TITLE XXI
MOTOR VEHICLES

Chapter 264
ACCIDENTS AND FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Motor Vehicles

Section 264:1

    264:1 Director to Administer Chapter; Court Review. – The director shall administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter, and he is authorized to adopt pursuant to RSA 260:5 and enforce such rules as may be necessary for its administration. Any person aggrieved by an order or act of the department hereunder may, within 10 days after notice thereof, file a petition for a review in the superior court of the county in which one of the parties resides, and if both plaintiff and defendant are nonresidents, then in the county where the accident occurred; but the filing of such petition shall not suspend the order or act unless a stay thereof shall be allowed by said court pending final determination of the review. The court shall summarily hear the petition and may make any appropriate order or decree.

Source. 1937, 161:2. RL 122:2. RSA 268:2. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:2

    264:2 Proof Required Upon Conviction for Motor Vehicle Law Violations. –
I. Upon receipt of an abstract of the record in case of conviction of any person for one of the following offenses, the director may suspend the license of the person so convicted and the registration certificates of any motor vehicle, trailer, or semi-trailer registered in the name of such person and require the surrender of the registration plates of any such vehicle, unless and until such person gives and thereafter maintains proof of his financial responsibility in the future:
(a) Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs;
(b) Failing to stop and report when involved in an accident;
(c) Homicide or assault arising out of the driving of a motor vehicle;
(d) The second time for driving a vehicle at an excessive rate of speed;
(e) The second time for driving a vehicle in a reckless manner and a violation of such other of the provisions of any state law relative to vehicles as the director shall determine.
II. The department may take action as required in this section upon receiving proper evidence of any such conviction of any person in another state. Notice of suspension and of the requirement of such surrender shall be sent by the department to such driver not less than 10 days prior to the effective date of suspension.

Source. 1937, 161:3. 1941, 63:1. RL 122:3. RSA 268:3. 1957, 305:1. 1963, 261:2. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:3

    264:3 When Proof Required After Report of Accident. –
I. After receipt of the report required by RSA 264:25, the director shall suspend the license and registration certificate and require the surrender of the registration plates, if any, of the driver, and shall suspend the registration certificates and require the surrender of the plates of the owner of the vehicle, trailer, or semi-trailer involved in the accident reported and shall suspend his license, if any, or driving privilege until such driver or owner or both shall have furnished sufficient security to satisfy any judgment or judgments for damages resulting from such accident as may be recovered against such owner or driver by or on behalf of the aggrieved person or his legal representative, and until such owner or driver or both shall give and thereafter maintain proof of financial responsibility in the future. Notice of such suspension and of the requirement of such surrender shall be sent by the director to such driver and owner not less than 10 days prior to the effective date of such suspension.
II. This section shall not apply:
(a) To such owner or driver if such owner had in effect at the time of such accident with respect to such vehicle a motor vehicle liability policy or motor vehicle liability bond, as herein defined;
(b) To such driver, if not the owner of such vehicle, if there was in effect at the time of such accident such a policy or bond with respect to his driving of vehicles not owned by him;
(c) To such owner or driver if the liability of such owner or driver for the damages resulting from such accident is, in the judgment of the director, covered by any other form of insurance policy or bond, or proof of financial responsibility in accordance with RSA 264:20 and 21.
III. Where erroneous information with respect to insurance coverage of the owner or driver of any such vehicle is furnished to the department, it shall take appropriate action as above provided after the receipt by it of correct information with respect to such coverage.
IV. Within 15 days after the receipt of notice of such accident from the department, the insurance carrier or surety company which issued such policy shall notify the department in such manner as it may require in case such policy was not in effect at the time of such accident. If no such notification is received within such 15 days, the director may assume that such a policy was in effect at the time of the accident.
V. In case any such driver or owner has no license to drive a vehicle or no vehicle registered in his name in this state, he shall not be allowed a license or registration until he has complied with this chapter to the same extent as would be necessary if he had held a driver's license and a vehicle registration at the time of the accident.
VI. No such policy shall be effective under this section unless issued by an insurance company or surety company authorized to do business in this state, except that such policy may be accepted from an insurance company or surety company not authorized to do business in this state if such company possesses capital and assets to the extent and of the quality required under the provisions of RSA 405:2 or 4, as determined by the insurance commissioner of this state and such company shall execute a power of attorney authorizing the director to accept service on its behalf of notice or process in any action involving such policy arising out of such accident; provided, however, every such policy shall provide the same degree of security as required by this chapter.
VII. Notwithstanding the provisions of RSA 264:5 or any determination previously made by the director under this section, the director, upon receipt of satisfactory evidence that there is an unsatisfied judgment against any owner or driver required by RSA 264:25 to report an accident which judgment was rendered in an action for damages to property or for personal injuries arising out of said accident, shall, until said owner or driver or both shall have satisfied said judgment to the extent required by RSA 264:8, suspend the license and driving privilege and registration certificates and require the surrender of the registration plates, if any, of said driver and owner.

Source. 1937, 161:6. RL 122:5. 1943, 85:1. 1951, 66:1. RSA 268:5. 1955, 93:1; 94:2, 3. 1957, 305:2, 3. 1967, 108:2. 1981, 146:1. 1985, 179:1. 1989, 305:14, eff. July 1, 1989.

