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Why Should I Hire a Maine Car Accident Lawyer?

Offered by Law Offices of Joe Bornstein

You may be eligible for financial compensation for your injury claim

Maine has some of the most scenic roads and highways in the country. From Route 1 along the Maine coast to the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway in interior Maine, there’s bound to be a beautiful road winding its way through Vacationland and other parts of the state.

Unfortunately, car accidents happen in Maine as well. Some of these accidents take place on backroads, others on major highways like I-95 and I-295. Such crashes often cause serious injuries, including concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Most collisions occur due to mistakes made by another driver. When that happens, it’s important for injury victims to understand their rights and the legal options available to them. Otherwise, you could end up having to pay for your accident-related expenses out of your own pocket.

How common are car accidents in Maine?

The number of motor vehicle accidents in Maine has been consistently increasing in recent years. There are now more than 35,000 car accidents on average each year in Maine, according to accident statistics compiled by the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT). That’s one accident every 15 minutes.

Fatal car accidents have been rising faster in Maine than in many other states around the country. According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle accident fatalities in Maine have increased by more than 26 percent in the past seven years.

There are over 150 fatalities and 8,000 injuries in Maine car accidents every year – that’s one injury or fatality every 57 minutes.

Why do car crashes happen here?

Due to the large amount of wildlife in the state, collisions involving moose, deer and other animals are common in Maine. Each year, there are more than 5,000 car accidents involving collisions with deer and more than 250 accidents involving moose, according to the MDOT.

But most accidents occur due to the reckless or negligent actions of other drivers on the road. Speeding drivers can be especially dangerous, causing more than 4,400 car accidents on average each year in Maine, resulting in more than 50 deaths and 1,300 injuries annually, according to recent MDOT accident statistics.

Drivers under the influence of alcohol can also be a danger to everyone else on the road. Drunk drivers cause more than 1,300 car accidents each year in Maine, resulting in more than 50 deaths and 600 injuries on average each year.

Distracted driving, including texting while driving, has also become a common contributing factor in many Maine car accidents. Distracted drivers in Maine cause more than 3,500 accidents on average each year.

Where do accidents happen in Maine?

The majority of fatal car accidents in Maine happen on rural roads. Many of these rural roads are back roads or rural state highways, including:

  • State Route 1, which runs from Kittery all the way up to Machias.
  • State Route 2, which runs east to west across northern Maine.
  • State Route 202, which runs from southern Maine up to Bangor.
  • State Route 26, one of the busier commuting roads in Maine running from Cumberland County to Oxford County.

Other accidents occur on one of the state’s heavily traveled highways, including:

  • Interstate 95, Maine’s major interstate highway running north to south.
  • Interstate 195, a short interstate spur in Saco, Maine.
  • Interstate 295, which connects Portland to the Augusta, Maine area.
  • Interstate 395, a short interstate spur in Bangor, Maine.

Wherever your car accident took place, make sure you fully understand your rights. Make sure you talk to an experienced Maine car accident lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your legal options.

What are common car accident injuries?

Injuries sustained in car accidents can cover a wide range. Some of the most common and most serious injuries include:

  • Head injuries, including concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
  • Facial injuries, including nose fractures and other types of facial trauma.
  • Neck injuries, including neck fractures and whiplash, a type of neck sprain.
  • Back injuries, including spinal cord injuries.
  • Hand or arm injuries, including broken bones in the arm, wrist or hand.
  • Foot or leg injuries, including bone fractures in the leg or foot.
  • Internal injuries, including organ damage or significant blood loss.

Many injuries require emergency medical care or surgery. Follow-up surgery or other long-term medical care may be necessary as well. This is why it’s important for injury victims to seek immediate medical care right away after a car accident. Whether it’s the Maine Medical Center Emergency Room in Portland or another hospital near you, it’s critical that car accident injury victims have a doctor examine them right away and diagnose exactly what’s wrong. Otherwise, the consequences can sometimes be life-threatening and result in long-term or fatal consequences.

What are my legal options?

