A Maine girl must now use a wheelchair for the rest of her life after pediatricians wrongfully diagnosed her with severe constipation, rather than the acute leukemia from which she was actually suffering. That was the claim made by the plaintiff in a Maine medical malpractice lawsuit against the practitioners and a walk-in clinic. That claim was recently settled with a $1.9 million settlement, which will be placed into a trust for the girl. Her parents told The Bangor Daily News they hope the settlement will help improve the quality of life for the girl, who will likely never walk again.doctor

According to reports, the girl’s parents brought the six-year-old into a walk-in clinic on one February day in 2014. They knew she was very sick. Two doctors diagnosed her with severe constipation and assured her parents this issue would pass. However, her parents grew increasingly worried because their daughter’s fever did not subside, her stomach grew hard and distended, and her eyes were glazed over.

Concerned, her parents took her to Maine Medical Center in Portland. Four days after seeing the first pediatrician in the walk-in clinic, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of childhood cancer. Her parents say from the moment she began treatment at the larger facility, their daughter’s health began to improve drastically. However, the delay in her treatment initially resulted in leukemia cells blocking blood flow from the girl’s lower spine to her legs, rendering her paraplegic.

A segway is known widely as being the primary mode of transportation for the goofy “Mall Cop” character Paul Blart. Segways, those two-wheeled, one-person motorized transportation devices, are typically seen as innocuous and easy-to-use, if a bit silly-looking. However, as recently reported by The Washington Post, summer Segway tours are increasingly popular throughout the country, including in Maine. But they pose dangers that might not be immediately obvious. As the Post reports, many tourists have suffered injuries as a result of Segway falls.segway sign

The Post detailed a case recently in which a reporter looked on as a group of four tourists tried out some final practice moves before heading out for a tour in Washington, D.C. However, one in the group crashed. The New Zealand tourist hit a small bump in the pavement, struck a wall with the handlebars, and then fell over onto the concrete. She immediately grabbed her knee in pain. She was helped into the building and later taken by ambulance to a local hospital. The reporter later learned she had suffered a broken leg and would need surgery upon her arrival back to New Zealand, which was going to occur much sooner thanks to the trip being cut short. In an email, her husband called it “a silly accident.”

However, as our attorneys know, these incidents may actually be a bit more complicated than that, both from a causation and liability standpoint. In fact, these devices may be more complicated to operate than they might appear at first blush. Currently, there are cases pending – some of them multi-million dollar claims – that involve injuries from falls off Segways.

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A road worker was left in critical condition following a Portland car accident in a construction zone.car accident

The Portland Press-Herald reports the 58-year-old worker, employed by a private construction firm, sustained severe injuries while on the Maine Turnpike after a driver drifted off the road to where the worker was standing next to his truck. The impact threw him into the travel lane, but he managed to crawl to safety and was not struck by another vehicle. The motorist was cited for failing to move over or slow down, in accordance with Maine’s “move over law.”

Although a citation in and of itself is not proof of negligence, information therein could be used in a future personal injury lawsuit against the driver. In a situation like this, an injured worker may have multiple avenues from which to seek compensation. They would include a claim against the at-fault driver, as well as a workers’ compensation claim, due to the fact that the injury occurred in the course and scope of employment. Also, depending on the circumstances and whether there were  other construction companies involved, there may be grounds for a third-party liability claim if the construction site was not properly established. Consulting with an experienced attorney is essential to ensuring you receive full and fair compensation.

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State lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have approved a Maine distracted driving bill that would ban hand-held cell phone use, which would make it one of 15 states to do so.texting

Although Maine already has several laws that prohibit distracted driving, none of those outlaw operating a vehicle while talking on a hand-held cell phone. This measure would change that, with the hope of lowering the risk of Maine car accidents caused by distracted driving.

From an injury law standpoint, it may provide a stronger foundation on which to assert claims of negligence in the event of a crash resulting in injuries.

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pedestriansThe death of a man in a Maine pedestrian accident is being blamed on an impaired driver who has since been arrested for multiple felonies. The Portland-Press Herald reported the crash happened near the entrance of a Target store, where the victim was reportedly exiting. He was 24 and died at the scene.

The defendant reportedly left the scene of the crash, abandoning her vehicle a few miles away before having a friend pick her up to take her to a nearby residence.

