Sometimes, car accidents can occur under highly unusual circumstances. As a recent news article reported, two robbery suspects crashed their vehicle while fleeing from police in North Jay, Maine. After arriving at the scene of a robbery, local police stopped the suspects’ car. The car briefly pulled over before driving off, prompting a police chase along the highway. The chase ended when the suspects’ car crashed at the intersection of Routes 17 and 4. The suspects endured serious injuries and were transported to the hospital. State police are now investigating the crash.
How Does Maine Apportion Fault Among Multiple Defendants?
Like the two robbery suspects who fled police, sometimes more than one person may be responsible for a plaintiff’s injuries. Maine does not limit a plaintiff to naming one defendant in a lawsuit. Instead, a plaintiff can sue multiple defendants for the same injury. When assigning fault among multiple defendants, Maine follows joint and several liability. Under this theory of recovery, a plaintiff can recover the full damages amount they are seeking against each defendant, provided that a judge or jury finds all defendants liable. However, Maine also takes the plaintiff’s degree of fault into account. A plaintiff can still recover damages if they were at fault, but the law reduces the plaintiff’s damages award based on their degree of fault. For example, a plaintiff who is 20% at fault will receive a 20% reduction in their damages award. However, if a plaintiff was equally at fault or greater, they cannot recover any damages.
What Are the Penalties for Fleeing from Police?
In Maine, refusing to stop after an officer signals you to pull over is a Class E crime, the least serious type of offense. This type of crime is punishable by up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine. However, fleeing from an officer by driving recklessly and inciting a high-speed chase is a Class C felony. Class C felonies are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000. Additionally, if suspects fleeing from police cause an accident with another driver, that driver may bring a personal injury lawsuit. As a result of that civil lawsuit, the suspects may also owe the injured driver monetary damages.
In a personal injury lawsuit for negligence, the most common type of damages award is for compensatory damages. This type of damages award intends to place the plaintiff in the same situation as they were in before the accident. Punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant for willful or malicious conduct, are rare. However, an egregious accident can occur if suspects are fleeing police and driving erratically on purpose without regard for other drivers. If you are a victim of this type of accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can advise you on your options for recovery.
Have You Been Injured in a Maine Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a Maine car accident, you may have a claim for relief. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates can help you gather evidence and sort through the complex rules around recovery. Though our competent and skilled representation, we have won significant compensation for our clients. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, call our office at 1-800-804-2004 or contact us through our website.