A 9-year-old boy was killed, while his mother and 6-year-old brother were seriously injured, after a 63-year-old woman drove her sedan into a line of people waiting on a wharf in Rockland, Maine for a ferry ride to Monhegan. Also seriously injured in the crash was a 70-year-old man who suffered a shattered hip.
Now, parents of the boy who lost his life have filed a Maine wrongful death lawsuit against the New York City driver, as well as the owners of the ferry and the boat line business.
Plaintiffs allege the crash could have been prevented if the driver had not been operating her vehicle negligently or, alternatively, had the ferry line acted to erect gates and barriers or worked to safely channel bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle traffic on the wharf where the crash happened.
The family hasn’t indicated any specific dollar amount in their claim, but does cite medical expenses in addition to emotional distress – including the enormous trauma for the mother and the 6-year-old of watching their beloved son and brother be killed right before their eyes.
Child’s mother suffered internal bleeding, numerous pelvic fractures and a perforated bladder after being struck by the vehicle. She was hospitalized for two weeks and had to spend another several weeks at a local rehabilitation center. The 6-year-old child was released from the local hospital after several days.
Vehicle driver was never charged criminally for her actions, as the local district attorney found insufficient evidence she had acted in a manner deemed criminally negligent. This was despite the fact police had fielded numerous calls earlier in the day of a vehicle matching the description of defendant’s reportedly speeding. However, she was not actually stopped or cited for speeding that day.
At the time of the crash, which occurred around 2:30 p.m., defendant driver said she stopped her vehicle on a down slope that led to the wharf, and had planned to catch the ferry. She positioned her vehicle behind a sport utility vehicle. She says at that point, her vehicle suddenly accelerated and the pedal seemed jammed. After striking the SUV in front of her, she said her vehicle sped up, hit a couple buildings and then the line of pedestrians. She said her memory of the incident is a blur.
Authorities would later say toxicology reports revealed alcohol was not a factor, and there was no indication the driver suffered from any illness, such as a stroke or seizure.
A reconstructionist expert with the Maine State Police determined there were no mechanical issues with the car. (If there had been some indication, the family might have wanted to explore a product liability lawsuit against the vehicle manufacturer.)
In proving negligence, one must show defendants:
- Owed a duty of care
- Breached that duty of care
- Injury resulted from that breach of care
- Injury resulted in damages
It’s not yet known whether the 70-year-old will also file a lawsuit against these same parties.
Maine’s statute of limitations for personal injury actions is six years, while for wrongful death actions it is two years from the date of decedent’s death.
If you are the victim of an auto accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Family of boy killed on Port Clyde wharf sues car driver, ferry line, Aug. 10, 2015, By Stephen Betts, Bangor Daily News
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Maine’s High Accident Risk Due to Construction, Hazards and Road Condition, Report Says, Aug. 15, 2015, Portland Car Accident Attorney Blog