Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

A fatal car accident in Prospect resulted in the deaths of two men and, now, the felony conviction of a man suspected – but not proven – to have been the negligent driver of that vehicle. Bangor car accident attorneys know the case represents some unique elements from a wrongful death litigation perspective, due to the fact the person who was driving was not conclusively decided.

According to The Bangor Daily News, the 2016 crash involved a pickup truck on North Searsport Road on an afternoon in September 2016. What authorities know for certain is there were three occupants in that vehicle at the time the truck slammed into a utility pole, causing the truck to roll over several times, ejecting all three from the vehicle. Investigators determined speed was a major factor in the crash, but several crash scene reconstruction experts called to investigate for the prosecution and defense were unable to determine who was driving at the time of the collision – the 33-year-old surviving defendant or one of the two men who died, ages 59 and 35. Defendant, who suffered serious head injuries in the collision, cannot remember who was behind the wheel. Investigators know that defendant had been driving at other times during that day. Blood found on the driver’s side airbag was determined to belong to the surviving defendant, prompting serious felony charges of manslaughter and other crimes. However, an expert later determined the blood on the airbag most likely came form the person sitting in the center, not the driver. The more serious charges were dropped, but defendant was still charged with operating without a license as a habitual offender (resulting in a 3.5 year prison sentence) and violating conditions of his release (six months, to be served concurrently).

As for a Maine wrongful death lawsuit, a case where the driver cannot be identified poses some challenges. Still, our Bangor wrongful death car accident attorneys know there may be a number of potential options for compensation.

Last year, officials reported record-breaking traffic on New England roads over the Thanksgiving holiday. More than 2.2 million people in this region make a turkey day trek more than 50 miles, representing a 3.5 percent increase over a year ago and the biggest boost in volume since 2005. It’s not clear exactly how many of those were in rented vehicles, but we know it’s common. There was also an uptick in air travel, with some 36,000 people flying out of Portland International Jetport, many opting for rental vehicles while in town.  Nationally, it’s estimated some 51 million people traveled over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday period from Wednesday through Sunday (with Wednesday being the busiest day).

Maine car accident attorneys in Bangor know that when a collision involves a rented vehicle, there may be some unique elements to consider with regard to auto insurance and liability coverage.

Prior to 2005, victims of car accidents could take legal action against rental car companies, holding them liable for the negligent actions of the person driving a vehicle owned by the rental company. This falls under a special type of law called “vicarious liability,” meaning it’s not necessary to show the person you’re suing for injuries directly did anything wrong. Rather, motor vehicles are inherently dangerous and so the owner was responsible for negligent use of that dangerous tool by someone else if the owner gave that person permission.

But then Congress passed the Graves Amendment, part of a larger federal transportation bill, which largely released rental car companies from liability when a renter crashes a car. However, that does not mean they are entirely off-the-hook. They can still be held liable for direct negligence. For example, if a causal factor in the crash was worn tire tread, that could be the fault of the rental car company. If the brakes were old or the car hadn’t been maintained, that could be evidence of direct negligence by the rental car company.  Continue reading

The town of Kittery is now facing nearly half a dozen Maine injury lawsuits following a van crash in which nearly a dozen children, ages 7 to 9, were injured when the driver, employed by the town, crashed due to a medical emergency. Plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages for medical expenses incurred in the weeks following the crash.

Injuries included a fractured leg, head injuries, facial scarring and emotional trauma. According to The Portland Press-Herald, the driver, 21, did have a commercial license, but had disclosed in a previous court case (which was public record) that he suffered from epilepsy and seizures, and he also had an extended history of previous criminal driving infractions. An internal review by the town revealed officials there did not check the man’s prior driving record before he was hired.

This case raises a number of legal issues, some of which, like the sudden emergency doctrine, we touched on previously. However, it also raises the common issue in Maine crash case which is one of respondeat superior, or employer liability for employee negligence.

Authorities say charges are likely in a Maine distracted driving crash that inflicted life-threatening injuries on a pregnant woman and her young child. Two other young children in the vehicle were treated at a hospital and released. The 29-year-old woman and her 8-year-old son were listed in critical condition initially, and later in stable/fair condition. It is not clear whether the woman’s unborn child survived.

The Portland Press Herald reports that police in Fryeburg are continuing their investigation of the collision on Route 302, which the police chief told media was likely caused by distracted driving. It’s unclear what type of distraction was allegedly at issue.

Portland distracted driving accident attorneys recognize that these types of crashes devastate individuals and families, not just physically and emotionally, but financially. Although this may be easier to quantify in the form of lost wages if a person is a working parent, even stay-at-home parents provide invaluable contributions to their families, who may suddenly not only be forced to find alternative means of child care and new living arrangements but also often more work to cover the significant costs involved with hospitalization, serious injury or death.

News Center Maine is reporting that new federal car-seat guidelines are aimed at saving lives. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ updated guidelines now urge parents to leave their children in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible.

AAP reports using the correct car seat or booster seat can decrease risk of death or serious injury by 70 percent in the event of a collision. Previous guidelines recommended keeping children in a rear-facing seat until the age of 2. But newer, stronger car seats and continuing data on their effectiveness at reducing child mortality, prompted safety advocates to abolish the age limit.

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Two families are suing a Maine town after their children were injured in a van crash on Interstate 95.

Both families are seeking financial damages for payment of medical bills, the Bangor Daily News reported. The crash happened as 11 summer campers were on their way to a waterpark on August 10. The van crashed into a tree after the 21-year-old driver had what authorities described as a “medical emergency.”

An attorney for the town of Kittery said injury lawyers on behalf of the victims filed a notice of right to sue and inquired about the town’s liability insurance policy. The Portland Press Herald reported the driver had a history of epilepsy and may have experienced a grand mal seizure. An internal review showed the town failed to check his driving record before he was hired.

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Self-driving technology is coming to Portland, Maine’s largest city. With it, residents may see an uptick in Maine auto accidents.

A Washington State company called Inrix announced it plans to test its self-driving automotive technology on the streets of Portland.  Inrix is a global company that develops and deploys Internet services and mobile applications for road-traffic and driving uses. The software platform, called AV Road Rules, is intended to function as a guide for self-driving cars, by allowing vehicles to “see” road conditions such as one-way streets, crosswalks and school zones. Portland will focus initial mapping on Commercial Street and Franklin Street, heavily used transportation corridors into the Old Port and downtown Portland.

The complexities of today’s modern vehicles — from airbags to anti-lock brakes to early-warning systems and backup cameras, are already making an impact in the courtroom when it comes to personal injury and wrongful death litigation. A recent column in the Press Herald highlighted just a few of the questions being raised by such emerging technologies.

Students are heading back to class, which means it’s time for adults to brush up on their education when it comes to safe driving. Maine bicycle accidents can be unfortunately common, which can lead to serious injuries, particularly if the rider collides with a car.

Bangor School Department has announced schools will open Tuesday Sept. 4. School officials urge parents to start kids on their school sleep schedule now, so they will be properly adjusted for the first day of class. This can also help keep them safe while traveling to and from school. Portland Public Schools will also return to class Sept. 4.

The Bangor School Department also announced a partnership with the Bangor Police Department to put liaison officers in schools to work to ensure proper security and student safety. While parents may worry about bullying, school violence, or the rigors and risks of today’s school athletics, our experienced personal injury lawyers know the commute to and from school is most likely to be dangerous.

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The recent injury of a Sanford girl in a UTV accident highlights the risk of these and other all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) as we head into autumn.About 500 people a year are killed in ATV accidents, according to federal statistics, and more than 100,000 are injured seriously enough to seek treatment in hospital emergency rooms. About 25 percent of victims are under 16 years of age. In all, nearly 15,000 riders have been fatally injured since ATVs became popular in the 1980s.

CBS13 reports hundreds participated in a Sanford fundraiser for the 8-year-old girl, who broke her neck and jaw and suffered numerous skull fractures after falling from her UTV. The local Maine ATV Club sponsored the event.

Autumn is the most dangerous time of year for accidents involving utility and all-terrain vehicles for various reasons. Experience and familiarity bring more aggressive riding, often on newer, larger, and more powerful ATVs. The ground is hard, and vegetation is reaching maximum growth, which reduces visibility and creates hazards of its own.

Construction 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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