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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.

NTSB Proposes Transportation Safety Improvements for 2016

distractions while driving

cars traveling at high speedThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released their list of most wanted transportation safety improvements for the coming year. The list focuses upon the importance of including more technological advancements in highway vehicles and train systems to help avoid collisions in the future.

The NTSB believes that with the addition of more technology into today’s vehicles, the number of injuries and fatalities will decrease. For example, the NTSB would like to see more collision prevention technology in highway vehicles, as well as an increase in occupant protection across all modes of transportation. Additionally, the NTSB is calling for mandatory laws that enforce the use of safety belts and child restraints nationwide.

Aside from technological improvements in highway transportation, the NTSB notes that rail safety initiatives, such as the implementation of positive train control (PTC), is also necessary. The PTC is a system for closely monitoring and controlling train movements. This allows the train conductor to receive information regarding the train’s location and where it is allowed to travel safely.

Lastly, the NTSB discusses how fatigue, undiagnosed medical conditions and distraction of transportation operators have attributed to accidents. For this the NTSB advocates that federal regulators require their employees to be medically fit in order to fulfill their duties.

Motorists need to understand their legal rights

Although the safety improvements that the NTSB suggests would be helpful in preventing accidents in the future, how does that help the victims who have already been injured by one of the aforementioned factors? Until the necessary changes are made, victims need to be informed about their rights, should they experience an accident.

Many of the implementations that the NTSB listed applies to commercial vehicles. When a collision occurs between two personal vehicles in Maine, the at-fault driver is legally responsible for ensuing damages and injuries. However, when the crash involves a commercial vehicle, the victim must file a suit against the company that employs the at-fault driver.

In some cases, the plaintiff may need to sue the company that makes or maintains the commercial vehicle in order to seek compensation.

Types of damages that can be recovered

In some cases, accidents involving commercial vehicles result in greater damage due to the sheer size of the vehicle. For this reason, commercial liability policies have higher limits to allow the victim to receive reasonable compensation for their losses.

A successful claim may secure the following types of compensation:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering, and emotional distress
  • Loss of normal life, which an include a permanent disability or disfigurement

If you or a loved one have suffered significant injury following a vehicle accident in Lewiston, Portland, Bangor or Auburn, the firm of Hardy, Wolf & Downing offers skilled legal guidance and support.

To speak with a Maine personal injury lawyer about your options for legal recourse, please contact our office at 1-800-INJURED and schedule a free case review.

Where do Most Car Accidents in Bangor Occur?

Car accident

car accidentThere are numerous causes of car accidents in Maine, ranging from impaired and distracted drivers, excessive speed, motor vehicle defects and hazardous road conditions. For every crash that occurs on state highways and roads, the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) logs vital pieces of information such as accident location and underlying cause.

DOT spokesperson Ted Talbot explains that these car crash statistics are gathered over three-year increments and calculate what is known as a “critical rate factor,” which is based on the number of accidents that occur in one particular location versus other locales.

Talbot says the critical rate factor is useful because it spotlights “areas of concern,” allowing officials to identify certain intersections or stretches of road that have unusually high crash rates. The agency recently released statistics on Bangor locations with the highest car accident rates for 2012-2014.

Most common Bangor car accident locations

According to DOT statistics, the area with the highest rate of collisions is an intersection on Stillwater Avenue, where traffic flow from the I-95 on and off ramps and Parkade shopping plaza converge.  Over the last three years, some 43 auto accidents took place at this Bangor intersection.

Following close behind in second place was the crossroads between Ohio Street and Griffin Road, where police responded to 40 crashes.

This data may prove influential in helping motorists avoid traffic collisions, or at least take extra caution when in these specific intersections where accident rates are disproportionately high.

John Theriault, Bangor’s city engineer, says that he is periodically contacted by area residents who voice their concerns about the region’s worst spots for accidents. These opinions, along with DOT crash data, are then analyzed to determine if actions need to be taken.

What to do following an accident

No matter what precautions are taken, auto accidents can and do happen on a regular basis. Remember these tips in the wake of a car accident, as they can help preserve your legal rights in the event negligence was a contributing factor.

  • Stay on the accident scene
  • Call 911 immediately
  • Attend to medical emergencies as necessary
  • Gather information from all parties involved, including names, addresses, license and plate numbers and insurance info
  • Take photos or video of the crash scene if possible
  • Make notes about the weather, time, road conditions, location and relevant events of the accident
  • Contact your own insurance company
  • Do not admit fault or liability, even if you believe you may be to blame
  • Speak with a qualified car accident lawyer

In some instances, victims may be eligible to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party, seeking compensation for property damages, lost income, medical bills, loss of future earnings, and pain and suffering.

However, it takes experience and commitment to effectively handle a car accident claim. Hardy, Wolf & Downing offer a combined 40 years of experience handling personal injury cases and boast a long track record of substantial verdicts and settlements. To schedule a free case review with one of our Maine accident attorneys, please call 1-800-INJURED.

