In Maine, individuals who suffered injuries or died in a car or other accident because of another’s fault, may be entitled to compensation for their damages and losses. However, even if the evidence suggests that the other party was at fault, each case presents unique circumstances that may affect liability and recovery. One of the most challenging situations is when the defendant experiences a medical emergency that leads to an accident.
Under Maine’s negligence laws, plaintiffs must establish that the at-fault party deviated from a reasonable person’s standard of care. A “reasonable person,” is one who exercises average care and judgment in their conduct. However, the law allows for flexibility, which is relevant to the affirmative “sudden emergency” defense. This doctrine applies in situations where the at-fault party experiences an unavoidable medical event or encounters an “Act of God”, that leads them to cause an accident.
For example, recently, a Maine news report described an accident involving a medical emergency. In that case, a driver experienced an undisclosed medical emergency when he crossed into an oncoming lane of traffic and off the road. The driver then slammed into a pedestrian. The pedestrian was taken to a hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries. Although the case is still under investigation, police urge Mainers to engage in safe driving behaviors and refrain from operating their vehicle if they are ill or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.