Peter Thompson
Peter Thompson

Texting While Driving

In 2013, a new law related to texting while driving went into effect in Maine. Drivers cited for texting while driving must pay a $250 minimum fine for a first violation, and a $500 fine for second and subsequent violations that are assessed with a three-year period. Repeat offenders are subject to a mandatory license suspension. Although Maine drivers face serious penalties for distracted driving, many drivers continue to endanger others by texting while driving. If a distracted driver hurts you, the experienced Maine car accident attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates can build a strong case to make sure you seek the compensation you and your family need and deserve.

Negligence in Maine

Most personal injury victims who take legal action following an accident sue under a theory of negligence. To prove a case for negligence, a plaintiff must show that (1) the defendant owed him or her a duty, (2) the defendant breached that duty, (3) the defendant's conduct was the "proximate cause" of the plaintiff’s injuries, and (4) actual damages. All drivers in Maine owe other drivers and pedestrians a duty to drive safely and obey road rules. Texting while driving keeps a driver from paying attention to what's happening on the road. It puts everyone at risk and is a breach of the a motorist’s duty to drive safely.

A "proximate cause" is a legal cause. This means no intervening or superseding events interrupted the causal chain between the defendant's conduct (texting) and a plaintiff's injuries. Intervening or superseding events could include such events as another driver's negligence, or a deer running out into the road. However, if you were involved in a car accident because a driver texted instead of paying attention to the road, it is likely that a court will find that this conduct was the "proximate" or legal cause of your injuries.

If a jury finds that a defendant was negligent, it may award past and future medical expenses, lost wages including for time spent going to doctor's appointments, property damage, the cost of hiring someone to do household tasks you aren't able to do because of the accident, emotional distress, permanent disfigurement or disability damages, and any reduction in your future earning ability because of the injury.

What if there is more than one defendant, or you are partly at fault for the accident? Maine follows a modified comparative fault rule. This means that your recovery will be reduced by your degree of fault. A plaintiff who is 50% or more at fault in an accident cannot recover damages at all. This rule becomes complicated if there are multiple drivers responsible for an accident.

Maine follows the doctrine of "joint and several liability." Joint and several liability is a doctrine that permits a plaintiff who is able to show that multiple defendants caused her injury to recover the full amount from any one of them. This doctrine is very important to plaintiffs. It puts the burden on defendants who are partly to blame to find and hold responsible the other people responsible for the plaintiff's injuries rather than requiring a plaintiff to chase down a recovery from all the people responsible.

Knowledgeable Maine Car Accident Attorneys

If you have been hurt due to the carelessness of a driver who was texting while driving or otherwise negligent, it is crucial to retain a trustworthy Maine car accident lawyer to obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 800.804.2004 or via our online form for your free consultation today.