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NHTSA Summit Seeks to Curb Traffic Crash Deaths

car accident front end collision Cars-accident-at-city-road

With federal statistics estimating recent annual traffic fatalities at about 26,000, it is fair to say that the deaths affect hundreds of thousands of people each year. Earlier this month, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration concluded a series of conferences aimed at changing dangerous traffic behavior.

The most recent 2-day summit ran on March 10th and 11th in Washington, D.C. and featured presentations by representatives of the NHTSA, Loyola University New Orleans, the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Injury Control and Prevention, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Harvard Law School, and the Delaware Highway Safety Office. NHTSA described the summit as a call to action for those interested in stopping crashes on the roads.

Summit addressed driver-related factors in fatalities

The summit was dedicated to “Driving Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety” and topics included the current state of behavioral safety countermeasures; strategies for changing behavior; innovative approaches for changing traffic behaviors; and how behavioral economics and social sciences can be used to cut down on traffic fatalities.

As the symposium recognized, driver-related factors often play a significant role in traffic fatalities. For example, an upturn in the economy could translate to an increase in traffic fatalities as more people engage in recreational driving. The NHTSA reported that the number of traffic crash-related deaths increased by 8% in the first half of 2015. A report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety drew a connection between the death rate and the economy. Its analysis found a strong relationship between the yearly changes in the unemployment rate and the changes in crash-related deaths.

An upturn in the economy is welcome but an increase in the roughly 30,000 deaths is not. Hopefully the industry professionals who took part in the recent traffic safety gathering will develop measures to decrease the deaths even as the economy improves.

Legal recourse for accident victims

Every driver is under a legal obligation to operate his vehicle responsibly. The law recognizes the rights of victims to hold negligent drivers responsible for the injuries they cause. Recovery from a personal injury lawsuit can afford the victim relief from pressing medical bills and lost income resulting from the crash.

In a successful case, the negligent driver may be liable to pay for both the economic and non-economic damages that he or she has caused.

Compensation can include:

  • Past and future medical expense reimbursement
  • Payment for pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Reimbursement for services that the victim can no longer perform
  • Lost companionship
  • Funeral expenses
  • Wrongful death compensation for the loved ones left behind

The burden is on the plaintiff to prove every necessary element of a personal injury lawsuit and sometimes expert testimony by doctors or scientists is needed to connect the dots for a jury. Parties who place their trust in dedicated Maine car accident lawyers tend to see greater results.

Maine personal injury lawyers

Hardy, Wolf & Downing is dedicated to fighting aggressively for the rights of victims who’ve been injured in private or commercial vehicle accidents in Maine. To learn more about your rights to compensation after a car accident, please call to schedule a free consultation. We are available any time, by calling toll-free 1-800-INJURED.

Sleep Apnea Compromises Safety of Rail & Highway Transportation

Maine truck accident lawyers

truck on highway in MaineSleep apnea poses many risks to those who are affected, but perhaps the most immediate danger is the threat of nodding off while driving – a side effect that often results in catastrophe. Chronic fatigue and sleepiness caused by obstructive sleep apnea is known to impair driving drastically, making motorists more susceptible to vehicle accidents. One recent study reported a sevenfold greater rate of auto accidents among sleep apnea sufferers compared to subjects without the disorder.

Unfortunately, impaired drivers with sleep apnea cause preventable accidents every year, and some of these involve commercial rail and highway transportation. On March 8, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) proposed the creation of new rules that would affect employees who held “safety sensitive” positions such as locomotive conductors or operators of commercial motor vehicles who have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.

The agencies are requesting additional information about the screening process, costs of treatment and safety risks of transportation personnel with OSA, so they can create effective regulations across the industry.