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We assume that when someone’s conduct behind the wheel is so egregious they receive a “lifetime driving ban” that it means just that – they’ll no longer be able to lawfully drive. It turns out that it’s not so in Maine. car keys

This was highlighted in a recent case out of Fairfield. There, a man previously from Skowhegan was convicted of drunk driving for a 1996 crash that killed three people and injured two others. For this crime, as part of his sentence, the judge imposed a lifelong ban on his driving privileges. That should have been the end of the story, but as it turns out, there is a loophole in Maine law. If a person’s driver’s license has been “permanently” revoked, they are still allowed to petition the court for reinstatement of that license if 10 years have passed since they were released from prison.

After this case was highlighted by the Press Herald, two lawmakers from central Maine who are members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee vowed to introduce a bill that would scrap that section of the law. In an interview, they noted it was “upsetting” that the word “permanent” doesn’t actually mean that under state law. They say there should be no chance for a driver like this one to appeal years after a judge ruled they should never be allowed to drive again.

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When nursing home abuse and neglect is suspected in Maine facilities – including those that provide care for vulnerable and disabled adults – it is expected that reports made to the Office of Aging and Disability Services will trigger an independent investigation by the state’s office of Adult Protective Services. However, it appears in a number of cases, that is not happening.old woman

The Bangor Daily News reports that five separate health care providers in a four-county area came forward and shared their referral numbers with the paper. Collectively, there were more than 550 allegations of suspected nursing home abuse, neglect, and exploitation over a four-year span ending in 2015. However, APS had final reports for just 40 of those.

It’s not clear whether the state is simply choosing not to investigate accidents or if the internal standards have changed. What health care providers are telling journalists, however, is that while they continue to file their referrals as suspected cases of abuse arise, they rarely anymore receive reports back from the state about the outcome or even existence of an investigation.

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A new study published in the journal Pediatrics reveals that 43 percent of children killed in car accidents were not wearing a seat belt or buckled in properly to a car seat. Among children involved in a fatal crash in which someone died (not necessarily them), 20 percent were not properly buckled. cihld in car

Rates of child fatality varied significantly from state to state, which underscores the argument that public information and state regulations can potentially have a direct impact on motor vehicle safety for children. For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that seat belt usage tends to be higher for all kids in states that have tighter seat belt laws and enforcement.

In Maine, Maine Rev. Stat. Ch. 19, 1-2801 requires that children under 40 pounds be properly secured in a child safety seat in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction. The fine is $50 for a first-time offense and cannot be suspended by the court. Passengers under the age of 18 have to be wearing seat belts, and here again, the fine is $50 for a first-time offense.

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Lawmakers in Maine are weighing whether to amend the state’s wrongful death statutes to allow claims for the deaths of unborn children. The proposal would specifically exempt physicians who conduct legal abortions, although some pro-choice advocates say the law would nonetheless undercut women’s reproductive rights. pregnant woman

Supporters of the measure opine it’s an avenue for family members to seek financial redress when a fetus dies as a result of neglect, default, or some wrongful act – by a driver, a doctor, a manufacturer, or another party. Those opposed to the measure say it isn’t necessary under state law, and the true purpose is to chip away at a woman’s right to choose.

The bill, L.D. 327, would give families the opportunity to seek damages in probate court under wrongful death statutes if a fetus that is viable (i.e., has reached at least 24 weeks of age) dies as a result of someone else’s negligence. This would not be a unique move. In fact, 40 other states – including all of the other states in New England – provide some avenue for family members to seek financial compensation if an unborn baby dies because of another party’s wrongdoing or neglect.

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Very often, when we hear of vehicles “crossing the center line” in traffic, the cause is distracted driving. This action is especially dangerous because it’s the catalyst for head-on collisions. These collisions have some of the worst outcomes because the force of the impact is doubled due to the traveling speed of both vehicles. That’s why head-on collisions account for 10 percent of all auto accident deaths, even though they account for just two percent of crashes. It’s believed the percentage of head-on collisions may even be increasing due to the rising impact of distraction. distracted driving

Two fatal car accidents in Maine recently were head-on collisions. Although investigations are ongoing and authorities haven’t yet cited causation, it would not be a stretch to imagine distraction may have played a role, particularly given a new study by Zendrive that found drivers use their phones in 88 out of 100 trips.

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