Bangor Car Accident Lawyer Protecting the Rights of Victims Hurt By a Negligent Driver
Every year, there are more than 30,000 traffic accidents in the State of Maine, with 20% of them (tragically) resulting in fatalities. More alarming, the State saw an increase of 35% in the number of car crashes in 2019 when compared to the previous year. (2020 numbers will likely go down, but only because people were stuck at home with COVID precautions.)
These are just the raw statistics and don’t convey the immense human toll. Long after the newspaper headlines have faded, broken people and families are left to pick up the pieces with loved ones gone or forced to go through the remainder of their lives with life-changing injuries.
We cannot turn back the clock and prevent the accident, but we can help people pick up the pieces and recover financial stability and security.
WHO IS FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR MY CAR ACCIDENT INJURIES?
Generally speaking, Maine law places financial responsibility on the driver(s) whose conduct caused a crash. As a simple example, if you’re sitting in your car at a stoplight minding your own business and someone drives up behind you and slams into you, the driver who rear-ended you is financially responsible for the crash.
Rules of the Road
All drivers on the public roads in Maine are required to follow certain safety rules, also referred to as “Rules of the Road.” These are the things we learned when we took driver’s education class and had to pass our written and road tests to obtain a driver’s license. They cover topics such as using your blinker, changing lanes, backing up, and maintaining an appropriate speed. One way to prove that another driver is at fault for an accident is to show that the driver violated one or more of these Rules of the Road.
Commercial Truckers and Drivers
Those who are driving commercial vehicles, like tractor-trailer trucks, are required to follow additional rules and safety protocols. These drivers must first obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) before they are permitted to operate a commercial vehicle on the public roads. The CDL manual has many additional rules that commercial drivers must follow, including inspecting the brakes and other important equipment on their vehicles, slowing down when road conditions are wet or snow-covered and many other rules. If a commercial vehicle was involved in a crash, you may be able prove fault based upon a violation of one or more of these rules.
Maine follows the modified comparative negligence rule to assign financial responsibility in an accident or injury case. If the negligent party is determined to be mostly responsible for the accident, they are required to reimburse the victim for any damages resulting from the accident.
In some cases, more than one party may share responsibility for your car accident. For example, if your accident was caused by a commercial truck driver and your investigation points to the fact that the driver violated safety rules because the transportation company encourages drivers to bend the rules to save time, you may have a claim against the driver as well as the transportation company. A personal injury attorney Portland can help you identify all parties that may be liable for your car crash.
Can I Still Get Paid Even If I Was Partially At-Fault?
If you believe you may have been partially at fault for your accident, you may still be able to recover some compensation. Being partially responsible does not automatically disqualify you from receiving a settlement but may reduce the amount of money you are entitled to receive.
According to Maine’s modified comparative negligence rule, a victim must not be more than 50% at fault for the accident to be eligible for damages compensation. However, a jury may determine a monetary amount to be discounted from the victim’s total settlement amount taking into consideration the victim’s share of responsibility. For example, if your total claim amount is $50,000.00 and the court determines you are 25% responsible for the accident, you may end up receiving $40,000.00 instead of the total amount you would have received if you had 0% responsibility for your accident. This is why it is important to work with a car accident attorney even if you think you may have contributed to your accident, as the other party’s insurance company may exploit this and try to exaggerate your percentage of fault in an attempt to cut costs and lower the amount they will need to pay you.
What Kind of Damages Am I Eligible to Recover?
In most car accidents, victims who suffered serious injuries will often require time off at work and will likely have a tall stack of medical bills after receiving care. These and other monetary losses make up a significant part of your personal injury claim. Monetary or economic losses are direct financial losses and expenses resulting from your accident. Lost wages, medical bills, cost of current and future care, and basic living expenses are some examples of economic damages.
There is also a subjective component to a car accident claim. As such events are often traumatic and may be catastrophic, victims may seek compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering brought on by the injury and recovery process, as well as psychological or emotional distress resulting from the accident. At Gideon Asen LLC, our team is focused on maximizing the value of your car accident claim. Our personal injury attorneys Bangor take time working with each client, investigating the circumstances of the accident and collecting evidence to properly identify the responsible parties for your accident, reduce or eliminate your percentage of fault and maximize your chances of receiving a favorable decision and a fair settlement offer.
What Are The Next Steps?
If you have been hurt in a car accident, there is no reason to try to arm-wrestle with the insurance company all by yourself. Let the Maine car accident attorneys at Gideon Asen help you secure the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. Call (207) 206-8982 to learn more.