consult with an experienced divorce attorney who can help you explain the divorce process and help understand what to expect. Sometimes it makes sense to connect with other professionals, such as financial planners and counselors, who can provide additional assistance as you deal with the issues that can arise because of the divorce.
If you are contemplating a divorce, please make sure you have a solid plan in place before you start the process. We can help make sure your rights are protected. Please consult an experienced family law lawyer at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. at 1-800-240-1988 or fill out our online contact form
Thursday, March 14th, 2013
By Richard J. Lehmann
– New Hampshire Criminal Lawyer
New Hampshire has once again updated its DUI laws, once again increasing the burden faced by people convicted of this offense.
Prior to the new law going into effect,
People convicted of DUI already faced a mandatory minimum sentence of a $500 fine and 9 month loss of driving license
people convicted of DUI already faced a mandatory minimum sentence of a $500 fine and 9 month loss of driving license. The 9 month loss of license used to be reduced to 3 months if the person completed the Impaired Driver Intervention Program
(IDIP). A common problem people had under the old system was that before completing the IDIP they would be subject to an exit interview in which a counselor would attempt to determine whether the person represented an ongoing danger on the highways. Most people did not get “red flagged” but it did happen. Usually, the “red flag” could be remedied with further counseling.
The new law attempts to have this red flag process occur at the beginning of the license suspension, rather than at the back end. In addition to the previously mandatory fine and loss of license, a person convicted of DUI is now required to attend an “Impaired Driver Care Management Program” (IDCMP) within 14 days of conviction to get the 9 month loss of license reduced to 3 months. These programs are licensed by the state department of health and human services. Only time will tell of they are effective or not, but for the near term, they are causing confusion in the courts due to the fact that not all of the prior IDIPs have been approved as IDCMPs. Importantly, confusion in the courts almost always works against citizens charged with crimes.
Do not allow the fact that the police, prosecutors, and courts are confused about the implementation of this new law negatively affect you. If you are charged with DUI, or believe your rights have been violated, you should consult an experienced criminal lawyer at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. at 1-800-240-1988 or fill out our online contact form
for a case evaluation.
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
By Benjamin T. King – New Hampshire Employment Lawyer
A new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Administrator’s Interpretation
has been issued to clarify who qualifies as an adult “son or daughter” whom an employee may take unpaid leave from work to care for and enjoy the job protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). An employee may qualify for twelve (12) weeks unpaid leave under the FMLA to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition if the employee has worked for the employer at least 1,250 hours in the past year and if the employer has at least 50 employees.
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
By Charles G. Douglas, III
So, if you’ve been arrested, can the police scroll through your recent cell phone calls? A recent case in Massachusetts involved a situation where the accused was suspected of doing a drug deal within the sight of police officers. When he was placed under arrest, the detective asked what his cell phone number was. Following arrest and transportation to the police station, the detective conducted a few simple manipulations of the cell phone to check the history of incoming and outgoing calls that had been made recently. (continue reading…)
Thursday, January 10th, 2013
By Jason R.L. Major – New Hampshire Civil Attorney
What rights do you have if you are subjected to a baseless legal claim? What can you do to recover the thousands of dollars of legal fees and time spent defending yourself from a frivolous lawsuit or a vindictively-filed criminal charge? The answer is a claim for “malicious prosecution.” (continue reading…)