Social Media Now Plays a Role in Nursing Home Abuse

Care Worker Mistreating Senior Woman At Home Care Worker Mistreating Senior Woman At Home

Adding to the growing problem of nursing home abuse across the country, recent reports reveal that some nursing home workers are violating the privacy of the elderly in their care by posting dehumanizing and private images and videos of residents on social media sites, such as Snapchat. This recent trend has lead to criminal charges in some cases, since taking pictures or videos without patient consent violates the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act—a privacy law geared toward patients that penalizes violators at a criminal and civil level.

An organization called ProPublica has found 35 cases since 2012 where nursing home patients were the subjects of videos and pictures taken stealthily by workers. In at least 16 instances, the victims were documented either partially or fully nude on Snapchat, a popular social media site that allows pictures and videos to appear for seconds at a time and disappear without a trace.

Elder abuse cases involving social media

Back in February of 2014, a nursing assistant at the Prestige Post-Acute and Rehab Center in Centralia, Washington was singing and dancing as she filmed a resident on a bedside portable toilet. A second incident occurred a month later, at the Rosewood Care Center in St. Charles, Illinois, where two nursing home workers shot a video of a 97-year-old woman, who suffered from dementia, getting slapped in the face by a nylon strap. She can be heard in the video crying out for them to stop, but the pair only laughed at her distress.

A third case involved a nursing assistant in February of 2015 at the Autumn Care Center in Newark, Ohio. The worker was seen teaching the residents lyrics to a rap song that discussed a love for cocaine. This video was also shared on Snapchat.

Determining liability

A nursing home or long-term care facility is responsible for providing patients with a certain level of safety, depending upon on their needs. For example, if a patient is prone to falling, they should be equipped with handrails and proper observation. Should that patient fall and injure themselves, even with the provided safety measures, the nursing home would not be liable for the injuries.

In situations like the aforementioned ones, where workers are purposefully abusing patients emotionally, a strong case could be made that the facility is liable.

Signs of nursing home abuse

Although social media-related elderly abuse is a recent development (22 cases were reported in the past 2 years), elder abuse in long-term care facilities is not. Unfortunately, many elderly individuals are abused by caretakers and the mistreatment goes unreported, often because patients forget due to dementia.

Forms of care facility abuse of the elderly include:

  • Assault or battery, including: pushing, pinching, slapping, or kicking
  • Deprivation of food or water
  • Sexual assault
  • Unnecessary physical restraint or seclusion
  • Noticeable sedation with the use of unauthorized medication

If your parent or loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact a Maine personal injury lawyer from the Hardy, Wolf & Downing law firm. As our beloved elders age, ensuring their utmost comfort and safety is foremost. Call us at 1-888-674-5762 for a free consultation and case evaluation.

Christmas Volunteer Killed in Waterville Wagon Accident

Car accident

car accidentThe annual Central Maine Family Christmas Dinner went from joyous to somber this year after a tragic accident claimed the life of 56-year-old Kathy Marciarille two days after Christmas. Marciarille, who was a volunteer for the event, fell from a horse-drawn wagon and was struck by a vehicle that was closely following the wagon.

The Waterville Elks Lodge hosts a Christmas dinner, which attracted 850 guests this year, and includes visits from Santa Claus, carol singing, and free wagon rides. As the event ended, volunteers and their families were also offered wagon rides. The incident occurred when a sedan escorting the hayride rear-ended the wagon, ejecting Marciarille, who became pinned under the sedan; the driver of the sedan was fellow volunteer, 68-year-old Richard Libby.

“The sun was shining pretty bright and blinded me,” Libby said. “The whole windshield was all white and yellow. I couldn’t see anything. Before the car came to a stop, I felt the car go up and down. I didn’t see the trailer. I didn’t see anything.”

Marciarille was freed and rushed to a local hospital, where she was transported via LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland. She succumbed to her injuries two days after the accident. Police are currently reconstructing the accident and conducting an investigation to determine the next course of action.

Determining liability for rear-end collisions

Drivers who cause rear-end accidents are almost always deemed to be at-fault, regardless of how quickly the driver in front of them has stopped. This is because the driver behind the stopped vehicle should know how to properly gauge their breaking distance in order to avoid a collision. In fact, many insurance companies don’t bother arguing about liability when it concerns a rear-end accident.

There are, however, a few circumstances where a rear-end collision will not follow the established liability rules. Rear-end accidents that involve multiple vehicles are handled a bit differently. For example, if cars A, B, and C are in a chain-reaction crash, vehicle C is at fault, since their vehicle struck car B, which then rammed into car A.

The comparative negligence defense

Comparative negligence is another type of circumstance that may make the victim partially at-fault for a rear-end collision. Comparative negligence is a counter defense that proves that the actions of the plaintiff contributed, in part, to the car accident. This allows the fault to be divided into percentages.

For example, if driver A brakes suddenly and they have broken tail lights, driver B, who is behind them, is unable to see that the vehicle is stopping, which can lead to the rear-end crash. If driver A was found to be 20% percentage responsible for the accident, they are only entitled to 80% of the compensatory damages.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a rear-end collision, call our experienced Maine accident lawyers. Hardy, Wolf & Downing is prepared to evaluate your case and offer answers to all of your legal questions. Call 1-800-INJURED to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.