In Maine, car accidents occur frequently, with an annual count reaching hundreds of thousands of collisions. These incidents vary in severity, from minor scrapes to devastating collisions that lead to severe injuries or even loss of life. Drivers, passengers, and pedestrians must be aware of the associated risks and the legal framework concerning car accidents in Maine.
Consult with Maine car accident lawyers from Berman & Simmons when involved in a car accident. Our attorney’s expertise and guidance can significantly impact the outcome of your case, ensuring that your rights are protected. In fact, no other law firm in Maine can match our depth of talent, expertise, and financial resources to win your case.
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Understanding Car Accidents in Maine
In Maine, car accidents can happen due to various factors, such as human error, vehicle malfunctions, unfavorable road conditions, and inclement weather. Some of the most prevalent causes of car accidents in the state are as follows:
- Distracted driving: This is a primary cause of car accidents in Maine, with drivers engaging in activities that divert their focus from the road. Examples include texting, eating, conversing on the phone, adjusting the radio, or attending to passengers. These distractions significantly increase the risk of collisions.
- Speeding: Another frequent contributor to car accidents in Maine is speeding, especially on rural roads and highways. Drivers may be enticed to surpass the speed limit, often leading to a decreased reaction time and an increased likelihood of accidents.
- Drunk driving: Although Maine enforces stringent laws to combat drunk driving, alcohol-related accidents remain a significant issue. Alcohol impairs a driver’s judgment, reaction time, and ability to operate a vehicle safely, increasing the chances of collisions.
- Reckless driving: In Maine, reckless driving contributes to many car accidents. Examples of reckless driving include weaving through traffic, tailgating, disregarding traffic signals, failing to obey traffic laws, and making sudden, dangerous maneuvers. These actions endanger the reckless driver and put other road users at risk.
Typical Injuries in Maine Car Accidents
Car accidents can lead to a number of different injuries, from minor abrasions and contusions to severe trauma necessitating hospitalization or long-term care. Some of the most frequent injuries resulting from car accidents in Maine are as follows:
- Whiplash and neck injuries: Whiplash and other neck trauma are prevalent injuries that typically occurs in rear-end collisions. Whiplash involves the rapid back-and-forth motion of the head and neck, which can result in pain, stiffness, and a restricted range of motion. Whiplash injuries can vary in severity and may require physical therapy or other treatments to alleviate symptoms. Other common neck injuries include slipped or herniated discs, neck strain or sprain, pinched nerves, fractures or compression, and muscle spasms.
- Broken bones: Fractures are another common injury in car accidents, affecting any part of the body, such as the arms, legs, ribs, and skull. The extent of the fracture and the bone involved can determine the treatment required, which may range from immobilization to surgical intervention.
- Traumatic brain injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can happen when the head is struck or subjected to sudden movement, causing damage to the brain. TBIs encompass a wide range of severity, from mild concussions with temporary symptoms to severe injuries that lead to long-lasting cognitive, motor, and emotional impairments.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries are another possible consequence of car accidents, often resulting in paralysis or loss of limb function. These injuries can profoundly affect a person’s quality of life, as they may necessitate extensive medical care, rehabilitation, and lifestyle adjustments.
- Soft tissue injuries: Besides the above injuries, car accidents can cause damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Sprains, strains, and contusions are soft tissue injuries that may cause pain, swelling, and limited mobility, often requiring rest and physical therapy for recovery.
- Psychological trauma: Car accidents can also lead to psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. These conditions may develop in response to the traumatic event and can have long-lasting effects on a person’s emotional well-being.
What is the statute of limitations on a car accident in Maine?
In Maine, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident is six years from the accident date. You have six years to initiate legal proceedings against the responsible party for any injuries or damages you sustained in the car accident. If you fail to file a lawsuit within this time frame, you may lose your right to pursue compensation.
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
In Maine, individuals involved in car accidents may be eligible for compensation covering economic and non-economic damages. These damages provide financial relief and help victims recover from the consequences of the accident.
