The most recent statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over 90,000 police-reported collisions involved drowsy driving. Moreover, over 50,000 people suffered injuries in accidents related to drowsy driving. Drowsy driving accounts for a significant number of Maine car accidents. For instance, a recent Maine news report described an accident that occurred when a driver fell asleep at the wheel. According to the report, the driver admitted that he fell asleep while driving in Augusta, Maine. Three pedestrians, a grandmother, her 1-year-old grandchild, and two others were walking northbound in a gravel area when the accident occurred. The driver, who was traveling northbound, swerved into the centerline, slammed into the pedestrians, and then hit a utility pole. Three of the pedestrians, including the 1-year-old, died at the scene of the accident.

Fatigue and drowsy driving are preventable, and those who operate their vehicles in this state and cause an accident may be held liable for the ensuing damages. Tackling the frequency of drowsy driving is challenging, as American values do not always align with avoiding fatigued driving. The emphasis on extended workdays, longer commutes, and daily demands results in many fatigued drivers. However, regardless of societal expectations, individuals need to take responsibility for the health and safety of those on the road.

While fatigue, drowsy, and sleepy driving are often used interchangeably, there are critical differences in how the terms are understood. The overlap makes it hard to quantify exactly how many accidents are related to drowsy driving. However, despite the nuanced differences, accidents involving these conditions have some similarities. Maine drowsy driving accidents typically occur between midnight and 6 a.m. or in the later afternoon. These times of day are associated with a dip in circadian rhythm and typically follow a long workday. Further, drowsy drivers tend to be the only occupant in the car. Finally, accidents involving drowsy drivers typically occur on long highways and rural roads.

As the weather warms up and more people get vaccinated, the world seems to be slowly returning to normal. People are out enjoying the sunshine, walking around, and taking advantage of being outdoors this time of year—but this also means more pedestrians and bikers on our sidewalks and streets. As we return to normalcy, it is crucial that drivers and pedestrians alike exercise the utmost caution when navigating Maine’s streets and sidewalks—and that we are respectful of the laws that keep both groups safe while sharing the road.

According to a recent news report, three pedestrians, including a one-year-old girl, were killed following a fatal accident. The Augusta Police Department reported that the accident was still under investigation, but that a driver has been identified, and the crash is still being reconstructed by Maine State Police.

Although pedestrian accidents may seem rare, they take place more frequently than you think. Based on data from the Maine Department of Transportation, 56 Maine residents were killed, and 1,292 were injured between 2006 and 2010 in pedestrian-related car accidents. In addition, pedestrian accidents in Maine appear to be on the rise. In fact, in 2019, the state saw an increase in the number of pedestrian deaths, and the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety reported that 17 people were killed that year—more than three times the number of deaths reported in 2018.

Recently, an appeals court issued a decision in a case against Amazon that may upend the way courts evaluate Maine product liability lawsuits involving online retailers. The incident giving rise to the claim began when a woman purchased a defective hoverboard from a third-party seller on Amazon. The product caught on fire, causing the woman to suffer severe burns. The woman filed a lawsuit against several parties, including a strict liability lawsuit against Amazon. In response, Amazon moved for summary judgment, arguing that their case was distinguishable from prior cases holding the eCommerce site liable because they did not ever possess the hoverboard.

Despite the distinction, the court reviewed the case under the principles of prior holdings, such as the Bolger decision. The court reasoned that the online retailer operated on a business model that places itself in between the seller and consumer. Amazon contended that Bolger should not apply because it was not decided correctly and does not comport with the modern economy. However, the court found that the holding can reasonably extend to modern product liability concerns.

In the alternative, the court found that Amazon may be liable under the “stream of commerce” model. This approach applies in situations when the product liability defendant is not in the direct chain of distribution. It imposes liability based on the financial benefit the defendant obtains from the transaction, their role in providing the product to the public, and their influence on manufacturing the product. The court opined that there were genuine issues of material fact regarding whether those factors apply in this case.