Sleep apnea and safety risks for transportation

Undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea has been known to cause deficits in concentration, alertness, reaction times and memory – the same sort of effects that are associated with alcohol impairment. Commercial vehicle drivers, such as those who operate tractor trailers or commuter trains, are often responsible for the safety of hundreds of passengers in addition to their own, making it essential they are properly rested and fit to get behind the wheel.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cites recent train derailments and truck accidents where undiagnosed or poorly treated sleep apnea was determined to be an underlying factor. One of the crashes listed was the 2013 Metro-North train derailment in the Bronx, NY that killed four and injured more than 60 people. After investigations, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the probable cause of the accident was human error. The conductor had undiagnosed “severe” sleep apnea and had fallen asleep momentarily, during which time the train increased speed to 82mph in a 30mph zone.

What causes sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by intermittent periods in which the throat muscles collapse, essentially blocking airflow. Breathing stops for a period of seconds, causing individuals to gasp or snore as they struggle to breathe. This cycle can repeat itself dozens of times throughout the night, resulting in shorter periods of deep, restful sleep.

Risk factors for developing sleep apnea include:

  • Male
  • Overweight
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Having a wider neck
  • Hypertension

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that at least 100,000 accidents are caused by driver fatigue every year, and these estimates are on the conservative side.

Drowsy driving accident liability issues

Injuries or death caused by a drowsy driver may prove grounds for litigation. A plaintiff may seek monetary damages against the defendant in cases where negligence played a role. For example, a bus or truck driver may be held accountable if he or she did not comply with mandatory sleep intervals between shifts and was driving while excessively fatigued. In certain situations, an employer may also be held legally responsible for injuries or loss caused by a fatigued employee who was forced to work extra shifts under duress.

If you were harmed in a truck accident caused by an impaired or drowsy driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Discuss your claim with a veteran Maine car accident lawyer at Hardy, Wolf & Downing by calling 1-800-INJURED. We serve the entire Southern Maine region including Portland, Bangor, Lewiston and Auburn.

Alcohol a Likely Culprit in Fatal Maine Crash

car flipped over

auto accident - rolloverA fatal Maine car accident on County Road claimed the life of 28-year old Matthew Spencer, reports the Bangor Daily News. On the morning of February 24, Matthew was riding as a passenger with his younger sibling Nicholas, 21, when his brother lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a telephone pole. The car rolled over and then caught on fire, says the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office.

Matthew was pronounced dead at the scene. Both Nicholas and another passenger — Samuel Ketch of Milford – were taken to the Eastern Maine Medical Center for emergency medical treatment. Nicholas sustained critical injuries, while Ketch’s injuries were described as non-life-threatening.

Authorities say that excessive speed and alcohol are believed to be factors in the fatal rollover accident, and are still investigating potential causes.

Greenbush man killed in rollover accident

Penobscot County police say that Nicholas was driving at a high rate of speed before he lost control of his car and hit a utility pole. Just before the crash, the three men were apparently talking with other people at local convenience store, Milford On The Run. The Sheriff’s Office is interested in speaking with those individuals for more information about the events leading up to the accident.

Authorities are trying to reconstruct the accident, which happened in Milford, on County Road at Baker Brook Road.

Matthew was born in Bangor and was described by family as a consummate outdoorsman who loved hunting, fishing, camping and mud runs. He is survived by his parents, three sisters and two brothers.

Rollover accidents – causes and liability

Rollovers account for nearly 25 percent of all deadly passenger vehicle accidents, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Individuals that do survive a vehicle rollover often sustain catastrophic injuries, including spinal cord injury, skull fractures, head trauma, and other life-threatening harm. 

Inclement weather and road hazards may create dangerous conditions that contribute to rollover accidents. Icy roads, potholes, uneven pavement or a lack of guardrails are common causes. Because of their high center of gravity, SUV’s and pickup trucks are more susceptible, though other types of passenger vehicles can still roll under the right conditions.

However, in accidents where police determine that negligence caused a fatal crash, surviving victims or the families of those who were killed may have the right to sue for damages.

Maine law stipulates that any damages recovered in a wrongful death claim are to go to a surviving spouse, in the event that the decedent has no surviving minor children. If the deceased has both a spouse and surviving minor children, the compensation will be equally divided by both parties.

