In Maine, individuals who suffered injuries or died in a car or other accident because of another’s fault, may be entitled to compensation for their damages and losses. However, even if the evidence suggests that the other party was at fault, each case presents unique circumstances that may affect liability and recovery. One of the most challenging situations is when the defendant experiences a medical emergency that leads to an accident.
Under Maine’s negligence laws, plaintiffs must establish that the at-fault party deviated from a reasonable person’s standard of care. A “reasonable person,” is one who exercises average care and judgment in their conduct. However, the law allows for flexibility, which is relevant to the affirmative “sudden emergency” defense. This doctrine applies in situations where the at-fault party experiences an unavoidable medical event or encounters an “Act of God”, that leads them to cause an accident.
For example, recently, a Maine news report described an accident involving a medical emergency. In that case, a driver experienced an undisclosed medical emergency when he crossed into an oncoming lane of traffic and off the road. The driver then slammed into a pedestrian. The pedestrian was taken to a hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries. Although the case is still under investigation, police urge Mainers to engage in safe driving behaviors and refrain from operating their vehicle if they are ill or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In Maine, the doctrine provides that an at-fault party who is confronted by an emergency that they did not cause, is not held to the same degree of care as an ordinary reasonable person. Determining reasonableness requires that the defendant prove that their actions, when confronted by the emergency, are how another reasonably prudent person would act in a similar situation.
In many cases, drivers will blame accidents on medical issues, such as seizures, heart attack, stroke, delusions, or loss of consciousness. However, this defense may fail in situations where a medical professional told them not to drive, if they previously experienced a similar episode, or if they felt that they might experience a medical emergency but continued to drive. It is important that plaintiffs seek representation from an experienced personal injury attorney to refute this and other affirmative defenses.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Maine Car Accident?
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a Maine car accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates. The attorneys at our law firm have a long successful history of representing clients in wide-ranging matters, including those arising from car and truck accidents, slip and falls, defective products, and instances of medical malpractice. We understand the financial, emotional, and physical impact of these types of accidents and work diligently on behalf of our clients to ensure that they obtain the compensation they deserve. Maine personal injury cases are rarely as straight forward as they might initially present, so it is important that you contact an attorney at our law firm to understand your rights and remedies. Contact our office at 800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our law firm.