Comparative fault refers to each party’s degree of responsibility for a specific plaintiff’s harm. The issue of comparative fault often arises when plaintiffs share some portion of responsibility for their harm or when multiple defendants are at fault for the same plaintiff’s harm. When apportioning fault in a negligence lawsuit, Maine follows a modified comparative negligence scheme. Through this system, Maine plaintiffs can recover damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident that caused their harm. The majority of states have adopted modified comparative negligence instead of pure contributory negligence, which would prohibit plaintiffs from recovering any damages if they were even 1% at fault. Maine passed its modified comparative negligence rules into law at Title 14, Section 156 of its Revised Code.

Under Maine’s modified comparative negligence system, a plaintiff can recover damages so long as they were less than 50% at fault for the accident. If a plaintiff is equally at fault or more compared to the defendant, the plaintiff cannot recover any damages. This is one important way that Maine differs from other states. Some states allow plaintiffs to recover damages if they are 50% at fault or less, but a Maine plaintiff must be 49% at fault or less. Additionally, a jury or judge will reduce a plaintiff’s damages award based on the plaintiff’s degree of fault. For example, if a plaintiff is 10% at fault, the jury or judge would reduce the plaintiff’s $100,000 award to $90,000.

Because a reduced damages award would allow defendants to pay less in damages, a defendant will often argue that the plaintiff shares responsibility for the accident. An experienced Maine personal injury attorney can help plaintiffs show they were not at fault in order to hold defendants accountable for their negligence.

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Driving under the influence (DUI) places the intoxicated driver and everyone else on the road at risk of injury or death. Intoxicated drivers lack the physical and mental capacity to control their vehicles, increasing the risk of a serious accident. When a DUI accident does occur, the victim or their loved ones may decide to hold the driver accountable by filing a negligence lawsuit.

According to a recent news article, four Maine Maritime students were killed, and three were injured in a DUI accident in Castine, Maine. The driver and six passengers were leaving from a night out around 2a.m. when he veered off Route 166. The driver hit a tree, and the vehicle burst into flames. Four passengers died in the crash. Three others, including the driver, were injured. Following an investigation, local police determined that the driver was speeding and driving under the influence. The driver faces several criminal charges, including four counts of manslaughter.

How Can You Sue for Wrongful Death After a Maine DUI Accident?

Maine allows negligence lawsuits for wrongful death after an accident. According to Maine law, the deceased’s personal representative or special administrator can bring a wrongful death action. However, the deceased’s dependents receive the ultimate damages award. A plaintiff can bring a wrongful death claim against a defendant so long as the deceased could have sued the defendant if they survived. Consequently, the plaintiff must prove the same elements of negligence against the defendant as if the deceased brought the claim. To find the defendant liable for damages, the jury or judge must find that the defendant’s negligence led to the victim’s harm by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning it is more likely than not.

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Head-on collisions are among the most devastating types of car accidents, often resulting in severe injuries and fatalities. For residents of Maine, where highways like I-295 and the Maine Turnpike are frequently traveled, understanding the causes and consequences of head-on collisions is crucial.

According to a recent article, a tragic head-on collision occurred on I-295 near Falmouth Exit 9 on the northbound highway over Memorial Day weekend that left two dead and one injured. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers posed by head-on collisions, as two vehicles collided with great force. Such incidents highlight the urgent need for increased awareness, safety measures, and legal protection for victims involved in head-on collisions.

Causes of Head-On Collisions

When passengers suffer injuries in a car accident, they may pursue a negligence lawsuit against the driver. In many situations, a passenger must bring a claim against someone they know personally. A passenger’s relationship to the driver may pose complicated questions for the passenger’s theory of recovery. An experienced Maine personal injury attorney can help passengers gather evidence and make out the best possible claim for relief.

As a recent news article reported, a driver and his passenger were injured in a single-vehicle crash in Clinton, Maine. The accident occurred when the driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into several trees. As a result, the passenger was ejected from the vehicle. Both the passenger and driver were transported to the hospital for their injuries. According to local police, the impact of the crash was so severe that the vehicle’s engine broke loose.

Can You Sue the Driver for a Maine Passenger Injury?

Maine law allows passengers to sue drivers for negligence. In many situations, the passenger knows the driver personally, and filing a lawsuit may place a passenger in an uncomfortable situation. However, passengers should know that many insurance policies cover liability for personal injury claims up to a certain amount. In fact, Maine auto insurance laws require drivers to have liability insurance should they have to pay damages in a lawsuit. As a result, passengers who wish to seek compensation for their injuries can feel assured that the driver often will not pay a damages award entirely out of pocket.

