In an attempt to enhance safety and reduce accidents, the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) gathers data and provides statistics regarding Maine motor vehicle crashes. Most recently, the DOT reported that Maine experiences one fatal crash every 60 hours, and one personal injury crash ever 56 minutes. There have been over 30,000 traffic accidents, and many of these involve all-terrain vehicles (ATV).

ATVs are motorized off-road vehicles typically used for recreational purposes. There are many risks associated with these vehicles because of their design and limited restrictions on their operation. Although Maine prohibits children under ten years old from operating an ATV, they do permit children and teenagers over ten and under 16 years old to operate them if they complete a training course. Moreover, while typical driving under the influence statutes applies to ATV drivers, many times, riders engage in this unsafe behavior because there are not many law enforcement officials patrolling the areas where these vehicles are usually driven.

There are several leading causes of severe and fatal ATV accidents in Maine. For example, accidents may arise when a driver uses an ATV on a paved surface, as these vehicles are designed for off-road use and not pavement. Further, most ATVs are single-rider vehicles, and an additional passenger can throw off the vehicle’s balance. Also, many times, accidents result because drivers lack training and supervision. Drivers who unsafely operate an ATV can cause substantial injuries to themselves, bystanders, and other drivers.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducts research, compiles records, and provides the public with data regarding relevant health and safety issues. One important health and safety issue that the CDC reports on is the rate and circumstances surrounding drunk driving accidents in Maine. Impaired driving is one of the most harrowing traffic risks in the United States, resulting in thousands of deaths every year. According to the most recent data, more than 15,000 people nationwide have received impaired driving charges, and over 100 people die every year in Maine because of an impaired driver.

For example, recently, a Maine couple died after a drunk driver collided with them when they were on their way to pick-up their young daughter from a play date. According to a recent report, state police were in the process of responding to calls reporting an erratic driver when they received notice that there was a two-vehicle crash. Emergency officials said that the erratic SUV driver crossed a double-yellow line and collided with the couple. The couple died upon impact, and police believe that the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol and speeding.

In response to the rising rate of Maine drunk driving accidents, such as the one above, Maine lawmakers have employed various strategies to reduce and prevent impaired driving. Some policies include implementing zero-tolerance laws when people under 21 drive with any alcohol in their system. Further, Maine permits police officials to engage in sobriety checks. Police can stop drivers in visible locations and conduct breath tests if they have reason to suspect that the driver is under the influence. Moreover, courts may require that convicted impaired drivers equip their vehicles with ignition interlock systems. Also, Maine has promoted community coalitions, media campaigns, interventions, and school programs to thwart the rising rate of drunk driving accidents.

One woman was killed and another seriously injured when two vehicles were involved in a Maine car accident near St. Albans. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the collision occurred on Palmyra Road at a time when there were wet road conditions. It is unclear if it was actively raining at the time of the crash. Evidently, a 20-year-old woman driving a 2002 Toyota Camry was traveling southbound on Palmyra Road when she inexplicably drifted across the center median into oncoming traffic. As the Camry crossed into traffic, it collided head-on with a Toyota Corolla being driven by a 65-year-old woman.

The older woman was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, and the younger driver was seriously injured, including a broken leg. Neither vehicle contained any passengers. Authorities attribute the crash to the wet road conditions, as well as the fact that they believe the driver of the Camry was speeding at the time of the accident. According to the police, both of these factors contributed to her losing control of the vehicle. An investigation is still underway to determine if criminal charges will be brought against the Corolla’s driver.

Maine Wrongful Death Claims

Historically, the doctrine of sovereign immunity barred private citizens from filing lawsuits against tortious government employees and entities. In response to the inherent unfairness of this broad prohibition, legislators enacted the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA (the “Act”) provides Maine citizens a mechanism to sue federal government employees for tortious acts in federal courts. However, the Maine Tort Claim Act (MTCA) is more restrictive and only allows private citizens to sue local and state government entities officials under very particular circumstances.