First, it’s important to understand that Maine has an “at-fault” car insurance system. This means in cases involving two or more vehicles, the at-fault party – and their insurance company – must pay for everyone else’s accident-related expenses. That includes but is not limited to medical care, vehicle repairs, and replacement income while injury victims recover from their accident.

If you have been in a collision caused by another driver in Maine, you generally have two legal options available to you:

  • Negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
  • File a lawsuit against the at-fault party, in which their interests will be represented by the insurance company.

In Maine, you often have six years from the date of your car accident to file a lawsuit or take other action. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations and can be found in the Maine Revised Statutes Title 14, Section §752.

However, depending on the type of claim, the statute of limitations may be two years and it is imperative that you find out your legal rights immediately after being in a car accident. Not consulting with an attorney promptly could lead to loss of the opportunity to pursue a claim in certain instances. Many of these claims have a specified “Notice” period in which official notice has to be filed with the defendant. If a claim is not filed within that specific Notice period, the claim could be barred.

In addition, the longer you wait to take legal action, the more difficult it can be to find the evidence you need to build a strong  claim. Some evidence can disappear fast – physical evidence is washed away by weather, and camera footage may be deleted or overwritten within days.

It’s also important to carefully review your Maine car accident report filled out by the investigating police officer or Maine State Police trooper. Officially known as the State of Maine Crash Report, this document serves as the official record for the accident. Insurance companies and other investigators refer to this document when deciding who was at fault. That’s why it’s important to review this document and make sure that all the information about your crash accurately reflects what actually happened.

What can I be compensated for?

The bottom line is you should not have to pay for any expenses associated with your accident if someone else was at fault. What many people do not realize is such expenses are not simply short-term ones immediately after an accident. If you are financially affected years after your accident, you should receive compensation for such long-term expenses. These may include:

  • The cost of all your medical care, including emergency medical treatment, surgical procedures, follow-up doctor’s appointments and physical therapy.
  • Repairing or replacing your vehicle, especially if your car is a total loss due to your accident.
  • Replacement income while you’re recovering from your accident and cannot work.
  • Lost future income if you are unable to return to work due to a permanent disability sustained in your accident.
  • Pain and suffering in certain circumstances.

Such expenses can quickly add up to a lot of money – perhaps thousands of dollars or significantly more. The bottom line is you and your family should not have to suffer financially due to the reckless or negligent behavior of another driver. That’s why it’s important to demand the maximum financial compensation you deserve for all past, present and future accident-related expenses.

How can a Maine car accident attorney help me?

A car accident can have a serious impact on a person’s life – physically, financially and emotionally. Remember, you only have one opportunity to get all the money you deserve for your accident. Once you agree to accept a settlement offer, you cannot go back and ask for more money in the future, even if your accident-related expenses increase dramatically years from now.

Insurance companies understand this. That’s why they often make a lowball settlement offer. This is why it’s critical that you have an experienced attorney on your side who can help you every step of the way. Your lawyer can review any settlement offers you receive and help you decide if they truly cover your accident expenses. Your attorney can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and demand more money. It’s also important to choose a lawyer with courtroom experience in case you need to file a lawsuit or take other legal action in connection with your car accident.

In addition, an experienced attorney may be able to negotiate with lien holders, insurance companies, and medical providers who provided treatment during the recovery period. This may reduce the amount that needs to be repaid, thereby leaving more money in your pocket.

Keep in mind that the laws governing car accidents vary from state to state. That’s why it’s important to hire a Maine car accident lawyer with experience handling car accident claims in Maine. Your attorney also needs to be licensed to practice law in Maine as well.

Discover what a dedicated Maine car accident attorney can do for you after your accident. Schedule an appointment with a lawyer near you. Most attorneys offer a free case evaluation, and there’s no obligation to hire them or file a lawsuit, just answers about your legal rights and options.

Car Accidents Assistance
Law Offices of Joe Bornstein

Since 1974, the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein has proudly represented more than 25,000 Mainers in personal injury claims including car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, and bicycle a...