The second is for uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. This protects you if the other driver does not have adequate car insurance. The minimum amount of UM coverage is $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Maine
Maine Revised Statutes Title 29-A Section 1601 requires drivers to show proof of insurance to law enforcement. There are penalties if the driver fails to produce proof of insurance. You can receive a fine between $100 and $500. The Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles may also suspend your license and registration.
If you can show proof that you had insurance the court will dismiss the infraction. Driving without insurance can also result in significant financial liability. If you are at-fault for an accident, you will be on the hook for the other party’s damages.
Reporting Requirements for Car Accidents in Maine
Maine Revised Statutes Title 29-A Section 2251 provides car accident reporting requirements. Under the statute, drivers must report a “reportable accident.” A “reportable accident” is “an accident on a public way or a place where public traffic may reasonably be expected, that:
- Results in bodily injury or death to a person, or
- Apparent property damage of $1,000 or more.
The operator, a person acting for the operator, or the owner of the vehicle must report the accident “immediately by the quickest means of communication,” to:
- A state police officer,
- The nearest state police field office,
- To the sheriff’s office in the county where the accident occurred, or
- The police department in the municipality where the accident occurred.
Failing to report a car accident in Maine is a misdemeanor. The offense can result in suspension of your driver’s license and up to 6 months in jail.
Types of Damages in Maine Car Accident Cases
There are several types of damages that car accident victims can recover. Economic damages are those that you can easily prove. For example, medical bills and lost wages. Both have supporting documentation that show the amount of your loss.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to establish. This category includes pain and suffering. Pain and suffering includes mental anguish and emotional stress. A Maine auto accident lawyer can help you to prove the extent of your pain and suffering.
Some states cap the amount of damages that you can recover in a car accident case. These caps can apply to economic and/or non-economic damages. The only damages cap that Maine has applies to wrongful death cases. Under Maine auto accident laws, there is a damage cap that applies to wrongful death cases. The cap is $500,000 for non-economic damages.
Recovering Damages in a Maine Car Accident Case
There are several different ways injured drivers can recover damages in Maine. The first step is usually to contact your insurance company to report the accident. Your insurance company will contact the other driver’s insurance company. They will work together to determine fault for the accident.
If the other driver is at-fault, his insurance company will pay for your damages. In this case, the insurance company will often try to settle. This usually involves the insurance company mailing you a written offer. The initial offer is often low. They do this to limit their liability and reduce their costs.
You can also send the insurance company a formal demand letter. A demand letter is a formal letter that details your damages. The letter will request a specific amount to settle your case. Unrepresented parties often undervalue their claims. An experienced Maine auto accident lawyer can help you value your claim.
You may also choose to file a lawsuit. The suit will usually name the other driver and his insurance company as defendants. In some cases, you may also need to list third party defendants. Filing a lawsuit may be necessary if the insurance company is refusing to settle. By going to trial you can attempt to prove your case to the jury.
It is also often necessary to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations has expired. Sometimes the insurance settlement process can take a long time. Filing a lawsuit preserves your right to go to trial.
To recover damages at trial, you must prove that the other driver was negligent. This means that the other driver failed to exercise a reasonable standard of care. And his failure must have caused the accident. If you contributed to the accident the comparative negligence rule will come into play.
Maine Car Accident Settlement Calculator
Did you or someone that you know suffer an injury in a car accident in Maine? Use our free online Injury Settlement Calculator to see what your case might be worth.