Maine Personal Injury Law: What You Need to Know
March 8 2023
In Maine, a personal injury can be grounds for a civil lawsuit if it is caused by another person’s negligence or failure to exercise reasonable care. There are various statutes of limitation applicable to these types of lawsuits which must be taken into consideration before filing.
An Overview of Maine Personal Injury Law
Maine personal injury law is governed by Title 14 of the Maine Revised Statutes. Under this body of statutes, individuals who sustain physical or mental injuries caused by someone else’s negligent or wrongful conduct may be eligible to pursue a claim for damages and/or file a lawsuit in a civil court.
The overarching legal principle that applies in all Maine personal injury cases is negligence. Negligence occurs when a person acts carelessly, falls short of taking reasonable steps to protect others from harm, fails to use reasonable and appropriate caution, or takes other action that fails to adhere to the standard of care required for the particular situation. The standard of care is an assessment based on what the average person with reasonable and ordinary care would have done under the same circumstances.
There are several key elements required for negligence, including duty of care, breach of that duty, causation and actual damages. In cases involving personal injury, the plaintiff (the injured party) must prove each element to establish his or her case. The duty of care refers to what the individual owed to another person — generally not putting that person at risk of harm or failing to act in a way that would reasonably protect them from further risk of harm. Breach of the duty is proof that the individual failed to comply with their legally established obligation and that failure was directly responsible for causing the injury. Causation requires proof that there is a connection between the breach in duty and the resulting injury sustained by the plaintiff. Finally, evidence must be provided showing that the defendant’s actions resulted in actual damages suffered by the plaintiff — usually financial losses related to medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, and lost wages due to an inability to work while recovering from injury.
It should also be noted that even if there is no dispute as to fault or liability, a successful outcome still depends on providing clear and convincing evidence as it relates to awarding copious damages that adequately compensate for physical pain and suffering experienced due to an accident as well as emotional damage like anxiety and depression caused by an unforeseen traumatic event.
Although proving negligence can seem daunting, it is possible in many cases. With experienced legal representation and timely filing deadlines met, justice can prevail through successful negotiation or verdict in court. The next section will discuss legal representation for personal injury claims in Maine.
Legal Representation for Personal Injury Claims in Maine
Legal representation is critical when filing a personal injury claim in Maine, as the process can be complex and time consuming. There are two main sides to this debate: those who believe that individuals should not seek out legal representation for their claim, and those who feel it is absolutely necessary.
Those against seeking legal representation typically argue that personal injury law is easy enough to understand on your own, and that lawyer fees may exceed any amount awarded when the case is settled in court. What’s more, many of these individuals believe that if they handle the paperwork themselves, then there will be no need to pay a lawyer’s fee at all.
However, many people argue that without legal representation from a qualified Maine personal injury attorney, a claimant takes unnecessary risks with their prospects for fair compensation. If an individual goes about the process alone, it’s likely they will either be denied the compensation due to them outright or receive an offer that does not reflect the severity of their injury or loss adequately. An experienced attorney will help minimize these risks by providing valuable insight into the claims process and helping fight for a correct settlement on behalf of their client.
By engaging skilled legal counsel, claimants also ensure their rights are fully protected as they navigate through each step in the process. With research-based defensive strategies and persuasive negotiating tactics, lawyers provide invaluable assistance to claimants looking to receive appropriate reparations for lost wages, medical bills, property damage, or pain and suffering incurred after an accident. Ultimately, legal representation offers security and assurance when it comes to obtaining the outcome you deserve following your accident or incident.
For these reasons, finding the right lawyers for your case becomes paramount to achieve an effective resolution to your personal injury claim in Maine.
Finding the Right Lawyers for Your Case
Finding the right lawyer for your case is an important factor in the outcome of a personal injury suit. You should take the time and due diligence to research and select an attorney who is experienced with this type of litigation and can effectively represent you.
When selecting a lawyer, consider experience, reputation, communication style, office location, interactions with court staff and other attorneys in the field, trial experience, and comfort level. In addition to evaluating how you feel about the attorney and their team, it’s also important to confirm that they are licensed to practice law in Maine and that they can provide references from past clients.
It’s also important to understand any fees associated with the services being provided. Most personal injury lawyers will offer a free initial consultation so that you have time to get answers to questions and get comfortable. A reputable firm should be open and honest about their ability to represent your case as well as their fees and expenses.