Section 264:4

    264:4 Form of Security. – Such security, when ordered, shall be in such form and amount as the director may require, but in no case in excess of the amount of actual damages, as determined to the satisfaction of the director, or in excess of the amount of proof of financial responsibility required under this chapter. Proof of responsibility as prescribed in RSA 264:20 shall in all cases be deemed sufficient.

Source. 1937, 161:7. RL 122:6. RSA 268:6. 1957, 305:4. 1963, 261:4. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:4-a

    264:4-a Form of Security; Periodic Payments. –
I. The director shall consider whether an individual subject to suspension of license and registration certificate and surrender of registration plates under RSA 264:3 has the ability to pay the security required under RSA 264:4 in full. If the individual does not have the ability to pay in full, the director shall order the individual to make such periodic payments as the director in his or discretion deems appropriate. The director shall not suspend the individual's license and registration certificate nor require surrender of the individual's registration plates provided the individual makes the periodic payments as ordered.
II. The director shall not order periodic payments from any income that is exempt from execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process. If the individual does not have any income that is not exempt from execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process, the director shall not suspend the individual's license and registration certificate nor require surrender of the individual's registration plates.
III. If the individual subject to suspension of license and registration certificate and surrender of registration plates under RSA 264:3 fails to pay any periodic payments as ordered by the director under paragraph I, then upon notice of such default the director shall suspend the license and registration certificate and require surrender of the registration plates until all payments have been made as ordered.
IV. The aggrieved person or his or her legal representative may request review of the director's order requiring periodic payments not sooner than 6 months from the date of the order.
V. The individual ordered to make periodic payments may request review of the director's order upon change in his or her circumstances.
VI. Nothing in this section shall relieve the individual subject to suspension of license and registration certificate and surrender of registration plates under RSA 264:3 from the requirement to give and maintain proof of financial responsibility in the future.
VII. The director shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to:
(a) The periodic payment hearing process.
(b) A definition of the ability to pay.
(c) Process for minors subject to suspension under this section.

Source. 2018, 96:1, eff. July 24, 2018.

Section 264:5

    264:5 Application of Security. – Security furnished in compliance with the requirements hereof shall be applicable only to the payment of a judgment against the depositor for damages arising out of the accident in question in an action at law in a court of this state begun not later than 2 years thereafter; and such deposit, or any balance thereof, after the expiration of such 2-year period, shall be returned to the depositor or his personal representative unless the department shall have received a written notice from the aggrieved person or his representative that suit has been brought.

Source. 1937, 161:8. RL 122:7. 1945, 33:1. RSA 268:7. 1957, 305:5. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:6

    264:6 Limitation of Driving. –
I. The provisions of RSA 264:3 shall not apply:
(a) To the owner of a vehicle driven by one having obtained possession or control thereof without his express or implied consent;
(b) To either the owner or driver of a vehicle involved in an accident when the director shall be satisfied that neither caused nor contributed to cause the accident, except that any such determination of satisfaction shall be reversed by the director should any court subsequently render judgment based upon said accident against said driver or owner or both, in which event the director shall forthwith suspend the license and registration certificate in accordance with the provisions of RSA 264:3;
(c) To either the owner or driver of a vehicle involved in an accident that was caused by the criminal act of a third party, for which criminal act such other party has been convicted.
II. Nothing contained in RSA 264:14 shall be so construed as to deprive an insured person in litigating his claim against an uninsured person from a right of trial by jury. If the form of policy authorized by RSA 264:14 does not contain an arbitration clause approved by the insurance commissioner, the insured may have the liability of the insurer determined by a trial of the issues by the superior court justice. In the event of arbitration the insured shall not be required to advance costs, and at the conclusion of such arbitration the arbitration costs shall be divided equally between the insured and the insurer.

Source. 1937, 161:9. 1941, 63:2. RL 122:8. RSA 268:8. 1955, 164:1. 1957, 305:6. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:7

    264:7 Suspensions. –
I. The suspension required in RSA 264:3 shall remain in effect, the vehicle in any manner involved in such accident shall not be registered in the name of the person whose license or registration was so suspended, and no other vehicle shall be registered in the name of such person nor shall any license be held by him until he has obtained a release or a judgment in his favor in an action at law to recover for damage to property or the death of or bodily injury to any person resulting from such accident or unless he shall have satisfied in the manner hereinafter provided any judgment rendered against him in such action, and gives and thereafter maintains proof of his financial responsibility. If the department has received no written notice from the aggrieved or injured person or his legal representative that suit has been brought within 2 years from the date of the accident the department then may, subject to the other requirements of the law, issue to such person a new license to drive and new registration certificates and registration plates, provided he shall give and thereafter maintain proof of financial responsibility. A discharge in bankruptcy shall not relieve the judgment debtor from any of the requirements of this chapter.
II. The department may waive the requirements of filing proof of financial responsibility and certificates at any time after 3 years' duration from the date of accident involvement or conviction requiring such proof, provided the department has not received further record of conviction, accident involvement, forfeiture of bail, unsatisfied judgment or other evidence which would require the continuance of such furnishing of proof of financial responsibility and certificates.
III. Upon receipt of notice or certification that the driving privilege or the privilege to have driven any vehicle registered to a resident of this state, or both, have been suspended or revoked in any other state, pursuant to a law providing for its suspension or revocation for failure to deposit security for the payment of judgments arising out of a vehicle accident, or failure to maintain proof of financial responsibility in the future; under circumstances which would allow the director to suspend a nonresident's driving privilege had the accident or conviction occurred in this state, the director may suspend or revoke the license or registration or both of such resident. Such suspension or revocation shall continue until such resident furnishes evidence of compliance with the law of such other state.

