Daniel G. Kagan, trial lawyer and partner at Berman & Simmons

Family of special-ed teacher killed in car crash files wrongful death lawsuit

Berman & Simmons attorney Daniel Kagan has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the teenage driver who struck and killed a special education teacher from Berwick two years ago.

On the morning of April 10, 2013, Amy Harris was driving with her two children on Route 4 in Berwick. Cameron Clair, a 17-year-old from Biddeford, was driving in the opposite direction. Clair crossed the center line and crashed into the Harris family station wagon head-on. Harris was killed instantly. Her two children, then 7 and 4 years old, suffered serious injuries.

Kagan represents Mark Pendergast, Amy Harris’ father, on behalf of her estate. Kagan also represents Cindy Dumond, a friend of Amy’s who is acting on behalf of the Harris children. Dumond opted to act as the legal stand-in for the children, or “next friend” in legal language, to spare the Harris family an additional legal burden. The lawsuit was filed against Clair and his parents, alleging that their negligence also contributed to the crash that took Harris’ life.

“Dad has enough on his plate, so you bring in an arm’s-length party who is interested in the children but is not directly affected by the outcome,” Kagan told the Portland Press Herald in an article that appeared on March 28.

“If the children were not involved in the crash themselves, there would be no reason to have a ‘next friend’ for them. Because the children themselves were harmed, they need to be addressed separately from the wrongful death portion.”

The filing of the lawsuit was reported by the Portland Press HeraldWCSH6 TV in Portland, the Portsmouth Herald and Seacoast Online.

This is a statement about the case from attorney Daniel Kagan:

“The crash that took Amy’s life happened almost two years ago. While the rest of us have forgotten about this family’s immense loss, the Harris family suffers every day.

This is an important lawsuit, not just for Amy Harris’ family, but for the entire community.  When someone ignores the safety rules and peoples’ lives suffer as a result, the community needs to know that it can count on the civil justice system to protect them. There are two children who lost their mother, a husband who lost his wife, and a family who lost an income they need to provide those children a home and a future.

It is a core principle of our legal system that when someone is negligent, and someone else gets hurt or killed as a result, then the victim – or in this case, her family – is entitled to full and fair compensation under the law.  Any of us would expect no less.”

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Berman & Simmons is the leading personal injury and medical malpractice law firm in Maine. For more than 100 years, our trial attorneys have represented those who have been injured or harmed by the actions of others. These personal injury cases range from car and truck accidents to the most complex litigation involving defective products and malpractice by healthcare providers. We are known as the firm that will stand up and fight for injured Mainers in disputes against big corporations and powerful interests.