Attorney Peter Webb Testifies Before the Judicial Committee of the New Hampshire House of Representatives

On April 17, 2019, Attorney Peter Webb of Winer & Bennett testified before the Judicial Committee of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. His testimony was in support of pending legislation to simplify the law governing the admission of medical records and bills at trial in cases with medical bills of $25,000.00 or less. Presently, it is required that an injured party have the treating physician testify at trial, even if it is clear from the providers’ medical records and associated bills that the medical care and expense are from the event at issue. He urged the Committee to pass the bill on four grounds:

1) The streamlined procedure for admission of medical evidence has worked successfully for at least 40 years at the New Hampshire Department of Labor’s hearings on work injuries

2) Care providers are spared the disruption of having to provide testimony where the records speak for themselves

3) Modest injury cases are spared an expense that today often makes them economically impractical

4) The judicial process at trial is less time-consuming

If you, or a loved one, has been in an accident and are in need of proper, experienced legal representation, contact the personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys at Winer & Bennett.

Attorney Peter G. Webb practices Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, and Family Law & Divorce at Winer & Bennett, LLP. 

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Dram Shop Actions – Liability for Negligent Service of Alcohol

New Hampshire law makes a business accountable if it serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person.  In New Hampshire, this legal protection is found in a statute: RSA 507-F “Alcoholic Beverage Licensee Liability.” Such a legal proceeding is commonly referred to as a “Dram Shop” action. The protections provided by this law often come into play when a patron at a bar or restaurant is irresponsibly overserved, and then drives off in a car and injures someone.

The ability to hold a business accountable for getting an obviously intoxicated person more drunk is only fair and often proves to be crucial in circumstances where the drunk driver carries little or no insurance and has few assets.  Without legal accountability on the part of the serving establishment for their part in creating a danger on the roadway, the innocent victim in such cases would have no way to recover for their harms and losses.  Because of our dram shop statute, the business’s insurance coverage is available to help provide adequate compensation to the victim.

If you or someone that you know has been injured by an intoxicated person, call Winer and Bennett today to learn whether you are entitled to compensation for the harm caused by the negligent or reckless provision of alcohol.

By: Brenner Webb, Esq.

Attorney Brenner G. Webb practices Personal Injury, Business, and Criminal Law at Winer & Bennett, LLP. To receive expert legal guidance on matters like this and others, contact the law office of Winer & Bennett, LLP at 603-882-5157. Visit for more information. Follow Winer & Bennett on Facebook.

Remembering S. Robert Winer | March 5, 1920 – January 11, 2019

It is with sadness that Winer and Bennett, LLP learned of the loss of one of its founding partners, S. Robert Winer, who died on January 11, 2019.  Mr. Winer was 98 years old.  Bob started the first incarnation of what is now Winer and Bennett, LLP in 1957 with George Nelson and J. Albert Lynch.  The firm has been located in its present location at 111 Concord Street in Nashua since 1976.

Robert Winer grew up in Nashua, the son of the owners of a shoe store on Main Street in Nashua during the Great Depression.  He was educated in Nashua schools graduating at age 16 from Nashua High School class of 1935.  Bob graduated from UNH in 1939 and started his law studies at Boston University Law School before World War II intervened, graduating from Harvard Law School after the end of the War.

First Lieutenant Robert Winer trained as a glider pilot with the Big Red One Division of the U.S. Army and flew his first mission behind enemy lines on D-Day in June of 1944.  He earned an air medal of honor with an oak leaf cluster and, near the end of his life, the French Legion of Honor for his service in the liberation of France.

Attorney Winer became a respected member of the New Hampshire Bar and served Nashua area clients in a variety of matters for fifty years.  He was active in both civil and municipal organizations during his career and received the Nashua Bar Association Lifetime Achievement Award after his retirement.

The attorneys and staff at Winer and Bennett, LLP owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Winer.  His collegiality, vision and dedication to the interests of his clients set the example for the continued commitment to professionalism and service at Winer and Bennett, LLP.  We, the current stewards of those high standards, salute Bob Winer of the Greatest Generation for his courage, sacrifice and service both at war and here at home.

Alimony Changes for 2019

Senate Bill 7 in the New Hampshire Legislature proposes changes in the New Hampshire alimony law that will be far reaching and important.  The change is made necessary by the change in the federal law that takes alimony out from the status as being a deductible expense for the payor and makes payment of the alimony from after tax dollars.  Formerly, it was part of the negotiation process to realize that it would cost a payor less to pay a particular amount of alimony if he was in a higher tax bracket than the payee.  That is all changing.