Parental liability refers to a parent’s obligation to pay for damages caused by their minor child’s negligence, intentional, or criminal acts. These situations arise in cases where a minor’s conduct results in damages to another. Under M.R.S.A §304, Maine parents and legal guardians maintain liability for damage by their children. The statute provides that parents and legal guardians of minors between the ages of 7 and 17 years old who willfully or maliciously cause damage or injury to another person will be jointly and severally liable with the minor for the damage or injury. However, the statute only applies in situations where the minor lives with the parent or legal guardian and limits liability to $800. The statute does not relieve the minor from personal liability for the incident.

While some injury victims may be wary of filing a lawsuit against a minor, it is often necessary. A minor’s negligence, willfulness, or maliciousness can result in significant injuries and even death to another. For instance, a news report recently described a harrowing incident that took the life of a 3-year-old boy. The accident occurred when a 13-year-old girl ran over the young boy, resulting in his death. According to witnesses, the 13-year-old was under the watch of the young boy’s parents. The mother got out of the car, and as she did, the 13-year-old girl unbuckled the toddler, put him in the driveway, jumped into the driver’s seat and tried to flee. While doing so, she ran over the boy, killing him in front of his family. State Police stated that the case is under investigation; however, the crash report stated that the girl acted in an erratic, reckless, careless, negligent, or aggressive manner. Police have not ruled out charges against the girl.

The damages cap on parental liability is quite low and rarely meets the expenses and losses that a victim or their family faced. In those situations, injury victims should consult with an attorney to discuss other avenues for relief. In some cases, a victim may claim damages against a homeowners policy, renters insurance policy, or motor vehicle insurance policy. Moreover, an attorney can help identify any other responsible parties that may be liable for the damages. These cases require an in-depth understanding of complex statutory and procedural rules, so it is essential to contact an experienced attorney to discuss how to proceed.

Everyone has seen a yellow wet floor sign warning you that the area you’re walking into may be slippery. When you slip and fall or are injured in Maine on another party’s property, however, you may have a premises liability claim if the individual failed to provide take the necessary steps to ensure the area was reasonably safe.

As an example, in a recent state Supreme Court decision, the court addressed what duty, if any, is owed by a hospital to an individual who is on its premises solely to visit one of its patients. The plaintiff was visiting his hospitalized wife when he slipped and fell on ice in the hospital’s parking lot. The plaintiff sued the hospital, alleging inadequate snow and ice removal in the parking lot caused him to fall and that the hospital breached the duty of care it owed to him. The hospital was granted summary judgment, and the plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, the court sided with the plaintiff and reversed the lower court’s summary judgment decision. The court concluded that the plaintiff was an invitee, so the hospital owed him a duty to keep the premises and grounds in reasonably safe condition. Invitees, who are owed the highest duty of care in premises liability claims, can be established in two ways: either by showing that they were on the premises “for a purpose connected with the business conducted on the land,” or that “it can be reasonably be said that the visit may confer a business, commercial, monetary, or other tangible benefit to the landowner.” Because the plaintiff was on hospital grounds to visit his wife, which was closely connected to the hospital’s business, he satisfied the first element and established himself as an invitee.

When car accidents occur, people frequently assume that they only involve two vehicles and parties: the party who was hit, and the at-fault party. Sometimes, however, collisions can escalate quickly—resulting in chain-reaction accidents with devastating results. When these accidents take place, it can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to recovering compensation. Figuring out who to file a claim against, who was at fault, or even the facts and context associated with the accident can be challenging when so many parties are involved. However, recovering from a Maine chain-reaction accident does not need to be complicated as long as you have the proper representation to guide you through the process.

According to a news report, a 22-car chain reaction accident left at least one person dead and several others injured. In the course of the accident, a semi-truck hit a snowplow, which caused it to roll over into a ditch. Based on witness accounts at the scene, whiteout conditions appeared suddenly, and the change in the weather and visibility on the road was a probable factor in causing the crash. Following this quick burst of snow, there were at least three chain reaction crashes within a 20-mile stretch of the interstate, according to local authorities. The crashes still remain under investigation, and it is unclear how many people were injured or how serious their injuries were.

Although drivers in Maine are no stranger to similar, sudden changes to weather conditions and visibility while driving, no one expects it to result in a chain reaction accident. In chain reaction accidents, there is usually at least one party who is considered at fault. Establishing who that is, however, can often be a complicated process. In larger accidents, sometimes all of the injured parties following the initial crash that set off the chain reaction will proceed collectively against the initially negligent driver.

