Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

When a major car accident causes significant injury or property damage and was because of the at-fault party’s negligence or recklessness, you may have grounds to bring a personal injury claim against them. Sometimes, however, it is unclear whether the other party is entirely at fault or if you contributed to causing the accident also. Because establishing liability in a personal injury accident is crucial to any legal claim you are considering, it is important to understand how Maine allocates responsibility and liability in similar cases.

According to a recent local news report, a head-on car accident resulted in a temporary road closure for Route 1 in Hancock. Local authorities reported that a tractor-trailer was transporting a manufactured mobile home when the load shifted and caused the tractor-trailer to jackknife and crash into another car head-on. It is unclear whether there were injuries, and the accident remains under investigation.

When an accident takes place in Maine, because the state is an “at-fault” state, this means that the driver who caused the collision must use their insurance to pay for accident-related expenses such as property damage or medical bills.

Everyone who owns a car typically also has car insurance. After all, it is required by law in most states, Maine included. Each state, however, typically has its own requirements for minimum coverage amounts and types of coverage each driver must have to remain in good standing. Understanding what each type of coverage pertains to is crucial so that if you are ever involved in an accident, you know exactly how much the insurance company will cover.

According to a recent local news report, a 71-year-old woman died following a major accident. Police reported that her car struck a tree after colliding with multiple vehicles and that the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Following the accident, another individual was transferred to a local hospital with minor injuries. Authorities noted that the accident involved at least four cars when the local fire department arrived on the scene. The accident remains under investigation.

Maine, like other states across the country, has specific requirements for drivers when it comes to car insurance. Every Maine driver must have liability insurance, medical payments coverage, and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, at a minimum. Failing to meet these minimum requirements may result in a fine or license suspension.

Distracted driving is extremely dangerous and results in hundreds of accidents on Maine roads each year. Drivers operating semi-trucks and other large vehicles while distracted are especially reckless, placing the lives of innocent Maine residents on the line. Semi-trucks and other large vehicles are more difficult to control and take longer to stop. Additionally, the damage caused in a crash involving a semi-truck is more likely to be catastrophic.

A recently published local news report discusses the criminal proceedings against a man who was involved in a January 2021 accident in which the semi-truck that he was driving struck another vehicle, killing two of the occupants.

According to the news article, the driver of the semi-truck admitted to law enforcement after the accident that he was listening to a show on Netflix before the Maine semi-truck crash occurred. The truck driver denied that he was distracted by the show, claiming that he had the screen turned away from his eyes and was only listening to the program. The truck driver claimed that the other vehicle cut in front of him and he was unable to avoid the crash. Law enforcement authorities apparently believed that the truck driver was distracted by the Netflix program, as he was arrested and charged with negligent homicide after the crash.

Distracted driving continues to pose risks to transportation safety as it impairs a driver’s performance and increases the likelihood of a Maine truck driving accident. A significant amount of research focused on the rate and risks of distracted driving in passenger car vehicles, and very few studies evaluated the effect on truck drivers. However, truck drivers are more susceptible to using a handheld device or radio to coordinate deliveries and logistics because of the fundamental job responsibilities.

According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, fatalities involving cell phone usage increased nearly 24 percent between 2011 and 2015. Further, from 2014 to 2017, distracted driving fatalities had the most significant percentage increase. Most concerning is that truck crashes have continued to increase over the past decade. These accidents can lead to chain reaction events, severe injuries, and property damage.

For example, a news report from Kittery explained that a tractor-trailer hit two vehicles on the Maine Turnpike. Safety officials explained that a state trooper was in the breakdown lane with his flashing lights on behind a flatbed truck. A tractor-trailer driver veered into the lane, slammed into the trooper’s vehicle, and then drifted into travel lanes, hitting a Jeep. The Jeep became pinned against a concrete barrier. Shockingly, the family inside the Jeep and the trooper only sustained minor injuries. At the time of the accident, the tow truck driver was under the flatbed and miraculously survived without injuries. Officials charged the tractor-trailer driver with distracted driving and failure to move over.

“Move Over” laws address two types of conditions that require motorists to move over and give the right of way to emergency responders. Under Maine’s statute, the law requires motorists approaching stationary emergency vehicles that are displaying flashing lights, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest, “if safe and possible to do so, or to slow to a safe and reasonable speed.” The law applies to law enforcement, first responders, emergency vehicles and tow trucks. A caveat to the tow truck application is that it only applies to trucks at an accident scene to assist emergency responders. In Maine, those who do not abide by the rule can face a minimum fine of $275.

Despite many public service campaigns, many people fail to realize the dangers of driving next to a stopped law enforcement officer or responder. According to the Maine Bureau of Highway safety, 19 officers in the country died in the first half of 2021 after being struck while on the side of the road. While the law was created in response to the growing concern for the safety of emergency responders, it affects all road users as these incidents can set off a chain reaction.