If there is a dispute over liability or damages regarding your case, it may be appropriate to seek out counsel from more than one attorney before filing a complaint. At times when there is disagreement among attorneys over legal theories or evidence it helps to get another opinion on specific details related to the case.
Finding the right lawyer for a personal injury suit can be the difference between winning or losing a case. It’s not only prudent to do your due diligence but absolutely essential for ensuring justice is served in your specific case. With the right information, research, and selection process in hand, you can make sure you have the best advocate available representing you and fighting for fair compensation from those responsible.
Finally transitioning into the next section: Proving negligence overturning liability in a personal injury claim is a complex process requiring considerable legal expertise and experience. The next section will explore how separating fact from fiction can help establish strong legal cases for those injured due to another party’s negligence.
Proving Negligence and Establishing Liability
Establishing negligence and liability are a necessary step for receiving financial damages in any personal injury case. Negligence occurs when one party’s careless or reckless behavior causes damage or harm to another person. This can include failing to act within a reasonable standard of care, in a manner that a normal person would practice in the same situation.
To prove negligence, typically four elements must be established: a duty of care, breach of that duty, causation, and damages. First, a legally recognized duty of care must have existed between the parties involved in the accident or incident. The second element requires establishing that the defendant failed to meet this standard of care — meaning they breached their responsibility or acted negligently in some way — causing harm. Thirdly, the plaintiff must show that this breach was the proximate cause of their injuries and it is the fourth element that provides resolution to monetary damages for these injuries.
In Maine particularly, certain doctrines exist that may increase or limit potential liability depending on the unique details of an incident and who might be considered at fault. For instance, Maine adheres to pure contributory negligence which states that even if those injured are partially at fault for an incident resulting in injury, they are ineligible to receive any form of compensation from the other party found liable. On the other hand, comparative negligence allows those injured to still receive compensation even if they were 99% responsible for their own injury.
Now that negligence has been established as well as liability of all parties involved, it’s important to determine how much financial compensation is warranted given the circumstances; this will be discussed further in the next section addressing Establishing Financial Damages in a Personal Injury Case.
Establishing Financial Damages in a Personal Injury Case
When it comes to establishing financial damages in a personal injury case, there are several considerations for both plaintiffs and defendants alike. There are potential benefits and drawbacks to claims for financial damages stemming from personal injury cases, and it is important to understand the laws and regulations of Maine as they relate to these types of cases.
Generally, when an individual is injured due to someone else’s negligence, they may be entitled to compensation, including reimbursement of medical costs, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses related to the tortious conduct. Compensation may also be available for pain and suffering caused by a defendant’s irresponsible actions.
Another aspect of determining financial damages in personal injury cases is the consideration of punitive damages. Typically awarded due to egregious or malicious behavior on the part of the defendant, punitive damages give claimants an opportunity to gain some measure of justice beyond simply recovering medical costs and lost wages. Depending on the type of case, a plaintiff may be entitled to unlimited compensatory damages plus additional punitive damages in some instances. This can result in a substantial financial recovery for those who have been wrongfully injured by another person’s actions.
On the other hand, defendants may risk facing large damage awards if it can be proven that their negligence or intentional behavior was responsible for harm that was inflicted upon another person. It is difficult for defendants to recoup money spent on legal fees or any potential award unless they successfully appeal or challenge a given decision.
At its core, every personal injury case can differ significantly depending on the facts of the situation. Establishing financial damages in such cases should be handled carefully so as to ensure parties on both sides receive a fair amount of compensation in accordance with Maine law.
The next step in dealing with such matters involves navigating an understanding of the legal process associated with filing a personal injury claim in Maine.
The Legal Process of a Personal Injury Claim in Maine
In order to recover damages from a personal injury claim in Maine, an injured party must first establish fault in their case. Maine is one of the few states that still recognize pure comparative negligence. This means that, regardless of how much fault is allocated to the injured person themselves, a personal injury claim could potentially still be won if the defendant is assigned more blame for the incident at hand. It is important to note, however, that any damages awarded to a plaintiff will be reduced by whatever percentage of fault they are found to bear themselves.
For example, if an injured person is determined to be 40% responsible for an accident, the amount of settlement money they would receive would be reduced by 40%. If there is no fault attributed to the plaintiff whatsoever, then comparative negligence law does not need to apply and they may be eligible to receive a greater amount. Alternatively, if it can be proven that the plaintiff carries greater responsibility than the defendant, they may not be able to recover any damages at all.