Legal advocacy from Maine accident attorneys

Hardy, Wolf & Downing is dedicated to protecting the rights of all accident victims throughout Southern Maine. We always fight for maximum compensation. With the support and expert guidance of personal injury attorneys, our clients can focus on recovery, leaving the litigation to us.

To learn more about your rights to compensation following a car accident in Portland, Lewiston or Bangor, we invite you to arrange a free consultation. You can reach our offices anytime, toll-free by calling 1-800-INJURED.

Researchers Identify Biggest Distracted Driving Risks

teens texting and driving

texting-driving-teensThe problem of distracted driving has become a common concern among law enforcement and motorists alike. Now, researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have identified the most dangerous culprits in distracted driving accidents and other factors that can increase a driver’s chances of a crash. The hope is that by determining the riskiest distractions, steps can be taken to make the roadways safer for everyone.

Some of the most notable distractions researchers discovered were dialing a cell phone or using the touchscreen on a vehicle dashboard. Both of these activities require drivers to take their eyes completely off the road, which is a major crash risk. These activities proved even more dangerous than some of the well-known driver distractions, including eating and applying makeup.

Emotions and car accidents

Emotions also played a role in vehicle crashes, with drivers that were sad, angry or crying facing 10 times the risk of an accident than those who drove without any distraction. Other risk factors that made the top of the list in this study included reading or writing, driving while fatigued and texting.

To come up with the results of this study, researchers used data from the Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study. This study is the largest of its kind, involving more than 3,500 participants at six collection sites across the U.S. More than 1,600 crashes were included in the data, ranging from minor curb strikes to accidents serious enough to file a police report.

Driver-related factors have huge impact

The researchers found that driver-related factors were involved in more than 90 percent of the higher severity crashes, which involved either property damage or injury. Drugs and alcohol made up the biggest risk, followed by mobile phone dialing, reading and writing, and intense emotions like sadness or anger. Reaching for an object rounded out the top five driver-related factors resulting in crashes. Other factors that were near the top of the list included interacting with others in the car, texting and browsing on a mobile device.

“These findings are important, because we see a younger population of drivers, particularly teens, who are more prone to engaging in distracting activities while driving, “ Tom Dingus, lead author of the study and director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, was quoted as saying by Science Daily. “Our analysis shows that if we take no steps in the near future to limit the number of distracting activities in a vehicle, those who represent the next generation of drivers will only continue to be at greater risk of a crash.”

While this study was unique in its ability to collect data with more precision than other research on car crashes, the results were similar in many ways to those found by other research. The Huffington Post reported last year that nine Americans are killed every single day by accidents involving distracted driving. There is a one-in-four probability every motor vehicle crash involved a cell phone. Those numbers make sense when considering that using a cell phone while driving increases the risk of a crash four times.

Liability in distracted driving accidents

Victims of motor vehicle crashes where distracted driving was involved may be eligible for legal compensation under the law. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, the person responsible for the crash may be held liable for associated medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other non-economic losses.

If you or someone you love is the victim of distracted driving, don’t wait to get legal help. Contact the offices of Hardy, Wolf & Downing today at 1-800-INJURED to get a free assessment with veteran Maine accident attorneys who leverage decades of success winning car accident and personal injury claims.

Long-Term Complications Tied to Early Childhood Brain Injury

brain with bandage

brain concussionEven children who suffer a mild brain injury early in life are at risk of long-term functional impairments and learning disabilities, suggests new research published in JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers also found that a child’s home environment plays an important role in the healing and outcome of pediatric head trauma, with poorer outcomes noted in children with permissive parents, highly authoritarian parents and households with fewer resources.

The purpose of the observational cohort study was to compare and contrast the outcomes of early childhood traumatic brain injury (TBI) relative to childhood orthopedic injuries, while accounting for the influence of parenting practices and social environment.