The MTCA allows injury victims to file lawsuits against Maine government employees and entities in four main situations. First, when the claim for bodily injury or property damage is based on the government’s negligent ownership or maintenance of vehicles, machinery, and equipment. This includes injuries that occur while the government employee is using a car, special mobile equipment, trailers, aircraft, watercraft, and other similar vehicles. Second, the government may face liability when the injury occurs at a public building. Public buildings typically include libraries, police stations, and public schools. However, there are exceptions, and the government is not liable for claims involving injuries from the construction, ownership, or maintenance of historical sites, land buildings, unimproved land, land used for recreation, and dams. Finally, the government may be liable for injuries resulting from the discharge of pollutants and road construction, cleaning, or repair.

Maine accident victims who sustain injuries on federal property may have other avenues for relief based on the FTCA. The FTCA permits injury victims to file a lawsuit in federal court based on injuries that occurred on federal property or by a federal government actor. For example, if an individual suffers injuries at one of the four national parks in Maine, they may be able to file a negligence lawsuit based on the FTCA. However, there are 13 exceptions to the waiver of immunity under the FTCA. The most frequent exception that the government will utilize is the discretionary function exception. This exception bars lawsuits against the government that are based on a government actor’s exercise or failure to perform a discretionary function or duty. Courts will examine two main factors when determining whether the government can employ this exception. First, they must decide if the government employee’s actions involved a judgment or choice. If they determine that an element of choice exists, they will then look to public policy considerations and whether the FTCA was designed to bar this type of lawsuit.

Earlier this month, a Maine car accident in Lisbon sent five to the hospital, three of whom remained hospitalized for more than 24 hours with critical injuries. According to a local news report covering the accident, the two vehicles, a Subaru and a Chrysler, were headed in opposite directions on Route 196, also known as Lisbon Road, early in the afternoon. For unknown reasons, the Subaru crossed into the opposite lane of traffic and collided with the Chrysler. The crash was so severe that Route 196 was closed for two and a half hours afterward, and police are still investigating exactly what happened.

All five people involved—an older couple in the Chrysler and a young couple with an infant in the Subaru—were taken to the hospital after the crash. Unfortunately, the passengers of both cars, a 71-year-old woman and a 29-year-olf woman, remained in critical condition more than 24 hours later. The latter suffered very severe upper-body injuries and had to be taken to the Intensive Care Unit. The driver of the Subaru, presumed to be at-fault, also suffered severe injuries.

When an accident occurs as a result of a driver’s mistake, Maine law allows the victims to hold the at-fault party responsible, usually through a negligence action. Under Maine personal injury law, all drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care on the road, to avoid injuring others. If they breach that duty, a plaintiff injured by their actions – whether it be intoxicated driving, distracted driving, or reckless driving—may be able to hold them liable.

In a recent opinion, a state appellate court ruled in favor of an injury victim in a Maine premises liability lawsuit. The lawsuit originated after a woman fell and sustained injuries in a locker room after attending water therapy. According to the court’s opinion, after her water therapy session, the plaintiff needed to use a bench to change out of her swimsuit. The only bench in the locker room was unavailable because it was covered with a large floor mat, so she attempted to use a handicapped-accessible seat in a shower stall. However, she slipped and fell while walking to the stall and suffered injuries.

A little over three years later, the woman filed a premises liability lawsuit against the facility. However, the facility moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the claim should be based on medical malpractice and not premises liability. Specifically, the defendant claimed that the plaintiff’s claim should be dismissed because it was not timely under the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits.

The statute of limitations prescribes a period that a claimant can file a lawsuit after they suffer injuries or damages. Typically, when a claimant misses the time set by the statute of limitations, the defendant can move to dismiss the claim based on timeliness. Generally, the statute of limitations begins when the injury occurs or when the plaintiff discovers the harm.

When a person slips and falls or otherwise injures themselves on another’s property, it is crucial that they understand their rights and potential remedies. There are many procedural and evidentiary rules that Maine injury victims must follow to ensure that their case is heard by a judge or jury. For example, threshold requirements include ensuring that a case complies with the statute of limitations and that proper notice is provided to all defendants. However, additional challenges may arise when the plaintiff and defendant have a landlord-tenant relationship.

