Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

New Year’s Eve is known as one of the most dangerous times to be on the road. Motorists who aren’t usually out on the road find themselves driving back from late-night celebrations. Adding to the risks is the fact that a much higher rate of drivers than normal are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And while drivers must take special care when navigating the roads over any holiday weekend, this is especially the case when New Year’s Eve falls on a weekend as it did this year.

According to a local news report, one person was killed and another seriously injured in a head-on accident that occurred on New Year’s Eve. Evidently, a 39-year-old man was driving southbound near the Route 129/Route 130 split in Lincoln County. At some point, the driver crossed over the middle line, crashing into an oncoming motorist’s vehicle.

The driver of the struck vehicle, who was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, suffered fatal injuries in the collision. The at-fault driver was wearing a seatbelt and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. There was also a young child in that vehicle, who was secured in a car seat. The child suffered minor injuries but is expected to make a full recovery.

In Maine, operating under the influence (OUI) refers to drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 30 people die in drunk driving accidents every day. These preventable deaths take a toll on victims, their families, and the community as a whole. Those who have suffered injuries or whose loved ones died because of a drunk, or impaired driver may be able to recover compensation for their damages.

Alcohol reduces brain function, including a person’s ability to effectively reason, think, and control their muscles. These abilities are critical to operating a vehicle safely, and any impairment can have disastrous consequences. An increase in a person’s alcohol level simultaneously negatively affects their central nervous system functioning. Even a tiny amount of alcohol can affect a person’s driving ability. Further, interactions between alcohol and other substances can increase impairment and the likelihood of an accident.

For instance, local news reports provided details regarding a multi-vehicle crash in Maine. According to Deputies, an SUV driver veered into the center line and slammed into a dump truck, a Hyundai, and then a Silverado. Emergency responders transported the SUV driver’s occupants and the Silverado driver to a local hospital for treatment. An investigation reveals that alcohol impairment and speed may contribute to the accident.

A woman was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison with 7 ½ years suspended after a fatal Maine car crash that took place in 2019. According to one news source, the crash occurred in Glenburn, Maine when the woman, who was driving a Chevrolet Impala, nodded off and crossed into the center lane. The woman’s vehicle crashed head-on into a Nissan Altima, which was driven by a 70-year-old man from Bangor. A blood test revealed that the woman had heroin in her system at the time of the crash. The woman recently pleaded guilty to manslaughter and operating under the influence of intoxicants. Apart from the prison sentence, the woman received four years of probation and was ordered to pay a fine of $1,000.

Operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% or more in Maine is a crime known as Operating Under the Influence (OUI). The crime carries penalties of jail time, driver’s license suspension, and fines. Drivers under 21 years of age cannot have any measurable amount of alcohol in their bodies while driving. In addition to seeking justice through the criminal court process, a victim of a Maine OUI crash or their family may be able to recover financial compensation through a civil claim against the driver or others responsible for the crash. In a civil lawsuit based on negligence, the plaintiff (the victim or certain family members in the event of a death) must show that the defendant owed a duty to the victim to drive carefully, the defendant failed to meet that duty, that the defendant’s wrongful actions caused the victim’s injuries, and they suffered damages as a result.

If a defendant was convicted of a crime, as in the case above, that evidence may be admissible in a civil case to show that the defendant acted wrongfully. However, a criminal conviction is not necessary to file a lawsuit against the driver. Civil lawsuits require a showing of a lower burden of proof and some evidence may be admissible in a civil case that might not admissible in a criminal case. There also may be other individuals that can be sued in a civil case that may not be able to be charged criminally. Successful plaintiffs can recover compensation for damages including medical bills, property damages, mental suffering, lost wages, and more. Consulting with an experienced injury attorney is the first step in determining the best course forward.

Under the state’s “move over” laws and Title 29-A §2054-9 MRSA, Maine drivers must pull over or slow down when they encounter a stopped emergency vehicle. Emergency vehicles generally refer to police vehicles, fire trucks, tow trucks, highway safety vehicles, and ambulances. Drivers approaching emergency vehicles must pull as far to the right side of the roadway that is safe and practical. While many accidents involve drivers hitting emergency vehicles, in some cases, haphazard emergency vehicles cause serious accidents. The National Safety Council reports that their most recent statistics indicate that nearly 170 people suffered fatal injuries in an accident involving emergency vehicles. Over 50% of these fatalities involved victims who were inside passenger vehicles.

For instance, a Maine news report recently described a harrowing ambulance crash on Route 163. The ambulance crossed into the centerline and slammed into two vehicles before veering off the road, according to reports. The ambulance first hit a sedan and then struck a small SUV, sending both cars off of the road. Fortunately, the drivers did not sustain serious injuries as they were wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident. The cause of the accident is under investigation; however, speed does not seem to be a factor in collisions.

Determining fault and liability in Maine emergency vehicle accidents can be a daunting process. The challenges largely stem from the state’s immunity laws which limit the types of claims citizens can file against the government. While many ambulances are run through private companies, the government often funds, owns or operates the vehicles. In these cases, injury victims may be left with little to no recourse for the driver’s negligence.

Most motorists have witnessed or been the unfortunate victim of a road rage incident. While the at-fault driver may believe that they are justly acting out their anger, stress, or frustration, this conduct can be deadly. Those responsible for road rage accidents in Maine may be held liable for their negligent or reckless conduct.

