A major police group in Maine has released a statement saying law enforcement would be unduly burdened – and not at all prepared – by legalized recreational marijuana in Maine.

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Representatives of the Maine Association of Chiefs of Police said during a recent press conference that legalized marijuana in Maine is going to pose an array of problems that would result. One of the primary areas of concern is how it will affect the safety of the roads.

The group plans to launch a statewide campaign to oppose Question 1, the November ballot issue that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21. If the measure is approved, those of age would be allowed to have in their possession up to 2.5 ounces of the drug, as well as up to six flowering plants. Sales of marijuana at stores and social clubs with proper license (from the state) and approval (from the municipality) would pay a sales tax of 10 percent.  Continue reading

Authorities say two people were injured in a Maine car accident that occurred in Harpswell while the pair were engaged in a heated argument with each other. driving01

The Portland Press reported first responders were called to the 1300 block of Harpswell Neck Road on a recent Thursday evening, where they found a Nissan car that had veered off the road and struck a tree. The vehicle was totaled. The driver, a 26-year-old man from Milton, Mass., was reportedly fighting with his 20-year-old girlfriend/passenger, from Brunswick, as he traveled at a high rate of speed. Investigators say he suffered serious leg injuries and was transported to Maine Medical Center in Portland. His passenger, who suffered minor injuries, was transported to Brunswick’s Mid Coast Hospital, where she was treated and released.

The incident serves as a reminder of one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving: Arguing with your passenger. Some research suggests this practice is even more dangerous than talking on the phone or possibly even texting. As the Washington Post recently reported on federal data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, passengers pose a greater risk of distraction than cell phones. Conversations with passengers were reportedly responsible for 57 percent of distracted driving accidents, while phone use only accounted for 12 percent.  Continue reading

Globally, we have become reliant on social media platforms. They are a source of fulfillment on many fronts, keeping us connected, informed and entertained. But they are increasingly being used for another purpose: Evidence. iphone6

This is true of course for law enforcement, combing for evidence of threats or probation violations or gang activity. However, they are also used in personal injury lawsuits, which is why it has become more and more prevalent to our practice.

On one hand, social media can be a benefit. For example, let’s say an at-fault truck driver was believed to have been playing around on Snapchat, got distracted and caused the crash. That digital evidence can be used to our client’s advantage to prove not only negligence, but perhaps gross negligence warranting punitive damages. On the other hand, social media has become something of a burden as well because defendants – particularly insurance companies – comb these platforms for any evidence that might help them dispute causation or the extent of damages.  Continue reading

A woman from York County, Maine is suing a beef manufacturer headquartered in New Hampshire following an outbreak of E. coli that made her 9-year-old son so sick he had to be hospitalized. groundbeef

According to a report from SeaCoastOnline.com, plaintiff purchased the meat at a store in Kittery, and she prepared it for her son one day in June. Within five days, the boy began to experience a severe reaction that included vomiting, fever and diarrhea. These are typical symptoms of the food poisoning caused by an E. coli infection. The boy was rushed to a local hospital in York before being transferred for more intensive treatment at the Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts.

The boy was one of more than a dozen people sickened by the outbreak tied to this particular farm, with other cases cropping up across Maine, as well as in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. It was ultimately the U.S.D.A.’s Food Safety Inspection Service, alongside the Department of Health in New Hampshire, that traced the outbreak not just to this one farm but to a specific slaughter date. This prompted the farm to recall some 8,800 pounds of raw beef products that were deemed potentially contaminated.  Continue reading

In most situations wherein someone’s injury or death is caused by the negligence of another, a civil lawsuit may be in order. However, if the injured party was working or acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident, the case could become more complicated. truckoverbridge

Workers’ compensation laws in Maine contain something known as an exclusive remedy provision. This means that the only remedy one has against his or her own employer for work-related accidents, injuries and illnesses is workers’ compensation, which typically covers medical bills and a portion of lost wages, but nothing else. There can sometimes be grounds for a third-party lawsuit against others aside from the employer. There are also situations in which entities wrongly label themselves as “employers” when in fact they are not, in which case litigation is still appropriate.

These are matters that must be handled by an experienced Portland injury lawyer.  Continue reading

Maine requires all drivers to purchase uninsured/ underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, and it often comes into play in many car accident lawsuits. The minimum limits of UM/UIM coverage are $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident. Typically, it’s a good idea if you can afford it to purchase more than that, as a serious auto accident can result in damages that far exceed that amount. cardriving

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can apply if you are:

  • Injured in a crash caused by a driver with no car insurance;
  • Injured as a pedestrian bicyclist or skateboarder struck by a vehicle;
  • Injured in a hit-and-run accident or in a situation where a “phantom vehicle” enters your lane and causes you to veer off the road;
  • Injured as a passenger in a motor vehicle;
  • Injured in a crash caused by a driver whose bodily injury liability limits are lower than the limits of your UIM coverage.

Continue reading

Police say a Bangor pedestrian accident that resulted in injuries may have been intentional. What will that mean as far as auto insurance coverage for the injured? crosswalk2

According to The Bangor Daily News, a woman from Brewer may have intentionally rammed her car into a pedestrian who was playing the now-popular Pokemon Go game near the U.S. Post Office downtown – a so-called “Pokestop” – on a recent Sunday night.

Witnesses say a 37-year-old man from Bangor was injured while in the Franklin and Hammond Street crosswalk. Authorities allege a 36-year-old woman struck the man and then took off. The victim was reportedly playing the game on his phone with a group of friends just before he was struck by the woman in the vehicle.  Continue reading

State police report a woman in Dayton, Maine fell asleep at the wheel while driving along state Route 35. The driver was reportedly operating a Nissan Versa when she dozed off, striking a Toyota driven by a 65-year-old woman from East Waterboro. A 62-year-old passenger in the Toyota suffered personal injuries. driving5

All three individuals were buckled up according to state law, which police officials say most likely saved the lives of those involved.

This incident once again underscores the dangers of driving drowsy, something Maine legislators have thus far been unable to criminalize, despite several attempts.  Continue reading

Property owners owe a duty to guests to ensure they are not confronted with unreasonable risks and hazards that may jeopardize their safety. Depending on the role of the guest (i.e., a social visitor, a business invitee or a trespasser), the duty of care owed by the property owner will vary.stairs

Recently, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court – the highest in the state – handed down a ruling on a premises liability lawsuit that underscores the importance of expert witness testimony in some of these cases.

The case of Estate of Smith v. Salvesen is a tragic one. Plaintiff and his wife were in town as guests at a reception held at a local college for which they were benefactors. The pair stayed at a local inn. They were told their suite was on the second floor, but they did not realize it was actually a two-story suit, equipped with stairs in the bedroom that led to the lower level. Continue reading

As The Bangor Daily News recently reported, many local social service agencies actively promote awareness of the risk and prevention of elderly falls. wheelchair1

The National Council on Aging estimates that one in every three Americans over the age of 65 fall every single year, and a substantial number of those suffer serious injury, hospitalization and death. This is not only a problem for those in nursing homes, of course, but when it does occur in nursing homes, it can be a potential sign of neglect or abuse.

Falls in nursing homes are not supposed to happen and they can be a sign of neglect caused by under-staffing, poor training or failure to implement and follow proper patient safety guidelines. Nursing homes can and should be held liable when this happens.  Continue reading