Another important change that is proposed by the legislation would be a cap on the percentage amount of alimony to be paid.  The proposed amount is 30% of the difference between the payor’s gross income and the payee’s gross income.  There is no such limitation in the law as it stands now.  Finally, there are guidelines for the duration of alimony.  This is absent from the current incarnation of the alimony statute.

It is difficult to predict how the new statute will impact cases going forward.  How will payors be able to anticipate what their tax consequences will be in future years?  Is the percentage limit something that is to be determined at the time of the negotiation or order, or is that to be redetermined on a yearly basis when the tax data is available?  Lastly, how will the new law affect alimony orders that are already in place?

Answers to these questions will not likely come any time soon.  It will be interesting to see how the system reacts to these changes.

By: Kent Barker

Attorney Kent M. Barker practices Personal Injury, Family & Divorce, and Criminal Law at Winer & Bennett, LLP. To receive expert and experienced Family & Divorce counsel paired with compassion and understanding, call 603-882-5157. Visit our website at

The Effect of Technology on Personal Injury Cases

We live in a world where innovation is constant.  We hear about self-driving cars, personal and private data that is stored in a “cloud” that we cannot see, and financial transactions are made largely without the use of currency.  What do these changes mean with respect to personal injury cases in the years to come?  It is a difficult question to answer but one that will be important for personal injury lawyers to both anticipate and have the courage to litigate when the opportunity arises.

Self-driving cars are being tested throughout the country.  In at least one case, there has been a death resulting from the operation of a self-driving car.  Though the facts of this case are not completely known, the question of whether there was contributory negligence seems to be important in deciding whether the safety of this machine is one to be questioned.  Who is to be sued?  Is it the manufacturer or the company that distributes the self-driving cars?  Is the government responsible for monitoring this distribution?  These questions need to be answered.

The use of personal data by retailers is an important question.  Privacy and security are increasing concerns for the general population both in terms of physical safety and the protection of data.  None of us can imagine living without the use of communication by computer.  Most people under the age of 50 pay their bills online and have their personal communications done electronically.  The newspapers are full of stories about how these privacy concerns are breached regularly and what the ramifications are to those who are victims.  Who is responsible for protecting your information?  Should there be security cameras most everywhere you go to prevent crime and theft?  What is reasonable and responsible behavior by an employer?  By the local or state government?  All important issues.

Those tort lawyers who consider themselves aggressive advocates for their clients need to look at new and interesting avenues to protect people’s property and rights.  The dialogue is just beginning and will continue for years to come.

By: Kent Barker

Attorney Kent M. Barker practices Personal Injury, Family & Divorce, and Criminal Law at Winer & Bennett, LLP. To receive expert and experienced legal counsel on your Personal Injury matter, contact the attorneys at Winer & Bennett at 603-882-5157. Visit our website at

The Felonies First Program in Superior Court

The Superior Court system in New Hampshire has been several years in implementing a Felonies First criminal program.  This space has written about the proposed change in the past.  It has finally come into being.  Essentially, the program does away with the probable cause hearing process and sends felonies to the Superior Court for first contact with the court system.  The theory is that the time spent in the District Court with arraignments, bail hearings and probable cause hearings is wasted time.  It is more efficient, the reasoning goes, to head felonies directly to the Superior Court.

The program has been in place for several months and has met with mixed success.  There has been a period of adjustment where the county prosecutor’s office has had to respond to requests for discovery and evaluate the case.  The true advantages and disadvantages of the system have been exposed.  The only advantages are that the process moves much more quickly.  In those cases that are very simple and the outcome is easily agreed upon, this saves time.  In all other cases there are problems that will take some time to resolve.

Felony cases are serious matters with serious consequences.  The minimum exposure for someone charged with a felony is 3½ to 7 years in the New Hampshire State Prison plus a fine.  That is no small matter.  In the former system, these cases would be discussed between the local police prosecutors and defense counsel.  They have an opportunity to see if the matter might be resolved as a misdemeanor or even a violation.  Decisions made by the police on the street with respect to charging is often done without any opportunity to reflect and think the decision all the way through.  The process of having an arraignment and bail hearing before probable cause hearing 30 days later gave the State a chance to see what the facts of the case really were and what the proper charging decision should be.  That opportunity for a non-superior court resolution to the case has now been taken away.  Instead, that period of reflection and communication with the arresting police department must take place after there has already been an arraignment in the Superior Court.

The Grand Jury process and its relative the probable cause hearing have been pretty much dispensed with.  While both procedures had a cost, they also gave defendants an extra measure of due process that would allow abuses of state discretion and “close calls” to be weeded out.  There were often times cases that probably would not have survived the reasonable doubt standard were stopped in the Grand Jury or probable cause system because the facts to support of probable cause was questionable.

