New Year’s Eve is known as one of the most dangerous times to be on the road. Motorists who aren’t usually out on the road find themselves driving back from late-night celebrations. Adding to the risks is the fact that a much higher rate of drivers than normal are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And while drivers must take special care when navigating the roads over any holiday weekend, this is especially the case when New Year’s Eve falls on a weekend as it did this year.

According to a local news report, one person was killed and another seriously injured in a head-on accident that occurred on New Year’s Eve. Evidently, a 39-year-old man was driving southbound near the Route 129/Route 130 split in Lincoln County. At some point, the driver crossed over the middle line, crashing into an oncoming motorist’s vehicle.

The driver of the struck vehicle, who was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, suffered fatal injuries in the collision. The at-fault driver was wearing a seatbelt and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. There was also a young child in that vehicle, who was secured in a car seat. The child suffered minor injuries but is expected to make a full recovery.

As with any holiday, accidents are more frequent when Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are taking place. In fact, behind Halloween, New Year’s Eve is often the most dangerous day of the year for drivers and pedestrians alike. Sometimes, however, traveling during the holidays is inevitable, whether it happens by foot or by car. Thus, Maine pedestrians and drivers alike should exercise caution this holiday, so that they can celebrate the end of 2021 and welcome 2022 safely.

According to a recent local news report, a woman was struck by a car while on a walk. Local authorities reported that the woman was walking against traffic with her six-year-old son when she was hit by a Subaru. Although the woman’s son was not hit or injured by the car, the woman was transported to a local hospital, where she later died. The driver of the Subaru was also taken to a separate hospital and treated for minor injuries. An investigation into the details of the accident is ongoing.

In 2019 alone, 6,205 pedestrians died from pedestrian accidents, and a pedestrian was killed every 85 minutes in traffic crashes. To best protect yourself and your loved ones while walking, these tips below will help you stay proactive about safety while celebrating the season.

Pedestrians have the right to use the state’s public walkways to travel and cross the road safely. However, every year thousands of Maine pedestrians suffer injuries because of negligent drivers. According to recent data by the Governors Highway Safety Association, Maine has experienced a rise in pedestrian fatalities. The rate of pedestrian deaths in the state tripled between 2018 and 2019.

Recently, a local news source reported on a Maine accident involving a pedestrian. According to the police, the investigation is in its initial phase. However, the incident occurred around 5:30 p.m. near Bangor, Maine. The pedestrian suffered serious injuries, and emergency responders rushed the pedestrian to a local hospital for treatment.

The inherent lack of protection between pedestrians and vehicles naturally makes these accidents and subsequent injuries more devastating than two-vehicle crashes. Many victims experience:

During this time of year, everything feels a little more chaotic and busy because of the holidays. As people rush to finish their holiday shopping and preparations for hosting or seeing friends and family, Maine roads and sidewalks are more congested than ever. With this in mind, it is crucial that drivers and pedestrians alike remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings both to maintain personal safety, but also the safety of others.

According to a recent local news report, a Maine pedestrian died after being struck by a pickup truck. Local authorities reported that the woman was pronounced dead on the scene and that the driver of the pickup truck has been identified and is cooperating with the process. Police have declined to release any additional details surrounding the crash as the accident remains under investigation.

Maine, unfortunately, is no stranger to similar pedestrian deaths and related accidents. Between 2016 and 2020, there were 1,324 total pedestrian highway crashes in Maine. More than 90 percent of these crashes resulted in injuries, with the remaining 10 percent resulting in fatalities or property damage only.

In Maine, operating under the influence (OUI) refers to drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 30 people die in drunk driving accidents every day. These preventable deaths take a toll on victims, their families, and the community as a whole. Those who have suffered injuries or whose loved ones died because of a drunk, or impaired driver may be able to recover compensation for their damages.

Alcohol reduces brain function, including a person’s ability to effectively reason, think, and control their muscles. These abilities are critical to operating a vehicle safely, and any impairment can have disastrous consequences. An increase in a person’s alcohol level simultaneously negatively affects their central nervous system functioning. Even a tiny amount of alcohol can affect a person’s driving ability. Further, interactions between alcohol and other substances can increase impairment and the likelihood of an accident.

For instance, local news reports provided details regarding a multi-vehicle crash in Maine. According to Deputies, an SUV driver veered into the center line and slammed into a dump truck, a Hyundai, and then a Silverado. Emergency responders transported the SUV driver’s occupants and the Silverado driver to a local hospital for treatment. An investigation reveals that alcohol impairment and speed may contribute to the accident.

A woman was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison with 7 ½ years suspended after a fatal Maine car crash that took place in 2019. According to one news source, the crash occurred in Glenburn, Maine when the woman, who was driving a Chevrolet Impala, nodded off and crossed into the center lane. The woman’s vehicle crashed head-on into a Nissan Altima, which was driven by a 70-year-old man from Bangor. A blood test revealed that the woman had heroin in her system at the time of the crash. The woman recently pleaded guilty to manslaughter and operating under the influence of intoxicants. Apart from the prison sentence, the woman received four years of probation and was ordered to pay a fine of $1,000.

Operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% or more in Maine is a crime known as Operating Under the Influence (OUI). The crime carries penalties of jail time, driver’s license suspension, and fines. Drivers under 21 years of age cannot have any measurable amount of alcohol in their bodies while driving. In addition to seeking justice through the criminal court process, a victim of a Maine OUI crash or their family may be able to recover financial compensation through a civil claim against the driver or others responsible for the crash. In a civil lawsuit based on negligence, the plaintiff (the victim or certain family members in the event of a death) must show that the defendant owed a duty to the victim to drive carefully, the defendant failed to meet that duty, that the defendant’s wrongful actions caused the victim’s injuries, and they suffered damages as a result.

If a defendant was convicted of a crime, as in the case above, that evidence may be admissible in a civil case to show that the defendant acted wrongfully. However, a criminal conviction is not necessary to file a lawsuit against the driver. Civil lawsuits require a showing of a lower burden of proof and some evidence may be admissible in a civil case that might not admissible in a criminal case. There also may be other individuals that can be sued in a civil case that may not be able to be charged criminally. Successful plaintiffs can recover compensation for damages including medical bills, property damages, mental suffering, lost wages, and more. Consulting with an experienced injury attorney is the first step in determining the best course forward.

Under the state’s “move over” laws and Title 29-A §2054-9 MRSA, Maine drivers must pull over or slow down when they encounter a stopped emergency vehicle. Emergency vehicles generally refer to police vehicles, fire trucks, tow trucks, highway safety vehicles, and ambulances. Drivers approaching emergency vehicles must pull as far to the right side of the roadway that is safe and practical. While many accidents involve drivers hitting emergency vehicles, in some cases, haphazard emergency vehicles cause serious accidents. The National Safety Council reports that their most recent statistics indicate that nearly 170 people suffered fatal injuries in an accident involving emergency vehicles. Over 50% of these fatalities involved victims who were inside passenger vehicles.

For instance, a Maine news report recently described a harrowing ambulance crash on Route 163. The ambulance crossed into the centerline and slammed into two vehicles before veering off the road, according to reports. The ambulance first hit a sedan and then struck a small SUV, sending both cars off of the road. Fortunately, the drivers did not sustain serious injuries as they were wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident. The cause of the accident is under investigation; however, speed does not seem to be a factor in collisions.

Determining fault and liability in Maine emergency vehicle accidents can be a daunting process. The challenges largely stem from the state’s immunity laws which limit the types of claims citizens can file against the government. While many ambulances are run through private companies, the government often funds, owns or operates the vehicles. In these cases, injury victims may be left with little to no recourse for the driver’s negligence.

While car accidents are extremely dangerous, most people forget about the risks associated with pedestrian accidents. A pedestrian accident involves an incident involving a pedestrian being hit by a motor vehicle. These accidents can often be more harmful than car accidents because a motor vehicle moves much faster than a pedestrian. Individuals hurt in a pedestrian accident will often file a lawsuit against the responsible party to recover monetary compensation for the injuries they suffered. Below is an example of a recent pedestrian accident along with statistics discussing the prevalence, causes and misassumptions about these types of accidents.

According to a recent news report, a man was killed in Portland after being struck by a motor vehicle. The victim was walking down the street around 1:20 A.M. when he was hit by a car. The pedestrian was taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries. No charges have been filed against the driver yet, but police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to contact them.

Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are common in Maine. In the state, from 2016 to 2020, there have been over 1,300 total pedestrian crashes. While most of these have resulted in injury, over 5% of these accidents have been fatal. Regardless of the age of the victim, such accidents can take a dramatic physical and emotional toll on the individual harmed. However, on average, the most common age of the pedestrian is between the ages of 30 and 39 years old. But in over 15% of pedestrian accidents, the injured person has been a child.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides leadership and guidance on natural resources, food, agriculture, nutrition, and biological products. Many Maine product liability lawsuits follow consumer complaints to the FDA. While the agency is responsible for protecting the public, many products slip through until consumers suffer an adverse side effect. Some dangerous products even remain available but receive a “black box” warning.

The FDA issues black box warnings to alert the public about prescriptions or medical devices that pose serious and life-threatening side effects. The warnings often include specific warnings to vulnerable populations, such as infants, pregnant women, and older adults. The FDA works in conjunction with pharmaceutical companies to study the products before issuing a warning. These warnings generally follow post-market studies; in other words, the warnings come after significant numbers of consumers have already used the product. Even though the product may pose serious dangers, the benefits may outweigh the risks in some cases. Individuals who consume products with a black box warning should consult with their physician to determine the appropriate amount of monitoring.

While black-box warnings have many implications for prescribing physicians and pharmacies, they may also impact a Maine product liability lawsuit. Drug companies often resist these warnings to preserve sales; however, the warnings may also protect them from certain lawsuits. Many common medicines have black box warnings, such as antidepressants, anticoagulants, diabetes medications, and antibiotics.

Under Maine law, motorists involved in an accident must stop at the incident scene or return to the scene. Those who leave the scene of an accident may face severe criminal and civil penalties. In addition, engaging in this negligent conduct can exacerbate a victim’s injuries and cause a fatality that could have otherwise been prevented. While a hit-and-run can occur in an accident, they tend to occur after a motorist hits a pedestrian or cyclist. These accidents often occur in the early morning or late evening hours on roads without a designated bike lane.

There are many reasons why a motorist may leave the scene of an accident; however, these explanations rarely excuse the driver’s conduct. Drivers frequently leave the scene of an accident because they were:

  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
  • Operating their vehicle without a valid license or insurance,
  • Avoiding liability or fearful of confrontation,or
  • Experiencing a medical event.

In some situations, the driver may claim that they did not know they hit another person.

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