Source. 1937, 161:10. 1939, 49:1. RL 122:9. 1943, 85:2. RSA 268:9. 1955, 76:4. 1957, 305:7. 1971, 267:1. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:8

    264:8 Payments Sufficient to Satisfy Requirements. –
I. Every judgment herein referred to shall for the purpose of this chapter be deemed satisfied:
(a) When $25,000 has been credited upon any judgment or judgments rendered in excess of that amount because of bodily injury to or death of one person as the result of any one accident; or
(b) When, subject to such limit of $25,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person, the sum of $50,000 has been credited upon any judgment or judgments rendered in excess of that amount because of bodily injury to or death of 2 or more persons as the result of any one accident; or
(c) When $25,000 has been credited upon any judgment or judgments rendered in excess of that amount because of injury to or destruction of property of others as a result of any one accident.
II. Credit for such amounts shall be deemed a satisfaction of any such judgment or judgments in excess of said amounts only for the purpose of this chapter.
III. Payments made in settlement of any claims because of bodily injury, death or property damage arising from a vehicle accident shall be credited in reduction of the amounts provided for in this section.

Source. 1937, 161:11. RL 122:10. RSA 268:10. 1955, 76:2. 1969, 316:2, 3. 1971, 456:2, 3. 1981, 146:1; 507:2, 6, eff. Jan. 1, 1982 at 12:01 a.m.

Section 264:9

    264:9 Suspension Waived Upon Payment of Judgment in Installments. – The department shall restore any license or registration when the judgment debtor gives proof of his financial responsibility in the future and when the judgment debtor obtains an order from the trial court in which such judgment was rendered, permitting the payment of such judgment in installments, and while the payment of any said installment is not in default.

Source. 1937, 161:12. RL 122:11. RSA 268:11. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:10

    264:10 Application for Payment in Installments. – A judgment debtor upon 5 days' notice to the judgment creditor may apply to the trial court in which such judgment was obtained for the privilege of paying such judgment in installments and the court, in its discretion and without prejudice to any other legal remedies which the judgment creditor may have, may so order, fixing the amounts and times of payment of the installments.

Source. 1937, 161:13. RL 122:12. RSA 268:12. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:11

    264:11 Exception When Consent or Agreement is Granted by Creditor. – If a case is settled by agreement and the creditor consents in writing, on such form as the department may prescribe, that the agreement debtor be allowed license and registration, or driving privileges, the same may be allowed by the department, in its discretion, for 6 months from the date of such consent and thereafter until such consent is revoked in writing, notwithstanding default in the payment of such agreement. In the event that the agreement debtor fails to pay any installment as specified, then upon written notice of such default the department shall forthwith suspend the license, registration or driving privileges until such agreement is satisfied as provided in this chapter.

Source. RSA 268:12-a. 1963, 261:3. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:12

    264:12 Installment in Default. – In the event the judgment debtor fails to pay any installment as permitted by the order of the court, then upon notice of such default the director shall forthwith suspend the license and registration certificates and registration plates of the judgment debtor until such judgment is satisfied as provided in this chapter. Provided, however, if the judgment creditor consents in writing, in such form as the department may prescribe, that the judgment debtor be allowed license and registration, the same may be allowed by the director, in his discretion, notwithstanding default in the payment of such judgment or of any installment thereof, for 6 months from the date of such consent and thereafter until such consent is revoked in writing, if the judgment debtor gives and thereafter maintains proof of his financial responsibility in the future.

Source. 1937, 161:14. RL 122:13. RSA 268:13. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:13

    264:13 Actions Against Nonresidents. –
I. This chapter shall apply to nonresidents. If a nonresident has failed to furnish security or to give proof of his financial responsibility in the future as required hereunder, then he shall not drive any vehicle in this state nor shall any such vehicle owned by him be driven within this state by any person, and the director shall not issue to such nonresident any driver's license or register any such vehicle owned by such nonresident except in the same manner as required with respect to a resident of this state. The driving by a nonresident, or with his express or implied consent if an owner, of a vehicle on a way of the state shall be deemed equivalent to an appointment by such nonresident of the director or his successor in office, to be his true and lawful attorney upon whom may be served all lawful processes in any action against him, growing out of any accident in which said nonresident may be involved while so driving or so permitting to be driven a vehicle on such a way.
II. When a nonresident's privilege of driving a motor vehicle or the privilege to have any vehicle registered to such individual driven in New Hampshire or both have been suspended under the provisions of this chapter, the department shall transmit a copy of the record of such action to the official in charge of the issuance of licenses and registrations in the state in which such nonresident resides, if the law of such state provides for action in relation thereto similar to that provided for in this chapter.
III. If a nonresident has been arrested for a serious traffic violation as defined in RSA 259:98-a, the director, upon receipt of a written or computer-generated request from a law enforcement agency, shall:
(a) Secure a copy of the nonresident's motor vehicle record from the state in which the nonresident resides;
(b) Enter the nonresident's motor vehicle record into the department's recordkeeping system, thereby making the information a permanent part of the nonresident's New Hampshire driving record; and
(c) Certify a copy of the nonresident's complete driving record and send it to the requesting law enforcement agency.
IV. If a national driver record repository is established the director may satisfy the requirements of subparagraph III(a) by obtaining the applicant's record from the repository.

