Budget cuts have left the entire court system in New Hampshire at a dangerous point that is hurting victims. Because state budget cuts have eliminated judges and court staff, jury trials have been cancelled and cases take longer to move through the system. For example, this means civil (non-criminal) cases by a patient harmed by medical malpractice or an accident victim seeking compensation won’t have a jury trial for more than a year.
The elimination of civil jury trials benefits insurance companies. And it doubly impacts those people injured because they have to wait for their day in court – a year or two sometimes – and defendants, like insurance companies, are less inclined to offer reasonable settlements with no trial scheduled. It is common for insurance companies to try and settle claims with the pressure of facing a jury trial. Without facing a jury trial, insurance companies are in a position to make unreasonably “low” offers.
Justice is not being done when victims of an auto accident, a wrongful death, medical malpractice or employment discrimination are compelled to accept “low” settlement offers. Insurance companies will take advantage of the cancellation of civil jury trials.