Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

Too often, the criminal justice system fails to bring justice to victims and their loved ones. When a person is found not guilty of a crime or faces a light sentence, the victim’s loved ones may feel that the criminal case failed to hold the perpetrator accountable for their profound loss. In these scenarios, a victim or their loved ones might look for another way to seek justice. When the criminal justice system fails to hold perpetrators accountable, a victim or their loved ones may turn to civil court and file a negligence lawsuit.

As a recent news article reported, a corrections officer received no jail time for an accident that killed a nine-year-old girl in Cumberland County, Maine. The accident occurred when the officer crashed his truck into an SUV, killing the girl who was riding in the back of the car. While on trial for manslaughter, the officer admitted he may have fallen asleep at the wheel. Prosecutors asked the judge for an 8-year sentence, 4 years’ supervision, and 100 hours of community service. The judge was much more lenient. At the sentencing hearing, the judge imposed a 6-year suspended sentence, 4 years probation, and 200 hours of community service. A suspended sentence is delayed until the convicted person completes probation, but judges often dismiss the sentence upon successful completion of the probation period. As a result, the officer likely faces no jail time.

Can You Sue a Driver Who Faced Charges in Criminal Court?

A criminal case does not affect your ability to sue a criminal defendant for damages in civil court. First, you can sue a driver who was found not guilty in a criminal trial—or who did not face criminal charges at all. Remember that a jury may find a person not guilty in a criminal case, but a jury could find that same person liable for civil damages. Second, you can sue a driver for damages even if they have to pay a criminal fine. Maine’s criminal law imposes fines as punishment for certain crimes, but these fines have nothing to do with civil liability for an accident. Even if the driver must pay criminal fines, you can still hold them responsible for civil damages.

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Too often, head-on collisions result in severe injury and death. When a driver’s negligence causes another person’s death, the driver harms both the deceased and their surviving loved ones. In the wake of these senseless accidents, it is clear that no amount of money will ever bring a deceased loved one back. However, understanding how Maine handles wrongful death lawsuits can help the deceased’s loved ones think about their options for recovery.

As a recent news article reported, a head-on crash in Woolwich, Maine, killed one person and injured another. The crash occurred on a bridge in the northbound section of Route 1. While traveling southbound, a driver veered across the roadway into the northbound lane. The driver then collided head-on with a vehicle traveling northbound. Sadly, the driver died at the scene. The northbound vehicle’s driver was transported to the hospital to treat serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Can You Bring a Wrongful Death Suit After a Maine Head-On Collision?

A person can bring a wrongful death suit for negligence if the negligent party would have been liable to the victim if he or she had not died. The reasoning is that wrongful death suits are a way to make sure negligent actors do not escape responsibility for their wrongdoing just because a victim is not alive to sue them personally. In Maine, a person bringing a wrongful death suit must do as the administrator of the deceased’s estate. However, the beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate can receive certain types of damages awards under Maine law.

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Due to the sheer force of a head-on collision, these accidents can be particularly dangerous for drivers and their passengers. When people suffer injuries in a head-on collision, they may seek to hold another driver responsible for their harm. However, determining who is at fault for a head-on collision can grow even more complicated when an accident involves more than two vehicles. In these scenarios, more than one driver could have caused the injured person’s harm.

For example, a recent news article reported that two people suffered severe injuries following a head-on collision involving three vehicles in Peru, Maine. A truck was driving on the highway when it passed a car; it then collided with a second truck traveling in the opposite direction. Two of the three drivers were transported to the hospital for serious injuries.

What Damages Can You Recover in a Head-On Collision?

After a head-on collision, an injured plaintiff can file a negligence claim for civil damages. Typically, plaintiffs will receive an award for compensatory damages. This type of damages award is meant to put the injured plaintiff in the same position as if the accident never occurred. Compensatory damages can include medical expenses resulting from the accident, property damage repair, and redress for emotional and psychological harm.

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When a pedestrian accident occurs at a busy intersection, there may be several possible causes. For example, a vehicle may fail to yield to pedestrians at a designated crosswalk. On the other hand, a pedestrian may fail to use a crosswalk or sidewalk and collide with oncoming traffic. In other cases, a pedestrian may lack a designated crosswalk and have no choice but to walk near traffic. Under these complex circumstances, injured pedestrians may be unsure whom to sue for their injuries or how to prove fault.

For example, according to a recent news article, a pedestrian suffered injuries after being struck at an intersection in Augusta, Maine. It is unclear whether the pedestrian was using a crosswalk when the accident occurred. An ambulance transported the pedestrian to the hospital for his injuries, where he was then flown to a Portland hospital for further treatment. The crash comes three years after Augusta officials implemented changes to improve pedestrian safety near the same intersection where the pedestrian was struck. The changes came in response to a previous pedestrian accident there. These additional safety measures included reducing the number of lanes pedestrians had to cross, and installing flashing lights to warn oncoming vehicles that a pedestrian would be crossing.

Who Has the Right of Way at an Intersection?