Source. 1937, 161:15. RL 122:14. RSA 268:14. 1955, 76:5. 1981, 146:1. 1991, 104:1, eff. July 12, 1991.

Section 264:14

    264:14 Policy; Form. –
I. No motor vehicle liability policy, as defined in RSA 259:61, shall be issued with respect to any motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in this state, until a copy of the form of the policy has been on file with the insurance commissioner for at least 30 days, unless during that period the insurance commissioner shall have approved in writing the form of the policy, nor shall such policy be issued if the insurance commissioner notifies the insurance company in writing that, in his opinion, the form of the policy does not comply with the laws of the state. Notification of his approval or disapproval shall be given in writing within said period. The insurance commissioner shall approve a form of policy which contains the name and address of the insured, a description of the vehicles covered, with the premium charges therefor, the policy period, the limits of liability as between the insured and the insurance company, and an agreement that insurance is provided in accordance with and subject to the provisions of this chapter. The policy may provide that the insured, or any other person covered by the policy, shall reimburse the insurance carrier for payment made on account of any loss or damage claim or suit involving a breach of the terms, provisions or conditions of the policy; and further, if the policy shall provide for limits in excess of the limits specified in this chapter, the insurance carrier may plead against any plaintiff, with respect to the amount of such excess limits of liability, any defenses which it may be entitled to plead against the insured, and any such policy may further provide for the prorating of the insurance thereunder with other applicable valid and collectible insurance.
II. In the event that a company or filing or rating organization eliminates or reduces coverages, conditions or definitions in its policies issued under this section other than at the request of a policyholder, the company must attach to the policy a printed notice in each such policy explaining clearly what coverages, conditions or definitions have been eliminated or reduced. If explanations of such reduced or eliminated coverages are not contained in the printed notice attached to its policies, then such coverages, conditions or definitions shall remain in full force and effect without such reductions or eliminations. The requirements of this section shall apply only to such policies renewed or endorsed with the same company.

Source. 1937, 161:4, 16. 1941, 198:5. RL 122:4, 15. 1951, 96:1. RSA 268:4, 15. 1957, 305:8. 1967, 284:1. 1981, 146:1; 349:3, 4. 1988, 77:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1989.

Section 264:15

    264:15 Uninsured or Hit-and-Run Motor Vehicle Coverage. –
I. Except as provided in paragraph I-a, no policy shall be issued under the provisions of RSA 264:14, with respect to a vehicle registered or principally garaged in this state, unless coverage is provided therein or supplemental thereto at least in amounts and limits prescribed for bodily injury or death for a liability policy under this chapter, for the protection of persons insured thereunder who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or drivers of uninsured motor vehicles, and hit-and-run vehicles because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease, including death resulting therefrom. When an insured elects to purchase liability insurance in an amount greater than the minimum coverage required by RSA 259:61, the insured's uninsured motorist coverage shall automatically be equal in amounts and limits to the liability coverage elected. For the purposes of this paragraph umbrella or excess policies that provide excess limits to policies described in RSA 259:61 shall also provide uninsured motorist coverage equal to the limits of liability purchased, unless the named insured rejects such coverage in writing. Rejection of such coverage by a named insured shall constitute a rejection of coverage by all insureds, shall apply to all vehicles then or thereafter eligible to be covered under the policy, and shall remain effective upon policy amendment or renewal, unless the named insured requests such coverage in writing.
I-a. No commercial motor vehicle liability policy issued under the provisions of RSA 264:14 shall be required to provide coverage for motor vehicles that are not owned by the policyholder for the protection of persons insured thereunder who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or drivers of uninsured motor vehicles, and hit-and-run vehicles because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease, including death resulting therefrom.
II. In the event of insolvency on the part of the liability insurer which prevents such insurer from paying the legal liability of its insured within the limits of the coverage provided, if no other insurance applies, uninsured motorist coverage shall provide for no less than $25,000 coverage for injury to or destruction of property in any one accident.
III. An insurer's extension of coverage, as provided in paragraph II, shall be applicable only to accidents occurring during a policy period in which its insured's uninsured motor vehicle coverage is in effect and where the liability insurer of the tort-feasor has been declared to be insolvent by a court of competent jurisdiction as of the accident date, or has been declared to be insolvent by a court of competent jurisdiction within 3 years after the accident date. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to prevent any insurer from extending coverage under terms and conditions more favorable to its insureds than is provided hereunder.
IV. In the event of payment to any person under the coverage required by this section and subject to the terms and conditions of such coverage, the insurer making such payment shall, to the extent thereof, be entitled to the proceeds of any settlement or judgment resulting from the exercise of any rights of recovery of such person against any person or organization legally responsible for the bodily injury for which such payment is made, including the proceeds recoverable from the assets of the insolvent insurer; provided, however, with respect to payments made by reason of the extension of coverage described in paragraphs II and III, the insurer making such payment shall not be entitled to any right of recovery against such tort-feasor in excess of the proceeds recovered from the assets of the insolvent insurer of said tort-feasor.
V. Every document tendered to settle a claim for bodily injury which may be the subject of coverage under this section shall prominently contain the following language, which shall be read and signed by the releasing party or parties:

WARNING


"IF YOU SIGN THIS RELEASE YOU MAY FORFEIT YOUR RIGHT TO UNINSURED MOTORIST INSURANCE BENEFITS FROM YOUR OWN AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE POLICY. CONSULT WITH YOUR INSURANCE AGENT, YOUR AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, OR YOUR ATTORNEY BEFORE SIGNING."
I certify that I have read the above warning and fully understand it.
____________________
Signature

Source. RSA 268:15-a. 1967, 284:2. 1969, 418:1; 485:1, 2. 1970, 37:11. 1981, 146:1; 507:3, 7. 1988, 77:2. 1991, 330:2. 2000, 324:1. 2007, 302:1. 2009, 74:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2010. 2015, 237:1, eff. Sept. 11, 2015.

