Articles Posted in Dangerous Properties

As reported in the Portland Press Herald on December 28, 2010

CARRABASSETT VALLEY — A chair lift derailed in high winds at Maine’s tallest ski mountain Tuesday, sending screaming skiers plummeting as far as 30 feet to the slope below and injuring several of them.

The Sugarloaf resort in Carrabassett Valley, about 120 miles north of Portland, said about six people were injured when five chairs fell an estimated 25 to 30 feet. The resort’s ski patrol evacuated the lift, which had passed an inspection.

In Maine, there is a potential intersection of the workers’ compensation and personal injury systems when the injury is caused by a third party.

Generally, if you are injured at work, regardless of the cause, you are compensated for that injury entirely through the workers’ compensation system. However, did you know that if a party other than your employer is responsible for the injury, you may also have a separate claim against that party?

For example, if you were driving a vehicle as part of your job and were injured in an accident caused by another driver, you have both a workers’ compensation claim and a claim against the other driver.

November 14, 2009: Forest Dale, Sr., 46, of Steuben was killed Saturday morning when he was crushed between the cab and the dump body of his delivery truck.

Dale was delivering a load of firewood to a home in Cherryfield about 11 a.m. when the accident occurred, according to Sgt. Timothy Tabbutt of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.

In the process of attempting to raise the dump body on his 1-ton flatbed, Dale’s truck broke through an abandoned underground tank, Tabbutt said. The truck fell through all the way to its frame.

Jack Vincent, a 12-year-old Scarborough boy who was hit by a pickup truck last week is reportedly improving, although it is still unknown what permanent limitations he will have from his injuries.

York County Sheriff Maurice Ouellette acknowledged that the bridge is too narrow to accommodate cars and pedestrians at the same time. The driver is claiming that he didn’t have enough time to react before hitting Vincent.

In our opinion, an investigation into this matter should carefully consider the truck driver’s speed and knowledge of the children’s use of the bridge, and should analyze whether law enforcement officials should have done more to prevent this accident from occurring. In our opinion, there should also be additional investigation whether the State failed to do enough to accommodate the use of the bridge by pedestrians and children.

A 12-year-old boy was hospitalized in serious condition when a pickup truck hit him on the Salmon Falls Bridge. The boy, according to news accounts, was getting ready to jump off the bridge. The bridge is very well known in the area as a place where children come in the summer for the excitement of leaping from a height of over 20 feet into the water. The town has issued citations, but has not created any type of obstruction to prevent children from jumping from the bridge.

An investigation into this matter will likely occur to determine whether the driver of the truck was exercising adequate caution. One issue that will need to be addressed is whether the driver knew the area was frequented by children and, if so, whether he was exercising extra caution. Maine law requires that if a driver is aware that children are playing in an area near a road he exercise reasonable caution by, among other things, reducing his speed and/or keeping a vigilant lookout for children. This situation is similar to drivers seeing children riding bicycles along a road. Under these circumstances, reasonable care would require the driver to proceed at reduced speeds that would permit the driver to avoid a collision if the child were to accidentally swerve out into the road.

Another issue that will likely be investigated is whether the State did enough to prevent children from being injured by what was clearly known to be a potentially dangerous attraction. Maine law requires owners of property to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to children by having something on the property that would attract the children and cause potentially serious injuries. Although this particular bridge was used for generations as a popular place to jump, it would need to be determined whether modifications to the bridge design could have enabled this past-time to occur while, at the same time, reducing the possibility of children being hit by oncoming vehicles.

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