Economic damages represent quantifiable losses resulting from the car accident. These tangible expenses can be calculated with relative ease and include the following:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for expenses incurred from the car accident, including emergency care, hospitalization, surgeries, medications, and ongoing treatments like physical therapy or rehabilitation.
- Lost Wages: Reimbursement for lost income due to the inability to work while recovering from injuries sustained in the accident. This may also encompass future lost wages if the victim cannot return to their previous employment or experiences a reduced earning capacity.
- Property Damage: Financial compensation for damage to the victim’s vehicle or other personal property resulting from the car accident. This may include repair or replacement costs, depending on the extent of the damage.
Non-economic damages refer to intangible losses experienced by car accident victims that are more challenging to quantify. These damages account for the emotional and psychological consequences of the accident, including:
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and discomfort experienced by the victim due to their injuries. This may include ongoing pain and chronic conditions that persist after the accident.
- Emotional Distress: Financial compensation for the emotional turmoil and psychological impact caused by the car accident, such as anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Reimbursement for the diminished capacity to enjoy life’s pleasures due to the injuries sustained in the accident. This can encompass the inability to participate in hobbies, social activities, or other aspects of life that previously brought joy and fulfillment.
- Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the adverse effects of the accident on the victim’s relationship with their spouse or partner, including the loss of companionship, emotional support, and intimacy.
Is Maine a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?
Maine is not a no-fault state for car accidents. Maine follows a traditional fault-based system, also known as a tort system, regarding car accident liability and insurance claims. Under this system, the party found to be at fault for the accident is responsible for the damages and injuries sustained by the other parties involved.
The Insurance Process
After a car accident, one crucial step is contacting your insurance company promptly to report the incident and initiate the claims process. In Maine, drivers must adhere to the state’s minimum liability insurance requirements to cover damages to other vehicles and property resulting from an accident.
Maine’s Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements
In Maine, the state mandates that drivers carry the following minimum amounts of liability insurance coverage:
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident
- $100,000 for bodily injury or death of multiple people in an accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
Additionally, Maine requires drivers to have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage with the same minimum limits as the abovementioned bodily injury liability coverage.
What to Expect from the Claims Process
The claims process for a car accident in Maine can be difficult and time-consuming. Nevertheless, with the assistance of skilled Maine car accident attorneys, you can effectively navigate the process and pursue fair compensation. Here are some crucial steps to anticipate during the claims process:
- Report the Accident Promptly: Notify your insurance company about the accident immediately. Doing so allows the insurer to investigate the claim and helps you comply with any reporting deadlines specified in your policy.
- Gather Supporting Evidence: Collect vital evidence to substantiate your claims, such as police reports, witness statements, photographs of the accident scene, and medical records documenting your injuries. This information will be crucial in building a strong compensation case.
- Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer: Retaining a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can greatly improve your chances of securing a favorable outcome. Your car accident lawyer will guide you through the claims process, advise you on your legal options, and represent your interests in negotiations and court proceedings.
- Negotiate a Settlement: Your attorney will work to negotiate a fair settlement with the other driver’s insurance company. This may involve presenting evidence, countering settlement offers, and advocating for an amount that adequately covers your damages and injuries.
- Filing a Lawsuit and Preparing for Trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer will file a lawsuit and begin preparing for trial. This process may include conducting further investigations, gathering additional evidence, and developing a compelling legal strategy.
- Attend Mediation or Settlement Conferences: The court may order you to participate in mediation or settlement conferences to attempt to resolve the case before trial. These sessions involve negotiating with the other party under the guidance of a neutral third party or the court to reach an agreeable resolution.
- Present Your Case at Trial: If the case proceeds, your lawyer will present evidence and arguments to the judge or jury on your behalf. This may involve calling witnesses, submitting exhibits, and delivering persuasive opening and closing statements.
- Await the Verdict and Consider Appeals: After both sides have presented their cases, the judge or jury will render a verdict. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome, discuss the possibility of filing an appeal with your attorney.