Section 264:16

    264:16 Medical Payments. –
I. Any motor vehicle liability policy, as defined in RSA 259:61, covering a private passenger automobile and issued with respect to any motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in this state, shall provide medical payments coverage therein or supplemental thereto in an amount equal to or greater than $1,000 per person for reasonable medical costs incurred as a result of injuries sustained in an accident involving the insured vehicle by the driver and passengers in said vehicle. Such coverage shall apply only to medical costs incurred during 3 years following the date the injuries are sustained and the injured driver or passenger shall not be responsible for medical costs that have been determined by the motor vehicle liability insurer to not be reasonable.
II. A health carrier, as defined in RSA 420-G:2, VIII, shall not coordinate benefits against medical payments coverage.
III. Medical payments coverage shall not be assignable to any health care provider.
IV. The insured shall have the exclusive right to submit a claim for medical expenses under either medical payments coverage or a health insurance policy or both, as the insured elects; provided, however, an insured shall not be entitled to duplicate payment from medical payments coverage and a health insurance policy for the same medical expense.
V. This section shall not apply to any commercial policy insuring more than 4 automobiles, nor to any commercial policy covering a garage, automobile sales agency, repair shop, service station, public parking place operation hazards, or trucking operation.

Source. RSA 268:15-b. 1971, 553:2; 577:1. 1981, 146:1. 1988, 77:3. 1997, 284:1. 1999, 170:1. 2002, 35:1. 2007, 314:1. 2010, 296:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2011. 2018, 195:1, eff. Aug. 7, 2018.

Section 264:17

    264:17 Subrogation Prohibited. – The right of subrogation against any third party shall not exist or be claimed in favor of the insurer who has paid or reimbursed, to or for the benefit of the insured, medical costs under coverage provided for pursuant to RSA 264:16.

Source. RSA 268:15-c. 1971, 553:3. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:18

    264:18 Required Provisions. –
A motor vehicle liability policy, except as to coverage providing protection against uninsured motor vehicles required by RSA 264:14 shall be subject, within limits of liability required by this chapter, to the following provisions which need not be contained therein:
I. Absolute Liability. The liability of any company under a motor vehicle liability policy shall become absolute whenever loss or damage covered by said policy occurs, and the satisfaction by the insured of a final judgment for such loss or damage shall not be a condition precedent to the right or duty of the company to make payment on account of said loss or damage. No agreement between the company and the insured after the insured has incurred liability for loss or damage covered by the policy shall operate to defeat the company's liability to pay for such loss or damage. Upon the recovery of a final judgment against any person for any loss or damage specified in this section, if the judgment debtor was, at the accrual of the cause of action, protected against liability therefor under a motor vehicle liability policy, the judgment creditor shall be entitled to have the insurance money applied to the satisfaction of the judgment.
II. Entirety of Contract. The policy, the written application therefor, if any, and any rider or endorsement, which shall not conflict with the provisions of this chapter, shall with the provisions of this section and any other applicable statutes constitute the entire contract between the parties.
III. Minimum Limits of Mandatory Coverage. Subject to the minimum limits of liability under the authority of RSA 259:61, the policy is to be interpreted consistent with this section and the liability of the company under the policy shall thereby become absolute upon the occurrence of such an accident; no statement made by the insured or on his behalf, and no violation of exclusions, conditions, other terms, or language contained in the policy, and no unauthorized or unlawful use of the vehicle except as provided in paragraph VI of this section, whether or not a premium charge has been made and paid, shall operate to defeat or avoid the policy so as to bar recovery for such accidents within minimum limits of liability.
IV. Death, Insolvency, and Bankruptcy. If the death, insolvency, or bankruptcy of the insured shall occur within the policy period, the policy during the unexpired portion of such period shall cover the person or persons entitled to possession of the vehicle of the insured. Such policy shall contain such provisions, not inconsistent with this chapter, as shall be required by the insurance commissioner.
V. Defendant Default. In an action of tort where payment of the judgment is secured by a motor vehicle liability policy, as defined in RSA 259:61, and where the defendant has been defaulted for failure to enter an appearance, damages shall not be assessed, except by special order of the court, until the expiration of 30 days after the plaintiff has given notice of such default to the company issuing or executing such policy and has filed an affidavit thereof. Such notice may be given by mailing the same, postage prepaid, to the said company or to its agent who issued or executed such policy. Upon receipt of information and having become satisfied that the insured has failed to comply with the terms of his policy in regard to notice to the company of an accident, the director shall revoke his license and registration for such period as the director shall determine.
VI. Permissive Users. The insurance applies to any person who has obtained possession or control of the vehicle of the insured with his express or implied consent even though the use in the course of which liability to pay damages arises has been expressly or impliedly forbidden by the insured or is otherwise unauthorized. This provision, however, shall not apply to the use of a vehicle converted with the intent to wrongfully deprive the owner of his property therein.
VII. Bifurcation of Bodily Injury and Property Damage Claims. No liability insurer shall require that a bodily injury claim be settled or adjudicated as a condition precedent to the settlement of a property damage claim arising out of the same accident. No evidence of settlement of a property damage claim shall be admissible as evidence of liability in the trial of any other cause of action arising out of the same accident.