Study on early childhood brain injury

The research included one general hospital and three children’s hospitals, with patients enrolled for the study between January 2003 and October 2006. Follow-ups were performed from 2010 through April 2015.

The study authors examined 72 children who sustained orthopedic injuries (broken bones or mild fractures) and 58 children who suffered various types of TBI, all of which were between the ages of 3 and 7 at the time of enrollment. The children were tracked at multiple points for the study, up to 6.7 years after their injuries. Assessments were made using the Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS), which measures long-term functional outcomes in daily settings.

The findings indicated that children with mild traumatic brain injury had greater functional impairments and problems in school compared to those who had sustained an orthopedic injury. Additionally, the researchers found that functional impairments in participants with TBI were more pronounced among children from homes with higher levels of strict parenting, permissive parenting and fewer resources.

“Improving parenting skills and quality of home environment may promote functional recovery following early TBI,” concluded the study authors.

Lasting impacts of TBI still being investigated

The full scope of cognitive and functional impairments that may result from a TBI are not always recognized at home or in school. A mild brain injury during early childhood may have few long-term side effects in some children while others may go on to have problems with basic skills such as:

  • Self-awareness
  • Memory
  • Problem solving
  • Organization
  • Attention
  • Auditory processing

Other research has suggested that an early childhood brain injury can be followed by a notable decrease in cognitive and behavioral skills at the time of the trauma, in addition to a “stalling period” afterwards, that can affect the ability to maintain friends and jobs later in life.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a separate study on childhood TBI, finding that children suffering from a brain injury are almost 5 times more likely to struggle with moderate to severe depression.

Incidence of brain injuries in children

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, an estimated 62,000 children between the ages of 0 and 19 sustain brain injuries every year, requiring immediate medical treatment and hospitalization. TBIs account for 2,685 deaths annually in children ages 1-14.

Some of the most common causes include:

If your child suffered a head injury caused by another party’s negligence, you may be eligible for monetary compensation. Liable parties may include negligent daycare or school personnel who failed to supervise and provide a safe environment, or reckless drivers who caused an accident.

Discuss your options with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Hardy, Wolf & Downing. We provide unrivaled legal representation to clients throughout the Portland, Bangor, Lewistown and Southern Maine areas. Call our offices at 1-800-INJURED.

Tighter Nursing Home Controls Sought By Regulators

Care Worker Mistreating Elderly Man Care Worker Mistreating Elderly Man

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts public health commissioner announced an initiative aimed at substantially boosting oversight of nursing facilities across the state. The initiative would establish a specialized unit designed to make surprise inspections and impose financial sanctions on facilities found to have serious problems. Further, the plan calls for greater scrutiny and investigation of entities and individuals attempting to secure nursing home facilities licenses in Massachusetts.

State actions come on the heels of disturbing revelations

The recently-launched plans to heighten oversight of facilities intended to care for the elderly follow a series of troubling reports of unacceptable resident neglect in nursing homes operated by an out-of-state company which had opened a number of sites within Massachusetts without a great deal of supervision from state regulators. Synergy Health Centers, the operator in question, has been the subject of a deluge of complaints concerning:

  1. Medication administration mistakes
  2. Poor training of staffers
  3. Lack of adequate care professionals on site
  4. Substandard infection control practices

Facilities found to have serious violations will be subjected to fines starting in March, though advocates have called for changes to state law which would raise the currently-allowable sanction of $50 per day to an amount likely to have more of an impact.

Massachusetts health commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel also stated that her agency is currently wading through a mountain of accumulated consumer complaints regarding specific nursing homes, and that as a result she plans to hire additional staff to address the concerns. A new online system will be put into place where consumers will be able to submit detailed descriptions of problems in nursing homes and which will also serve as a research hub for patients and families to learn more about facilities located in the state.

