At the Northeast point of New England lies Maine. World-famous for both its lobster and its weather, people come to Maine from all over the world to cozy up in secluded cabins and watch the leaves change color. For many months of the year, heavy snows pour onto Maine's steep mountains to provide fun-filled days for snow sport enthusiasts. But if you find your car skating on an icy patch of road, you will want to ready yourself with knowledge of Maine's car accident compensation laws.
'Fault' and 'Modified Comparative Fault' Rules Apply
To bring a successful claim in Maine, an injured party must first prove that another driver was at fault. This is because Maine employs the 'fault' system of car accident liability. Not only must an injured party prove that another driver is at fault for her injuries, but in Maine an injured party must prove that she was less than 50% at fault. This is known as the a 'modified comparative negligence' rule.
Courts use this rule to permit parties who are partially responsible for their own injuries to recover their damages in part, while at the same time protecting parties who were partially at fault from liability. For example, under the modified comparative negligence rule, a party who suffered $10,000 in damages but was 80% at fault would recover nothing, while a party who suffered $10,000 in damages but was only 20% at fault would recover $8,000.
The table below lays out other important aspects of Maine’s car accident compensation laws.
Types of Damages
Car accident damages generally fall into one of two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are money damages and include the cost to repair your vehicle, the cost to rent a replacement vehicle while your car is being repaired, any medical costs you might incur, and lost wages from time away from work. Non-economic damages are the harder to calculate losses you or a loved one might suffer, and include the loss of affection or companionship, emotional distress, and disfigurement.
Typical car accident damages include:
- Hospital expenses
- Lost income
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Loss of affection or companionship
- Pain and suffering
Limits on Damages
Parties injured in Maine will be relieved to hear that Maine has no state-imposed limits on the amount of damages you can receive in personal injury or car accident cases. Maine also has an especially long time limit on how long a driver may wait before filing suit to recover damages (the statute of limitations). For most personal injury and property damage cases, the limit in Maine is six years.
However, if the car accident resulted in a death, Maine does cap damages on wrongful death cases at $500,000 for compensatory damages and $250,000 for punitive damages. Additionally, the time limit is much shorter: wrongful death actions must be brought within two years of the person's death.
Have Specific Questions About Maine Car Accident Compensation Laws? Ask a Lawyer
While the long statute of limitations on personal injury and property damage lawsuits protects injured parties, the modified comparative negligence system can prevent you from recovering if you were equally liable in a car accident. Additionally, the caveat in the property damage time limit could cut short the time you have to file a lawsuit and can make it hard to determine how long you have the right to bring a lawsuit against another party. For these reasons, it's a good idea to contact a local car accident attorney today to find out the strength of your claim and get help with the process of filing your lawsuit.