Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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

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).

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 16-year-old girl has died after a collision with a dump truck on her way to her first day back to school in Pittston. According to the Bangor Daily News, the crash happened at the intersection of Route 27 and Old Cedar Grove Road. Her younger brother, who was in the front passenger seat, suffered serious injuries but is expected to make a full recovery. car mirror

More than 1,000 people attended a candlelight vigil in the teen’s honor, where she was remembered for being smart, athletic, and positive.

Investigators report the teen driver, operating a Jeep, pulled out in front of the truck. The truck then slammed into the driver’s side of the Jeep, causing the Jeep to overturn and come to a rest on the roof. Both teens had to be pried out of the vehicle by rescue workers. The truck driver, meanwhile, suffered only minor injuries.

A horrific highway shooting death in Pennsylvania sparked a dispute between the parents of the victim and several auto insurance companies based in Maine. Our Maine wrongful death lawyers found it instructive to explore.

The victim was shot and then run off the road while driving on thegun interstate. He later died of his injuries. His assailant was initially unknown, although the incident was first believed to be a result of road rage. Later, however, the gunman was identified, and it was revealed the shooter mistook the victim for another man, whom the defendant was targeting – the paramour of a woman he’d been stalking. Authorities also suspected him of killing that woman in West Virginia the day before, and he was later convicted of her murder and sentenced to life in prison.

The question, then, was whether the decedent’s parents, as his personal representatives, could collect uninsured motorist benefits from several auto insurance carriers. Uninsured motorist benefits exist to provide coverage when someone is involved in an accident with another driver who either does not have insurance or is not identified. But the key issue in this case was the way in which the policies defined “accident.”

A road worker was left in critical condition following a Portland car accident in a construction zone.car accident

The Portland Press-Herald reports the 58-year-old worker, employed by a private construction firm, sustained severe injuries while on the Maine Turnpike after a driver drifted off the road to where the worker was standing next to his truck. The impact threw him into the travel lane, but he managed to crawl to safety and was not struck by another vehicle. The motorist was cited for failing to move over or slow down, in accordance with Maine’s “move over law.”

Although a citation in and of itself is not proof of negligence, information therein could be used in a future personal injury lawsuit against the driver. In a situation like this, an injured worker may have multiple avenues from which to seek compensation. They would include a claim against the at-fault driver, as well as a workers’ compensation claim, due to the fact that the injury occurred in the course and scope of employment. Also, depending on the circumstances and whether there were  other construction companies involved, there may be grounds for a third-party liability claim if the construction site was not properly established. Consulting with an experienced attorney is essential to ensuring you receive full and fair compensation.

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State lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have approved a Maine distracted driving bill that would ban hand-held cell phone use, which would make it one of 15 states to do so.texting

Although Maine already has several laws that prohibit distracted driving, none of those outlaw operating a vehicle while talking on a hand-held cell phone. This measure would change that, with the hope of lowering the risk of Maine car accidents caused by distracted driving.

From an injury law standpoint, it may provide a stronger foundation on which to assert claims of negligence in the event of a crash resulting in injuries.

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We assume that when someone’s conduct behind the wheel is so egregious they receive a “lifetime driving ban” that it means just that – they’ll no longer be able to lawfully drive. It turns out that it’s not so in Maine. car keys

This was highlighted in a recent case out of Fairfield. There, a man previously from Skowhegan was convicted of drunk driving for a 1996 crash that killed three people and injured two others. For this crime, as part of his sentence, the judge imposed a lifelong ban on his driving privileges. That should have been the end of the story, but as it turns out, there is a loophole in Maine law. If a person’s driver’s license has been “permanently” revoked, they are still allowed to petition the court for reinstatement of that license if 10 years have passed since they were released from prison.

After this case was highlighted by the Press Herald, two lawmakers from central Maine who are members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee vowed to introduce a bill that would scrap that section of the law. In an interview, they noted it was “upsetting” that the word “permanent” doesn’t actually mean that under state law. They say there should be no chance for a driver like this one to appeal years after a judge ruled they should never be allowed to drive again.

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