A 28-year-old woman seriously injured as a passenger in a Maine motorcycle accident was awarded $2.5 million for life-changing injuries, according to the Bangor Daily News. The claim was against a 78-year-old driver. Another claim for damages against the motorcycle operator had been previously settled for an undisclosed sum. The case proceeded to trial after plaintiff rejected defendant’s settlement offer of $9,500. At trial, defendant driver was found to be 20 percent liable, meaning she is responsible for $400,000 of the damages.
According to news reports of the case, plaintiff was a passenger on a motorcycle operated in Kennebec County by a 30-year-old in June 2015. Defendant driver reportedly swerved suddenly to the right in order drive into the parking area of a bagel shop. This prompted the motorcycle operator to attempt to illegally pass the driver on the right. The two vehicles collided. The motorcycle operator suffered minor injuries, while plaintiff was seriously injured. After skidding 60 feet along the asphalt, she suffered road rash on 50 percent of her body and sustained fractures to both her left arm and hand. Her hand and arm are now disfigured and scarred, and she’s been left with residual weakness in both the hand and arm, with medical bills totaling $50,000.
Motorcycle Accidents on the Rise Nationally
The Governors Highway Safety Association reports Maine’s motorcycle deaths comprise 11.2 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in the state, despite the fact that motorcyclists comprise just 3.6 percent of all motor vehicle registrations. State totals ranged from accounting for 7.1 percent of deaths in Alaska to nearly 23 percent in Nevada. Maine motorcycle accident deaths spiked 33 percent from 2016 to 2017 (based on preliminary numbers) from 18 to 24.
But it’s not just Maine. Eighteen states reported an uptick in motorcycle deaths in 2017. (Preliminary figures for 2018 Maine motorcycle deaths haven’t yet been released, but likely will be soon.)
Males are consistently over-represented in motorcycle accidents, but injured motorcycle accident passengers tend to skew more female, as in the case with the plaintiff in the recent Bangor case. Passengers in cases like these may take legal action against both the motorcycle operator as well as third party drivers.
Many motorcycle accidents nationally occur with at least one of the following factors:
- Impaired driving;
- Lack of helmet use (which is not considered proof of negligence in Maine, which has a partial helmet law);
- Unendorsed riders (those who are not endorsed to ride a motorcycle are typically those without appropriate formal education and training necessary to legally do so; about 27 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents involve an unendorsed operator).
Fault will be just one factor necessary to determine in Maine motorcycle accidents. Another is extent of damages.
Plaintiff Alleges Maine Motorcycle Accident Stripped Her of Livelihood
In the most recent case, plaintiff’s attorney said the Maine motorcycle accident victim had grown up in the state’s foster care system and she excelled athletically as a gymnast and dancer. She earned a living as an adult touring the state at various clubs, entering pole-dancing competitions nationally and teaching pole-dancing classes. The motorcycle accident and the permanent injuries she sustained meant that she could no longer continue to work in that capacity.
Defendant’s lawyer meanwhile said there was a possibility he would appeal the case.
If you are the victim of a Maine traffic accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-490-5218 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Former pole dancer wins $2.5 million in damages for motorcycle crash injuries, Jan. 14, 2019, By Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News
More Blog Entries:
Couple Injured in Chain-Reaction Maine Motorcycle Accident Sue Estate of Biker Who Died, Jan. 25, 2019, Maine Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog