Under Maine personal injury law, accident victims or their loved ones may seek compensation for their damages against the at-fault party. However, issues arise when the at-fault party dies at any point after the accident. When a defendant in a Maine personal injury action dies, victims must take specific steps to preserve their rights and remedies.
Personal injury claims generally survive the death of a defendant in a Maine injury lawsuit. State law permits a plaintiff to continue their claim against the defendant’s estate. When this occurs, the defendant or plaintiff must file a motion with the court to substitute the at-fault party’s estate as the defending party. This applies whether the defendant dies before or after the filing of the case. In either situation, the plaintiff is a victim of wrongdoing, and they maintain the right to compensation for their damages.
For example, a recent Maine news report describes a head-on crash that caused a four-vehicle collision, resulting in two fatalities. According to the Police Chief, he discovered a vehicle crashed head-on with a tour bus, and another car collided head-on with a dump truck. Evidence suggests that one of the cars crossed into the center lane and hit an SUV, the SUV spun out of control and was hit by the dump truck. The car then slammed into a tour bus, resulting in the death of two people inside the car. If an investigation reveals that the car driver was responsible for the accident, the victims or their family members may file a claim against the deceased driver’s estate.
In Maine, an estate generally includes the property a deceased person leaves behind after their death. The estate is represented by an “executor” or “personal representative.” Depending on the deceased’s assets and liabilities, the estate must pass through probate proceedings. If a personal injury victim pursues claims against the deceased, they become a potential creditor. During these proceedings, a personal injury victim may claim entitlement to damages from the estate. The procedure remains the same, regardless of whether the liable party died due to the accident or from unrelated causes.
These cases can be complicated and require a thorough understanding of personal injury law and probate proceedings. The failure to abide by strict filing and notice requirements can result in a dismissal of a plaintiff’s otherwise valid claim.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Maine Car Accident?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a Maine car accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates. The attorneys at our office have extensive experience handling all types of complex personal injury claims. Through our diligent representation and legal insight, we have recovered compensation on behalf of our clients from at-fault motorists, their estates, and insurance companies. We handle cases stemming from vehicle accidents, product defects, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. Compensation in these cases typically includes payments for medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, and other non-economic damages. Contact our office at 800-804-2004, to schedule a free initial consultation with a Maine injury attorney.