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Supreme Judicial Court Recognizes Maine Attorneys for 2016 Free Legal Aid

Katahdin Counsel Logo

katahdin-counsel-logo-pdf-33In honor of National Pro Bono Week, October 23-29, 2016, Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley today announced that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court will honor Maine lawyers who have reported their contributions of at least 50 hours of legal assistance to low income and elderly Maine people. This recognition will take place in ceremonies across the state in the coming weeks. This year, the Court will recognize 107 lawyers and 4 law students for donating 11,283 hours of legal work to Mainers in need of civil legal assistance. These legal services have an estimated market value of more than $1,600,000.

Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Turn Your Family’s Life Upside Down

Traumatic Brain injury

Traumatic Brain injuryOf all the potential injuries a person can sustain in an accident, traumatic brain injuries are some of the most frightening. There are several aspects of traumatic brain injuries that make them especially diabolical in nature:


  • Brain injuries aren’t always apparent at the time of the accident and can manifest later
  • These injuries can occur deep in the brain, making them hard to detect even for health care professionals


I Was In An Auto Accident, What Do I Do Now?

Auto accident

When you get into a car accident, it is often disorienting, confusing, and even scary. Knowing what to do before an accident happens is the best way to prepare yourself if you do get into a collision. This infographic provides a helpful step by step process.


Record-Setting Personal Injury Settlement in Philadelphia County

Scrabble - Accident Injury Hurt

Life’s major events aren’t always predictable, and the changes they bring aren’t always positive. David Williams, a Pennsylvania landscaper formerly employed by TruGreen, likely understands that sentiment better than most.

David was minding his own business, driving a company truck down a highway in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, when due to no fault of his own the vehicle rolled. The catastrophic accident resulted in irreversible spinal injuries, leaving him a quadriplegic with little hope for further recovery, even after several surgeries. (more…)

2016 Hardy Wolf & Downing Scholarship Winner

Scholarship cap and books

Scholarship cap and booksHardy Wolf & Downing is pleased to announce the 2016 winner of our scholarship award. We were deeply moved by the number of applications received and as loyal supporters of military veterans and law enforcement personnel, we are proud to offer this year’s scholarship award to Marshall Magincalda, a former Marine who served in the U.S. infantry from 2003 to 2008.

We want to express our gratitude to all applicants for their past and continued service and wish them all the best of luck in their future endeavors. (more…)

Study Reveals Abuse Among Residents of Nursing Facilities

Adult son out for a walk with his father, who has alzheimers disease.

elderly patientA recent report published in renowned journal Annals of Internal Medicine reveals a growing problem of elder abuse within nursing facilities being committed by fellow residents of such communities. According to researchers, roughly 20 percent of those residing in these types of care facilities suffer some sort of abuse from another resident. (more…)

Officials Report a Projected Increase in Traffic Fatalities

car accident front end collision

car accident front end collisionIn 2015 alone, 35,200 people in the U.S. lost their lives after becoming involved in car accidents. This statistical projection, recently publicized by the U.S. Department of Transportation, demonstrates an increase of 7.7 percent compared to the total traffic fatalities that occurred in 2014.

That year, the figure stood at 32,675 deaths. It’s important to keep in mind that the 2015 figures are projected statistics, but if they are realized, it will be the most number of traffic fatalities in one year since 2008. That year, more than 37,000 people lost their lives on the nation’s roadways. (more…)

Investigation Underway over Brake Failures in Harley Davidsons

motorcycle accident

Brake Failures Investigations in Harley Davidson - Hardy Wolf & DowningAn investigation has ensued after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received 43 complaints of faulty brakes on certain models of Harley Davidson motorcycles. Riders reported that both the hand and foot brakes suddenly failed to work, resulting in three crashes and two injuries.

The investigation includes more than 430,000 Harley Davidson motorcycles with model numbers between 2008 and 2011. All of the bikes in the inquiry have an anti-locking braking system that is supposed to prevent riders from losing their grip in situations where they must brake hard. Riders said the brakes in these systems suddenly froze without warning, leading to potentially dangerous situations.