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When a driver speeds on the road, they place themselves and everyone else in danger of a serious car accident. In particular, driving at high speeds can lead drivers to lose control of their vehicles, striking another driver as a result. When a person suffers injuries from a driver’s high speeds, they may bring a negligence lawsuit against the responsible driver.

In one extreme example, a man who caused a high-speed police chase died after striking another driver in Gray, Maine. The incident began in Leeds when police noticed a man driving erratically. Soon after, police in Oxford observed the same man speeding on the highway. An officer followed him south before eventually ending his pursuit because of the unsafe speed at which the man was driving. Then, the man crashed into an oncoming vehicle. Due to his high speed, the other driver could not get his vehicle out of the way in time. The driver was unharmed, but the man who crashed into the driver died at the scene.

What Damages Are Available After a Maine High-Speed Accident?

When a speeding driver crashes into your vehicle, you may be able to seek several types of damages. When bringing a negligence lawsuit, plaintiffs often seek compensatory damages. These damages are intended to place an accident victim in the same position as if the accident had never occurred. Examples of compensatory damages may include medical expenses—including for psychological treatment—funeral expenses, and lost earnings. If the accident damages a plaintiff’s vehicle, they may also seek compensation for property damage. Finally, compensatory damages can cover the emotional harm a person has suffered from the accident, often referred to as “pain and suffering.” Finally, an accident victim’s spouse can sue for loss of consortium, which accounts for the loss of a spouse’s companionship.

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A jury recently found that Gwyneth Paltrow was not at fault for a ski accident with a man who brought a negligence lawsuit against her. After Terry Sanderson filed his lawsuit for $300,000 in damages, Paltrow countersued for a symbolic $1, along with attorney fees. Sanderson’s attorney claimed that Sanderson’s symptoms from the accident have persisted for years, and Sanderson “never returned home that night as the same man.” Paltrow’s defense team, however, painted Sanderson as obsessed” with the lawsuit, overstating his injuries from the accident. Both parties blamed the other for the collision.

The lawsuit stems from a 2016 accident at a Utah ski resort, during which Paltrow and Sanderson collided on a beginner ski slope. The question of fault turned on causation, specifically which party was higher on the ski slope when the accident occurred. Sanderson, who broke four ribs and sustained a concussion, accused Paltrow of skiing recklessly and barreling into him from above. On the other hand, Paltrow claimed Sanderson struck her from behind. From either point of view, whoever was higher on the slope caused the collision. Ultimately, the jury found Paltrow was not to blame, leaving the ultimate amount in attorney fees Sanderson must pay to the judge.

How Do You Determine Who Is at Fault in a Ski Accident?

Wrong-way accidents occur when a vehicle crosses into the wrong lane, colliding with oncoming traffic. These accidents can lead to serious injury or damage to a vehicle. Too often, wrong-way accidents occur because a driver is operating their vehicle negligently. These types of wrong-way accidents are especially devastating because they are often preventable.

For example, a recent news article reported on a wrong-way accident involving three vehicles in Kennebunk, Maine. According to local police, the accident occurred when a driver crossed the center line into the wrong lane. As result, he and two other drivers crashed on the roadway. While no one suffered injuries from the accident, all three vehicles suffered heavy damage. Police charged the driver with driving to endanger and imprudent speed.

What Are the Causes of Wrong-Way Injuries?

Wrong-way injuries may have several overlapping causes. First, as the NTSB has reported, a significant portion of wrong-way drivers operated their vehicles under the influence. To avoid a wrong-way accident, is it imperative to avoid drinking while driving. Even if a driver refrains from driving under the influence, they may cause a wrong-way accident if they are distracted. Distracted driving diverts attention from the road, which may increase the risk of veering into the wrong lane. To stay focused on the road, drivers should refrain from using their cellphones, eating, or otherwise “multi-tasking.” Finally, in attempting to pass a vehicle, a driver may cross into the wrong lane intentionally. Drivers should refrain from this practice at all times. A driver may not initially see another vehicle in the opposite lane, but one can appear at any time. Drivers should leave with plenty of time in advance to arrive to their destination safely and on time.

