Comparative Fault in Maine Personal Injury Cases

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.

For example, if you were driving 70mph in a 60mph zone when you collided with a driver swerving in and out of lanes and driving 90mph, you may be slightly at fault due to your own excessive speed. However, a jury may find that you did not contribute equally to the accident, allowing you to recover, less some amount for your contribution to the accident by failing to drive under posted limits. If, for example, you and another car collided while both you and the other driver were texting, a jury may find that you are equally at fault, barring your recovery.

Of course, more difficult scenarios may arise that confuse a jury. A skilled personal injury attorney can evaluate your situation and advocate for you.

Contact a Maine Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Don’t let complex fault rules trip you up. An experienced Maine personal injury attorney can help you navigate every step of your claim and get you the compensation you deserve. The award-winning attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates have over 60 years combined experience in personal injury law and will get you the compensation you deserve. For a free, no-obligation consultation with a Maine personal injury attorney, call us today at 1-800-804-2004.

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