Recently, the Seacoastonline published an article describing an accident on the border of Maine and New Hampshire. According to the report, Maine State Troopers were assisting a bridge construction expert team set up a construction zone for a bridge project. An officer was in his vehicle, with his emergency lights flashing, when a Ford F-150 driver rear-ended him. Responders transported the officer to a local hospital, and the driver of the Ford and its occupants did not suffer injuries in the incident. Maine’s Department of Public Safety reiterated the importance of abiding by the state’s “Move Over” laws.

Maine is one of the least developed states on the eastern seaboard, and with our stunning natural environment and small population comes a less developed road infrastructure. Many rural Maine roads are only two lanes and are not divided. Because Maine has more narrow two-lane roads and highways than other more densely populated Eastern states, there is an increased danger of head-on collisions, which can be deadly. A recently published news report discusses a fatal head-on collision that occurred recently near Grand Isle.

According to the local news report, two vehicles were involved in a head-on collision earlier this month on Route 1 between Madawaska and Grand Isle. The driver of the larger vehicle, an SUV, was transported to a local hospital with moderate injuries, however, the driver of the smaller sedan was killed in the crash. Although the news report does not discuss exactly how the accident occurred, it appears that one of the drivers passed into oncoming traffic and caused the collision. It is essential to road safety for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles and stay in their lane when traveling on small roads.

Driving a larger vehicle, like a truck or SUV, can help prevent a driver and their passengers from suffering serious injuries or death in the event of an accident. Larger vehicles do present an increased risk to other smaller vehicles on the road. Drivers of larger vehicles have a responsibility to other drivers to exercise extra care when traveling, as deadly accidents involving trucks and SUVs are tragically common in our region.

Last July, a fatal car accident claimed the life of a woman when another motorist attempted to get back into the correct after passing several other vehicles. However, as the passing motorist entered the lane, he clipped another vehicle, causing his vehicle to spin out of control and crash into the woman’s Chevy Trailblazer.

According to a recent news report, the sheriff’s department charged with looking into the fatal accident just concluded its investigation and passed the file off to the local district attorney’s office. The district attorney is now considering whether criminal charges should be filed against the driver responsible for the collision.

Additional Details About the Accident

Evidently, the fatal accident occurred when a westbound Subaru Outback attempted to pass several other vehicles while driving on Surry Road. However, as the driver of the Subaru merged back into his lane, he clipped the side of a Honda Civic, causing him to lose control of his vehicle, which then collided with a Chevy Trailblazer.

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A man who was driving a car that was involved in a fatal 2019 crash in Acadia National Park has pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter in connection with the accident. According to a local news report discussing the legal proceedings, the man had been traveling at around 75 mph on Park Loop Road when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed. The driver was injured in the accident and three passengers who were riding in the vehicle died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. The road the man was driving on has a posted speed limit of 25 mph, and he was found to have a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit after the accident.

The man was charged with DUI as well as three counts of manslaughter in connection with the crash. The charges were in question after the man’s attorney successfully argued a motion to suppress the blood test evidence against him in his criminal case. After an appeal by the state of Maine reversed the earlier decision barring evidence, the man decided to plead guilty to the charges against him. As part of the sentencing and restitution process, the families of the victims of his crime may receive some compensation from the defendant for causing their deaths, however, restitution is often woefully insufficient to compensate crime victims and their families.

In addition to criminal restitution, the families of the victims of this crime are entitled to seek damages through a wrongful death claim against the driver of the vehicle. In a wrongful death claim against a negligent or reckless driver, the auto insurance company is required to cover their client’s liability up to the policy limits for liability coverage. Pursuing a civil case in addition to criminal charges is often the best way for crime victims to seek compensation for their losses. The procedural rules that govern a wrongful death claim are more friendly to plaintiffs than in criminal cases, and the types of damages that can be awarded are broader.

The truth is, an accident can occur on any road, at any time; however, certain roads pose a greater danger than others. Whether it is the way the road is designed, the position of street lights or traffic signals or the amount of traffic at certain times of the day, Maine drivers should be on the lookout for particularly dangerous roads.

According to a recent report, some of the most dangerous roads in Maine include:

  • Warren Avenue in Portland;

According to the most recent data from the Maine Department of Transportation, the state has about 23,450 miles of public roadways; this is more miles per person than any other state in New England. While the state engages in various measures to ensure the safety of its residents and visitors, accidents continue to occur at alarming rates. Every year the state spends nearly 20% on measures to control ice and remove snow. Although deicing, plowing, improving traction, and promoting melting all reduce the likelihood of road hazards, winter weather can be unpredictable and dangerous.

Weather-related crashes can stem from sudden rainstorms, snow accumulation, black ice, and a host of other events that can impact roads. In these situations, accidents may involve single vehicles to chain-reaction pileups. Every year almost 6,000 people suffer fatal injuries in winter-related accidents. Unlike many other states where snow is a leading culprit, most New England accidents involve rain and slick roads. However, the most dangerous weather events generally involve rain, snow, freezing rain, slush, fog, and wind. When these forces combine, the results can be devastating.

For instance, Maine news reports described a tragic single-vehicle accident. According to reports, the 81-year-old driver lost control of his car, veered off the road, and slammed into a tree. An initial investigation revealed that inclement weather and improper tires likely contributed to the collision. Sadly, the man died at the scene of the accident.

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