Source. 1937, 161:17. 1941, 198:1. RL 122:16. RSA 268:16. 1955, 94:4. 1957, 305:9. 1971, 263:1. 1981, 146:1. 1983, 431:16, eff. Aug. 23, 1983. 2021, 50:1, eff. July 24, 2021.

Section 264:19

    264:19 Policies Permissible. – No motor vehicle liability policy other than that defined in RSA 259:61 shall be issued with respect to any motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in this state, either before or after requirement of security and proof, by any authorized insurance company, except that such an authorized insurance company may issue and deliver what is known as a Standard Automobile Liability Policy by having attached thereto an indorsement meeting the requirements of this chapter, such indorsement to be in such form as the insurance commissioner shall prescribe and to be known as the New Hampshire Statutory Motor Vehicle Liability Policy Indorsement. The insurance commissioner shall approve such policy, indorsements and binders as shall meet the requirements of this chapter, and may, from time to time as he may find the public good requires, change the form and provisions in policies, indorsements and binders and the terms and conditions thereof.

Source. 1937, 161:19. 1941, 198:2. RL 122:18. RSA 268:18. 1981, 146:1. 1988, 77:4, eff. Jan. 1, 1989.

Section 264:20

    264:20 Amount of Proof of Financial Responsibility. – Proof of financial responsibility shall mean proof of ability to respond in damages for any liability thereafter incurred, as a result of accidents which occur in New Hampshire, arising out of the ownership, maintenance, control, or use of a motor vehicle, trailer, or semi-trailer in the amount of $25,000 because of bodily injury or death to any one person; and subject to said limit respecting one person, in the amount of $50,000 because of bodily injury to or death to 2 or more persons in any one accident, and in the amount of $25,000 because of injury to and destruction of property in any one accident. Whenever required under this chapter such proof in such amounts shall be furnished for each motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer registered by such person.

Source. 1937, 161:20. 1941, 198:3. RL 122:19. RSA 268:19. 1955, 76:3. 1969, 316:4. 1971, 456:4. 1981, 146:1; 507:4, 8, eff. Jan. 1, 1982 at 12:01 a.m.

Section 264:21

    264:21 Methods of Giving Proof of Financial Responsibility. –
Proof of financial responsibility when required under this chapter may be given by either of the following methods:
I. By filing with the department a certificate, as defined in RSA 259, of an insurance company or of a surety company to satisfy any judgment or judgments for damages resulting from an accident reported to the director under the provisions of RSA 264:26. Financial responsibility in the future may be given by filing with the department a continuous certificate which shall be a certificate as defined in RSA 259, of an insurance company or of a surety company, to provide the amount of proof of financial responsibility required under the provisions of RSA 264:20. Every continuous certificate shall remain in effect no less than 20 days after written notice is received by the director that said continuous certificate shall be cancelled, except that a certificate subsequently filed shall, on its effective date, terminate a certificate previously filed with respect to any other vehicle designated in both certificates. Whenever another vehicle replaces a vehicle described in a continuous certificate such continuous certificate covering such described vehicle shall apply automatically to such other vehicle registered by the insured as of the date of its registration to the insured and for the period, if any, not exceeding 10 days prior to such registration when said vehicle is driven on temporary plates and for a period of 15 days after the date of registration, unless said 20-day period after written notice of cancellation is received by the director has theretofore expired. Such continuous certificate shall likewise apply automatically to any additional vehicle acquired by the insured as of the date of its registration to the insured and for the period, if any, not exceeding 10 days prior to such registration when such vehicle is driven on temporary plates and for a period of 15 days after the date of registration, unless said 20-day period after written notice of cancellation is received by the director has theretofore expired; provided, however, that the insurance company or surety company insures all vehicles owned by the named insured at such date of registration, and that such continuous certificate shall apply to such additional vehicle only to the extent the insurance is applicable to all such previously owned vehicles;
II. By the deposit of money or securities as provided in the following section; or
III. By satisfying the director that any corporation has financial ability to comply with the requirements of this chapter.

Source. 1937, 161:21. RL 122:20. 1947, 230:1. 1951, 66:5. RSA 268:20. 1963, 261:1. 1969, 323:1. 1977, 425:1. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:22

    264:22 Money or Securities Deposited as Proof. – A person may give proof of financial responsibility by delivering to the department a receipt of the state treasurer showing the deposit with him of money in the amount, or securities approved by him of a market value in the amount, required for coverage in a motor vehicle liability policy furnished by the person giving such proof under this chapter. Such securities shall be of a type which may legally be purchased by savings banks or for trust funds. All money or securities so deposited shall be subject to execution to satisfy any judgment mentioned in this chapter but shall not otherwise be subject to attachment or execution.

Source. 1937, 161:22. RL 122:21. RSA 268:22. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:23

    264:23 Limitation. – The state treasurer shall not accept any such deposit or issue a certificate therefor, and the department shall not accept such certificate, unless accompanied by evidence that there are no unsatisfied judgments against the depositor registered in the office of the clerk of the superior court for the county where the depositor resides.

Source. 1937, 161:23. RL 122:22. RSA 268:23. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:24

    264:24 May Substitute Other Proof. – The director shall cancel any bond or return any certificate of insurance, or he shall direct the state treasurer to return any money or securities, to the person entitled thereto upon the substitution and acceptance of other adequate proof of financial responsibility pursuant to this chapter.

