Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

While every motorist is taught the importance of following the speed limit and being courteous to other drivers, when people get stressed, they tend to engage in dangerous driving behavior that puts everyone on the road at risk. Indeed, speeding and other forms of aggressive driving are some of the leading causes of preventable car accidents in Maine, as well as across the country.

Recently, one man was killed in a Maine car accident that authorities are chalking up to aggressive driving. According to a local news report, the collision took place on Interstate 95 at around 10 in the morning. Evidently, a motorist was driving in the left-most passing lane on I-95 as he was attempting to pass a slower-moving pick-up truck. However, as he was in the process of overtaking the pick-up truck, another driver whipped in front of him, cutting him off.

The two vehicles collided, and the aggressive driver lost control of his vehicle, which rolled several times before coming to a stop in the median. The driver was not wearing his seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle. Emergency crews took the man to the hospital, where he sadly died from his injuries. The driver who was in the process of passing the pick-up truck was not injured.

It is fair to say that most drivers in the United States understand the dangers associated with using a mobile device while operating a vehicle. However, despite the well-known dangers of distracted driving, motorists continue to reach for their phones while driving. In response to the growing concern of distracted drivers, Maine enacted distracted driving laws that carry significant penalties. Additionally, those who have suffered injuries in an accident with a distracted driver may pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.

Texting and driving are responsible for nearly 400,000 traffic accident deaths every year in the country. Although drivers of all ages engage in this risky behavior, teenage drivers are more likely to cause an accident because of distracted driving. Texting and driving is a somewhat recent phenomenon, but the concept of distracted driving predates mobile devices. Historically distracted driving involved cases where the at-fault driver was changing the radio, conversing with a passenger in the back seat, eating, or putting on makeup. However, those actions are nowhere near as deadly as texting and driving.

Texting and the need to respond quickly can be a compulsion that requires a driver’s visual, gross motor, and cognitive attention. A texting driver uses all of those skills on texting instead of paying attention to the roadway. Maine’s distracted driving statute focuses primarily on novice drivers and a ban on texting for all motorists. The law prohibits teenage drivers from interacting with a cell phone or handheld device while driving a vehicle. Those who fail to abide by this law risk causing a serious accident.

Police pursuits are often necessary to apprehend a suspect; however, these chases can put many innocent people in harm’s way. Maine car accidents involving police pursuits can result in serious injuries to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. While the Bureau of Justice reports that most jurisdictions maintain restrictions on police pursuits, these incidents often occur and cause plenty of accidents.

For instance, a recent news report described a Maine police pursuit involving the driver of a stolen pick-up truck. According to the report, law enforcement began chasing the driver of an allegedly stolen pick-up truck. Troopers stopped the chase when they approached heavy traffic in a construction zone; however, they continued the pursuit afterward. Police used a spike mat to try and stop the truck, but the driver swerved and slammed head-on with a passenger vehicle. Three adults in the passenger vehicle suffered injuries and were taken to a local hospital. The pick-up truck’s driver and passenger also suffered injuries. Authorities charged the truck driver with several offenses, including reckless conduct, driving to endanger, and receiving stolen property.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that a significant number of emergency room visits involve speeding accidents. Speeding drivers pose a serious risk to road users, and the risk increases when the driver is evading authorities. There are many reasons these chases often end in an accident:

After a serious Maine car accident, victims may incur significant medical expenses that exceed their insurance policy limits. The effects of a Maine motor vehicle accident can reverberate in many ways. Treatment after an accident may involve outpatient procedures, surgeries, rehabilitation, and psychological care. Generally, injury victims are only responsible for medical payments as they incur them. While this may seem beneficial to the victim, the rule extends to the at-fault party as well. As such, generally, the law does not require the at-fault party to pay the victim’s medical bills on an ongoing basis.

Most medical providers require patients to pay their medical bills as they accumulate, regardless of whether they expect a personal injury settlement. This can pose significant financial hardships on the injury victim, especially if the accident impacted their livelihood. Maine accident victims should contact an attorney to determine the best and most efficient way to recover compensation from an at-fault party.

