A man whose 53-year-old wife died in a Maine motorcycle accident in 2014 has settled his claims against the construction contractor in Augusta that allegedly failed to inspect and repair a dangerous pothole that reportedly caused his wife to lose control of her bike.center line

The plaintiff had been riding a motorcycle separately from his wife in Augusta when he watched her strike the pothole and saw the bike go down. The couple had married just six weeks earlier, and they were traveling with another pair to see a home in Manchester they were preparing to purchase. His original wrongful death lawsuit was filed in 2015 in Kennebec County Superior Court, and it initially named not just the construction company but also the state, the state’s department of transportation, the city of Augusta, and a number of other defendants.

In the end, claims against all defendants other than the construction company were dismissed. This likely had to do with the fact that any claim against government agencies can be tough to prove, due to concepts like sovereign immunity and the difficulty of proving these entities owed a duty of care to the individual in question. But, as this case revealed, that doesn’t necessarily mean there are no other avenues of compensation worth pursuing.

The Lewiston Sun-Journal is reporting that for the second year in a row, the federal government will be penalizing a Central Maine hospital for its failure to curb sky-high rates of patient injuries and infections. The sanctions are being handed out by Medicare, which funds a significant portion of patient care costs. The news doesn’t come as a complete shock, given that the hospital’s accrediting agency released a report weeks earlier saying the facility had failed to enact proper procedures necessary to curb hospital-acquired infections. The provider was given one month to fix this issue or risk losing its accreditation, which could result in even greater funding losses. hospital

The hospital president released a statement indicating the hospital is working hard to improve on these issues, rather than shy away from them, and it aims to provide a safe space for patients and employees alike.

While it’s positive that the organization appears to be taking responsibility for these shortcomings, our Maine medical malpractice attorneys wouldn’t expect such a forthcoming attitude should a lawsuit arise as a result of these lapses in the standard of care. Most facilities and individual practitioners vigorously fight back against allegations of wrongdoing leading to serious injury, illness, or death of patients. Having an experienced attorney to help navigate such claims is imperative, since they are often much more complex and contentious than many other types of personal injury claims.

The driver of a tractor-trailer packed with sawdust and wood chips narrowly escaped serious injury after he reportedly fell asleep, crossed the center line and slammed into a ditch on the opposite side of the road before the rig turned on its side. truck accident lawyer

The crash occurred on Route 150 in Athens. The 50-year-old trucker told responding authorities that he fell asleep while driving and then work up in a ditch. He was transported to a local hospital as a precaution, the Kennebec Journal reported, but was soon thereafter released. It’s fortunate no other motorists were on that particular stretch of road when the truck accident occurred, as these large vehicles have the potential to cause catastrophic and fatal injuries, especially if one were to hit a passenger vehicle head on in the opposing lane.

Drowsy driving is a major problem in the trucking industry, with the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, published annually by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, revealing 13 percent of all commercial motor vehicle drivers were deemed “fatigued” at the time of the collision. The FMCSA defines “fatigue” as exertion – either physical or mental – that results in impaired performance. Truck drivers are especially prone to fatigue because they often suffer from inadequate sleep, brutal work schedules and monotonous work.  Continue reading

For many, getting into the holiday spirit involves downing holiday spirits. Although most can responsibly enjoy the indulgence, it’s problematic when those who imbibe get behind the wheeldrunk driving accident lawyer

Last year, nearly 800 Americans died in drunk driving crashes just in December alone last year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports nearly one-third of the 37,500 people killed in car accidents in 2016 were involved in crashes were at least one driver had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.

In Maine, there were almost 500 deaths caused by drunk drivers over a recent nine-year stretch. Approximately 1.2 percent of Maine drivers surveyed admitted to driving while too impaired to do so at least once in the last 30 days. The actual number is likely much higher, as these are only self-admitted cases. The Press Herald in Portland reported earlier this year that more than 16,000 drivers in Maine have had four or more OUI convictions since 1980. More than 80,000 drivers in Maine have more than one OUI conviction. Many of these instances happen around the holidays, when people are more likely to be attending parties and gatherings where alcohol is served. Having a plan for transportation before the festivities is the best way to avoid causing a drunk driving accident. Continue reading

Black ice on the roads was cited as a factor in a number of central Maine car accidents recently, though thankfully, no serious personal injuries were reported. In a single icy morning, the dispatch center for Kennebec County and Somerset County reported 85 reports of crashes and cars that had veered off the roadway. Calls started around 3:30 a.m., and within the hour, authorities on site were informing dispatch and other emergency responders about the perilous black ice that coated Interstate 95 and surrounding areas. One official was quoted as saying the interstate “looks like a skating rink.” Officials did choose to close the Messalonskee Bridge for a time after four crashes happened back-to-back, as reported by CentralMaine.com.car accident attorney

Although weather certainly can be a factor in any car accident, it’s important to point out that even the worst road conditions do not relieve motorists of their duty of care to use reasonable caution in their operation of a motor vehicle. That means exercising constant vigilance when conditions are right for hazards like black ice. It means slowing to a safer speed and avoiding distractions and maintaining a safe distance from the vehicles ahead of you. Failure to do so can be grounds to assert negligence when it results in a collision.

What is Black Ice?

