Articles Tagged with auto accidents

Maine has one of the lowest rates of uninsured drivers in the country. That’s great news for Maine’s road users, who get cheaper uninsured motorist coverage for injuries caused by a hit-and-run/unidentified driver. Still, it doesn’t show the full picture. Many drivers have the minimum mandatory auto insurance coverage. Currently, that rate is $50,000 per person/$100,000 per crash in bodily injury liability, $25,000 in property damage and $2,000 in medical payments. This might sound like a lot, but as your Portland injury lawyers will tell you, it’s often inadequate to reimburse for total losses following a serious Maine car crash. Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage makes up the difference – between the policy limit of the at-fault driver and your UIM limit.

Don’t assume, however, that when the time comes, the insurer will acquiesce automatically to your requested UIM compensation. Auto insurers actively seek ways to deny or reduce payments – even to their own long-time, safe driver customers. An experienced Portland UIM attorney can advocate for your right to receive full and fair compensation. We can also identify potential acts by insurers – such as vastly undervaluing a legitimate claim or refusing to tell you why they are denying a claim – that might amount to bad faith. If proven, bad faith insurance violations under the Maine Insurance Code can result not only in full crash injury compensation but also attorney fees (which would otherwise come out as a percent of your damage award), court costs AND a penalty of up to 150 percent of that amount.

Although disputes over UIM coverage can often be settled through negotiation (avoiding the time and expense of a trial), it wasn’t long ago a UIM coverage case found its way to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. The case, Wallace v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Co., involved the question of how an “underinsured motorist” is defined. This is an important technicality of which to be mindful because the definition can differ depending on policy language and it can have a big impact on how much your insurer is required to pay you. Continue reading

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. 

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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A judge has ordered a Maine man who crashed his vehicle in New Hampshire while high on heroin last summer to undergo a three-month drug rehabilitation program.

Newburyport News reports the 24-year-old was removed from his smoking vehicle by a retired firefighter who happened to pass by after he had crashed into a cluster of trees. The driver suddenly awoke and told the good Samaritan he was fine, but the retired firefighter believed otherwise and summoned help. First responders found the man unconscious and not breathing so they administered an anti-opioid drug called Narcan to the driver. After he was stabilized, he was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

The story highlights what has been a growing problem nationally not just for health care providers and law enforcement, but for those who share the road with people under the influence. USA Today reported last year on federal data pointing to an alarming uptick in the percentage of traffic deaths attributed to drivers who tested positive for drugs over the last 10 years. There has been an overall upward trend in traffic fatalities in recent years, but the fact that the percentage of drivers testing positive for illicit and prescription drugs has increased points to this being a substantial part of the problem.  Continue reading

Two people were killed – one a child – and three seriously injured in a Maine car accident believed to have been weather-related. 

The Portland Press-Herald reported the Monday morning crash instantly killed a 45-year-old man and critically injured his fifth-grade daughter, who died two days later. The accident also seriously injured two other children and the girl’s mother. All three children involved in the crash attended Narragansett School in the Gorham School Department, just west of Portland. The newspaper reported the father was a passenger in a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by his wife when she lost control of the vehicle on a road slicked with snow and ice. The Jeep skidded sideways and was then broadsided by a dump truck, which then pushed the Jeep into a telephone pole. The three girls were seated in the back seat of the vehicle, one in a child car seat. There was so much damage to the Jeep that firefighters had no choice but to cut the doors off to pry the victims out. Of the two girls who survived, one suffered a broken hip and the other several broken bones. The driver and mother sustained severe internal injuries, hospital administrators reported. The driver of the dump truck was not injured.

Maine of course is no stranger to snow and ice, but no matter how many times drivers brave it on the roads, it’s still just as lethal. Investigators are still combing through the circumstances, but the Gorham police chief told the Press-Herald that it was safe to say speed was likely a factor in the collision. However, he added that if this had been a dry roadway at the time of the incident, “this accident would not have happened.”

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