Maine follows the “fault” system to determine liability and compensation after a motor vehicle accident. Under these laws, the party who is legally at fault is responsible for the accident’s damages. Damages in these cases usually include medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, property damage, and other related costs. The primary methods for seeking compensation in Maine include:

Chain reaction collisions are those that occur when three or more vehicles collide with one another. Generally, this occurs as a series of rear-end accidents that typically stem from the impact of the first collision. The injuries from a Maine chain reaction accident tend to be more severe than a two-vehicle crash because of the sudden force of multiple vehicles. However, while the initial collision may involve the first driver’s negligence, that does not necessarily negate the other parties’ contributory negligence. Chain reaction accidents tend to be challenging because it can be difficult to pinpoint every party’s negligence and apportion liability relative to their fault.

For example, a Maine news report described a 3-vehicle crash in Livermore Falls. The assistant fire chief of the town was riding his motorcycle when he approached a stopped car. While he was slowing down, an SUV slammed into his motorcycle. The force of the impact pushed the motorcyclist into the car in front of him. The collision ejected the motorcyclist from his seat, and he died upon impact. Law enforcement stated that they believe that the fire chief was wearing a helmet during the incident. Three minor children were passengers in the vehicle that crashed into the motorcycle. Police stated that the accident is still under investigation.

While it seems easy to blame the rear driver, more than one person is responsible for the accident in many cases. For instance, in the case above, it is unclear whether the car traveling in front of the motorcycle stopped suddenly. In that case, the head driver may be responsible for negligently stopped on a roadway. These cases require an in-depth analysis of the accident scene and typically require an accident reconstructionist.

After a Maine car accident, injury victims and their loved ones must develop a strong case for an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Gathering and presenting relevant evidence is necessary to pursue a claim of this nature successfully. While there are some instances where negligence is presumed, such as in rear-end accidents and negligence per se cases, the majority of cases require a significant amount of evidence. Moreover, the law provides defendants with the opportunity to dispute their negligence in cases where negligence is presumed. Establishing liability is especially important because of Maine’s Comparative Negligence Act (Act). Under the Act, a claimant’s recovery will be reduced by their level of fault. Most importantly, the law bars recovery if the claimant is 50% or more responsible for the accident.

Maine accident victims must produce evidence that substantiates their claim. The evidence must establish the claimant’s version of events, injuries, and claims for lost wages. Evidence may include witness accounts and depositions, photographs, medical records, and police reports. An attorney can help claimants gather this evidence and present it to the fact-finder in a logical and clear manner. Although these types of evidence may seem straightforward, they must meet Maine’s rules for civil procedure. For example, many claimants believe that they can enter evidence of the at-fault party’s driving history and record of traffic citations. However, in many situations, the probative value of this evidence is outweighed by its prejudicial effect on the jury; as such, the court may not allow the evidence. There are several considerations that plaintiffs should reflect upon while preparing their claim for damages.

Car accidents can result in serious injuries and death, and it is vital that Maine claimants contact an attorney to ensure that they recover the damages they deserve. For instance, a recent Maine news report recently described a harrowing motorcycle accident involving a retired police officer. According to reports, the officer and his passenger collided with a sedan near South Portland. The officer died from his injuries, and his wife, who was riding with him, remains in stable conditions at the hospital. The sedan driver was cited for a moving violation, but the case is still under investigation. Cases involving motorcycles and victims who can no longer communicate their version of events present significant challenges. However, a Maine personal injury attorney can help families understand their rights and remedies in these situations.

The most recent statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over 90,000 police-reported collisions involved drowsy driving. Moreover, over 50,000 people suffered injuries in accidents related to drowsy driving. Drowsy driving accounts for a significant number of Maine car accidents. For instance, a recent Maine news report described an accident that occurred when a driver fell asleep at the wheel. According to the report, the driver admitted that he fell asleep while driving in Augusta, Maine. Three pedestrians, a grandmother, her 1-year-old grandchild, and two others were walking northbound in a gravel area when the accident occurred. The driver, who was traveling northbound, swerved into the centerline, slammed into the pedestrians, and then hit a utility pole. Three of the pedestrians, including the 1-year-old, died at the scene of the accident.

Fatigue and drowsy driving are preventable, and those who operate their vehicles in this state and cause an accident may be held liable for the ensuing damages. Tackling the frequency of drowsy driving is challenging, as American values do not always align with avoiding fatigued driving. The emphasis on extended workdays, longer commutes, and daily demands results in many fatigued drivers. However, regardless of societal expectations, individuals need to take responsibility for the health and safety of those on the road.

