Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

Car accidents are a leading cause of injury in the United States, with Memorial Day as one of the six holiday periods with an increased number of fatal car accidents. As the Fourth of July quickly approaches, Maine drivers should take heed of the statistics and cautiously approach the roadways.

There are many reasons why car accidents are more common during holiday weekends. While the reasons may vary between winter and summary holidays, the outcomes of either accident can be deadly. Some common reasons for holiday weekend accidents include:

  • Drunk and impaired driving;
  • Inexperience with the roadways;
  • Increased nighttime driving; and
  • Increased traffic.

Those involved in an accident during a holiday weekend may experience serious injuries. These injuries may be exacerbated as traffic jams can delay emergency responders from arriving at the scene quickly. Thus, it is important that those who suffer injuries or lose a loved one in an accident contact an experienced attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

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In 2020, there were 35,766 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Accidents vary in severity and may involve multiple injuries and/or multiple cars. Accidents that involve more than two cars can be tricky to navigate, especially when attempting to determine who was at fault. Maine is a state that falls under the traditional fault system to determine how those injured in a car accident can be compensated. In other words, the driver who is found to be legally at fault for the accident will bear responsibility for damages. Damages include any losses that are the result of the accident, which may include medical expenses, lost wages due to inability to work, and property damage to vehicles.

In a recent news report, a devastating three-car crash in Lewiston, Maine resulted in one fatality and multiple serious injuries. The accident occurred at the intersection of Lisbon Street and Scribner Boulevard. One person was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident involved a Ford traveling inbound on Lisbon Street and the vehicle struck a Volvo at a high speed while the Volvo was stopped at a red light. The force of the collision pushed the Volvo into a 2017 Chevy Cargo Van. The driver of the Ford was arrested and charged with violating probation, and additional charges are expected, including operating a motor vehicle under suspension. At the time of the report, the other individuals injured in the crash were in stable condition.

It is important to note that all states have a statute of limitations for car accident claims, which is the deadline after which a person can no longer take legal action after being involved in a car accident. If the statute of limitations deadline passes, a person is no longer able to take legal action. In Maine, individuals typically have up to 6 years to file a lawsuit in court after a car accident to take legal action against the driver at fault.

Sometimes, when you are involved in a car accident, the at-fault party who caused the accident may have been operating their vehicle negligently or recklessly because they were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

In these situations, the at-fault party may be prosecuted criminally for driving under the influence—but this is a distinct proceeding from any personal injury claims you may be considering bringing against the at-fault party for compensation. Understanding the distinction between the criminal suit against the at-fault party and your civil personal injury lawsuit is crucial to the success of your claim and to ensuring that you are able to recover the damages you deserve for your losses.

According to a recent local news report, two individuals died following a major rear-end accident. The driver of a Chevrolet and her passenger were struck from behind by a Dodge pickup truck when the Chevrolet driver lost control of her car, spun off the side of the road, and crashed into a tree. Neither the Chevrolet driver nor her passenger had been wearing seatbelts and were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Dodge truck and his passenger were uninjured, but police suspect that speed and alcohol may have been contributing factors in the accident. Local authorities are continuing to investigate the accident and reconstruct the crash.

Every day, drivers and passengers take on the risks of possible injury that can result from car crashes. It can be tricky to determine which driver caused an accident, but it’s an important part of tort litigation in cases concerning car accidents.

Maine is an at-fault state, which means that the driver who caused the accident must use their insurance to pay for the other driver’s bills (i.e. medical bills or property damage bills) that resulted from the collision. To determine fault, the court and insurance companies use evidence from the crash, such as the police report, videos, photos, and reports from eyewitnesses.

For example, a news report from News Center Maine provided information about a two-vehicle head-on car crash that took place on Federal Road, or Route 4, in Livermore in April. Four people were brought to the hospital as a result of the crash. The four individuals who were involved in the accident were treated for moderate to severe injuries. The crash caused traffic to be redirected. An investigation into the cause of the crash must occur, including an investigation into which driver may have been at fault.

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.

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