Too often, head-on collisions result in severe injury and death. When a driver’s negligence causes another person’s death, the driver harms both the deceased and their surviving loved ones. In the wake of these senseless accidents, it is clear that no amount of money will ever bring a deceased loved one back. However, understanding how Maine handles wrongful death lawsuits can help the deceased’s loved ones think about their options for recovery.
As a recent news article reported, a head-on crash in Woolwich, Maine, killed one person and injured another. The crash occurred on a bridge in the northbound section of Route 1. While traveling southbound, a driver veered across the roadway into the northbound lane. The driver then collided head-on with a vehicle traveling northbound. Sadly, the driver died at the scene. The northbound vehicle’s driver was transported to the hospital to treat serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Can You Bring a Wrongful Death Suit After a Maine Head-On Collision?
A person can bring a wrongful death suit for negligence if the negligent party would have been liable to the victim if he or she had not died. The reasoning is that wrongful death suits are a way to make sure negligent actors do not escape responsibility for their wrongdoing just because a victim is not alive to sue them personally. In Maine, a person bringing a wrongful death suit must do as the administrator of the deceased’s estate. However, the beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate can receive certain types of damages awards under Maine law.
Maine imposes a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death claims if the person’s death was an accident. What this means is a person must bring a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the fatal accident.
What Damages Are Available in a Maine Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Maine, if the jury finds the defendant liable, the resulting damages award will go to the deceased’s heirs after subtracting funeral expenses and attorney’s fees. The deceased’s estate can recover for reasonable expenses of medical, surgical, and hospital care and reasonable funeral expenses. Additionally, a beneficiary of the deceased’s estate can seek up to $750,000 in damages for the loss of the deceased victim’s comfort and companionship. These also include damages that compensate for emotional distress arising from the accident that took the victim’s life. Finally, the jury can award up to $250,000 in punitive damages. Unlike damages meant to compensate the plaintiff for the harm they have suffered, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their conduct. However, the law only allows for punitive damages in very specific contexts. An experienced Maine personal injury attorney can help you sort through the complex laws that govern damages awards in wrongful death lawsuits.
Do You Need a Maine Wrongful Death Attorney?
If your loved one has died in a Maine head-on collision, you may be unsure of your next steps. The compassionate personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates can help you understand your options. Our attorneys possess years of experience in Maine personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from car, truck, pedestrian, and other traffic accidents. Through our dedicated representation, we will work tirelessly to pursue the damages you need and deserve. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team, contact our office at 800-804-2004 or reach out through our website.