Time will likely cause the system to adjust to the new way of doing things so that the delay for reconsidering the form of the charge and how it fits the facts to be attended to Superior Court.  The transition period will take some time.  It is hoped that those compromises of the rights of the accused will be corrected as well.  If not, this attempt at judicial economy will result in far more problems than it solves.

By: Kent Barker

Attorney Kent M. Barker practices Personal Injury, Family & Divorce, and Criminal Law at Winer & Bennett, LLP. To learn more about the Felonies First Program or receive expert legal counsel from Kent, call 603-882-5157. Visit our website at

Passenger Claims

How does a passenger in a car crash recover damages when the driver of the vehicle is found “at fault”?

Passenger claims carry a certain stigma because they are often cast as “suing” a person with a close relationship to the passenger, such as a husband or friend.  This characterization is beneficial to insurers who would otherwise have to pay money out under the insurance policy.  Mind you, this is a policy for which the driver is paying premiums month after month to protect themselves and their loved ones.  This characterization is especially problematic in the unfortunate instance of a wrongful death case when the passenger’s injuries are fatal.

The basis of this misconception is rooted in the fact that a jury is never told whether a person has insurance.  Therefore, if the case does not settle outside of court and proceeds to a lawsuit, the Defendant listed is the name of the driver or vehicle owner.  Insurers are quick to remind injured parties of this fact.  In the vast majority of cases, the reality is that you are “suing” the driver to seek fair compensation under an insurance policy and not against the individual’s personal assets.

Under New Hampshire law, passengers have the right to recover for, among other things, medical expenses, lost wages, physical pain and emotional distress.   A strong advocate will go a long way toward avoiding common misconceptions and recovering fair compensation for an injured passenger.

By: Brenner G. Webb

To receive expert legal guidance on matters like this, contact the law office of Winer & Bennett, LLP at 603-882-5157. Visit for more information.

Protecting Ourselves From Uninsured Drivers

The laws in New Hampshire do not require that vehicle owners maintain automobile insurance.  Setting the wisdom of that policy aside, many individuals in New Hampshire unexpectedly have this problem when they are injured by negligent drivers who don’t have insurance.  Where does one turn when they are faced with such a scenario? 
The answer is that you file a claim under the “uninsured motorist coverage” on your own auto policy.  While it seems inherently unfair to the not-at-fault driver, this is the most practical way to ensure that you are covered by insurance.  Also by law in New Hampshire, the limits of liability that you select on your auto policy will be the same as your uninsured motorist coverage limits.  Therefore, the amount of coverage that you select is not only protecting others from harm that you might cause, but also from harm that others may cause you.  For that reason, it is critically important to you, your family, and anyone else that might use or ride in your vehicle, that you carry adequate limits.
Determining the “ideal” limits to carry on your policy is an impossible task.  However, one might consider factors such as the cost of medical care if you were seriously injured and needed surgery, required an extended stay in a hospital, and/or had to recover lost wages due to missed work.  These costs alone can quickly exceed $100,000.  Another consideration is the relatively low cost to carry significantly more insurance.  You might ask your insurer what it would cost to increase your limits of insurance from, for example, $100,000 to $250,000.  Often, it is a matter of a few extra dollars.
While our “Live Free or Die” motto in New Hampshire comes with certain advantages, it also requires that we use extra care to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and anyone else on the road.
By:  Brenner G. Webb
Attorney Brenner G. Webb practices Personal Injury, Business, and Criminal Law at Winer & Bennett, LLP. To connect with Brenner and learn more about matters like this, visit

Attorneys Brenner G. Webb & Peter G. Webb Have Article Published In New Hampshire Bar News

The following entry was published in the August issue of the New Hampshire Bar News, a respected publication that is distributed to attorneys across the Granite State. Attorneys Brenner G. Webb and Peter G. Webb offer their expertise on matters of Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation.

Workers’ Compensation Law & Personal Injury Law: Framework of a Catastrophic Injury Case

By: Brenner G. Webb and Peter G. Webb

Catastrophic personal injury cases are infrequent enough that it can be helpful to review their fundamentals. A catastrophic injury can be loosely defined as a life-altering, permanent injury that often impacts a person’s ability to regain normal function and to live independently. This article will address some of the issues which comprise the framework particular to such cases.

A threshold issue for the plaintiff is the amount of applicable insurance coverage. Unlike our neighboring states, New Hampshire law does not obligate insurers to disclose the amount of available insurance coverage before suit is filed. That disclosure is not mandated until the Structuring Conference Order, which governs litigation deadlines, is approved by the Court. In instances of severe injury, insurers may be willing to disclose limits for the simple reason that the case value far exceeds the coverage, exposing their insured. Significant coverage is necessary for an adequate recovery and to cover the costs to properly prepare such a case. Such costs can be considerable and may require a significant outlay of funds over an extended period of time.

