Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

When serious or fatal injuries are caused by another person’s negligence, the victim and/or surviving family have a right to pursue compensation for their losses. However, when the injuries sustained are the result of an intentional act, collecting becomes a more complicated matter. The reason is that while victims are still entitled to damages insurance companies often have policy exclusions for intentional criminal acts resulting in injury or death. That often leaves a plaintiff’s only recourse collection directly from the wrongdoer.

In many instances, that individual lacks the resources and assets to adequately compensate the victim(s). That doesn’t necessarily mean it is not worth it to pursue such a case, but the viability must be carefully weighed.

Recently, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court considered a lawsuit against a homeowners’ insurance company brought by the family of a man killed by another on property belonging to attacker’s grandmother. In Metro Prop. & Cas. Inc. Co. v. Estate of Benson, the court was asked to consider whether insurer could be liable for wrongful death despite its intentional tort exclusion in the policy. Continue reading

The 23-year-old man was allegedly driving so drunk, his blood-alcohol level was 0.21 – nearly three times the legal limit for a driver of legal drinking age – when he crashed his vehicle, killing one of his passengers and critically injuring another.

That crash occurred on Annis Road in Bangor in June. Now, the driver has been indicted on charges of manslaughter and aggravated operating under the influence.

The decedent was a 20-year-old from Hermon. Another 20-year-old, a female also from Hermon, was seriously injured in the single-vehicle crash, as was defendant driver. At defendant’s first court appearance in late July, defendant’s bail was set at $20,000 cash. He was released later that day after that bail was posted. Now, he faces up to 40 years in prison on all charges, plus fines of up to $70,000. He may also lose his license for six years. The terms and conditions of the bail require he have no contact with any of the witnesses or victims, and he’s also not allowed to consume alcohol or drugs for which he does not have a prescription. He must undergo drug testing and abide by an 8 p.m. curfew.

However, none of that brings back the life of the man lost. None of that helps the surviving victim recover from her injuries. Continue reading

Kathy Day, a nurse from Maine, said she has always striven to be an advocate for patients. But that drive became a passion after the death of her 83-year-old father. He died weeks after suffering a hospital-acquired infection while he was being treated for a broken leg.

After breaking the small bone in his lower leg, he spent nearly two weeks in the hospital. Upon his return home, he seemed fine, other than the fact he needed to use a walker. But the next day, he awoke and was so sick, he could barely sit up in his own bed. He had a high fever. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors determined he had contracted MRSA pneumonia while he’d been recovering from the leg fracture. He ended up developing sepsis, which led to organ failure.

The family later learned two other patients had died of MRSA infections following surgery. Yet at no point were patients or family members informed of the risk or of steps to take or things to watch for in order to reduce the possibility of an infection.

The family of a 16-year-old boy killed in a Maine ATV accident last summer has filed a civil lawsuit against the family of another 16-year-old who was driving the car with which he collided.

According to the crash report, the decedent was operating the ATV (all-terrain vehicle) behind the vehicle driven by h is 16-year-old friend. They were traveling the same direction when the ATV operator attempted to overtake the car. As he crossed back into the northbound lane, the ATV and car collided, causing the ATV to overturn and the rider to be ejected.

Decedent was not wearing a helmet and died of his injuries.

Falls in nursing homes are not all that uncommon, but they are generally preventable – particularly when they involve a patient falling out of a window.

According to The Bangor Daily News, state health officials in Frenchville launched an investigation into a nursing home in late November, following the death of an elderly female resident who apparently suffered a fall from second-story window of the facility Nov. 14. She died at a nearby hospital.

In following up with the center just five and six days later, state investigators witnessed a series of deficiencies in care that rose to the level of serious, meaning patients at the site were deemed to be in immediate danger.

The Androscoggin Superior Court has granted a pre-judgment writ of attachment requested by the surviving family of a man killed in an apparent hunting accident near his home.

In the case of Brown v. Austin, the judge ruled it was more likely than not that the plaintiff will succeed in the wrongful death lawsuit, and therefore granted a writ of attachment  (seizure of assets) in the amount of $30,000 prior to trial. Plaintiffs in these cases can be entitled to receive up to $500,000 under state law – and it’s possible the plaintiff could ultimately be awarded that much. The writ is what ensures she will collect at least the $30,000 if successful at trial.

