The Maine Supreme Judicial Court recently granted partial summary judgment in a case against a Portland High School after a mother alleged her teenage son fell and struck his head while apparently tussling with an older boy at a school sporting event.hospital bed

The court dismissed the claims against the older boy’s parents. The case against the defendant teen and the school district will proceed separately from this ruling.

The mother claimed the incident occurred at Cheverus High School in Portland, where a number of youths had been attending a sporting event. She filed an injury lawsuit against the school district, as well as the older boy and his parents, bringing counts for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The defendant parents requested summary judgment for both negligent infliction of emotional distress and causes of action under state negligence laws.

storefrontA Massachusetts Appeals Court has affirmed a multi-million dollar wrongful death judgment awarded to the estate of a woman killed after a vehicle ran into a Chicopee convenience store.

We have seen an increasing number of parking lot injuries and storefront crashes throughout New England in recent years. The Storefront Safety Council reports nearly half of these collisions involve a driver over the age of 60 and about half are attributed to operator or pedal error. The group estimate more than 500 people are killed and 3,600 injured in accidents caused by motorists driving into storefronts each year.

This case resulted in a $32 million verdict against a convenience store company after a woman was struck and killed by a speeding sport utility vehicle (SUV) that crashed through a Chicopee storefront, when the 81-year-old driver lost control. The victim’s husband, as executor of her estate, had argued the company was negligent for not installing bollards or taking other safety measures after hundreds of car strikes at its convenience store locations. The company argued it had no duty of care; that the event was completely random and unforeseeable; and that wrongful death was caused by the negligent actions of the at-fault driver.

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road constructionConstruction at a busy downtown Bangor intersection has proven stressful to motorists and has authorities preaching caution through the remainder of summer road-construction season.

The downtown work to replace Civl War era drainage and sewer lines began in April and is expected to last through the remainder of the year. The project has narrowed Exchange, State, Harlow and Hammond streets to one lane, and temporarily reconfigured Park Street to one-way travel.

Summer is prime time for road construction throughout Maine, as crews work to improve infrastructure and repair winter road damage. As of mid-July, the Maine Department of Transportation lists 360 road construction projects in progress throughout the state.

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The Maine supreme court has that ruled employers aren’t required to cover medical marijuana through the state workers’ compensation system. The 5-2 decision disappointed many worker advocates who had been following the case closely. Justices ruled that in a conflict between federal law considering marijuana a dangerous and addictive substance and Maine’s state medical marijuana law, the federal law takes precedence.workers compensation

This means that people injured on-the-job in Maine are going to need to either accept an alternative medication for their treatment or else pay for their medical marijuana out-of-pocket. Injured workers should be mindful, though, because the federal precedent also allows employers to take employment action against workers who use marijuana, even with a prescription. While this is troubling in itself, employees accepting workers’ compensation may need to be especially cautious, given that as a whole, they are more likely to be targeted for retaliation from employers for reporting work injuries, seeking treatment for on-the-job accidents or reporting job site safety violations. Continue reading

Hit-and-run accidents in Maine (and nationwide) are a rapidly rising concern, highlighted by an alarming new report indicating hit-and-run deaths have a record-high nationally. hit and run accident

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that in a single recent year, there were 737,000 total hit-and-run crashes tallied with 2,049 deaths. Both of these figures are the most ever recorded since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began recording in 1975. Hit-and-run crashes account for 12 percent of the total crashes in the U.S., 7 percent of all injuries and 5.5 percent of all car accident deaths.

In Maine, there were a total of seven hit-and-run crashes resulted in death recorded that year. On one hand, that’s one of the lowest figures of fatal hit-and-runs in the country. However, the data is presented in raw numbers, failing to factor in population. Beyond that, those seven crashes amounted to a 75 percent year-over-year increase and the highest reported in the last decade. We had four straight years in that time with zero hit-and-run crash deaths, and the year before that, there one deadly hit-and-run crash.  Continue reading

Rabid wildlife has attacked two Brunswick residents and two dogs in recent days. While references to Stephen King’s “Cujo” will no doubt abound, the fact remains summer is already the most dangerous time of year for Maine dog bite injuries; confirmed cases of rabies in the area will only serve to increase the risks. While Stephen King’s 1981 classic depicted the horror faced by a mother and son held captive in rural Maine by a rabid dog, the truth of the matter is that mandatory pet vaccines throughout the majority of the country have drastically reduced the risks.dog

However, Maine is among the states that still report the most cases each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports rabies is a preventable disease of mammals, transported most often through the bite of another rabid animal. The vast majority of reported cases each year occur in wild animals, including raccoons, bats, foxes, and skunks. Untreated, the virus infects the central nervous system and leads to brain disease and death. Death occurs within days of the onset of symptoms.

In the Brunswick case this month, the Bangor Daily News reports a 72-year-old woman was bitten by a gray fox. A 27-year-old neighbor was also bitten while trying to detain the fox for authorities. In a separate incident, two dogs were bitten by a rabid skunk. As of June, Maine has had 18 confirmed cases of rabies reported statewide.

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News Center Maine reports a record 47 million people are expected to travel over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. A record deadly start to summer has authorities moving on a number of fronts to improve road safety and reduce the risk of Maine car accidents.stormy street

Motorists can expect increased road patrols and heavy traffic, but safety advocates are trying to make it not all doom and gloom. The Maine Department of Transportation is using the results of a funny sign contest to get motorists’ attention by using humorous signs with serious messages. Bangor Daily News reported winning messages that will appear on the state’s network of digital highway signs include “Put Down UR Cell — Or You May End Up In One,” and “Be Protected — Not Projected – Buckle Up.”

As our car accident lawyers in Bangor and Portland reported recently on our Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, improper passing was blamed for the state’s deadliest crash in three years, after four people were killed and four others seriously injured. The crash is being blamed on improper passing on Route 4 in Berwick.

Four people have died after a head-on collision on Route 4 in Berwick. It’s the deadliest Maine car accident in more than three years.

Three died at the scene, and another died at the hospital. Four others were hospitalized with serious injuries. It was one of four deadly accidents on Maine roads last weekend.road

The Boston Globe reported that a 2014 Ford Explorer was struck head-on by a 1994 Honda Civic, after the Honda driver lost control while trying to make an improper pass. The Honda’s driver and two passengers were killed, including a seven-year-old North Berwick boy. A 73-year-old Wells woman was also killed. She had been a passenger in the Ford.

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A Maine roofer has been ordered to pay nearly $400,000 in fines and implement a safety program, including the use of proper safety equipment and fall protection.

Business Insurance reports the announcement by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration comes this month after safety violations were cited at 11 worksites between 2000 and 2011. The company has failed to pay fines or institute proper safety measures, despite having been ordered to do so by a First Circuit judge in 2011, according to OSHA.roofing

Maine workers’ compensation lawyers continue to see an increasing number of fall accidents in the workplace. While falls are the leading cause of work injuries (after transportation accidents), they are particularly common in the construction industry. Summer months will bring an increasing number of roofers to the skyline to make repairs and replace old or damaged roofs, so it’s an apt time for a reminder of the risks these workers face and the safety mandates in place to protect them.

Amid media coverage of prom, spring high school sports, and graduation season, we have started to see more tragic coverage of fatal auto accidents.

A Litchfield man was killed in a Presque Isle motorcycle crash; a Maine East High School teenager was killed in a single-vehicle accident; several turnpike accidents caused injuries and lengthy delays; and Maine’s governor said he will need surgery after a bicycle accident, while noting a helmet likely saved his life.lighthouse

Maine Travel & Summer Car Accident Risks

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