An apparent lack of communication between health care providers proved nearly fatal for a Maine man, to whom a jury recently awarded $1.785 million in a medical malpractice claim.doctor7

The patient, 71, and his wife, 63, from Millinocket, alleged harm to his health could have been prevented had health care workers acted according to professional industry standards – which is the proof burden required in these cases. The couple sought between $3 million and $3.7 million in damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress and permanent damage to patient’s heart resulting from a months-long delay in treatment in 2010 for a strep infection. In the eight months between when the patient was first seen and when he had to undergo emergency open heart surgery, the infection caused severe damage to the valves in his heart.

The civil trial was heard in the Penobscot Judicial Center before a Superior Court justice.  Continue reading

A certified nursing assistant who said she was fired from a Maine nursing home when she spoke up about reduced staffing levels that jeopardized patients’ safety is getting another shot at her lawsuit. ward1

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court, in its recent ruling of Cormier v. Genesis Healthcare LLC, found a reasonable jury could conclude the adverse employment action was substantially motivated by retaliatory intent. That means the case should not have been decided by summary judgment from a judge, but rather, it should have had the chance to go to trial before a jury.

Now, with the case remanded, plaintiff will have that chance.  Continue reading

Maine has been battered in recent weeks by heavy snow, angry winds exceeding 30 mph and bitter, frigid cold dipping close to 0 degrees. snowyhighway

These kinds of conditions aren’t new in the northeastern U.S., but for some reason, many people seem to drive like they’ve never encountered it. Motorists often travel entirely too fast for the conditions, don’t give themselves enough time to get where they are going and pull aggressive maneuvers on roads that are slick and treacherous to begin with.

On a recent weekend where snowfall topped 7 inches in some parts of Maine, numerous traffic accidents were reported throughout the state. All of these were attributed by officials to slippery conditions. It got so bad at one point that state officials reduced speed limits along the Maine Turnpike down to 45 mph.  Continue reading

It was five years ago that a high school cheerleader in Maine suffered a horrifying head injury during a “basket toss” stunt, in which she fell some 20 feet after being thrown in the air by her teammates at practice. cheerleading

In a lawsuit she filed three years ago, the former Poland Regional High School student described the aftermath of her concussion, which involved dizziness, sensitivity to light, awful headaches, long sleeping stretches and difficulty concentrating that resulted in slipping grades. The lawsuit alleged the school didn’t properly supervised the practice, failed to halt the practice once the student athlete was injured, didn’t observe her injury or provide prompt medical attention and violated a host of industry rules and standards as well as Maine law.

Now, according to a recent report published in the journal Pediatrics, we know these injuries aren’t all that uncommon among cheerleaders. There are approximately 400,000 students nationally participating in high school cheerleading. Of those, about 124,000 are in competitive “spirit squads.” These squads demand discipline, skill and increasing athletic ability, and that has meant the risk of injury has risen.  Continue reading

A man driving a car on a rural road in Waterville was reportedly blinded by bright sun when he rear-ended a horse-drawn hayride recently, injuring seven people – one critically. sunglare

According to the Bangor Daily News, the collision happened on Christmas Day when the operators, S&S Carriage Rides, were offering rides to volunteers and guests of the Waterville Elks Lodge.

The force of impact was such that a 56-year-old woman was knocked off the back of the wagon and onto the road, where she was then run over by the car. The seat in which the 42-year-old wagon operator was sitting was broken, though the horses were not hurt. The 73-year-old car driver wasn’t hurt. Seven people in total were taken to the hospital, though the 56-year-old woman had to be flown by helicopter to a health care facility in Portland.  Continue reading

When serious or fatal injuries are caused by another person’s negligence, the victim and/or surviving family have a right to pursue compensation for their losses. However, when the injuries sustained are the result of an intentional act, collecting becomes a more complicated matter. The reason is that while victims are still entitled to damages insurance companies often have policy exclusions for intentional criminal acts resulting in injury or death. That often leaves a plaintiff’s only recourse collection directly from the wrongdoer. group

In many instances, that individual lacks the resources and assets to adequately compensate the victim(s). That doesn’t necessarily mean it is not worth it to pursue such a case, but the viability must be carefully weighed.

Recently, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court considered a lawsuit against a homeowners’ insurance company brought by the family of a man killed by another on property belonging to attacker’s grandmother. In Metro Prop. & Cas. Inc. Co. v. Estate of Benson, the court was asked to consider whether insurer could be liable for wrongful death despite its intentional tort exclusion in the policy. Continue reading

The Bangor Daily News recently reported the arrest of a 22-year-old man on a charge of elevated aggravated assault after he allegedly intentionally struck a Bath Iron Works employee who was walking to his job. driver1

It was a Wednesday morning, and the victim would later say the driver made some offensive comment to him just before he barreled into him with his vehicle. The force of impact caused victim to be propelled over the hood and windshield of the car before rolling over the roof and falling hard off the rear. The driver then reportedly fled the scene. Victim, despite serious injuries, managed to walk the rest of the way to work, where the incident was reported and he was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Authorities searched for the vehicle based on victim’s description, and later found the car in a wooded area owned by suspect’s family. Suspect was inside the resident and later arrested. At the time of the incident, he was out on bail for a previous DUI arrest. Continue reading

Only six states in the U.S. have laws that require seat belt installation on school buses. Maine isn’t among them. That should change, according to Mark R. Rosekind, National Highway Traffic Safety administrator. schoolbus2

In a recent keynote speech to a group of school transportation officials in Virginia, Rosekind announced the NHTSA would putting more resources toward researching the effectiveness of seat belts on school buses. He further committed his agency to pursuing mandates requiring every school bus in the country to have three-point seat belt systems installed for children.

However, he didn’t indicate the NHTSA would be initiating the rule-making process, which is necessary to enact a mandatory rule. The aforementioned study will focus on school bus seat belt safety in Florida, California, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey and Texas. These are the states that have required schools to have seat belts installed on all vehicles responsible for transporting children. Continue reading

A police officer wading into a rowdy college crowd in Orono to arrest unruly guests fell and broke his ankle. As this incident occurred while he was working, he’s almost certainly entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, that only covers part of his expenses, and he has since filed a premises liability lawsuit against the apartment complex where he fell. nightparty

In Angelo v. Campus Crest at Orono LLC, the Old Town police officer alleges the management company that operates The Grove apartment complex – the largest off campus living quarters near The University of Maine – was negligent in failing to maintain the property in safe condition. The party to which he responded from outside his jurisdiction was huge, with an estimated 400 people – mostly students – in attendance. Many were drinking alcohol, despite being underage.

Apartment complex managers may not be responsible for every gathering at their location, but the issue here was the fact this was a regular occurrence on this site. The complex opened in 2012, and there was a similar large party that took place there at that time. There was another large party there the following year, just after school started. In this instance, students again amassed on the site the first weekend after classes started. Continue reading

The issue of comparative fault in Maine personal injury lawsuits is a significant one because, depending on the degree of it, an injured person’s right to collect damages may be significantly reduced or eliminated entirely. treestump

Maine Revised Statute Titel 14 Part 1 Chapter 7 Section 156 covers “comparative negligence.” The law states that when a person suffers death or damages that are party the result of that person’s own fault, the claim isn’t barred entirely, but the amount of damages recoverable are to be reduced to such an extent the jury believes equitable, accounting for claimant’s share of responsibility. So if a plaintiff wins $100,000 in damages but is deemed to be 25 percent comparatively negligent, he or she will only collect $75,000 from defendant.

If a plaintiff is determined to be equally or more at-fault for his or her injuries, plaintiff cannot recovery any damages. Continue reading