Maine law requires drivers to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at a crosswalk or sidewalk. However, in the absence of marked crosswalks, pedestrians must yield right-of-way to drivers when crossing an intersection. Pedestrians who seek to establish a driver’s fault for an accident may present evidence that they were crossing within a designated crosswalk, requiring the driver to yield to them. In fact, Maine law requires drivers to exercise due care by leaving distance between their vehicle and the pedestrian when passing through a public road. Accordingly, if a driver fails to do so, a pedestrian plaintiff can develop an argument that the driver failed to exercise ordinary care, a key component of a successful negligence lawsuit.

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Chain reaction accidents occur when an initial crash leads to multiple other crashes, which may or may not involve the drivers who suffered the first accident. When a person suffers injuries in a chain reaction accident, it may be unclear who is responsible for that person’s harm. It may also be the case that multiple parties are at fault for a single injury. A Maine personal injury attorney can help you understand the complex questions of fault and compensation that arise from a chain reaction accident.

For example, as a recent news article reported, a chain reaction accident in Richmond, Maine, left five people injured. The accident happened on the highway when a car sideswiped a tractor trailer, causing the driver to lose control of his car and veer off the roadway. The drivers who witnessed the crash slowed down in traffic, which resulted in three cars crashing into each other. Five people suffered injuries, and one was transported to the hospital for life-threatening injuries. The driver who crashed into the tractor trailer was charged with operating his vehicle under the influence.

How Can You Recover Damages in a Maine Chain Reaction Accident?

People who suffer injuries in a Maine chain reaction accident can bring a negligence lawsuit to recover damages against the other parties involved in the crash. To succeed on a negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove the defendants each owed the plaintiff a duty of care, breached that duty through their action or inaction, that their carelessness caused the accident, and that the plaintiff suffered injuries as a result. When multiple drivers are involved, determining who caused an accident can pose a complicated question of both fact and law. It may be the case that multiple drivers have some portion of responsibility for the accident. At the same time, each driver may not be equally at fault for all crashes that occur in a chain reaction accident.

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Maine drivers who choose to take the risk of driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs are putting themselves at risk of significant criminal liability in the event of a harmful accident. When a drunk driver causes an accident that results in serious injury or death, they can be subject to felony assault, manslaughter, or even homicide charges. An alleged drunk driver who caused a tragic head-on collision that caused the death of a beloved mother of two in August was arrested and charged with felony manslaughter based on the accident.

According to a local news report discussing the accident and the criminal charges filed against the other driver, the deceased woman was driving her Scion XA vehicle in Sanford at around 7:30 AM on an August morning when the driver of a Jeep Wrangler struck her head-on. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, and the other driver was transported to a nearby hospital with minor injuries. After an investigation of the crash was completed, the driver of the Jeep Wrangler was charged with manslaughter based on the alcohol concentration in his blood at the time of the crash. The crime of Manslaughter in Maine is a Class A felony, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

The family of the deceased woman may be able to receive some compensation for their losses as part of the criminal case, as the state will generally seek restitution for the victims of such crimes. In addition to the criminal restitution to which the woman’s family may be entitled, a wrongful death case can also be filed on their behalf in civil court. Because of the procedural differences between civil and criminal cases in Maine, it is generally easier for an accident victim to receive compensation through a civil case rather than by criminal restitution. Seeking a civil damages claim will not prevent a victim from receiving criminal restitution, although victims are not entitled to be compensated twice for the same damages or expense.

It is a common trope for someone to say that their “life flashed before their eyes” during a dangerous situation or near-death experience. A Maine woman may know this feeling intimately after her experience as part of a multi-vehicle collision that nearly killed her in Franklin County late last month. According to a local news report discussing the crash, winter driving conditions appeared to trigger a chain reaction crash involving several vehicles and a semi-truck. The crash reportedly injured several people, and one woman, fortunately, avoided being killed by jumping under the out-of-control semi-truck as it slid toward her.

According to the local news report, the crash was triggered on an early morning late last month when a 41-year-old man driving a tractor-trailer lost control of the vehicle on an icy patch of road that was caused by freezing rain. The out-of-control truck then struck several vehicles and started to slide sideways across all lanes of travel on the highway. One woman, who was standing outside of her car on the roadside addressing an unrelated issue when the accident occurred, was forced to jump under the oncoming semi-truck as it slid sideways toward her vehicle. The semi passed over the woman, then struck her vehicle and slid into a roadside ditch. When all was said and done, at least four vehicles were involved in the crash, and several people were reportedly injured and transported to a local hospital in the aftermath of the accident.

Semi-truck drivers have an increased duty to operate their vehicles safely on Maine roads. Their duty is especially important in the winter months or during other periods with dangerous weather and variable road conditions. Because semi-truck drivers are generally required to obtain a commercial driver’s license to operate their vehicles, they have undergone additional training on how to safely operate large vehicles during inclement weather. If the driver of a tractor-trailer operates their vehicle and causes an accident, they can be held liable for any damages caused as a result of the crash. If a truck driver negligently triggers a chain-reaction crash, they are legally responsible to compensate all victims hurt or killed in the crash even if the truck was not directly involved in the subsequent collisions.