The legal process of a personal injury claim in Maine also involves several steps outside of determining who is legally at fault. Plaintiffs are required to provide proof of financial losses resulting from their injury in order to maximize any compensation awarded. These losses can include medical expenses for treatments related to the injury as well as lost wages or missed work due to inability caused by a plaintiff’s discomfort or pain. Additionally, victims may also request additional damages for physical pain and suffering or emotional distress resulting from an injury or accident – however, this type of non-economic damage must meet very specific criteria set out by Maine state law in order for plaintiffs to be eligible for recovery.
Finally, it should also be noted that claims must meet certain time limits before they can no longer be filed in court; known as “statutes of limitation”. These deadlines vary depending on what kind of action is taken against whom and district level courts within Maine do have slight variations when it comes to brief details such as this. Those interested should contact a qualified legal professional with experience in handling personal injury cases within the state and county of Maine.
With a general understanding now established about the legal process involved with filing a personal injury claim in Maine, we’ll now move on and discuss the rights of personal injury victims in this American state next.
Rights of Personal Injury Victims in Maine
When a person is harmed by another, they are entitled to compensation under Maine personal injury law. This may include compensation for medical treatment and lost wages due to time away from work. Victims are also entitled to damages that may be economic or emotional in nature.
Under Maine law, a personal injury claim must have occurred within six years of the incident that caused the harm. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as product liability cases involving harmful risks that were not immediately known to the victim. If the plaintiff cannot file within six years, then the suit cannot be pursued in court and the victim must pursue other options for restitution should they want to continue with the claim.
A crucial component of Maine personal injury law is the concept of comparative negligence, which allows that both parties can be held liable for an accident and related injuries depending on their individual degrees of fault or blame. Comparative negligence assigns a percentage of fault to each party involved in an incident, up to 100%. If the defendant’s negligence is greater by 51% or more, then they will be fully liable for any damages assessed in a verdict or settlement agreement. If their negligence is found to be below 50%, then damages will likely be reduced by their attributed degree of fault.
The other concept crucial to Maine personal injury claims is that of contributory negligence. Under this concept, if a plaintiff is found partially negligent or responsible for an incident (i.e., contributed 10% of fault), then they cannot recover any damages from the defendants regardless of how much total fault the defendant has been assigned. This doctrine does not apply if comparative negligence rules apply in place of contributory negligence for a particular jurisdiction like in Maine.
In conclusion, Maine personal injury law provides victims with clear rights when it comes to seeking restitution after being injured due to someone else’s negligence. The key components governing these rights are comparative negligence and contributory negligence, which assign proportional fault to each party involved in an incident according to percentages established under statutes in the state law code. In our next section we provide a summary of Maine personal injury law on a whole so readers have vital information at their fingertips when considering their legal situation following an accident or other harm-inducing event.
Conclusion and Summary of Maine Personal Injury Law
Under Maine’s personal injury law, injured parties have the right to seek compensation from those liable for their suffering. The state requires that plaintiffs prove fault in order to win a claim, as well as establish the damages sustained by the injury. Additionally, potential claims typically have a two-year statute of limitations which must be followed in order for a successful suit to be brought against an at-fault party.
To prove that a party is at fault and to win a personal injury case in Maine, individuals must demonstrate both negligence and causation. Negligence is established when the accused party has acted outside of what can reasonably be expected of an average person or business in similar circumstances. Causation is one step further and refers to whether the defendant’s negligent action directly caused harm to the plaintiff. If both requirements are met, then an individual may be found liable for damages incurred by the claimant and they may be forced to make restitution.
Medical bills, lost wages, and proffered services are all compensable forms of damage under Maine law. In some cases, additional compensation may also be awarded for pain and suffering endured through the course of the incident if it was deemed intentional or highly reckless. Perhaps more important than any kind of punitive damage award is the fact that individuals who are deemed liable are likely to incur hefty legal costs for their defense.
Though access to justice should always be prioritized over a potential payout, one has to approach Maine personal injury law with a degree caution when seeking retribution from a potentially liable third party. It’s easy for an ill-advised lawsuit to quickly spiral out of control, resulting in costly legal fees that eclipse any quantifiable reward claimed by the plaintiff du jour. Nevertheless, individuals who believe another party has caused them harm are entitled to pursue its redress through their local courts – provided they can mount sufficient proof of both negligence and causation within appropriate jurisdiction’s prescribed limitations window.