By understanding the critical steps involved in the car accident claims process in Maine, you can confidently approach the situation and work towards obtaining the compensation you deserve. Collaborating with experienced car accident lawyers is invaluable in navigating this complex process and protecting your rights.
What Is the Maine Law for Reporting Accidents?
In Maine, state law requires drivers to report car accidents under certain circumstances. According to Title 29-A, Section 2251 of the Maine Revised Statutes, drivers must report a car accident if any of the following conditions apply:
- Personal injury: If the accident injures any person, the driver must report the accident immediately.
- Death: If the accident resulted in the death of any person, the driver must report the accident immediately.
- Property damage: If the accident resulted in property damage totaling $1,000 or more, the driver must report the accident within 72 hours (3 days) of the incident.
The report should be filed with the local police department, county sheriff’s office, or the nearest state police office. The accident report typically includes details about the drivers involved, the vehicles, the location and time of the accident, a description of the incident, and any injuries or property damage.
How Long After an Accident Can You File a Claim in Maine?
While Maine law does not specifically dictate a deadline for filing an insurance claim after a car accident, it is generally advisable to file a claim as soon as possible. Many insurance policies contain clauses that require you to report accidents promptly, often within a few days of the incident. If you are involved in a car accident in Maine, it is essential to act quickly on your personal injury claim.
Filing a claim quickly allows the insurance company to investigate the accident and helps you comply with any reporting deadlines specified in your policy. Delaying the reporting of an accident may lead to complications with your claim or even result in the insurance company denying coverage.
How a Lawyer Can Help
If you find yourself involved in a car accident in Maine, it is crucial to seek the counsel of experienced Maine car accident lawyers. An attorney specializing in car accident cases can help you navigate the complex legal process, protect your rights, and advocate for the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. Here are some key ways a skilled personal injury attorney can assist you:
- Case Evaluation and Legal Advice: An experienced attorney can evaluate your case to determine the strength of your claim and advise you on the best course of action. They can help you understand the applicable laws, your rights, and the potential outcomes of your case.
- Gathering Evidence: A skilled Maine car accident lawyer will assist you in collecting vital evidence to support your claims, such as police reports, witness statements, photographs of the accident scene, and medical records. They may also consult accident reconstruction, medical care, or economics experts to strengthen your case.
- Managing Communications and Negotiations: Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, but a knowledgeable attorney can manage all communications, ensuring your rights are protected. They will work diligently to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company, advocating for the compensation you deserve based on the evidence and the extent of your damages.
- Filing a Lawsuit and Preparing for Trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, your Maine car accident attorney will file a lawsuit and begin preparing for trial. They will develop a compelling legal strategy, conduct additional investigations if necessary, and prepare for all aspects of the trial, including the presentation of evidence and witness examination.
- Representation in Court: Your attorney will represent you throughout the legal process, including court appearances, mediation sessions, and the trial. They will present your case effectively and persuasively to secure the best possible outcome.
- Post-Trial Matters and Appeals: If the trial’s outcome is not favorable or there are legal issues that warrant an appeal, your attorney can advise you on the feasibility of pursuing an appeal and represent you throughout the appellate process.
Contact Berman & Simmons for Maine Car Accident Lawyers
Hiring Maine car accident lawyers from Berman & Simmons after a car accident is essential to navigating the complexities of the legal process and safeguarding your rights. Our skilled attorneys can provide valuable advice, gather and present evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court, increasing your chances of obtaining fair compensation. Contact us today to learn how we can help you win your case.
You focus on recovery. We take care of the rest.
After a car accident, your attention is pulled away from the one place where it should be ― on your health and recovery. Instead, you face the pressure of creditors, employers, and insurance companies that often try to place the blame on you, the victim.
We can turn the tables in your favor. While our lawyers aggressively work to maximize your financial award, our caring, responsive staff can help reduce your stress as you recover. We take the time to listen to you, understand your concerns, and come up with solutions that can make your life better including obtaining payment for or deferral of your debts until your case is resolved.
With us in your corner, you can focus on your health and recovery, and get back to living your life.
