Daniel Kagan: Don’t rush to judgment on hayride tragedy

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Berman & Simmons attorney Daniel Kagan was quoted as an expert source in the Sun Journal newspaper, regarding the haunted hayride tragedy in Mechanic Falls on Oct. 11.

The story, written by Sun Journal reporter Scott Thistle, focused on the poor safety and compliance ratings of a trucking company operated by the owner of Harvest Hill Farms. Cassidy Charette, 17, died, and several others were seriously injured, when a Jeep and the flatbed trailer it was towing went out of control and rolled over on the farm’s Gauntlet trail.

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Kagan, one of the leading personal injury lawyers in Maine, urged people to reserve judgment until the investigation of the crash is complete.

“When tragedies like this happen, people want immediate answers,” Kagan told the newspaper. “They want to know who was at fault, and how to prevent it from happening again. That is human nature. But there is a danger in rushing to judgment.”

“Speculation and guesswork does not help the victims and their families. It does not help the hayride operators, either,” Kagan said. “Once the investigation is completed and the facts are analyzed carefully, then it is fair to discuss fault and responsibility.”

Kagan said immediate calls for new laws or regulations may also be premature.

“In a situation like this, the first priority is to figure out what happened,” Kagan said. “Once you figure out what happened, you can focus on compensating the victims harmed and taking appropriate action to be sure it never happens again.”

Attorney Kagan has handled numerous cases of serious injury and death arising from both system and mechanical failures at entertainment events across Maine. He is a governor of the American Association for Justice and a past president of the Maine Trial Lawyers Association.