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Sometimes, car accidents can occur under highly unusual circumstances. As a recent news article reported, two robbery suspects crashed their vehicle while fleeing from police in North Jay, Maine. After arriving at the scene of a robbery, local police stopped the suspects’ car. The car briefly pulled over before driving off, prompting a police chase along the highway. The chase ended when the suspects’ car crashed at the intersection of Routes 17 and 4. The suspects endured serious injuries and were transported to the hospital. State police are now investigating the crash.

How Does Maine Apportion Fault Among Multiple Defendants?

Like the two robbery suspects who fled police, sometimes more than one person may be responsible for a plaintiff’s injuries. Maine does not limit a plaintiff to naming one defendant in a lawsuit. Instead, a plaintiff can sue multiple defendants for the same injury. When assigning fault among multiple defendants, Maine follows joint and several liability. Under this theory of recovery, a plaintiff can recover the full damages amount they are seeking against each defendant, provided that a judge or jury finds all defendants liable. However, Maine also takes the plaintiff’s degree of fault into account. A plaintiff can still recover damages if they were at fault, but the law reduces the plaintiff’s damages award based on their degree of fault. For example, a plaintiff who is 20% at fault will receive a 20% reduction in their damages award. However, if a plaintiff was equally at fault or greater, they cannot recover any damages.

What Are the Penalties for Fleeing from Police?

In Maine, refusing to stop after an officer signals you to pull over is a Class E crime, the least serious type of offense. This type of crime is punishable by up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine. However, fleeing from an officer by driving recklessly and inciting a high-speed chase is a Class C felony. Class C felonies are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000. Additionally, if suspects fleeing from police cause an accident with another driver, that driver may bring a personal injury lawsuit. As a result of that civil lawsuit, the suspects may also owe the injured driver monetary damages.

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When a driver commits a hit-and-run accident, they leave an injured victim completely helpless. If the driver fails to contact emergency personnel to assist the victim, they may worsen the victim’s condition and cause further harm. Too often, the injuries resulting from a hit-and-run would have been preventable, or at least less severe, had the driver who caused the accident contacted police and emergency medical personnel. When a driver fails to take these steps, they may suffer consequences under both criminal and civil law.

As a recent news article reported, police arrested a man involved in a Maine hit-and-run that left one woman seriously injured. Police discovered the hit-and-run accident when they arrived at the scene to find a pedestrian lying injured near the road. She was transported to the hospital to treat her serious injuries. According to local police, the suspect allegedly contacted emergency services for the pedestrian. However, he allegedly lied to law enforcement and emergency personnel about his involvement in the hit-and-run. Eventually, police arrested this driver and charged him with failing to report an accident involving personal injury.

What Are the Civil and Criminal Penalties for a Maine Hit-and-Run Accident?

When a person commits a Maine hit-and-run, they may have to pay both criminal fines and civil damages. Under Maine law, if an accident results in property damage, the drivers must immediately stop and return to the scene of the accident. If an accident causes bodily injury, death, or significant property damage, the responsible driver must report the accident to state or local police. Failure to take these steps constitutes a Class E felony, which carries up to six months in prison time and a $1,000 fine.

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Motorcycle riders notoriously suffer high rates of serious injury and fatality in traffic accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,579 motorcyclists died from traffic accidents in 2020. Given these significant safety risks, motorcycle riders and drivers alike should take extra precautions to minimize the risk of an accident.

For example, a recent news article reported that a motorcycle accident in Brunswick, Maine left a motorcycle rider in serious condition. The accident occurred as the motorcyclist was riding northbound when he collided with the side of a pickup truck turning onto an intersecting road. Despite wearing a helmet, the motorcycle rider suffered serious injuries and was transported to the hospital for treatment. Authorities are continuing to investigate the cause of the crash.

How Can You Stay Safe When Riding a Motorcycle?

Though motorcycles are a dangerous form of travel, the NHTSA has recommended several tips for drivers and motorcycle riders alike to minimize the risk of an accident. First, before even getting on the road, motorcycle riders should make sure they understand how to operate a motorcycle safely. In addition to required motorcycle licensing tests, riders should practice riding a new motorcycle. Motorcycle riders can practice in a parking lot or around the neighborhood before riding on the road. Additionally, even experienced motorcycle riders may struggle when faced with rough terrain, slippery roads, or potholes. To be prepared for any road conditions they may encounter, riders should learn how to operate their motorcycle when dealing with inclement weather, debris, or other obstructions to the road.

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