Car Accidents and Maine Personal Injury Law: An Introduction

Car accidents are a common occurrence on the roads of Maine. According to the US Department of Transportation, there were over 11,000 car accidents in Maine in 2019 alone. These accidents can cause serious injuries, property damage, and even death.

If you are involved in a car accident in Maine, it’s important to understand your legal rights and responsibilities. This article will provide an overview of Maine personal injury law as it pertains to car accidents.

Negligence and Liability in Car Accidents

One of the key concepts in Maine personal injury law is negligence. Negligence occurs when someone fails to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing harm to another person. In the context of car accidents, negligence can take many forms, such as:

  • Speeding
  • Running a red light
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Distracted driving (such as texting while driving)

If another driver’s negligence caused your car accident, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against them. However, to recover compensation, you must prove that:

  • The other driver had a duty to exercise reasonable care
  • The other driver breached that duty through their negligence
  • The breach of duty caused your injuries and damages

Comparative Negligence

Maine follows a "modified comparative negligence" rule. This means that if you are partially at fault for the accident, your damages award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were 30% at fault for the accident and your damages were $10,000, you would only be able to recover $7,000.

At-Fault Insurance

Maine is an "at-fault" insurance state, which means that the driver who is found to be at fault for the accident is responsible for paying damages. If you were not at fault for the accident, you may be able to recover damages from the other driver’s insurance company. If you were partially at fault, you may still be able to recover damages, but the amount may be reduced as discussed above.

Statute of Limitations

If you are considering pursuing a personal injury claim after a car accident, it’s important to be aware of the statute of limitations. This is the deadline by which you must file your claim in court.

In Maine, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally six years from the date of the accident. However, if the accident resulted in a wrongful death, the statute of limitations is only two years.

It’s important to note that waiting too long to file your claim can weaken your case. Witnesses may forget details of the accident, and evidence may become harder to obtain. It’s best to work with an experienced Maine personal injury attorney to ensure that your claim is filed in a timely manner.

Damages Available in Personal Injury Claims

If you are successful in your personal injury claim, you may be able to recover damages for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium (if the accident resulted in the loss of a marital relationship)

The amount of damages you are entitled to will depend on the specific facts of your case. An experienced Maine personal injury attorney can help you determine what damages you may be eligible to receive.

Contact a Maine Personal Injury Attorney

Car accidents can be overwhelming and stressful, especially if you are dealing with injuries and property damage. If you are considering pursuing a personal injury claim, it’s important to work with an attorney who has experience handling car accident cases.

An experienced Maine personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights, negotiate with insurance companies, and pursue fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Contact a Maine personal injury attorney today to discuss your case.

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