In Maine, those charged with Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OUI) may face serious criminal and civil penalties for any ensuing damages and injuries caused by impaired driving. An OUI refers to a motorist operating their vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. The threshold may vary depending on the type of vehicle the driver was operating.
In most personal injury and wrongful death claims, the injury victim or deceased’s estate must establish all the elements of negligence claims. In some cases, the at-fault party is the person operating the vehicle that the victim was a passenger. However, in Maine, passengers have the same right to recovery regardless of whether they were in the vehicle with the at-fault driver.
While the law permits the claim, injured passengers should be cognizant of how the state’s comparative negligence laws may play into their cases. In Maine, the law may bar a plaintiff’s action if their negligence is equal to or greater than the defendant’s. Unlike other states, a violation of a statute does not constitute negligence per se. However, the evidence may be used to support a negligence claim. Cases involving OUIs can present challenges to plaintiffs, especially if the defendant or other party claims that the plaintiff knew that the driver was under the influence. However, Maine law explains that a plaintiff’s awareness of a danger which results in his injury is not an absolute bar to recovery. This frequently comes up when an injured passenger knew that the at-fault driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
For example, a local news source described a fatal Maine motorcycle accident that took the life of a New Hampshire woman. The accident occurred when the 43-year-old motorcycle driver swerved off the roadway and slammed into a group of trees. His 23-year-old passenger died at the scene of the accident, and the motorcyclist suffered minor injuries. Police charged the motorcyclist with aggravated driving while intoxicated and negligent homicide.
As the above case illustrates, driving under the influence can result in devastating consequences. Although the law provides a benchmark for impaired driving, individuals must assess the factors that may impact potential impairment. For instance, weight, sex, amount of food, time spent drinking, and time since a person’s last drink may affect how much alcohol impairs their ability to drive safely.
Have You Suffered Injuries in Maine Accident
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with a drunk or impaired driver, the Maine injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates can help. The lawyers on our team have extensive experience successfully representing injury victims and their families. We have secured compensation for our clients for injuries and damages they sustained from Maine car accidents, slip-and-falls, instances of medical malpractice, and other acts of negligence. Our attorneys can help accident victims identify all negligent parties and present a compelling case for compensation. Contact our office at 800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation with a Maine injury attorney at our firm.