While fatigue, drowsy, and sleepy driving are often used interchangeably, there are critical differences in how the terms are understood. The overlap makes it hard to quantify exactly how many accidents are related to drowsy driving. However, despite the nuanced differences, accidents involving these conditions have some similarities. Maine drowsy driving accidents typically occur between midnight and 6 a.m. or in the later afternoon. These times of day are associated with a dip in circadian rhythm and typically follow a long workday. Further, drowsy drivers tend to be the only occupant in the car. Finally, accidents involving drowsy drivers typically occur on long highways and rural roads.

Parental liability refers to a parent’s obligation to pay for damages caused by their minor child’s negligence, intentional, or criminal acts. These situations arise in cases where a minor’s conduct results in damages to another. Under M.R.S.A §304, Maine parents and legal guardians maintain liability for damage by their children. The statute provides that parents and legal guardians of minors between the ages of 7 and 17 years old who willfully or maliciously cause damage or injury to another person will be jointly and severally liable with the minor for the damage or injury. However, the statute only applies in situations where the minor lives with the parent or legal guardian and limits liability to $800. The statute does not relieve the minor from personal liability for the incident.

While some injury victims may be wary of filing a lawsuit against a minor, it is often necessary. A minor’s negligence, willfulness, or maliciousness can result in significant injuries and even death to another. For instance, a news report recently described a harrowing incident that took the life of a 3-year-old boy. The accident occurred when a 13-year-old girl ran over the young boy, resulting in his death. According to witnesses, the 13-year-old was under the watch of the young boy’s parents. The mother got out of the car, and as she did, the 13-year-old girl unbuckled the toddler, put him in the driveway, jumped into the driver’s seat and tried to flee. While doing so, she ran over the boy, killing him in front of his family. State Police stated that the case is under investigation; however, the crash report stated that the girl acted in an erratic, reckless, careless, negligent, or aggressive manner. Police have not ruled out charges against the girl.

The damages cap on parental liability is quite low and rarely meets the expenses and losses that a victim or their family faced. In those situations, injury victims should consult with an attorney to discuss other avenues for relief. In some cases, a victim may claim damages against a homeowners policy, renters insurance policy, or motor vehicle insurance policy. Moreover, an attorney can help identify any other responsible parties that may be liable for the damages. These cases require an in-depth understanding of complex statutory and procedural rules, so it is essential to contact an experienced attorney to discuss how to proceed.

When car accidents occur, people frequently assume that they only involve two vehicles and parties: the party who was hit, and the at-fault party. Sometimes, however, collisions can escalate quickly—resulting in chain-reaction accidents with devastating results. When these accidents take place, it can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to recovering compensation. Figuring out who to file a claim against, who was at fault, or even the facts and context associated with the accident can be challenging when so many parties are involved. However, recovering from a Maine chain-reaction accident does not need to be complicated as long as you have the proper representation to guide you through the process.

According to a news report, a 22-car chain reaction accident left at least one person dead and several others injured. In the course of the accident, a semi-truck hit a snowplow, which caused it to roll over into a ditch. Based on witness accounts at the scene, whiteout conditions appeared suddenly, and the change in the weather and visibility on the road was a probable factor in causing the crash. Following this quick burst of snow, there were at least three chain reaction crashes within a 20-mile stretch of the interstate, according to local authorities. The crashes still remain under investigation, and it is unclear how many people were injured or how serious their injuries were.

Although drivers in Maine are no stranger to similar, sudden changes to weather conditions and visibility while driving, no one expects it to result in a chain reaction accident. In chain reaction accidents, there is usually at least one party who is considered at fault. Establishing who that is, however, can often be a complicated process. In larger accidents, sometimes all of the injured parties following the initial crash that set off the chain reaction will proceed collectively against the initially negligent driver.

When an individual suffers injuries because of poorly maintained property or land, they may be able to recover against the negligent land or property owner. However, Maine injury victims often face challenges when the incident occurs on public or government land or because of the negligence of a governmental entity or employee. The Maine Tort Claims Act (MTCA) provides municipalities and governmental entities with immunity for negligent acts. While the MTCA provides barriers to recovery, the government may still be liable for bodily injury and property damage in situations involving negligent ownership, maintenance or use of government vehicles, machinery, and equipment or roadways. Further, they may be responsible for injuries occurring at public buildings, such as public schools, parks, and courthouses.

While the MTCA provides broad immunity to governmental entities, the statute also includes exceptions to governmental immunity. Two critical road-related exceptions include:

  • Negligence during road construction, cleaning, and repair; and
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