When an individual suffers injuries because of poorly maintained property or land, they may be able to recover against the negligent land or property owner. However, Maine injury victims often face challenges when the incident occurs on public or government land or because of the negligence of a governmental entity or employee. The Maine Tort Claims Act (MTCA) provides municipalities and governmental entities with immunity for negligent acts. While the MTCA provides barriers to recovery, the government may still be liable for bodily injury and property damage in situations involving negligent ownership, maintenance or use of government vehicles, machinery, and equipment or roadways. Further, they may be responsible for injuries occurring at public buildings, such as public schools, parks, and courthouses.
While the MTCA provides broad immunity to governmental entities, the statute also includes exceptions to governmental immunity. Two critical road-related exceptions include:
- Negligence during road construction, cleaning, and repair; and
- Negligent operation of vehicles.
Under the first exception, a governmental entity may be liable for negligent acts or omission stemming from or occurring during road cleaning, construction or repair. For liability to attach, the plaintiff must establish that the incident occurred during negligent street cleaning or repair operations. Further, they must prove that the injury arose out of and occurring during the operations. The exception applies when the incident occurred on a highway, sidewalk, parking area, causeway, bridge, or airport runway. In these situations, the court must strictly construe the exceptions. The MTCA sets a recovery cap of either $400,000 for the municipality and $10,000 for municipal employees, whichever is greater of the two.
These cases are often complex, and there are many instances where negligence may be unclear. For instance, there have been widely publicized reports of the death of a prominent TikTok star and executive chef. According to national news reports, the woman died in a tragic Maine road accident. While the woman was on the phone with her fiancee, a gust of wind knocked a pine branch off of a tree and onto the roof of her SUV. The woman’s fiancee reported hearing a crash and then silence. The woman died immediately upon impact from the falling branch. In cases like the devastating one above, determining liability and apportioning fault requires a thorough understanding of complex Maine premises liability laws.
Have You Suffered Injuries Because of Governmental Negligence?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries or died because of another’s negligence, the Maine car accident attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates can help. Our attorneys possess the unique skills, tools, and resources that personal injury lawsuits require. We understand the devastating impact that an injury can have on a person and their family. As such, we work to ensure that the negligent party or parties are held liable for their conduct. We handle Maine injury cases stemming from motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and nursing home abuse and negligence. Contact our office at 800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation with our award-winning personal injury attorneys.