With the fall hunting season upon us, our Bangor wrongful death lawyers believe this is an important time to note that hunters are required by law to follow reasonable and prudent standards when targeting prey.

The elderly are more susceptible to injury-causing falls, which is why nursing homes and other assisted care facilities have a duty to ensure that preventative measures are in place and that proper treatment is offered should one occur.

However, our Bangor wrongful death lawyers recognize that it is not enough in a civil trial to prove liability simply by showing that an injurious fall occurred while a patient was in the defendant nursing home’s care.
In these cases, what must be proven under the Maine Health Security Act is professional negligence. The recent case of Estate of Boulier v. Presque Isle Nursing Home, reviewed on appeal by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, reveals how this threshold of proof can be difficult to meet – underscoring why you must trust your case to an experienced attorney.

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The Maine State Police (MSP) are going to be out in full force over the Fourth of July holiday. They are going to be out in their patrol cars and in aircraft and will have all hands on deck to enforce the state’s traffic laws.

This effort is to help to reduce your risks of a potentially fatal car accident in Bangor and elsewhere throughout the state. They’ll be targeting both aggressive and drunk drivers. The enforcement period is from Friday, June 29th and will continue on through the end of the week, according to WCSH.Col. Robert Williams, chief of the MSP, has also called for a crackdown on drivers who aren’t buckled up and motorists who are texting while driving. The months of July and August are the busiest times on our roadways.

Unfortunately, they’re also the deadliest.

Our Bangor car accident lawyers understand that the Fourth of July holiday weekend serves as one of the most dangerous times to be on our roadways. This year, there are more than 42 million people who are expected to travel at least 50 miles from their home for the holiday. About 36 million of these travelers will be doing so by motor vehicle, increasing traffic and risks for accidents significantly. You’re urged to be safe out there and to be on your best driving behavior to help to reduce your risks of an accident.

This is expected to be a big Fourth of July as this is the first Fourth of July in 63 years in which fireworks are legal in the state of Maine, according to the Maine Sun Journal. It’s looking like it’s going to be a big Fourth throughout the state as residents have been stocking up on their fireworks for weeks now.

“Sales are booming,” Scott Boucher, manager at Pyro City.

The law went into effect back in January, still there are some areas that have decided to stay true to the old rule and have continued to prohibit fireworks. These areas include Waterville, Augusta, Bangor, Lewiston, and Portland. Scarborough limits their use to hours surrounding July Fourth and New Year’s Day.

Throughout the entire state, you can’t buy or possess fireworks if you’re under the age of 21.As the big holiday draws near, officials with the state are asking all residents, in areas allowing fireworks, to be safe and responsible and to read instructions on all fireworks before use. These fireworks must be set off on the property of the user or of someone who’s given permission. Keep safety a top priority, keep young children away and keep water nearby.

For more safety tips and information regarding the use of fireworks, visit The National Council on Fireworks Safety’s website.

Have a Happy Fourth of July and remember to keep safety as your number one priority. Enjoy!

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As reported in the Portland Press Herald on December 15, 2010

” . . .

A Subaru Outback driven by Laura Breault, 48, of Knox, was heading east toward Brooks. Breault was taking her 15-year-old daughter, Jessica, to school, Keating said.

For many years, Maine law has required anyone in a vehicle that is required to have seatbelts, to wear a setbelt. (29-A M.R. .A §2081)There are also more specific safety restraint rules for children.

A study done of crashes which occured in 1996 in Maine concluded that ” . . . unbelted occupants were 2.8 times more likely to be hospitalized or die with a head injury than those belted.” (As reported by the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety). However, the statute specifically states that failing to use your seatbelt is not admissible evidence in any civil or criminal trial. Therefore, while it is clear that you should be belted when you are in a vehicle, the fact that you were not wearing your seatbelt during an accident is irrelevant. It cannot be used as eveidence, even if the other driver could prove you would not have been injured if you had your seatbelt on.

Some states do not have this rule. Therefore, some insurance adjusters may tell injured parties their claims are worth less because they didn’t buckle up. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident in while unbelted and has questions about the law, contact the team at Peter Thompson and Associates. We have handled thousands of similar claims and recovered millions of dollars for our clients. For a consultation call 1-800-917-1784 or read more on our website, www.Peter-Thompson-Associates.com, on our car accident practice page.

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