- In Maine, personal injury damages for most cases are composed of economic damages such as lost wages and medical bills, plus non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
- The statute of limitations in Maine is typically 6 years, meaning a person injured in an accident must file a court claim within this time period, or they may lose the right to legal recovery.
- According to Maine law, if both parties were negligent in causing the accident that resulted in an injury, each party is responsible only for the percentage of fault assigned to them by a jury or judge.
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions
What evidence do I need to prove my personal injury claim in Maine?
The evidence you need to prove your personal injury claim in Maine will vary depending on the specific facts of your case. Generally, however, you should gather medical records, police and accident reports, witness statements, photographs or video of the accident and resulting injuries, any other legal documents such as insurance policies, contracts or settlement offers, and proof of economic damages such as lost wages or receipts for out of pocket expenses. Additionally, it may be helpful to contact an experienced Maine personal injury attorney to discuss the evidence needed to support your claim.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in Maine?
In Maine, a personal injury claim must typically be made within six years of the date of the incident. If a claim is not filed within this time period, it may become barred from the court system due to the state’s statute of limitations or be dismissed. It is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after an accident occurs to ensure you have the opportunity to pursue legal action and receive any potential compensation for your losses. An experienced attorney can help you understand all available options and can work with you to determine the best course of action for your specific case.
Who is responsible for damages in a personal injury case in Maine?
In Maine, the person responsible for damages in a personal injury case is usually the negligent party. Negligence occurs when a person’s careless or reckless actions cause another person to suffer a loss or injury. In order to prove negligence, it must be established that the defendant’s actions deviate from what an ordinary person would or should have done in similar circumstances.
If negligence is determined to have occurred, the jury will decide on an amount of damages that the plaintiff may receive. Damages can include medical bills, lost wages, and pain-and-suffering compensation for physical and emotional distress due to the injury suffered. Additionally, in some cases punitive damages may also be awarded if intentional wrongdoing is found.
It is important to note that personal injury cases vary based upon each individual situation, as there are many complex factors involved including statutes of limitation and immunities afforded to certain individuals or entities. For this reason, it is important to seek experienced legal counsel in order to ensure that you obtain fair and just compensation for your injuries.
What is the statute of limitations on personal injury cases in Maine?
The statute of limitations on personal injury cases in Maine is six years from the date of the injury. This means that any claim or lawsuit related to an alleged personal injury must be filed within six years of when the injury occurred or else it will be considered time-barred and stand no chance of succeeding.
The reason behind this is that courts want to ensure that claims are brought forth promptly so that evidence is preserved and memories are still fresh. By placing a strict timeline on these kinds of cases, justice can be better served, and both parties can have fair outcomes determined.
In addition to this six year window, there are additional exceptions in Maine law. For example, if the person filing a personal injury lawsuit was legally incapacitated at the time of the incident then he or she has two years after recovering from their incapacity to file suit. This exception applies regardless of how long ago the incident occurred. Additionally, if children are involved, they may bring suit until they reach 18 1/2 years old; this means that minors potentially have up to 12 years before the statute of limitations expires (six years plus an additional six-year extension due to age).
Knowing these statutes can help ensure that you are properly protecting your rights if you ever have a personal injury case in Maine. It’s important to stay informed about deadlines and rules related to your case, so make sure you consult with a knowledgeable Maine personal injury attorney for reliable advice and legal representation.
What compensation is available for personal injury victims in Maine?
In Maine, personal injury victims may be able to receive compensation for their losses. This can include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and in some cases, punitive damages.
Medical bills compensation covers any costs associated with necessary medical treatment as a result of the personal injury. These costs could include hospital visits, emergency room visits, surgery, medication, physical therapy, ambulance charges, and more. If you have proof of these expenses, you may be able to recover them in a settlement or lawsuit.
Lost wages compensation is used to cover the income that was lost due to an inability to work following the personal injury. You may be able to use documentation such as pay stubs or tax returns in order to prove these losses.
Pain and suffering reflects the physical and mental anguish suffered due to the accident and any long-term effects it had on your life. This type of compensation includes reimbursement for medications or psychological counseling that was necessary as a result of the injury.
Emotional distress awards cover any damage caused by emotional trauma suffered from the incident. This could also include mental anguish due to fear of future harm or PTSD due to prior trauma related to the incident.
Finally, punitive damages are intended to punish someone found liable for intentional or reckless acts that caused personal injury. Punitive damages are not often awarded in Maine but they do exist as a potential source of compensation for those who have been harmed by wrongful conduct.