Critics say initiatives are long overdue

It is estimated that approximately 40,000 individuals currently reside in more than 400 nursing homes located in Massachusetts. Patient and elder care advocates have long argued that the state health department has failed in its duty to aggressively investigate troubled facilities, halt admissions to questionable homes or take action against licenses held by controversial operators. Dr. Bharel has indicated that the newly-created oversight group will demand more comprehensive information from entities seeking to purchase Massachusetts nursing homes, including details about affiliated companies sometimes utilized to shield firms from liability.

The National Center on Elder Abuse has estimated that nearly 50% of America’s nursing facilities have insufficient staff to fully attend to patient needs. Thus, neglect and abuse events regularly occur without being appropriately addressed. Exacerbating the problem is the fact that just 1 in 5 incidents of this type are likely to be reported by victims. Therefore, it is incumbent upon families, fellow residents, caregivers and state regulatory agencies to stay vigilant when it comes to protecting vulnerable seniors from unscrupulous nursing home owners, management and staff.

Protecting Maine’s seniors

If you or a loved one have been subjected to physical, financial, sexual or emotional abuse within the confines of a nursing home facility in Maine, or have experienced harm as the result of caregiver neglect, the injury attorneys of Hardy, Wolf & Downing are prepared to seek justice on your behalf. To schedule a no-cost evaluation of your case and to learn more about available legal options, contact us at 1-800-INJURED.

Roadway Deaths Increased in 2015, Reports DOT

Car accident

car accidentA recent report from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not bode well for American motorists.

According to agency estimates, a staggering 26,000 people died in traffic accidents in the first nine months of 2015. To put this in perspective, there were 23,796 roadway deaths in the first nine months of 2014. This steep uptick represents a 9.3 percent increase in traffic fatalities, after a long period of gradual decline.

Roadway deaths increase in 2015

The sobering news is particularly timely for the NHTSA, which has recently launched a series of regional summits designed to examine the types of behaviors that lead to roadway deaths across the country. Not surprisingly, research conducted by the NHTSA has shown that human factors are the underlying cause of 94 percent of all traffic collisions.

“We’re seeing red flags across the U.S. and we’re not waiting for the situation to develop further,” said NHTSA Officer Dr. Mark Rosekind in a press release. “It’s time to drive behavioral changes in traffic safety and that means taking on new initiatives and addressing persistent issues like drunk driving and failure to wear seat belts.”

Driving behavioral change in traffic safety

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx commends the NHTSA’s research and initiatives, which have helped drive a slow but steady decline in highway deaths over the past 10 years. Officials aren’t certain why 2015 was such as deadly year for motorists, but the numbers show that more concerted efforts need to be taken to save lives and prevent needless traffic deaths.

Foxx says the NHTSA safety summits will offer new tactics and approaches to the repertoire of those already in use to help reduce motor vehicle crash fatalities.

The summits – held in cities across the nation — will culminate in a nationwide gathering in Washington DC later this year. The mission is to engage all highway safety practitioners as well as new partners, to share ideas and create new approaches to combat behavioral issues that lead to traffic deaths.

On the roundtable for discussion are issues including drowsy and distracted driving; drunk and drugged driving; failure to use seat belts and child seats; excess speeding; as well as initiatives to protect cyclists and pedestrians.

The summit series kicked off in Sacramento, California last week, where the agenda included identifying actions to promote sound policies, technologies and programs that have direct application in the States, with emphasis on preventing injuries and crashes.

Car accident victims have legal rights

The unfortunate reality is that rates of car accidents in Maine, like other states, continue to climb.  And a large majority of these crashes are caused by driver negligence and error. Even seemingly minor fender benders can leave passengers with life-altering injuries that can undermine one’s ability to work, earn a living and support their family.

In order to recover compensation in a car accident claim, victims must demonstrate liability and take action within a prescribed period of time.  Damages may include those for medical expenses, loss of income and future wage loss, as well as emotional trauma, and suffering. However, to ensure your right to fair compensation, you must align with an experienced team of Maine accident attorneys.