The safety study by the AAA exchange reports that aggressive driving is common among drivers in the United States. They categorize aggressive or road rage as purposeful unsafe driving conducted deliberately will ill-will or disregard safety. Some common examples of road rage include:

  • Speeding in dense traffic

Although many individuals involved in accidents file personal injury lawsuits after a car collision, sometimes people assume that if the at-fault party is facing criminal charges following a car accident, that they do not have to file a personal injury suit. This assumption is incorrect and could cost you, as the potential plaintiff, the opportunity to collect compensation following a major accident.

According to a recent news report, a suspected drunk driver injured an attendant after crashing into a toll booth. At around 1:40am, state police reported that the driver lost control of their vehicle and crashed into the booth, causing a fire to break out. The shattered glass and debris from the impact of the car hit the toll attendant on duty, who was taken to the hospital. The driver of the vehicle was charged with aggravated operating under the influence and has previous convictions for speeding and driving to endanger and multiple suspensions. The attendant was released from the hospital but was still in pain and explained he felt lucky to have escaped alive from the accident.

Even though the at-fault driver in this accident was charged with aggravated operating under the influence, this does not mean that the toll booth worker will automatically receive compensation for their injuries. To receive compensation for physical injuries or property damage following a car accident, a separate personal injury claim must be filed in civil court.

As the holiday season approaches, many people will be traveling out of state to visit friends and loved ones. The influx of travelers often results in an increased risk of an accident. While all accidents can cause serious injuries and damages, Maine drivers who suffer injuries in an out-of-state accident may face additional challenges.

Recovering damages after these types of accidents can be difficult because of the complex interplay between state and federal laws. Generally, those who wish to pursue a personal injury lawsuit must establish that a particular court has “jurisdiction” over the parties or claim. In most cases, the law requires plaintiffs to file the claim in the state where the accident occurred. However, depending on the unique facts and circumstances of a car, the injury victim may be able to file a claim in their state or where the at-fault driver resides.

Choosing the appropriate venue is critical to the success of a personal injury claim. While many prefer to file a claim in their home state, this may not be possible if the accident occurs in another state. However, there are exceptions, such as when the at-fault driver resides in the same state as the plaintiff. In other situations, the plaintiff may choose to file the claim in federal court. This option is only available if the parties meet the jurisdictional requirements of the statute.

While accident reporting agencies group incidents into broad categories, in reality, each accident has a unique set of circumstances that can impact medical and financial recovery. Those who suffer injuries in a Maine car accident should not assume that the law entitles them to compensation. Law enforcement, emergency responders, medical providers, and insurance companies all have different interests in mind, and a victim’s compensation is not necessarily their priority. As such, it is critical that injury victims contact an attorney to ensure that they recover compensation from the liable parties.

Although the media depictions portray attorneys primarily in the courtroom, in reality, experienced attorneys are valuable during all stages of a claim. Maine lawyers can assist during investigations, settlement discussions, mediations, pre-trial proceedings, litigation, and appeals. Unlike many other parties involved in an accident or claim, a plaintiff’s attorney’s priority is to obtain a favorable outcome for their client. To accomplish this objective, a victim’s attorney will engage in a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances that led to the incident.

In the vast majority of cases, an accident indicates a failure on someone’s part. The failure could step from defective machinery, human error, or an environmental condition. While initial police investigations may point to a suspected cause or general fault, a thorough investigation can reveal why an accident occurred, and at which points it could have been prevented. This is especially critical in severe or fatal accidents where the parties may not be able to recount the events.

During busy travel months in the summer, more cars than ever are on the road as families head on road trips across the country. Often, no matter how much caution you exercise, factors beyond your control can make roads unsafe. For example, even on a day with clear skies and plenty of daylight left, external elements affecting other drivers such as exhaustion, fatigue, or driving under the influence could render roads extremely dangerous.

Unfortunately, Maine is no stranger to drivers who operate motor vehicles under the influence. According to recent statistics, 30.7 percent of total driving fatalities in 2018 were alcohol-impaired fatalities. In comparison, the national average for 2018 was 28.8 percent. With this in mind, it is crucial that Maine drivers remain vigilant and proactive, but also know what their legal options are if they are hit by a negligent or reckless driver under the influence.

According to a recent news report, a tractor-trailer crash shut down part of a local interstate and the driver is now facing several drug-related charges. The crash took place when a tractor-trailer hauling pantry staples veered off the right side of the road and collided with rock ledges framing the interstate. The tractor-trailer then rolled on its side and came to a stop with its cab partially in the right lane. Local authorities evaluated the driver, who was deemed impaired by Maine State Police and was arrested and charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, driving to endanger, and unlawful possession of methamphetamine.

Although traffic signals and signs usually provide instruction on what to do while driving, some rules of the road aren’t always posted. Right-of-way laws, for example, are important rules every driver should be familiar with but are not necessarily always reflected in signage. Knowing when to yield and having familiarity with right of way laws is essential to keeping both pedestrians and drivers safe on our roads and avoiding Maine car accidents.

According to a recent news report, a local woman was critically injured after a failure to yield accident. A preliminary investigation of the crash site by local authorities indicated that the driver of a Buick failed to yield to oncoming traffic at an intersection. The Buick struck a pickup truck that was traveling east. While attempting to swerve around the Buick, the pickup truck crashed head-on into another car traveling in the opposite direction. Local authorities noted that failure to yield and speed were likely both contributing factors to the accident.

In Maine, right-of-way laws are straightforward and easy to understand. Generally, when Maine drivers fail to yield the right of way, four demerit points are assigned to the individual’s license. In addition, each offense is attached to a $50 fine with an $85 surcharge regardless of how many violations have accrued. If violations take place repeatedly, drivers risk getting their license suspended.

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