A rash of Maine car accidents has resulted in teen deaths and injuries across the state.
From Bangor to Arundale, authorities say inexperience, speed, alcohol and general carelessness have played a role in each of these tragic crashes.
Among those auto accidents being reported by local media:
- A 17-year-old Cape Elizabeth high school student died April 12th after suffering critical injuries after crashing his car on Old Ocean House Road two days earlier. He reportedly was driving alone just after 5 p.m. on a Saturday when he rounded a curve, lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a cluster of trees. Investigators with the Portland Police Department say the teen only had a learner’s permit, was speeding and under the influence of alcohol. They are working to determine how the teen got the alcohol.
- Four teenagers in Camden were suffered serious personal injuries when the sports utility vehicle they were in crashed into a tree. The crash occurred around 11 p.m. on March 20th on Hosmer Pond Road. The 16-year-old driver operating the vehicle did not have a driver’s license, though the vehicle was registered to his parents. One suffered broken bones, one suffered bruising and another had a head injury. Speed and driver inexperience were cited as contributing factors to the Maine car accident.
- Eleven teenagers were hurt in Arundel after a three-car accident on March 20th. Investigators say drivers of all three vehicles were trying to pass each other and at one point were all driving side-by side, attempting to share the same lane – as they traveled along the road. The vehicles were all in a no-passing zone. One of the vehicles rolled several times and ended up on its roof in a swamp. Another struck a group of trees. Authorities say the group was returning from Gooch’s Beach, where a number of them had reportedly been illegally consuming alcohol.
These incidents are grave reminders of how imperative it is to carefully monitor teen driving habits.
As for compensation, there may be room for legal action for injured persons or surviving loved ones under certain laws.
The first we would want to look at in case where minors and alcohol are involved is the Maine Liquor Liability Act, codified in Maine Revised Statutes Title 28A, Chapter 100. The law says that a licensed vendor who negligently sells or furnishes alcohol to someone who is intoxicated or under the legal drinking age of 21 can be held liable if that individual goes on to cause a serious accident.
Similarly, Maine also holds non-licensees (sometimes referred to as social hosts) responsible for serving or supplying alcohol to minors or those who are intoxicated. That’s why authorities are looking into who provided the alcohol for the teen who died. He or she may face criminal charges, as well as civil liability.
In cases where teens are operating their parents’ vehicles, their parents may be held liable under vicarious liability statutes. The legal doctrine of respondeat superior (“let the master answer”) allows vehicle owners and parents to be held liable when their teens behave negligently behind the wheel of their parent’s vehicle.
However, in the case of the teen who did not have a license, what will need to be determined is whether he had permission to drive his parents’ vehicle. If he did not, establishing liability could be tougher (but not impossible).
With so many teen milestones across the corner – prom, graduation and summer vacation – it’s important for parents to remain vigilant.
If you are the victim of a Bangor car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Eleven teens involved in Arundel crash, March 20, 2016, WCSH NBC-6
More Blog Entries:
Widower of Maine Car Accident Victims Sues Two Drivers, April 15, 2016, Maine Auto Accident Lawyer Blog