Memorial Day Travel Signals Start of Summer Road Risks in Maine

Amid media coverage of prom, spring high school sports, and graduation season, we have started to see more tragic coverage of fatal auto accidents.

A Litchfield man was killed in a Presque Isle motorcycle crash; a Maine East High School teenager was killed in a single-vehicle accident; several turnpike accidents caused injuries and lengthy delays; and Maine’s governor said he will need surgery after a bicycle accident, while noting a helmet likely saved his life.

Maine Travel & Summer Car Accident Risks

Our Maine car accident lawyers reported earlier this month on the climbing number of bicycle and motorcycle accidents as we head into summer. But the risks don’t end there. Many common causes of injuries and accidents are preventable. Some will be the focus of law enforcement campaigns throughout the summer travel season.

  • Safe Traveling:  The Press-Herald is reporting a record number of travelers are expected to hit the Maine Turnpike, despite higher gas prices. Summer travelers are encouraged to have their vehicles properly serviced, allow plenty of time, use common sense, and obey the rules of the road.
  • Distraction:  Authorities focused on distracted driving in April and motorcycle and bicycle safety in May as they prepared for the onslaught of summer travel. But awareness is always a variable in collision avoidance. It’s incumbent upon drivers to respect the risks and avoid driving distracted.
  • Drunk driving:  Sobriety checkpoints are being supported statewide by the 2018 Impaired Driving High Visibility Enforcement program of the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety.
  • Safety Basics:  Drowsy driving, night driving, speeding, failing to yield, following too closely, and other basic safety failures lead to many Maine traffic accidents each summer.

Fault and Damages in Maine Traffic Collisions

One or more of these factors is usually involved in a typical traffic collision. Whether you are found partially at fault may have an impact on your ability to recover damages but in many cases won’t prohibit you from making a claim.

The comparative negligence rule in Maine, Title 14 §156, allows plaintiffs deemed partially at fault to seek a recovery from another at-fault party. This modified comparative negligence standard permits recovery as long as the plaintiff was found less than half at fault (49 percent or less).

Critical elements in making a claim include identifying defendants (negligent parties) and their insurance companies, and proving that an at-fault party’s negligence led to compensable losses. Compensable losses include things like property damage, lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitative care, pain and suffering, and disability.

Under Maine personal injury law, proving negligence requires proof of five elements:  that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty; that the defendant breached that duty; that the breach of duty caused the plaintiff an injury; that the defendant’s actions or inactions were reasonably foreseeable to cause an injury to the plaintiff, and that the plaintiff suffered some form of harm as a result.

Complex care is always required when negotiating with insurance companies. Consulting with an experienced personal injury law firm can protect victims’ rights from the earliest stages of recovery.

If you are the victim of a car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Gas prices rise to highest level in 4 years, just in time for summer travel in Maine, May 3, 2018, Press-Herald

More Blog Entries:

Motorcycle Safety a May Focus in Maine, April 24, 2018, Peter Thompson & Associates