The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has remanded for further consideration a case in which a wife sued her husband for damages caused by his negligent operation of a motorcycle on which she was a passenger. motorcycle3

Although it often seems unthinkable outside of family court that spouses might sue one another, this case shows how most of the time, these claims are not personal. In the vast majority of situations in which relatives or friends are on opposites sides in civil litigation, it’s not the individual from whom they are trying to collect. Rather, it is the insurance company.

Here, plaintiff sought payment of medical bills and other expenses from the motorcycle insurance policy carried by her husband. But here in Maine, it is not possible to sue the insurance company for liability in an accident (except for when the insurer acts in bad faith). Instead, one must file a lawsuit against the insured. Continue reading

A high school in Rockport, about an hour north of Portland, has canceled the rest of the school’s football season – and next year’s too – amid “serious safety concerns” attributed to a reduced number of players. highschoolfootball

Players, speaking recently to The Boston Globe, are bitterly disappointed. They argue even if they suffered major losses on the field, they shouldn’t be denied the opportunity to play. But school administrators say it wasn’t the scoreboard that concerned them. Rather, it was the risk of injury to players.

The superintendent in an open letter explained several team members had sustained injuries early on in the season, and two of those incidents led to trips to the emergency room. She also said a number of players were afraid to go on the field, though they would not admit so publicly. The number of players had dwindled substantially in recent years, and the school says that meant players were young and inexperienced and often going up against bigger, stronger, older players. Continue reading

If the tractor-trailer was going to overturn anywhere, perhaps it’s best that it occurred in a desolate parking lot early in the morning. However, the accident did injure the driver, who reportedly fell asleep behind the wheel, and came perilously close to injuring two people asleep inside a motor home parked at the edge of the lot. whitesemis

According to state police, the crash happened at a northbound service plaza in Kennebunk, just off the Maine Turnpike. The large truck, which was hauling tons of crushed glass, allegedly spun out-of-control in the lot shortly after 7:30 a.m. The vehicle struck a sign, slammed into two light posts and then overturned on its side. Broken glass was strewn everywhere, as the box trailer was split wide open.

The wreckage came within inches of a motor home that was parked. The two occupants were not hurt, but they were extremely lucky. The vehicle that was being towed by the motor home did sustain minor damage, but the pair was able to drive away later that morning with no issue. Continue reading

An 18-weeks pregnant woman who worked in a Maine psychiatric center was violently attacked with a pen by a mentally ill patient with a history of violence. pen

Worker suffered severe pain and disfigurement, was forced to undergo surgery to remove part of the pen from her right hand and now suffers chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.

Typically, injuries like these are covered under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. Workers’ compensation is a form of no-fault benefits provided to injured workers (or families of those killed) when that injury or death occurred in the course and scope of employment. Workers’ compensation benefits come with a provision of exclusive remedy, meaning injured workers don’t have the right to sue their employer, but their medical expenses and a portion of lost wages are available. Compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress and punitive damages are not paid by workers’ compensation. So what this plaintiff wants to do is make the state – not the private psychiatric center – liable for the injuries she suffered at work. Continue reading

The father of a 21-month-old boy says their child died in a Portland hospital after falling ill a week after a visit to the Oxford County Fair. The child was diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, which is a disease born of E. coli, a bacteria that’s typically found in the intestines of both humans and animals. pettingzoo

After learning of another toddler who is in critical condition with the same condition after visiting the same petting zoo, the deceased boy’s father said he is convinced his child picked up the illness at the petting zoo. He told the Boston Globe he and the other family compared notes on everything they ate, places they went, cleanliness practices. He said the two children didn’t know each other and had never met.

“But we both went to the petting zoo,” he told a reporter.

The other child, 17 months, remains hospitalized. Continue reading

The 23-year-old man was allegedly driving so drunk, his blood-alcohol level was 0.21 – nearly three times the legal limit for a driver of legal drinking age – when he crashed his vehicle, killing one of his passengers and critically injuring another.booze

That crash occurred on Annis Road in Bangor in June. Now, the driver has been indicted on charges of manslaughter and aggravated operating under the influence.