For more than three decades, the firm of Hardy, Wolf & Downing has provided unrivaled legal representation to residents of Lewiston, Bangor, Auburn and Portland, Maine. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

Anheuser-Busch Super Bowl Ad Targets Drunk Drivers

auto accident drunk driver

drunk drivngWhen it comes to television advertising, Super Bowl Sunday is like, well, the Super Bowl. Companies spend as much as $5 million for a 30-second spot with hopes that the more than 110 million viewers who tune in will take notice.

Considering nearly 18% of Super Bowl viewers say the ads are the most important part of the big day, people will indeed take notice. So it comes as no surprise that once again, Anheuser-Busch was on the scene with several ads. But what was surprising was its commercial in which acclaimed actress Helen Mirren threw proper British insults at anyone who drinks and drives.

The 70-year-old Academy Award-winner opened by introducing herself as “a notoriously frank and uncensored British lady.” She went on to call anyone who drives drunk a “short-sighted, utterly useless, oxygen-wasting human form of pollution, a Darwin award-deserving selfish coward.” She capped it off with, “Don’t be a pillock” (British slang for a stupid or annoying person.)

Super Bowl DUI traffic fatalities spike

The commercial combined charm with a biting message in hopes of hitting home on a widely-recognized problem. Super Bowl Sunday sees a big increase in drivers who hit the roads after drinking alcohol. Federal statistics suggest that from 5 p.m. on Sunday until 4 a.m. on Monday, more than 40% of the traffic fatalities involve driving drunk. That is a significant bump up from the average of 32% at other times of the year. In other localities, like San Diego, studies show that the percentage of deadly crashes involving alcohol more than double.

In Maine, anyone driving with a blood alcohol content above 0.8% is legally intoxicated and faces criminal penalties. Maine also recognizes civil actions to reimburse victims and their families.

personal injury lawsuit verdict or settlement may help pay mounting medical bills, cover costs that add up while a victim is unable to work, ad compensate for pain and suffering. Loss of companionship, wrongful death, and funeral expenses are also recognized losses that may be reimbursed.

Anyone who wishes to recover compensation after an alcohol-related crash must be able to prove:

  • The drunk driver’s breach of a duty, like safe control of their vehicle, to other motorists;
  • Resulting damages that the law recognizes, such as medical bills or pain and suffering; and
  • A proximate cause relationship between the breach of duty and the damages.

A Maine personal injury lawyer can help

Determining the full scope of damages from a serious accident, dealing with insurance companies, and explaining the necessary elements to a jury are all situations where a personal injury lawyer can be of great assistance.

If you have been injured in or lost a loved one to a drunk driving accident in Maine, the attorneys of Hardy, Wolf & Downing offer their legal advocacy and guidance. Call today to set up a free consultation to learn about your rights to compensation.

Honda Found Wedged Beneath Tanker Truck in Falmouth

Firefighter and paramedics taking victim out of crashed car Firefighter and paramedics taking victim out of crashed car

Like a scene out of an action movie, a Falmouth driver faced an unthinkable situation earlier this month as his Honda Accord became wedged beneath a Freightliner tractor trailer along the northbound lane of the Maine Turnpike.

Remarkably, neither the Honda driver nor the truck operator endured any serious injuries in the collision, however both were transported to Portland’s Maine Medical Center for observation and quickly released.

According to eyewitness reports – including first responders and the Maine State Police – the 36-year old Honda driver was traveling along the innermost left lane, adjacent to the truck traveling in the center lane. As the truck inexplicably began to drift left into the Honda’s lane, it too veered to the left to avoid a sideswipe collision.

From there, the Honda driver is believed to have over-corrected the swerve, causing his vehicle to lodge beneath the truck’s rear tandem. Following the incident, state police closed the turnpike for about 20 minutes to allow a heavy-duty tow truck the opportunity to elevate the tanker off of the Honda, at which point the totaled automobile was hauled away.

The truck involved in the wreck is owned by Hartt Transportation Systems, and is typically used to haul spring water for Poland Springs, a division of Nestle. At the time of the crash, however, the tanker was completely empty – which may have prevented a greater catastrophe.