As part of a $120 million settlement with General Motors Co. for concealing safety issues related to vehicle defects, Maine is slated to receive $1.1 million in compensation. It stems from a settlement reached between the Michigan-based auto manufacturer and attorneys general from 49 states plus the District of Colombia.injury lawyer

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills released a statement characterizing the deception as creating a dangerous situation for the public. It stemmed from information that came to light following seven vehicle recall from GM affecting more than 9 million vehicles that reportedly had defective ignition switches that had the potential to cause a loss of electrical power to the vehicle, affecting power brakes and power steering. There were also reports that airbags could fail to deploy in the event of a Maine car accident. The recalls in and of themselves weren’t the issue, but rather that some GM insiders were aware of these safety problems for at least a decade before the recalls were issued. Furthermore, the company continued to market the vehicles as reliable and safe. These actions, Mills office indicated, ran afoul of Maine’s Unfair Trade Practices Act. The more than $1 million of that settlement slated for Maine will go into a consumer trust account. There is still a class action lawsuit pending that involves several people who allegedly suffered personal injuries and wrongful death as a result of these dangerous vehicle defects, The Press Herald reports.

Although most car accident lawsuits in Maine involve the negligence of other drivers, injury lawyers cannot overlook the possibility of automobile defects, given the fact that the number of vehicle recalls has reached record rates in recent years. Reuters reported U.S. auto recalls in 2016 affected a record 53.2 million vehicles, in large part due to defective Takata airbag inflaters. Last year topped the previous record, set in 2015, of auto recalls affecting 51.2 million vehicles. Continue reading

A man is suing two salmon farm companies – including his employer – in federal court in Bangor following a Maine workplace injury at a salmon farm that resulted in the amputation of two of his fingers on his dominant hand. WGME.com reports the worker is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for losing his middle and ringer fingers on his right hand, claiming the two companies were negligent in failing to properly train employees and in failing to provide them with necessary safety equipment. fishing boat

His attorney alleges the 22-year-old’s life will never again be the same, and he may never again be able to return to working on the water, something he loved. In addition, he’s alleged to be permanently disfigured.

This case is a bit different from most Maine work injury claims in that typically, workers are not able to sue their employers for compensation for such injuries. They can sue third parties for negligence, but the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act is considered the exclusive remedy available to employees who suffer work-related injuries, illnesses, or diseases against employers with workers’ compensation coverage. As long as the employer meets its obligation to provide workers’ compensation benefits, it’s immune from civil liability for injuries to employees. This immunity further extends to all of the company’s employees, supervisors, officers, etc. (meaning you can’t sue your co-worker or your boss).

Maine elected officials say they are prioritizing road safety in all future road construction projects. They are intent on driving down the number of injuries and deaths among drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.crosswalk

The renewed commitment to improve safety comes amid reports from the Maine Transportation Safety Coalition that 131 people have died so far this year in Maine auto accidents, compared to 105 the year before, 112 the year before that, and 95 the year before that. Furthermore, a state-commissioned task force assigned in February to study ways to reduce traffic accidents in Maine has just released its final report. As of October 15th, there were 15 people killed in Maine pedestrian accidents so far this year. That’s substantially more than the nine who were killed at the same time last year, according to the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety.

It’s part of a larger trend of rising road deaths and injuries that is reflected nationally. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports there were 6.3 million police-reported traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2015, with 35,000 people killed and another 2.4 million people injured. While drunk driving, distracted driving, and speed do play an out-sized role in these incidents, the task force also underscored the importance of better road design in Maine.  Continue reading

Motorcyclists in Maine are at higher risk of injuries and death than occupants of other types of motor vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports an estimated 88,000 motorcyclists are injured and nearly 5,000 killed each year in the U.S. Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 29 times more frequently than passenger car occupant deaths in crashes. This is part of the reason why Maine requires motorcyclists to carry insurance coverage. motorcycle accident

The state requires riders to carry a minimum of $50,000 for injury/death to any one person, $100,000 in bodily injury liability for a single Maine motorcycle accident resulting in the death or injury of more than one person, and $25,000 in property damage coverage. State law also mandates uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

If an auto insurance policy is cancelled and not reinstated prior to a crash, obtaining coverage can prove difficult, if not impossible. One aspect our Maine injury lawyers would explore in that case is whether the insurer satisfied the statutory notice requirements as set forth in 24-A M.R.S. Section 2914(1).

The widow of a man killed when he was struck by a drunk driver in Maine on New Year’s Day is suing both the driver and the nightclub that served her alcohol earlier in the night. drinking

The 30-year-old defendant driver, who was allegedly drunk, had reportedly been consuming alcohol at the Sapphire Nightclub and Event Center in Auburn, ME on New Year’s Eve, 2016. When the defendant driver left the nightclub after 1 a.m., there was snow on the ground, reducing visibility and traction. Her vehicle slammed into the rear of a parked vehicle, out of which the decedent was in the process of exiting. As a result of the impact, the 41-year-old decedent suffered spinal fractures, numerous broken ribs, and a ruptured aortic arch. His injuries proved fatal, though his widow describes him as enduring conscious pain and suffering before he died.

According to the SunJournal.com, the plaintiff alleges the nightclub served the defendant driver numerous alcoholic beverages on the night in question, allowing her to become highly intoxicated and not fit to safely operate a motor vehicle.

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