The decedent was a 20-year-old from Hermon. Another 20-year-old, a female also from Hermon, was seriously injured in the single-vehicle crash, as was defendant driver. At defendant’s first court appearance in late July, defendant’s bail was set at $20,000 cash. He was released later that day after that bail was posted. Now, he faces up to 40 years in prison on all charges, plus fines of up to $70,000. He may also lose his license for six years. The terms and conditions of the bail require he have no contact with any of the witnesses or victims, and he’s also not allowed to consume alcohol or drugs for which he does not have a prescription. He must undergo drug testing and abide by an 8 p.m. curfew.

However, none of that brings back the life of the man lost. None of that helps the surviving victim recover from her injuries. Continue reading

A series of massive rainstorms over Maine recently set a daily rainfall record in Portland, with nearly 6 inches of water. In nearby Searsport, the precipitation reached almost 10 inches a day. rainyday

The storms made headlines as they caused flooding throughout the state, cut off roadway access and in some cases, reached as high as the windows of passing vehicles.

This kind of weather, which is treacherous to anyone caught driving, may seem an anomaly. However, as the Bangor Daily News reported, these kind of “extreme” rain and snow storms are likely here to stay. That assertion is according to a 2012 study that revealed the frequency of these “extreme” events has increased dramatically. What used to happen once year is now happening two or three times, a 74 percent increase. As one meteorologist put it: The severe storms our grandparents experienced once a year when they were young are now happening every six- to- seven months. Continue reading

The driver was a 33-year-old mother-of-two from Dayton with a bad traffic history and a few criminal charges on her record. The front seat passenger was a 45-year-old carpenter and father-of-four. The back seat passenger was a 20-year-old who liked hanging out at local skate parks and doing tricks on his BMX bike. deadend

It’s not clear what they were all out doing together at 11 p.m. the night they all died in a crash on Gould Road in Dayton, about a half hour southwest of Portland. Family members would later say they had never heard of the others involved. Investigators did learn they were all Facebook friends, but it’s still not apparent what their connection was or why they were out together.

What they do know is this: Not one of them had a valid driver’s license. All were suspended. What’s more, someone in the car was drinking. Troopers who responded to the scene could smell it. However, it’s unclear at this point whether the driver was impaired, and investigators won’t know for sure until the toxicology reports come back. That’s when they’ll be able to say whether alcohol played a role in the crash, too. Investigators have also surmised the driver was speeding, as evidenced by the fact she was not able to safely negotiate the turn, which she should have been able to do had she been traveling the speed limit, which is 45 mph. Continue reading

A 79-year-old man from North Carolina was driving his Buick along a section of Maine highway commonly referred to as “The Bluffs,” which overlooks the Frenchman Bay. It’s a stunning view, and the driver pulled onto the shoulder around 1 p.m. to take a look. His 73-year-old wife stayed in her seat while he exited his vehicle, which was fully off the roadway. accident2

A 2007 box truck, driven by a 41-year-old Bangor man, seated next to an 18-year-old passenger, came barreling down the road, veered across an oncoming lane of traffic and went off the side of the road as it headed east toward Bar Harbor.  The truck crashed into the Buick and struck the man who had stopped to site see. He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

His wife too suffered serious injuries, but they are not believed to be life-threatening. The truck driver was not seriously hurt. His young passenger was not injured. Continue reading

A new report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests adults in Maine are drinking far more than in years past. beerhand12

Per capita consumption of alcohol among those over the age of 21 has risen since the late 1990s. In fact, according to an analysis of the data by The Bangor Daily News, consumption of alcohol has increased to levels not since since the 1970s.

Maine-based purchases of alcohol show a steady increase of alcohol consumption in the form of beer and spirits. However, wine consumption has remained relatively flat in recent years. From 2012 to 2013, there was a 1.7 percent increase in per capita consumption of alcohol. This was on par with the national increase of 1.5 percent. The data also shows Mainers prefer beer to anything else. Continue reading