Maine personal injury lawsuits require that the plaintiff prove the defendant was negligent to collect damages for their injuries. In situations where the plaintiff suffers injuries at their apartment complex or a rental unit, the responsible party is often their landlord. Maine tenants must gather all proof that establishes that their landlord was aware of the dangerous condition and that the landlord either did not rectify the hazard or directly caused the unsafe condition.

Typically, slip and fall lawsuits stemming from injuries at an apartment complex are a result of falls in a public or communal area. Public areas include areas such as playgrounds, pools, parking lots, sidewalks and stairwells. Some common examples of landlord negligence are when they cause safety risks by failing to maintain the property, if they do not have appropriate safety measures such as proper lighting in public areas, and if they do not act to correct the unlawful behavior of other tenants. In many cases, landlords will try to preempt liability by including a clause in the lease that waives their responsibility to keep or maintain common areas. In these cases, it is crucial to retain an experienced Maine premises liability lawyer to evaluate your situation.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 4.7 million dog bites occur annually in the United States. Of the 4.7 million, 800,000 bites require medical care. Maine dog bite victims may be able to recover compensation for their injuries under the state’s dog bite statute. While some dog bites require little treatment, many bites result in severe injuries. People may require hospitalization related to dog bites because of infections, wound repair, and bone fractures. Dog bites often cause long-term and debilitating injuries that require costly and time-consuming treatment.

Generally, Maine dog bite victims can claim damages and receive compensation for dog bites based on Maine’s strict liability, negligence, negligence per se, or intentional tort laws. Victims must file personal injury lawsuits based on dog bites no later than six years after the injury.

Maine is a strict liability state. Generally, strict liability means that the victim does not need to prove that the owner engaged in any negligent behavior. However, there are some nuances to Maine’s strict liability laws.

Maine premises liability accidents can have severe and long-lasting repercussions. According to recent data collected and analyzed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), falls account for almost 29 percent of non-fatal injuries in the United States. Many times, these falls can be prevented if property owners take the appropriate steps to ensure their property is safe for visitors and guests. When a person falls due to the negligence of a property owner, the owner may be held liable for negligence.

Under Maine’s premises liability statute, property owners, lessees, and others with control of property owe a duty of care to those who lawfully enter their land. These owners must exhibit reasonable care to keep their land free of dangers. If a person is injured as a result of a defect or hazard on a floor of a business, they must establish that the property owner knew, should have known about, or caused the dangerous condition.

Maine premises liability lawsuits arise from many types of accidents; however, the most common accidents are slip and falls. Typically, a slip and fall occurs from inadequate lighting, broken or missing hand or safety rails, holes or divots in the ground, or spills. In these cases, an injured person may seek damages from the property owner. The victim may be able to recover for losses they sustained related to things such as medical expenses and pain and suffering.

The Bureau of Highway Safety and the Maine Department of Transportation periodically release Maine crash data. These reports indicate that the leading causes of Maine accidents are distracted and inattentive driving, lane departures, speeding, and impaired driving. Many people believe that impaired driving is only a result of alcohol or illicit drug use; however, impaired driving also includes those driving while under the influence of a prescription medication that was prescribed to treat an underlying medical condition. It can also include those who drive while suffering from certain medical conditions.

Some medical conditions make it unsafe for an individual to drive a vehicle. People who know or should know that their medical condition can cause driving impairment should take appropriate precautions before operating a motor vehicle. In some instances, driving may not be safe at all. Certain medical conditions may predispose a person to engage in unsafe driving. For example, seizure disorders, sleep disorders, limited eyesight, and other conditions that require medication may limit a driver’s ability to drive safely.

If a driver’s health condition is the cause of an accident, they may be liable for any injuries caused by the accident. Establishing liability in typical impaired or drunk driving accidents may be straightforward; however, accidents resulting from medical conditions can be more complicated. Drivers owe others a standard of care to operate their motor vehicle safely. If a driver knows or should know that their medical condition or medication can cause impaired driving, they should not risk the safety of others by driving. If they fail to take the appropriate precautions and cause an accident, they may face liability.