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.

A family is mourning the tragic loss of their infant after a reported attack on the child by the family’s dog. The Bangor Police Department reported emergency responders were called to the family home about an injured infant, who was transported to Eastern Maine Medical Center. Sadly, the child died of those injuries about a week later.dog

The death is under investigation by police. This devastating incident underscores the fact that of the 4.5 million dog bites reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year, it is children who are the most at risk.

While there are almost always a handful of Maine dog bite attacks reported annually, they are not often fatal. Six years ago in Frankfort, a seven-month-old infant was mauled to death by the family’s Rottweiler while at home with her mother and toddler brother. Then, in Corinna last year, a seven-year-old was killed in an attack by a pit bull while playing outside his father’s home.

The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety reports more people have died so far in Maine motorcycle accidents than in all of last year. In total, 18 people died in fatal motorcycle crashes in 2016, while as of the end of September 2017, 20 people had been killed in such crashes. motorcycle

The victims ranged in age from 25 to 81, and aside from two who were females, the overwhelming majority of riders affected were male. State statistics show more than half of the riders in fatal crashes weren’t wearing helmets. While Maine does have a motorcycle helmet law, M.R.S. 29-2083, it is not a universal helmet law, meaning only specific categories of riders are required to wear one. Those are operators and riders under 18, as well as those operating a motorcycle with a learner’s permit or within one year of completing the driving test or while riding as a passenger with someone who is required to wear a helmet.

In those situations, when it comes to personal injury litigation, this fact could be used to reduce the damages awarded to motorcycle accident victims. However, it does not in and of itself release negligent drivers from liability. Anyone injured in a motorcycle accident or survivors of those killed in motorcycle crashes – helmet or no helmet – should discuss their legal options with an experienced injury lawyer.

At a time when Maine distracted driving accidents are of growing concern, the state’s high court has lowered the proof burden for law enforcement officials in distracted driving crashes. The ruling, which applies to civil and administrative matters for distracted driving accident liability, holds it isn’t necessary to prove the driver’s specific diversion. Instead, the presentation of circumstantial evidence may be sufficient. driving

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court weighed the case, stemming from a 2015 multiple-vehicle collision that resulted in the death of one of the vehicle occupants.

According to court records, it had been a clear day, the road was dry, and there was nothing that obstructed the defendant driver’s view on Route One in Woolwich. The driver of a truck was traveling northbound – in the same direction as a car up ahead, when the driver of the car activated his turn signal and slowed down to turn left. The car driver wasn’t able to turn immediately because of heavy southbound traffic, so he came to a full stop and waited for his chance. The car driver then looked up into his rearview mirror to see the truck driver approaching without slowing down. He then saw him swerve at the last second.

A young man in Maine has been indicted on a manslaughter charge following a Maine drunk driving accident that killed one and left another seriously injured. Although civil liability has not been raised at this juncture, our drunk driving accident lawyers know it could well be an issue in the future, given the facts we know so far. beer glass

Many actions for which one might be deemed liable in a civil case are also violations of criminal statutes. While some criminal courts will impose orders of restitution on convicted offenders to be paid to the victim(s), this is separate and apart from civil liability, which should be explored in cases involving serious injuries. For one thing, restitution orders often do not take into account more than medical expenses. Civil liability, meanwhile, will weigh such elements as lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. That means one stands to obtain far more compensation in a civil case. This is also true, particularly in drunk driving accident cases, since there is the possibility of third-party liability under Maine’s Liquor Liability Act. Under this provision, one can be sued for up to $250,000, plus medical expenses, for reckless or negligent conduct in serving liquor to a person who is intoxicated or a minor if the defendant disregards the obvious and substantial risk that serving liquor to that person might cause to the drinker or others.

In this case, according to CentralMaine.com, three young men were drinking together at a local restaurant. The defendant driver was reportedly “the most sober” of the trio, so he was designated as the driver that night. He reportedly skidded 300 feet before careening off the road into the opposite travel lane and striking a tree and then a telephone pole. All three occupants were ejected from the vehicle. One of the passengers died, and the other suffered severe injuries.

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