If you’re in an accident in Maine, whether a car accident or a slip-and-fall, you may be wondering if you’ll be saddled with the expenses required to treat your injuries, restore your property, and compensate your time away from work. Maybe you contributed in some small way to your accident, such as speeding slightly or not carefully inspecting the walkway, and you’re worried you may not be able to recover any costs at all.
To recover damages in a personal injury case, you must establish the negligence of the person you are trying to recover from. This means this person owed you a duty of care and breached that duty in a way that caused your injury, which basically establishes fault. Different states use different negligence systems that can create a confusing legal environment for personal injury litigants. Some states say that victims cannot recover any damages at all if they were at fault even in a small way in an accident. Others allow for recovery, but damages will be reduced by the percentage a jury finds you to be at fault. Others allow recovery if you are found either equally at fault or less than equally at fault. In Maine, if you are 49% or less at fault, you are allowed to recover damages in a personal injury case. This is called a modified comparative negligence system.
Modified Comparative Negligence in Maine
As stated above, Maine’s negligence rule means that you will recover as long as a jury determines you were less than 49% at fault in the accident—meaning you cannot recover if you are “equally at fault.” If you are less than 49% at fault but more than 0% at fault, your recoveries will be reduced to the extent the jury finds is “just and equitable” considering your actions and share of responsibility.