Articles Tagged with Portland car accident lawyer

Last year, officials reported record-breaking traffic on New England roads over the Thanksgiving holiday. More than 2.2 million people in this region make a turkey day trek more than 50 miles, representing a 3.5 percent increase over a year ago and the biggest boost in volume since 2005. It’s not clear exactly how many of those were in rented vehicles, but we know it’s common. There was also an uptick in air travel, with some 36,000 people flying out of Portland International Jetport, many opting for rental vehicles while in town.  Nationally, it’s estimated some 51 million people traveled over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday period from Wednesday through Sunday (with Wednesday being the busiest day).

Maine car accident attorneys in Bangor know that when a collision involves a rented vehicle, there may be some unique elements to consider with regard to auto insurance and liability coverage.

Prior to 2005, victims of car accidents could take legal action against rental car companies, holding them liable for the negligent actions of the person driving a vehicle owned by the rental company. This falls under a special type of law called “vicarious liability,” meaning it’s not necessary to show the person you’re suing for injuries directly did anything wrong. Rather, motor vehicles are inherently dangerous and so the owner was responsible for negligent use of that dangerous tool by someone else if the owner gave that person permission.

But then Congress passed the Graves Amendment, part of a larger federal transportation bill, which largely released rental car companies from liability when a renter crashes a car. However, that does not mean they are entirely off-the-hook. They can still be held liable for direct negligence. For example, if a causal factor in the crash was worn tire tread, that could be the fault of the rental car company. If the brakes were old or the car hadn’t been maintained, that could be evidence of direct negligence by the rental car company.  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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There are many challenges drivers face as they age. Vision deteriorates and reflexes dull. That’s why many states – including Maine – have provisions in place requiring senior drivers to undergo additional testing and in-person renewals.

The Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles is one of the more stringent. Drivers are first required to undergo a vision test at age 40 in order to renew their license. Drivers older than 65 have to renew their state-issued licenses every four years, as opposed to every six years, as younger drivers do. Drivers 62 and older are required to undergo a vision test every second renewal. The bureau also accepts requests from anyone with personal knowledge of a driver who may pose a safety concern to others. Road tests may be required if the bureau has reason to believe the driver may be unfit. Bureau personnel have the authority to restrict the driver’s licenses of elder drivers to prevent them from driving when it’s dark or only allow driving within a certain area.

As the population ages (the U.S. Census opines the percentage of the over-65 population will more than double by 2050), states are not rushing to impose additional regulations. In fact, some state legislatures have actually been actively rejecting these measures, according to a recent report published by the Portland Press-Herald. In fact, while 60 million older adults are expected to be on the nation’s roadways by 2030, some legislators are taking the position that licenses should not be restricted solely on the basis of age.

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The Maine Department of Transportation recently released a report indicating the average traffic volume each day on Interstate 295 has spiked by 12 percent in the last six years. 

As reported by the Portland Press-Herald, congestion on the already cramped highway has reached a point at which officials with the Maine State Police say they are encountering difficulties responding to traffic accidents and enforcing the laws of the road on that stretch.

Specifically, Lt. Walter Grzyb told the Press-Herald, cramped, bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic makes it nearly impossible for law enforcement to respond to a crash or to stop violators for speeding or driving recklessly. In fact, when troopers or state police stop a motorist on the side of the road, they may in fact be creating more danger than they are fixing. Police say they can’t do their job safely.

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Authorities say two people were injured in a Maine car accident that occurred in Harpswell while the pair were engaged in a heated argument with each other. 

The Portland Press reported first responders were called to the 1300 block of Harpswell Neck Road on a recent Thursday evening, where they found a Nissan car that had veered off the road and struck a tree. The vehicle was totaled. The driver, a 26-year-old man from Milton, Mass., was reportedly fighting with his 20-year-old girlfriend/passenger, from Brunswick, as he traveled at a high rate of speed. Investigators say he suffered serious leg injuries and was transported to Maine Medical Center in Portland. His passenger, who suffered minor injuries, was transported to Brunswick’s Mid Coast Hospital, where she was treated and released.

The incident serves as a reminder of one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving: Arguing with your passenger. Some research suggests this practice is even more dangerous than talking on the phone or possibly even texting. As the Washington Post recently reported on federal data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, passengers pose a greater risk of distraction than cell phones. Conversations with passengers were reportedly responsible for 57 percent of distracted driving accidents, while phone use only accounted for 12 percent.  Continue reading

A Windham woman and her 12-year-old son were seriously injured last month in a Maine car accident in which their vehicle tore through a guardrail on Route 1 in Bath and plunged 30-feet off a two-lane bridge, before landing upside down on a pickup truck. The Portland Press Herald reported the bridge from which the car fell had numerous missing or broken rail bolts. Structurally, it was designed to prevent exactly this sort of thing. But it did not, and those deficiencies may have been a factor. 

The horrific crash now has officials with the Maine Department of Transportation launching an investigation into more than a dozen bridges across the state that may have structural inadequacies or safety concerns.

The 37-year-old woman and her 12-year-old son had to be extricated from the mangled mass of metal by firefighters and were then transported via ambulance to the Maine Medical Center in Portland with serious injuries. Fortunately, the injuries they suffered were not expected to be life-threatening. Continue reading

Maine has been battered in recent weeks by heavy snow, angry winds exceeding 30 mph and bitter, frigid cold dipping close to 0 degrees. 

These kinds of conditions aren’t new in the northeastern U.S., but for some reason, many people seem to drive like they’ve never encountered it. Motorists often travel entirely too fast for the conditions, don’t give themselves enough time to get where they are going and pull aggressive maneuvers on roads that are slick and treacherous to begin with.

On a recent weekend where snowfall topped 7 inches in some parts of Maine, numerous traffic accidents were reported throughout the state. All of these were attributed by officials to slippery conditions. It got so bad at one point that state officials reduced speed limits along the Maine Turnpike down to 45 mph.  Continue reading

By now, most motorists have undoubtedly heard about the grave risk posed by faulty airbags, defective ignition switches and unintended acceleration.

These issues and more were exposed within the last year by large auto manufacturers that later issued recalls compelling vehicle owners to have the problems fixed. In fact, there were a record number of vehicle-related recalls in 2014.

Companies have rightly come under fire for waiting too long to inform the public of the issues (in some cases, years), despite the very real risk of crash, injury and even death these defects pose. But the other problem is the low response rate for recalled vehicles. Part of it is lack of awareness. Part of it is there are no laws requiring owners or even dealerships to resolve safety recalls or inform buyers of problems prior to sale.

There is perhaps nothing more devastating than losing a child.

Another mother in Maine now knows that pain, as well as the guilt of knowing she might have prevented the crash that killed her son, a high school football player, if only she’d been paying attention behind the wheel.

Authorities say the mother was driving in Bridgton when she reportedly drifted left of center because she was distracted in an exchange with her son in the back seat. When she realized she drifted, she swerved right and slammed on the brakes, causing her to lose control of the car, which careened off the road and into a patch of trees. Not only did her 16-year-old son die, but her 35-year-old boyfriend was killed.

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