Weekend nights in Maine cities and towns can present an increased danger for traffic accidents and the injuries that the accidents may cause. In addition to the increased traffic resulting from social events, weekend nights also see an increase in drivers who are operating their vehicles while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. Alcohol use increases reaction time while impairing judgment and decision-making, significantly increasing the risk of serious consequences from an auto accident. Alcohol appears to have been a factor in a recent multi-car collision near Standish that left several people injured earlier this month.

According to a local news report, the recent crash occurred on a Friday night earlier this month. The driver of a Scion coupe attempted to pass another driver in a pickup truck on Bonnie Eagle Road in Standish when he lost control of the vehicle and veered into oncoming traffic. The Scion driver then crashed head-on into a separate pickup truck. The first truck then collided with both other vehicles, and the coupe ended up crashing into a tree on the side of the road. Although the pictures included in the article show a destructive scene, none of the drivers or occupants involved in the crash were seriously killed, however, several people were transported to local hospitals for treatment. In a statement to the press, local law enforcement officers said that speed and alcohol likely played a role in the cause of the crash.

Drunk drivers and people operating vehicles under the influence of other intoxicating drugs pose a significant threat to other drivers on Maine roads. Drugs and alcohol impair driving skills and decision-making abilities, and drunk drivers are more likely to speed and be involved in dangerous accidents. Drivers who cause an accident may be liable for criminal prosecution for DUI, or even assault charges filed by the state. Victims of a Maine DUI accident are entitled to financial compensation from a drunk or reckless driver who causes a crash. Dangerous drivers need to be held accountable for their reckless decisions, and accident victims should consult with a Maine personal injury attorney to pursue a civil case for damages after a crash.

November is commonly known as a dangerous month for drivers in Maine, as people are getting accustomed to driving in winter conditions again. The long weekend including the Thanksgiving holiday can be especially dangerous, as many travelers are commuting long distances to see family on what may be unfamiliar roads. Winter ice conditions contributed to a tragic chain of accidents along Interstate 95 on a bridge near Waterville. According to a local news report discussing the crashes, accidents occurred on both northbound and southbound lanes and resulted in at least one death.

According to the news report, the Messalonskee bridge in Waterville became covered in ice on the Friday following Thanksgiving as a result of the cold, wet conditions. Several cars slipped off the road on or near the bridge, and traffic was restricted for both directions of travel. A 59-year-old nurse from Madison stopped to render aid to an incapacitated vehicle near the bridge. As the good samaritan was outside of her vehicle attempting to render aid, the driver of a large pickup truck with a trailer lost control of his vehicle and struck the woman. Paramedics quickly responded to the crash, however they were unable to save the woman’s life and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bridges, overpasses, onramps, and offramps are the most dangerous areas for icy road conditions on Maine highways and interstates. The roadway is not insulated by the earth below as in other areas, and the road surface on bridges and other elevated road features is colder than the surrounding roads. Because of this, bridges will always freeze before the rest of the road. Maine drivers approaching a bridge or other elevated roadway must use caution and control their speed on the approach, even when the road appears dry. A driver who fails to safely control their vehicle in the face of winter driving conditions can be held civilly, or even criminally responsible for the effects of a crash.

As winter approaches, snow, ice, hail, and freezing rain can create unsafe conditions on the road. Inclement weather can also make the consequences of careless driving even more dangerous. For example, speeding can already lead to an accident, but speeding on an icy road can make it even harder for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles. In these conditions, drivers should take extra precautions to stay safe and avoid a fatal weather accident.

According to a recent news article, one woman died and several others suffered injuries following an icy weather accident in Waterville, Maine. During the evening, local police received reports of multiple crashes resulting from icy road conditions in the north and southbound lanes of I-95 on a bridge, where the fatal accident took place. There, the woman pulled over to assist a driver who had crashed into the bridge’s barrier. As she stepped out of her car, another driver hit her while she was standing near the vehicle. The woman died at the scene. Three other people suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Overall, Maine State Police reported a total of 10 vehicle crashes between the north and southbound lanes on the same day. In addition to the icy weather conditions, speeding appears to be a factor in all of the reported crashes.

How Can Drivers Avoid a Maine Fatal Weather Accident?

While not every accident is completely preventable, Maine drivers can take several steps to stay safe during inclement weather conditions. Inclement weather tends to magnify existing hazards on the roadway, particularly when excessive speeding is involved. Speeding on an icy road can lead drivers to lose control of their vehicles and skid out of control. To stay safe in wintery weather conditions, follow the speed limit and drive slowly when approaching sharp curves in the road. Similarly, maintain a safe following distance. The vehicle in front of you may suddenly stop to avoid a patch of ice on the roadway. Additionally, be sure to stay focused while driving. Distracted drivers may fail to notice slippery ice or snow ahead of them. Avoid “multitasking” and give the road your full, undivided attention.

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