When an individual suffers injuries because of poorly maintained property or land, they may be able to recover against the negligent land or property owner. However, Maine injury victims often face challenges when the incident occurs on public or government land or because of the negligence of a governmental entity or employee. The Maine Tort Claims Act (MTCA) provides municipalities and governmental entities with immunity for negligent acts. While the MTCA provides barriers to recovery, the government may still be liable for bodily injury and property damage in situations involving negligent ownership, maintenance or use of government vehicles, machinery, and equipment or roadways. Further, they may be responsible for injuries occurring at public buildings, such as public schools, parks, and courthouses.

While the MTCA provides broad immunity to governmental entities, the statute also includes exceptions to governmental immunity. Two critical road-related exceptions include:

  • Negligence during road construction, cleaning, and repair; and

When it comes to our health, we all deserve to trust the products that we use to maintain or improve our well-being. Because some of these products often touch on the most intimate parts of our lives, it is crucial that consumers can safely rely on manufacturers to produce and market safe products for our use. When health-related products such as medical devices end up hurting us rather than helping us, however, the manufacturers of those products must be held accountable.

According to a report from a consumer advocacy organization, IUD-related product liability lawsuits have been taking place with greater frequency in recent years. The Paragard IUD, which has been circulating the market since its initial approval in 1984, is a copper birth control device that prevents pregnancy. The device has been marketed as convenient for patients on the go, easy to insert, and easy to remove.

In recent years, however, dozens of lawsuits have emerged as a result of the device. Products liability suits alleging issues with the IUD’s manufacturing, labeling, marketing, and development have arisen, especially as manufacturers have continued to sell the device despite knowing that it could break during removal. Many patients who have had the IUD break during removal have filed claims alleging that pieces are missing or lodged in their organs or that breakage has resulted in allergic reactions, infection, loss of fertility, pain, and even surgery to remove broken pieces.

In the United States, the 14th Amendment of the Constitution’s Due Process Clause limits a state court’s ability to exercise jurisdiction over a defendant. Whether a particular state, such as Maine, has the authority to have jurisdiction over a defendant to hear a case involving them depends on whether the defendant has established sufficient “contacts” with the state where the suit takes place.

Whether the state is equipped to hear the case frequently also turns on whether hearing the claim would be “reasonable” and whether it would interfere with “fair play and substantial justice.” Thus, jurisdiction is a frequently debated issue in courts when defendants claim that plaintiffs have no grounds to bring claims against them in particular states because the defendants do not have enough of a presence in the state in question and thus cannot be subject to the court’s power.

In a recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion, the court considered a product liability suit that focused on jurisdiction issues. Two separate cases, one filed in Montana, and the other in Minnesota, alleged that defective Ford vehicles resulted in the death and injury of these two plaintiffs. Ford moved to dismiss the suit for lack of personal jurisdiction.

When driving on a busy road, it is always wise to leave enough space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you—especially if the vehicle in front of you is a large semi-truck or tractor-trailer. Leaving space can often help you prevent accidents from taking place with the vehicle in front of you but can also give you enough time and space to swerve out of the way if the vehicle stops suddenly or breaks down. Because truck accidents can often result in devastating accidents, remaining aware of the dangers that come with their size and operation on the road is crucial for any driver’s safety.

According to a recent news report, a tractor-trailer crashed into a Maine Turnpike truck that was parked in the breakdown lane with its amber blinker lights flashing. The driver and passenger of the Turnpike truck had exited the vehicle to retrieve construction signs that were on the road. The tractor-trailer drifted into the breakdown lane and hit a rumble strip, and then side-swiped the Turnpike truck. The driver and passenger of the Turnpike truck were able to safely move out of the way into a nearby ditch, safely out of the way. The driver of the tractor-trailer was treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital. Debris that flew up from the accident injured a nearby worker, who was transported to a local hospital to also be treated for minor injuries.

In Maine, although trucks only make up 4.7 percent of all vehicles, accidents involving trucks and similar vehicles can often be devastating. Truck accidents can often lead to fatalities or severe injuries or property damage following a collision, so it is crucial that drivers understand the risks.

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