Under Maine personal injury law, accident victims or their loved ones may seek compensation for their damages against the at-fault party. However, issues arise when the at-fault party dies at any point after the accident. When a defendant in a Maine personal injury action dies, victims must take specific steps to preserve their rights and remedies.
Personal injury claims generally survive the death of a defendant in a Maine injury lawsuit. State law permits a plaintiff to continue their claim against the defendant’s estate. When this occurs, the defendant or plaintiff must file a motion with the court to substitute the at-fault party’s estate as the defending party. This applies whether the defendant dies before or after the filing of the case. In either situation, the plaintiff is a victim of wrongdoing, and they maintain the right to compensation for their damages.
For example, a recent Maine news report describes a head-on crash that caused a four-vehicle collision, resulting in two fatalities. According to the Police Chief, he discovered a vehicle crashed head-on with a tour bus, and another car collided head-on with a dump truck. Evidence suggests that one of the cars crossed into the center lane and hit an SUV, the SUV spun out of control and was hit by the dump truck. The car then slammed into a tour bus, resulting in the death of two people inside the car. If an investigation reveals that the car driver was responsible for the accident, the victims or their family members may file a claim against the deceased driver’s estate.