Hit-and-run accidents in Maine (and nationwide) are a rapidly rising concern, highlighted by an alarming new report indicating hit-and-run deaths have a record-high nationally. Legal News Gavel

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that in a single recent year, there were 737,000 total hit-and-run crashes tallied with 2,049 deaths. Both of these figures are the most ever recorded since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began recording in 1975. Hit-and-run crashes account for 12 percent of the total crashes in the U.S., 7 percent of all injuries and 5.5 percent of all car accident deaths.

In Maine, there were a total of seven hit-and-run crashes resulted in death recorded that year. On one hand, that’s one of the lowest figures of fatal hit-and-runs in the country. However, the data is presented in raw numbers, failing to factor in population. Beyond that, those seven crashes amounted to a 75 percent year-over-year increase and the highest reported in the last decade. We had four straight years in that time with zero hit-and-run crash deaths, and the year before that, there one deadly hit-and-run crash.  Continue reading

Rabid wildlife has attacked two Brunswick residents and two dogs in recent days. While references to Stephen King’s “Cujo” will no doubt abound, the fact remains summer is already the most dangerous time of year for Maine dog bite injuries; confirmed cases of rabies in the area will only serve to increase the risks. While Stephen King’s 1981 classic depicted the horror faced by a mother and son held captive in rural Maine by a rabid dog, the truth of the matter is that mandatory pet vaccines throughout the majority of the country have drastically reduced the risks.Legal News Gavel

However, Maine is among the states that still report the most cases each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports rabies is a preventable disease of mammals, transported most often through the bite of another rabid animal. The vast majority of reported cases each year occur in wild animals, including raccoons, bats, foxes, and skunks. Untreated, the virus infects the central nervous system and leads to brain disease and death. Death occurs within days of the onset of symptoms.

In the Brunswick case this month, the Bangor Daily News reports a 72-year-old woman was bitten by a gray fox. A 27-year-old neighbor was also bitten while trying to detain the fox for authorities. In a separate incident, two dogs were bitten by a rabid skunk. As of June, Maine has had 18 confirmed cases of rabies reported statewide.

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News Center Maine reports a record 47 million people are expected to travel over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. A record deadly start to summer has authorities moving on a number of fronts to improve road safety and reduce the risk of Maine car accidents.Legal News Gavel

Motorists can expect increased road patrols and heavy traffic, but safety advocates are trying to make it not all doom and gloom. The Maine Department of Transportation is using the results of a funny sign contest to get motorists’ attention by using humorous signs with serious messages. Bangor Daily News reported winning messages that will appear on the state’s network of digital highway signs include “Put Down UR Cell — Or You May End Up In One,” and “Be Protected — Not Projected – Buckle Up.”

As our car accident lawyers in Bangor and Portland reported recently on our Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, improper passing was blamed for the state’s deadliest crash in three years, after four people were killed and four others seriously injured. The crash is being blamed on improper passing on Route 4 in Berwick.

Four people have died after a head-on collision on Route 4 in Berwick. It’s the deadliest Maine car accident in more than three years.

Three died at the scene, and another died at the hospital. Four others were hospitalized with serious injuries. It was one of four deadly accidents on Maine roads last weekend.Legal News Gavel

The Boston Globe reported that a 2014 Ford Explorer was struck head-on by a 1994 Honda Civic, after the Honda driver lost control while trying to make an improper pass. The Honda’s driver and two passengers were killed, including a seven-year-old North Berwick boy. A 73-year-old Wells woman was also killed. She had been a passenger in the Ford.

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A Maine roofer has been ordered to pay nearly $400,000 in fines and implement a safety program, including the use of proper safety equipment and fall protection.

Business Insurance reports the announcement by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration comes this month after safety violations were cited at 11 worksites between 2000 and 2011. The company has failed to pay fines or institute proper safety measures, despite having been ordered to do so by a First Circuit judge in 2011, according to OSHA.Legal News Gavel

Maine workers’ compensation lawyers continue to see an increasing number of fall accidents in the workplace. While falls are the leading cause of work injuries (after transportation accidents), they are particularly common in the construction industry. Summer months will bring an increasing number of roofers to the skyline to make repairs and replace old or damaged roofs, so it’s an apt time for a reminder of the risks these workers face and the safety mandates in place to protect them.

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.Legal News Gavel

Maine Travel & Summer Car Accident Risks

The recent drowning death of a five-year-old boy swept away by the Androscoggin River highlights summer water risks in Maine.

The boy fell in the river while playing at Bonney Park near Auburn. His older brother jumped in after him and was later pulled from the water by rescuers before being LifeFlighted to Maine Medical Center in Portland. A sister and the father also jumped in to try and save him and were lucky to make it back out of the rushing river, according to authorities.Legal News Gavel

Rivers and their spring tributaries can be especially dangerous during spring runoff. Our Maine personal injury lawyers urge you to talk to your children about the importance of water safety because Memorial Day signals the start of warm summer months and the most dangerous time of the year for drowning deaths.

As we recently reported on our Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. As riders hit the road each spring, they face the highest risks of the year. And already this month, we have reports of a slew of serious and fatal motorcycle accidents throughout the state, including the death of a 24-year-old Portland man and a motorcycle crash in Acton that resulted in serious head injuries for a Barrington couple involved in a Saturday evening crash.

Our Maine motorcycle accident lawyers also note safety advocates are focused on the other two-wheel riders hitting the roads this spring. Like motorcycle accidents, the number of serious and fatal bicycle accidents in Maine spikes each year as the last of the snow melts. Legal News Gavel

Coastal Journal reports the City of Bath will be among those promoting Bike to Work Week on May 14-18, which culminates in Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 18. Fitness advocates and environmentalists continue to promote cycling as a means of physical activity that offers environmental benefits and cost savings of up to $8,000 a year for those who regularly bike to work.

Central Maine Medical Center’s safety grade has dropped to one of the lowest in the state, in part because of problems with blood-stream infections. The hospital’s grade dropped from a B to a C — making it one of just two Maine hospital to receive a C grade, according to a recent report in the Press-Herald.

The report by a Washington, D.C. nonprofit reviewed cases of infections from 2016 and 2017 and cases involving bedsores and deaths from treatable complications in 2014 and 2015. It is the third time in recent months the hospital has come under attack as it struggles with bloodstream infections from central lines and catheters inserted into Intensive Care Unit patients. Late last year, Medicare announced it was penalizing CMMC for a second year in a row as a result of high rates of patient injuries and infections.Legal News Gavel

Hospital Infections a Hidden Risk & Growing Concern

Legal News GavelMay is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and a prime time for Maine motorists to commit to watching out for motorcyclists as the summer riding season begins.

Because, statistically speaking, an accident is likely to be a non-motorcyclist’s fault.

“When motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right of way,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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