Understanding Maine Comparative Fault Laws

Comparative fault refers to each party’s degree of responsibility for a specific plaintiff’s harm. The issue of comparative fault often arises when plaintiffs share some portion of responsibility for their harm or when multiple defendants are at fault for the same plaintiff’s harm. When apportioning fault in a negligence lawsuit, Maine follows a modified comparative negligence scheme. Through this system, Maine plaintiffs can recover damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident that caused their harm. The majority of states have adopted modified comparative negligence instead of pure contributory negligence, which would prohibit plaintiffs from recovering any damages if they were even 1% at fault. Maine passed its modified comparative negligence rules into law at Title 14, Section 156 of its Revised Code.

Under Maine’s modified comparative negligence system, a plaintiff can recover damages so long as they were less than 50% at fault for the accident. If a plaintiff is equally at fault or more compared to the defendant, the plaintiff cannot recover any damages. This is one important way that Maine differs from other states. Some states allow plaintiffs to recover damages if they are 50% at fault or less, but a Maine plaintiff must be 49% at fault or less. Additionally, a jury or judge will reduce a plaintiff’s damages award based on the plaintiff’s degree of fault. For example, if a plaintiff is 10% at fault, the jury or judge would reduce the plaintiff’s $100,000 award to $90,000.

Because a reduced damages award would allow defendants to pay less in damages, a defendant will often argue that the plaintiff shares responsibility for the accident. An experienced Maine personal injury attorney can help plaintiffs show they were not at fault in order to hold defendants accountable for their negligence.

How Does Maine Apportion Fault Among Multiple Defendants?

Under Maine law, a judge or jury can find multiple defendants “jointly and severally liable” for the plaintiff’s injuries. Under this system, a plaintiff can recover the full damages award from any one of the defendants. Defendants in Maine also have a right to contribution from other parties. Consequently, if a plaintiff seeks the full damages amount from one defendant, that defendant can bring a separate legal action to seek payment from other responsible parties.

Do You Need a Maine Personal Injury Attorney?

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a Maine car accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates today. The attorneys on our team have decades of experience serving clients throughout the state of Maine. Our attorneys can work with you to understand Maine comparative fault laws and develop a case theory to hold the responsible party accountable for your injuries. We have secured significant compensation on behalf of our clients by providing skilled and compassionate representation at every stage of the legal process. To schedule a free initial consultation with a Maine personal injury attorney on our team, call 800-804-2004 or reach out through our website.


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