Source. 1937, 161:24. RL 122:23. RSA 268:24. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:24-a

    264:24-a Forged Proof. – Any person who shall forge or, without authority, sign any evidence of proof of financial responsibility for the future, or who files or offers for filing any such evidence of proof knowing or having reason to believe that it is forged or signed without authority, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Source. 1981, 479:24, eff. Jan. 1, 1982 at 12:01 a.m.

Section 264:24-b

    264:24-b Transfer of Registration to Defeat Purpose of Act Prohibited. –
I. If an owner's registration has been suspended under the provisions of this chapter, such registration shall not be transferred nor the vehicle in respect to which such registration was issued be registered in any other name until the director is satisfied that such transfer of registration is proposed in good faith and not for the purpose or with the effect of defeating the purposes of this chapter.
II. The provisions of paragraph I shall not affect the rights of any lienholder, conditional vendor, chattel mortgagee or lessor of such a vehicle registered in the name of another as owner when the owner becomes subject to the provisions of this chapter.
III. The director may suspend the registration of any vehicle transferred in violation of the provisions of this section.

Source. 1981, 479:24, eff. Jan. 1, 1982 at 12:01 a.m.

Conduct and Reporting After a Motor Vehicle Accident

Section 264:25

    264:25 Conduct After Accident. –
I. The driver of a vehicle who knows or should have known that he or she has just been involved in any accident which resulted in death, personal injury or damages to property, shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident and give to the driver or owner of any other vehicle involved in said accident, and to any person injured, and to the owner of any property damaged, the driver's name and address, the driver's license number, the driver's or owner's insurance provider and policy information, if applicable, the registration number of the vehicle, and the name and address of each occupant. If by reason of injury, absence or removal from the place of the accident, or other cause, such injured person, or driver of such other vehicle, or owner of the property damaged, or any of them, is unable to understand or receive the information required in this section, such information shall be given to any uniformed police officer arriving at the scene of the accident or immediately to a police officer at the nearest police station. Police officers receiving such information, and other employees of such officers' law enforcement agencies, shall be authorized to provide that information to such injured persons, drivers, owners, or the authorized legal representative of such injured persons, drivers, or owners. Any person driving a vehicle which is in any manner involved in an accident or any person who owns a vehicle which was illegally parked when it was involved in an accident shall within 15 days after such accident report in writing to the division the facts required hereunder together with a statement of the circumstances if any person is injured or killed, or if damage to property is in excess of $1,000, unless the accident is investigated by a police officer, in which case a report filed by such officer shall satisfy the requirements of this section; provided, however, that any person not otherwise required by this paragraph to file a report, who owns a vehicle which was involved in an accident, may file a report as provided by this paragraph. Voluntary intoxication shall not constitute a defense in the matter of knowledge under the provisions of this section. All reports, filed as required in this paragraph, shall be in the form prescribed by the director and shall contain information to enable the division to determine whether the requirements for the deposit of security under RSA 264:3 are inapplicable by reason of the existence of insurance or other exceptions specified in that section. If such driver is physically or mentally incapable of making such report, the owner of the vehicle involved in such accident or the owner's representative shall, after learning of the accident, forthwith make such report. The driver or the owner shall furnish such additional relevant information as the division shall require. The provisions of this section shall be of general application and shall not be restricted to a way as defined in RSA 259.
II. No report required under paragraph I, nor any certificate issued by the director under the authority provided by this paragraph, may be used as evidence in any criminal trial arising out of a reported accident where the reporting party is a defendant except that:
(a) The director may use such report in connection with the director's duties under RSA 264:3.
(b) The director may furnish upon demand of any party to a trial, or upon demand of any court or law enforcement agency, a certificate showing that a specified report has or has not been filed with the director, and, if such report has been made, the date, time and location of the accident, the names and addresses of the drivers and owners of the vehicles involved and the investigating officers if known.
III. This section shall not prevent the prosecution of any charges brought under RSA 264:28 or RSA 264:29.

Source. 1911, 133:20. 1921, 119:19. 1925, 50:1. PL 102:17. 1931, 84:1. 1937, 161:5. 1939, 101:1. RL 118:19. 1949, 34:1; 249:1. 1951, 66:3. RSA 262:23. 1957, 144:1. 1963, 330:1. RSA 262-A:67. 1965, 207:4. 1967, 257:1. 1973, 211:1. 1977, 460:1. 1981, 146:1; 263:1, 2; 278:1, 3; 479:25. 1990, 81:1. 1997, 314:2, 3, eff. Jan. 1, 1998. 2017, 139:4, eff. June 16, 2017. 2018, 256:2, eff. Aug. 11, 2018.

Section 264:25-a

    264:25-a Expedited Clearance of Roadways at Accident Scenes. – Notwithstanding the requirements imposed by RSA 264:25, the driver of a vehicle who has been involved in an accident on the traveled portion of the roadway, shall move such vehicle from the traveled portion to an untraveled area if it is possible to move such vehicle without risk of further damage to property or injury to persons.

Source. 2004, 193:4, eff. Jan. 1, 2005.