More resources than any other personal injury firm in Maine
To help build and present a winning case, we regularly work with the top medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists, investigators, and other consultants in Maine and nationwide. These efforts can be critical in proving negligence and determining the extent of your losses, so that you can be fully compensated not just for the short-term, but for your future as well.
We are also the leaders in Maine in the use of state-of-the-art technologies in the courtroom, including anatomical and computer models and dynamic presentation of studies such as MRI and CT scans. We produce professional videos to help show the true impact of the accident on you and your family. This allows us to present complex evidence in a straightforward way that judges, jurors, and insurance companies can easily understand.
Let Us Help You Win
A Law Firm That Listens
Berman & Simmons is widely recognized as the best personal injury lawyers in Maine and among the best in the U.S., having won many of the largest jury verdicts and settlements ever obtained for injured people in Maine.
Our trial lawyers have won thousands of claims on behalf of those injured in a car accident, and each year we build on that successful track record.
Our attorneys and staff members will take the time to listen to you, work to understand your concerns, and come up with solutions that can make your life better, including obtaining payment for or deferral of your debts until your case is resolved. We help you recover and make sure you receive full compensation for your injuries and loss.
Get Peace of Mind
It never hurts to consult an attorney regardless of whether you decide to move forward.
Many states have strict deadlines for filing personal injury claims.
The other insurance company is likely already building their client’s case against you.
Witnesses may become unavailable and evidence may be lost or degraded with time.
You’ll need help navigating your medical care and dealing with financial pressures.
You need peace of mind to focus on your recovery.
Paralysis due to mismanagement of
Catastrophic injuries in a head-on car accident
Wrongful death case involving negligent
Plaintiff Rear Ended by
Delay in diagnosis and treatment of cancer
Significant Head Injury Car Accident
What should I do if I’ve just been in a car accident?
Taking some basic steps after a car accident can make the difference between a legal claim that fails and one that provides fair compensation for you and your family. Here are some suggestions for first steps.
- First, be sure all parties involved are safe and out of danger. Then move your car if it is causing a hazard; otherwise leave it where it is and turn on hazard lights.
- Call 911 to immediately report the accident to police, even if you think the damage is minor. Stay close to your vehicle until police arrive.
- Remain calm and polite, but do not apologize or admit fault.
- Gather pertinent information from other driver and any witnesses.
- Photograph vehicle damage and any visible injuries. Write down your recollections about the event.
- Get the name and badge number of all responding officers, and ask for police report.
- Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if you think they are minor.
- Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.
- Report the accident to your insurer. Do not give a signed or recorded statement to your insurer before talking with your lawyer.
- Do not discuss the accident with any representative of the other driver’s insurance company before talking with your lawyer.
What compensation am I entitled to as a car accident victim?
Under Maine law, victims of vehicle accidents have the right to recover financial damages for various categories of injuries and loss, including:
- Pain, suffering, and emotional distress, past and future
- Interference with your enjoyment of life
- Medical expenses, past and future
- Time lost from work
- Loss of future earnings
- Damage or total loss of your vehicle
I’ve been hurt in a car accident, but my injuries seem minor. Should I still seek medical treatment?
Even if your injuries seem minor to you, seeking treatment early is critical because it provides a roadmap to understanding the extent of your injuries, the treatment you require, and the timeframe for recovery. When you seek treatment, it’s also important to honestly and accurately answer the medical provider’s questions and report all
your injuries and limitations.
Why should I take pictures after a car accident?
After you are injured, it is important to take pictures that accurately reflect the injuries caused to you and the severity of damage caused to your personal property, such as your vehicle. Pictures that capture what the scene of the accident looked like are important in fully describing the incident to an insurance company or jury.
Should I provide a recorded statement about my car accident?
Frequently, opposing insurance companies will ask you to provide a recorded statement. You should recognize that these recorded statements are for the benefit of the insurance company and that such statements will be used at every opportunity to undermine your potential case. If an insurance company asks you to give a recorded statement,
a warning bell should go off in your mind and you should politely decline.