A woman was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison with 7 ½ years suspended after a fatal Maine car crash that took place in 2019. According to one news source, the crash occurred in Glenburn, Maine when the woman, who was driving a Chevrolet Impala, nodded off and crossed into the center lane. The woman’s vehicle crashed head-on into a Nissan Altima, which was driven by a 70-year-old man from Bangor. A blood test revealed that the woman had heroin in her system at the time of the crash. The woman recently pleaded guilty to manslaughter and operating under the influence of intoxicants. Apart from the prison sentence, the woman received four years of probation and was ordered to pay a fine of $1,000.
Operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% or more in Maine is a crime known as Operating Under the Influence (OUI). The crime carries penalties of jail time, driver’s license suspension, and fines. Drivers under 21 years of age cannot have any measurable amount of alcohol in their bodies while driving. In addition to seeking justice through the criminal court process, a victim of a Maine OUI crash or their family may be able to recover financial compensation through a civil claim against the driver or others responsible for the crash. In a civil lawsuit based on negligence, the plaintiff (the victim or certain family members in the event of a death) must show that the defendant owed a duty to the victim to drive carefully, the defendant failed to meet that duty, that the defendant’s wrongful actions caused the victim’s injuries, and they suffered damages as a result.
If a defendant was convicted of a crime, as in the case above, that evidence may be admissible in a civil case to show that the defendant acted wrongfully. However, a criminal conviction is not necessary to file a lawsuit against the driver. Civil lawsuits require a showing of a lower burden of proof and some evidence may be admissible in a civil case that might not admissible in a criminal case. There also may be other individuals that can be sued in a civil case that may not be able to be charged criminally. Successful plaintiffs can recover compensation for damages including medical bills, property damages, mental suffering, lost wages, and more. Consulting with an experienced injury attorney is the first step in determining the best course forward.
Contact a Maine Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have been seriously injured in a Maine motor vehicle accident, finding the right Maine personal injury lawyer to take on the insurance companies and protect your rights can seem overwhelming. The Portland, Maine injury lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates are committed to fighting for accountability and justice for their clients. They can provide clients with experienced and assertive advocacy to help them seek any damages they may be owed. The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates can be reached at 800-804-2004 or by filling out their online form to schedule a free consultation.