The NHTSA noted that these particular models of motorcycles were required to have the fluid in the brakes replaced every two years. If the replacement was not done properly or in a timely fashion, the old fluid left in the brake system could corrode some of the parts. However, the agency also made a point to say that even with neglect of the brake system fluid, the fact that brakes suddenly stopped working without any warning “is a concern.”

The official investigation was opened on July 6 and Harley Davidson told ABC News that the company was cooperating with the NHTSA throughout the inquiry. The investigation comes on the heels of a 2014 recall by the motorcycle manufacturer that involved more than 60,000 bikes. Brake malfunction also led to the recall. However, in the 2014 recall, riders reported their brakes suddenly engaged without warning.

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Motorcycle Fatalities in Maine

Motorcycle fatalities are typically relatively low in Maine, compared to other areas of the country. In 2014, the state saw just 11 fatal motorcycle accidents. Four of those riders were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. The highest number of crashes between 2008 and 2012 occurred in Cumberland County.

However, 2015 saw an alarming upsurge in motorcycle deaths, prompting many to question the reason behind the uptick. According to the Portland Press Herald, there were 28 fatalities by the middle of September of that year. More than half – 19 riders – were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. Helmets are not legally required in the state, except for riders who are 18 years or younger, riders with learner’s permits and those with first-year licenses.

The report attributed the increase in fatalities, at least in part, to the summer weather that brought more bikers out on the Maine roadways. Warm temperatures and lack of rain have allowed more riding this year than is typical for a Maine summer. However, other factors may have contributed to the increase as well, including speed, alcohol and the lack of safety equipment (particularly helmets).

No information was available in 2015 for the possibility that manufacturing defects in motorcycles contributed to the increase in crashes. Those factors could change this year, in light of the new information about brake defects associated with Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Liability in motorcycle accidents

In the meantime, those who suffered property damage or injuries as a result of brake issues with Harley Davidsons could be eligible for legal damages if this investigation determines manufacturers are liable. The current investigation is likely to reveal evidence that will either support or refute claims against the motorcycle manufacturer.

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, or you lose a loved one in one of these tragic events, legal help is available. Contact the law firm of Hardy, Wolf & Downing today at 1-800-INJURED to speak with a veteran motorcycle accident lawyer in Maine. The case review is free and there are no legal fees unless we win compensation on your behalf.

Death of Whitewater Rafter Highlights Amusement Park Risks

Whitewater raft ride

whitewater raft rideThe death of an 18-year old visitor to the U.S National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, has drawn renewed attention to the safety of amusement parks and other attractions throughout the United States during this busy summer season.

Officials reported that the young woman from Westerville, Ohio died of an infection caused by a rare, brain-eating fresh water amoeba.

Death brings scrutiny to Whitewater Center

A renowned recreation and training facility for rafters, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiasts, the U.S. National Whitewater Center has attracted significant scrutiny following the death of Lauren Seitz last month. Visiting the center with members of her church group, Seitz encountered Naegleria fowleri, a one-celled amoeba known for causing primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a condition that is almost always fatal. It is thought that she was exposed to the organism when her raft overturned.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) visited the center to conduct on-site water testing, later revealing that all 11 of the samples taken tested positive for the deadly amoeba. Dr. Jennifer Cope of the CDC deemed the UV filtration and chlorination systems present at the facility inadequate to protect its visitors, setting into motion a comprehensive review by state public health authorities who will determine what sorts of preventive measures are necessary going forward.

Safety standards far from clear

The incident at the U.S. National Whitewater Center has prompted many to question just how safe amusement parks and similar attractions throughout the country truly are. The frightening fact is that such facilities are generally under no uniform standards of inspection or reporting, and there are several states in which the safety of park rides and activities are subject to no state or federal regulations whatsoever, with matters of inspection and review left to the discretion of local agencies.