Section 264:26

    264:26 Uniform Police Investigation Report of Accident. –
I. The commissioner shall prescribe for each police department and officer and other suitable agencies or individuals a uniform police investigation report of accident, in such form as the commissioner shall determine, which form shall be followed in filing all such reports.
II. In each reportable accident in which any person is killed or injured or in which damage to the property of any one individual, including the driver, is sustained, the police officer, agency, or individual who, in the regular course of duty, investigates such accident, either at the time of or at the scene of the accident or thereafter, by interviewing the participants or witnesses, shall, within 5 days after completing such investigation, complete and forward one copy of such report to the division. Such report shall call for, contain, and incorporate by reference all available detailed information to establish and to disclose the cause of the accident, the conditions then existing and the persons and vehicles involved including the names and addresses of all occupants of the vehicles involved, as well as the enforcement action taken. In each reportable accident in which a person is killed, the police officer, agency, or individual who, in the regular course of duty, investigates the accident shall provide written notice to the department of safety within 7 days of the accident. The notice shall include the information contained on the front page of the uniform police accident report and may be submitted electronically or by fax. This requirement shall not relieve the investigating agency or officer from the responsibility of filing the complete report as required by this paragraph.
III. A police officer ordering removal of a body under RSA 611-B:14, II shall include as part of the report required by this section a survey of the location report required under RSA 611-B:14, I.
IV. The department of safety investigation officer reviewing a report relative to an accident involving a motor vehicle fatality shall contact the victim's next of kin as to knowledge of the circumstances of the accident and shall include a statement concerning the results of such contact as a part of any written report made as a result of such review.

Source. RSA 262-A:67-a. 1967, 338:1. 1981, 146:1. 1983, 431:17. 1986, 130:2; 193:4. 1993, 239:1. 2007, 324:13, eff. Sept. 14, 2007. 2014, 243:1, eff. Sept. 19, 2014. 2017, 139:5, eff. June 16, 2017.

Section 264:27

    264:27 Statistical Information Based on Reports. – The department shall tabulate and analyze all such accident reports and shall publish annually, or at more frequent intervals, statistical information based thereon. Commensurate with the demand for service and the ability to comply, the department shall render statistical information service to all contributing agencies.

Source. RSA 262-A:67-b. 1967, 338:1. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:28

    264:28 False Reporting of Accidents. – Except as provided in RSA 264:29, a person is guilty of a misdemeanor if he knowingly gives or causes to be given false information to any law enforcement officer or to the department or its agents concerning an accident or alleged accident.

Source. RSA 262-A:67-c. 1977, 43:1. 1981, 146:1. 1983, 431:18, eff. Aug. 23, 1983.

Section 264:29

    264:29 Penalty. – Whoever fails to comply with the foregoing requirements relating to injury to property, or relating to the report to be made to the division, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor if a natural person, or guilty of a felony if any other person. Whoever fails to comply with the foregoing requirements when death or personal injury results, or whoever gives information required knowing or having reason to believe that such information is false, or fails to comply with any of the other requirements thereof shall be guilty of a class B felony.

Source. 1911, 133:20. 1921, 119:19. 1925, 50:1. PL 102:18. RL 118:20. 1951, 66:4. 1953, 144:1. RSA 262:25. 1963, 330:1. RSA 262-A:69. 1973, 529:50. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Conduct and Reporting After OHRV Accidents

Section 264:30

    264:30 Repealed by 1981, 538:11, XVI, eff. Jan. 1, 1982 at 12:02 a.m. –

Report of Injury to Dog or Cat

Section 264:31

    264:31 Report of Injury to Dog or Cat. – The driver of any vehicle who knowingly strikes a dog or cat and fails to report the incident to the dog's owner or custodian or the cat's owner or custodian or to a police officer as soon as possible, shall be guilty of a violation.

Source. RSA 262-A:5-a. 1977, 37:1. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982. 2021, 154:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2022.

Applicability of Chapter

Section 264:32

    264:32 Applicability of Requirement. – Any person who became subject to the laws of this state as they existed prior to May 1, 1951, having to do with financial responsibility for the ownership or driving of vehicles, shall continue to be subject to such laws, except that if it shall appear to the satisfaction of the director either from his own records or from extraneous information which shall be supplied to him in such form as he may require, that a person, who has become subject to the operation of such laws solely as a result of involvement in any accident, had in effect at the time of such accident a policy of insurance or other prescribed form of proof of financial responsibility for such accident, then and in that event such person may be relieved from the liability of furnishing past and future proof of responsibility for such accident.

Source. 1951, 66:6. RSA 262:44. 1963, 330:1. RSA 262-A:68. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 264:33

    264:33 Application of Chapter. – This chapter shall in no respect be considered as a repeal of the provisions of the motor vehicle laws but shall be construed as supplemental thereto. Its provisions shall not apply to a vehicle owned by, or under lease to, the federal government nor to a member of the national guard when engaged in military duty pursuant to orders from proper authority under existing state and federal laws, nor to a permanent, call, or volunteer fireman of a municipal fire department, nor to a city or town police officer, nor to a municipal public works or highway department employee while on official duty, nor to a state police employee or highway enforcement officer while on official duty, driving a vehicle owned by the state or said fire or police department or said municipality, and shall not apply to said vehicle while so driven.

Source. 1937, 161:26. 1939, 153:1; 163:1. RL 122:25. 1947, 118:1. RSA 268:26. 1981, 146:1. 1988, 288:8. 2005, 46:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2006.

Section 264:34

    264:34 Other Remedies Unaffected. – This chapter shall not be construed to prevent the plaintiff in any action at law from relying for security upon the other processes provided by law.

Source. 1937, 161:27. RL 122:26. RSA 268:27. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.