Monetary damages, of course, include the past and future expense of the care required by the injury. Assessing and valuing the future cost of providing adequate care to the client requires a high-quality life care plan. A life care plan must be prepared by someone who is competent to determine and predict the treatment and care which the client will require in the future as a result of the injury. This future care includes medication, medical care, medical supplies, equipment, custodial care, support services and therapy, housing and transportation.

An economic analysis is required to calculate the present value of the aggregate future cost of the services under the life care plan, as well as to calculate the value of any lost future earnings the client’s injury has caused.

Often, a separate but key issue is the effect that any recovery for the client will have on the client’s future eligibility for health insurance coverage. Careful consideration and coordination of State Medicaid, Federal Medicare, Special Needs Trust planning, and structured settlements can protect the client’s eligibility for Medicaid and Medicare. This analysis includes the determination of eligibility and disqualification factors, the allocation of damages, the setting
aside of proceeds to assure payment of probable future care to which the client may become disentitled by virtue of a recovery, and the most cost-effective means of funding the future care.

Reimbursement of medical providers and health insurers, as in any personal injury case, may also be a significant issue. Particularly in the instance of Medicare, diligent efforts will be required to ensure proper lien repayment in order not to jeopardize coverage.The extraordinary needs of the client may need to be met early on. In the the right case, advances against the eventual recovery should be sought as appropriate to contain the injured party’s’ damages and to avoid developments which could compound the responsible party’s culpability.

Brenner Webb and Peter Webb of Winer and Bennett, LLP in Nashua represent injured parties only in matters of personal injury and workers’ compensation. Visit for more information.

New Marijuana Law

New Marijuana Law

Governor Sununu recently signed into law the “decriminalization” of possession of small amounts of marijuana.  Small amounts are defined as less than three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana or five grams of hashish.  Some people take this to mean that this is legalization of marijuana use.  This is not the case.  Marijuana remains illegal and there are criminal penalties for possession or distribution of amounts that exceed three-quarters of an ounce.

According to an article in the New Hampshire Sunday News on July 23rd of 2017, a commission has been established to study the possible legalization of marijuana in the future.  The reasoning is that other states have already done so and state involvement with the legal manufacture, packaging, and distribution of the substance will secure substantial revenue for the State of New Hampshire while controlling the distribution and use.  This is the same way that alcohol is currently sold by the state in a regulated manner.  If it is going to happen eventually on a national level, the reasoning is that we might as well get on the bandwagon now and expedite the process.

The commission is not short on members who oppose legalization efforts.  This is a healthy decision as it will force debate about whether or not legalization is advisable in either a practical or moral sense.  People who oppose legalization of marijuana point out that marijuana can be a gateway drug to other more powerful and life changing substances.  They worry that younger people will get access to marijuana in a way that is unrestricted and cause changes to developing minds and bodies that will have long term affects.  Lastly, they see a slippery slope of state involvement, already deeply involved with liquor sales and lottery revenue, that will further erode the moral basis standing of government.  If selling these substances is morally acceptable, why not other forms of illegal activities?

It is obvious that the state’s change in legal treatment of marijuana began with the approval of medical marijuana.  No different from other drugs that are available with a prescription, the value of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) to treat certain afflictions is both beneficial and medically superior to some other drugs.  Cancer patient’s post-chemotherapy have been known to do quite well with marijuana use to overcome nausea and lack of appetite.  Glaucoma patients report many beneficial effects of marijuana use when taken in accordance with doctor’s orders.  Chronic pain sufferers find that marijuana use is far more effective and less disruptive to the other human systems than opioids in treatment of their chronic pain.

The new law decriminalizing possession of small amounts moves the question to a different level.  In this situation, people who use marijuana recreationally are not going to be charged with a crime.  Though the possession is still illegal, it will not be considered an offense punishable by incarceration unless the amount exceeds three-quarters of an ounce or five grams of hashish.  This would seem to invite the use of marijuana for recreation by virtue of the state’s non-action.  Advocates feel that the decriminalization simply invites the next step of legalization.

The Sunday News article points out that there are strong voices on both sides of the issue.  Our state is not necessarily ready to take the legalization move at present.  The effects of legalization in states such as Colorado and Oregon would need to be studied and debated.  A review of what happened during prohibition would be a good place to start in examining the effect that legalization of marijuana might have on New Hampshire and our American society in general.  The best approach toward deciding the issue is a slow process that considers all different approaches and eventually comes to a conclusion that is best for our citizenry.  All age groups should weigh in and make their views known before the state debates a bill and makes a decision.

By: Kent Barker