Determining liability

While thankfully no one was seriously injured in the truck accident along the turnpike, the Honda driver is left completely without a vehicle – and will likely feel extremely apprehensive the next time he is traveling alongside a tanker truck. Are these damages compensable? Based on the information so far, quite possibly – particularly if the tanker driver was negligent in swerving into the Honda’s lane.

When determining liability after a truck accident, the plaintiff must prove that the truck driver owed him a duty of care and precaution, and breached that duty in some way that resulted in injury.

Under Maine’s laws of comparative negligence, the Honda driver could have his award reduced if the facts suggest that his own negligence contributed to the accident. For instance, if a jury determines that the Honda driver was negligent in his over-correction following the tanker’s drift into his lane, he could face a percentage-based reduction of the verdict in an amount congruent with the jury’s measure of his contribution.

It is, of course, too soon to tell how this case will resolve – and oftentimes parties are able to reach a settlement prior to taking the case before a judge and jury. Should the Honda driver prevail in a personal injury lawsuit, he could recover not only the medical expenses and property damage caused by the wreck, but possible compensation for pain and suffering as well.

Legal advice from Maine accident attorneys

If you have been involved in a collision and would like to discuss your legal options with experienced Maine accident attorneys, please contact Hardy, Wolf & Downing today at 1-800-INJURED to arrange a no-cost case review.

Accident Victim Warns About Drunk Driving Hours Before Death

Broken windshield after car crash Car with broken windshield after crash

The last Facebook post of a young woman struck and killed by an intoxicated man warned of the dangers of drunk driving.

Taylor Gaboury, 21, of Farmington, ME died on New Year’s Day at about 1:40 am when she was struck and killed by a car in the vicinity of Franklin Memorial Hospital.

On the previous day, she shared a link with this reminder “Happy New Year’s Eve: Remember it takes 23,647 bolts to put a car together, but only one nut to spread them all over the highway. Don’t drink and drive!”

Gaboury was walking along Route 2 on her way to her parents’ house after a party at the time of the accident; her parents say that they don’t know why she didn’t call someone instead of walking.  It is also unclear why she didn’t have her phone or ID with her at the time that she was struck.  Police were initially unable to identify her without identification. Her parents identified her remains tentatively on January 1st after filing a missing person’s report.  An autopsy confirmed her identity.

Friends, family, remember accident victims kindness

Friends and family have come forward after Gaboury’s death with memories of her kindness and consideration. Gaboury’s mother Teena Trask said she was unaware of the extent of her daughter’s positive influence.  “Being her parents,” said Trask, “ we obviously knew and thought she was an amazing person with a great soul, but people are coming forward and telling us these stories that we never knew about.”

Classmates said that she went out of her way to make people feel accepted.  She donated time and goods toward charity and was active in the Franklin County group Buttons for Babes.

Gaboury was also adventurous,enjoying outdoor activities like camping, kayaking, four-wheeling, and cliff-jumping. Her father, Ricky Gaboury, described her as an “adrenaline junkie.”

Her parents hope that something positive can come out of her tragic death, which her mother described as “100 percent preventable.”  “I’m really just hoping that through this people will just start to think before they get behind the wheel or go off walking,” said Trask. “Call me. I’ll give them my number. I’ll go get anybody.”

Rights for DUI victims

The driver who struck Gaboury was Tommy Clark, 25, of Industry.  He told police that he knew he hit someone and went down to find Gaboury’s body.  After trying to “wake her up” he realized she was dead and fled in his car.  Clark has been charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident.

It is still too early to know if Gaboury’s parents will file civil charges in addition to the criminal charges that Clark is facing.  Accident victims and their families have the option of pursuing legal action in search of compensation from those whose negligence and recklessness have cost the health and life and innocent people.

If you or a family member have been harmed by drunk driver, please contact the Maine accident attorneys at Hardy, Wolf & Downing.  Call 1-800-INJURED at your convenience to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.