Wrong-way accidents occur when a vehicle crosses into the wrong lane, colliding with oncoming traffic. These accidents can lead to serious injury or damage to a vehicle. Too often, wrong-way accidents occur because a driver is operating their vehicle negligently. These types of wrong-way accidents are especially devastating because they are often preventable.
For example, a recent news article reported on a wrong-way accident involving three vehicles in Kennebunk, Maine. According to local police, the accident occurred when a driver crossed the center line into the wrong lane. As result, he and two other drivers crashed on the roadway. While no one suffered injuries from the accident, all three vehicles suffered heavy damage. Police charged the driver with driving to endanger and imprudent speed.
What Are the Causes of Wrong-Way Injuries?
Wrong-way injuries may have several overlapping causes. First, as the NTSB has reported, a significant portion of wrong-way drivers operated their vehicles under the influence. To avoid a wrong-way accident, is it imperative to avoid drinking while driving. Even if a driver refrains from driving under the influence, they may cause a wrong-way accident if they are distracted. Distracted driving diverts attention from the road, which may increase the risk of veering into the wrong lane. To stay focused on the road, drivers should refrain from using their cellphones, eating, or otherwise “multi-tasking.” Finally, in attempting to pass a vehicle, a driver may cross into the wrong lane intentionally. Drivers should refrain from this practice at all times. A driver may not initially see another vehicle in the opposite lane, but one can appear at any time. Drivers should leave with plenty of time in advance to arrive to their destination safely and on time.
What Are the Standards of Proof in Civil and Criminal Wrong-Way Cases?
When a driver causes an accident by veering into the wrong lane, they may face both criminal and civil penalties. When bringing a negligence lawsuit against a wrong-way driver, an injured victim should understand the different burdens of proof between criminal and civil cases. Specifically, the burden of proof is significantly higher in criminal cases. To convict a criminal defendant, the jury must find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If any jury member has even an inkling of doubt about the defendant’s guilt, they cannot find the defendant guilty. On the other hand, the burden of proof for civil cases is much lower. Unlike criminal cases, a judge or jury only needs to find a defendant liable for damages by a preponderance of the evidence. If it is more likely than not—above 50%—that the defendant is responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries, they will owe the plaintiff damages.
Have You Been Hurt in a Maine Wrong-Way Accident?
If you have suffered injuries in a Maine wrong-way accident, you may have a claim for relief. To discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney, contact Peter Thompson & Associates today. The attorneys at our firm have years of experience representing clients in Maine personal injury cases. Through our skilled and dedicated representation, we can help you understand the complex rules for recovery and put your best case forward. For a free initial consultation with a member of our team, call our office at 800-804-2004 or use our website.