Authority over amusement park oversight was taken away from he U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1981, when the aptly-named “roller coaster loophole” was passed by Congress. This eliminated the federal government’s ability to inspect fixed site attractions. The state-by-state patchwork of regulations that remains has created significant inconsistencies and gaps in standards as well as what many see as a lack of transparency with regard to accident reporting.

While amusement park lobbyists suggest that there is no evidence indicating that increased federal involvement would produce noticeable safety gains, victim advocates decry what they view as a blatant absence of essential supervision over potentially dangerous endeavors in which negligence can and does prove deadly.

Amusement park liability & victims’ rights

When a serious injury or death occurs at an amusement park or other tourist attraction, the prospect of filing a lawsuit can seem extraordinarily daunting. Considering that litigation of this type can involve numerous areas of the law such as product liability, premises liability, general negligence and more, it is important to secure the aid of an amusement park injury attorney who is able to fight for maximum compensation.

Victims and their families need to know that they are not alone in seeking payment for things such as pain, suffering, medical bills, lost wages, physical therapy and more. The aftermath of an incident of this type can be extremely confusing and fraught with uncertainty, and the assistance of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can make all the difference in a time of crisis.

Advocating for Mainers since 1976

If you or a loved one have suffered a profound injury while visiting an amusement park or similar attraction, the attorneys of Hardy, Wolf & Downing are prepared to fight hard to secure the accountability and financial recovery you deserve.

For a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with trusted Maine accident lawyers, please call 1-800-INJURED.

Tips for Staying Safe this Fourth of July

fourth of July celebration

4th-of-JulyFourth of July is right around the corner and with the holiday comes concerns over how to stay safe in the midst of the fireworks frenzy.

The personal injury attorneys at Hardy Wolf & Downing want to wish all of our fellow Maine residents a safe and happy Fourth, which is why we are providing a few fireworks safety tips in anticipation of the big day.

Keep it legal

Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before purchasing or lighting them. If you are allowed to use fireworks in your community, only purchase those that have been approved. Beware of fireworks that come in plain brown paper bags. This is often a sign the fireworks are commercial-grade and should only be used by professionals trained in firework handling.

Watch the kids

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that of the thousands of individuals treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to fireworks every summer, a large portion of those patients are between the ages of 10 and 14. Some injuries led to missing digits or limbs, while others caused vision loss. Young children should never be allowed to handle fireworks, even sparklers. Sparklers get to a temperature hotter than what is required to melt glass and can be very dangerous for short little arms to hold.

Nix the pets

Fourth of July is a tough day for dogs and cats, as the loud noises of fireworks can lead to terror in those four-legged friends. Never bring pets along for fireworks, whether setting them off privately or heading to a public display. Instead, keep pets safely shut indoors where they will not be able to run away or get into harm’s way.

Protect the eyes

The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that there were 1,300 eye injuries from fireworks treated in emergency rooms in 2014. That number was double what was seen just two years prior in 2012. Eye injuries can occur both to those handling the fireworks and spectators. It is very important to stay a safe distance away when fireworks are shot off and to wear safety goggles when handling fireworks directly.

Safety steps

When handling fireworks, keep a bucket of water and a garden hose nearby. Never try to relight a “dud” firework (one that did not ignite) and keep the face away when setting off any type of firework. Never light more than one firework at a time and douse all fireworks with water after use. Store them in a metal trash can away from other flammable items for at least 24 hours before disposing of them.

Stick with public displays

For the safest Fourth of July, stick with public displays handled by professionals in the field of pyrotechnics. Observe all of the rules in regards to where to stand to watch the display and never pick up fireworks off the ground after the show is over.

If you are injured in a fireworks-related accident due to negligence, manufacturing defect or another reason out of your control, legal recourse may be available.

The team at Hardy, Wolf & Downing helps victims of firework accidents pursue damages for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

To get a complimentary case evaluation, contact our office today at 1-800-INJURED.