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.

Earlier this month, three individuals were tragically killed in a car accident in Acadia National Park. According to a news report covering the accident, the driver had been drinking late into the evening on the night in question, yet mistakenly thought that he was able to drive. While specific details about the accident are not yet known, the report indicates that the driver, while traveling faster than the 25 miles per hour speed limit, lost control of his vehicle on a curve and then hit a tree.

The driver called 911 after the crash, and officials immediately responded. Three victims were identified, ages 27, 30, and 36. Law enforcement recently charged the driver with three counts of manslaughter, one for each victim.

Unfortunately, traffic deaths resulting from car or truck accidents are not uncommon and are a huge cause for concern in Maine. According to the Maine Department of Public Safety, traffic deaths in 2019 are up 24% from 2018. Before this tragic accident occurred, 105 people had been killed on Maine roads in 2019 so far. These deaths can result in criminal charges, potentially carrying fines and jail time for the driver, but the filing of criminal charges does little to help the accident victims, or their families, deal with the expenses incurred in the accident’s aftermath.

Recently, a man filed a Maine personal injury lawsuit against Ford Motor Company claiming that the defective design of a lawnmower caused a blade to fly off a mower and strike his leg. According to a local news report, the man was bicycling with his son when a pickup truck towing a trailer with a mower passed them. The blade on the mower came loose, struck the man, and severed his leg. The impact was so severe that the man may have bled to death. However, in a fortuitous turn of events, a nurse happened to witness the incident. The nurse stopped and used a beach towel as a tourniquet until further emergency help arrived. Although the man survived, he required amputation above the knee.

Following the accident, the victim filed a lawsuit against the mower’s manufacturer, the Ford Motor Company. The complaint alleged that the mower was defectively designed because there was no backup mechanism to prevent this type of accident. The mower’s design allowed the blade to drop when transported in an upright position. The plaintiff argued that the manufacturer should have designed a backup mechanism to ensure that the blade did not drop during transportation. Further, the plaintiff pointed out that the factory-installed safety device failed, and the manufacturer did not provide any warning to users that this type of accident could occur.

There are generally four types of product liability lawsuits in Maine; including:

Earlier this month, the federal appellate court overseeing Maine district courts issued an opinion in a medical malpractice case. The opinion illustrates the court’s power to exclude evidence if a party fails to comply with the court’s orders. The case raises an important issue for Maine personal injury litigants in that it emphasizes the importance of being familiar with the state’s procedural requirements.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was seriously injured after she underwent surgery at the defendant hospital. A few years after the surgery, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice claim against the hospital and several doctors. Early on in the process, the court entered a scheduling order to outline several of the relevant deadlines. The scheduling order provided that the plaintiff must disclose the names of her expert witnesses and the contents of their reports by May 20, 2016. The scheduling order also stated that discovery was to close by November 15, 2016.

The plaintiff timely named one expert witness. At some point after the May 20 deadline, the plaintiff filed a motion to withdraw her case against one of the doctors, claiming that she did not have a case against that doctor. The court granted the plaintiff’s motion. The remaining defendants filed a motion asking the court to exclude the plaintiff’s named expert witness. While that motion was pending, the plaintiff filed a motion to re-join the dismissed doctor. The plaintiff noted that a report from another expert indicated that the dismissed doctor might have been responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries.

As a general rule, Maine personal injury laws hold people accountable for injuries that are caused by their negligence. In many cases, the basis of a personal injury suit is the defendant’s negligent action; however, a lawsuit can also be premised on a defendant’s failure to act. This is frequently the case in Maine premises liability cases.

Under Maine premises liability law, property owners and lessees owe a duty of care to those whom they invite onto their property. However, landowners do not owe the same duty to those who enter the property without permission. Courts generally do not require a plaintiff to prove that they were formally invited onto a property before finding that the property owner owed them a duty. Instead, courts consider the surrounding circumstances when making the determination. For example, a customer who enters a business establishment will be presumed to be an invited guest, even if they do not intend to make a purchase.

An important exception to the general rule that property owners owe a duty to those whom they invite onto their land is the Maine recreational use statute. A recreational use statute is a law that specifically prohibits certain lawsuits that are based on injuries occurring while engaging in recreational activity on the defendant’s land. The idea behind recreational use statutes is that the government wants to encourage landowners to allow the general public to enjoy their land without fear of being financially responsible for any injuries occurring as a result.

Losing a loved one in any kind of accident is a tragic, life-altering experience, especially when the accident resulting in your loved one’s death was preventable. While nothing can bring a family member back, or ease the pain caused by such a loss, aggrieved family members may find some solace in holding the responsible party accountable through a Maine wrongful death lawsuit.

A wrongful death claim is a type of Maine personal injury claim in which the personal representative of the accident victim brings a claim against the parties believed to be responsible for the accident victim’s death. Wrongful death cases are commonly brought after fatal Maine car crashes, workplace injuries, or other tragic, preventable accidents.

This year, the Maine Legislature reorganized the state’s probate code, which contains the wrongful death act. Before July 1, 2019, wrongful death actions were brought under Maine Revised Statutes Title 18-A section 2-804; however, moving forward these claims are controlled by Title 18-C section 2-807. For the most part, the laws governing wrongful death cases are unchanged, with a few minor differences related to how courts distribute wrongful death damages awards.

Maine is known for its excellent skiing and snowboarding. And while skiing and snowboarding are popular winter sports that all ages can enjoy, they can also present significant dangers. One common question that comes up after Maine skiing accidents is whether the ski resort can be held liable for a skier’s injuries. The answer, as is often the case in personal injury law, is “sometimes.”

Generally speaking, landowners owe a duty of care to those whom they invite onto their property. Thus, absent any other legislation, it would seem that ski resorts are bound by this duty and could be held liable for a skier’s injuries. However, the Maine State Legislature has the ability to clarify or eliminate a duty of care if it sees fit. Not surprisingly, given the fact that the ski tourism industry is a significant source of revenue for the state, lawmakers provide some legal protections to ski resorts.

Under Maine Revised Statutes section 15217, lawmakers have determined that skiers and snowboarders assume certain risks by engaging in these winter sports. In effect, section 15217 provides broad immunity to ski resorts by stating that skiers and snowboarders accept “the risks inherent in the sport and, to that extent, may not maintain an action against or recover from the ski area operator … for any losses, injuries, damages or death that result from the inherent risks of skiing.” The statute notes that weather conditions, surface conditions, and collisions with fixed objects, among other risks, are all inherent risks of the sport.

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