WHAT'S THE MAX YOU CAN GET?Find out in just minutes how much your injury is worth!

Maine Auto Accident Laws & Resources

Maine is a bucolic state, featuring 3,478 miles of coastline and over 32,000 miles of rivers and streams. The state offers drivers some 47,000 miles of roadways to explore all that Maine has to offer. But those roadways can often prove dangerous. 

There were 171,589 total crashes on Maine highways between 2015 and 2019. In 2019, more than 8,000 people suffered injuries in car accidents in Maine. Another 144 people lost their lives. 

If you live in or plan on visiting Maine, it is a good idea to become familiar with Maine auto accident laws. Maine auto accident laws give car accident victims important rights. Yet Maine auto accident laws are complex. Those that do not have a lawyer often do not know what their options are. 

This guide will cover some important Maine auto accident laws. The guide provides a brief overview of laws that will likely be important to your case. For more information, discuss your case with an experienced Indiana car accident lawyer.

Maine is an “At-Fault” State 

Like most states, Maine auto accident laws operate on a fault-based system. This means that the party that was at-fault for causing the accident is liable for paying for damages. In most cases the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for damages up to the policy limits. But Maine’s comparative negligence standard could impact damage awards. 

Comparative Negligence in Maine Auto Accident Cases 

Maine follows a “modified comparative negligence” standard in car accident cases. Maine Revised Statutes Title 14 Section 156 provides the standard. This standard applies when a car accident victim contributed to the accident. The court will subtract an amount equal to his share of responsibility for the accident. But, if his share is greater than the other parties, he will recover nothing. 

For example, suppose you get into a collision on I-295. You sustain injuries in the car accident. You file a lawsuit against the other driver and her insurance company. At trial, you prove that the other driver was negligent. The jury determines that your total damages are $100,000. But, the jury also finds that you were 15% at-fault for the car accident. You will receive $85,000 ($100,000 – 15%). 

Suppose the jury determines that you were 55% at-fault for the car accident. Under Maine’s modified comparative negligence standard, you will not recover any damages. 

Maine’s comparative negligence standard does not apply to the insurance company. But the insurance adjuster will still make a fault determination. The insurance company will use the determination to calculate an adequate settlement. 

Maine Auto Accident Laws Statute of Limitations 

In Maine, car accident victims have a deadline to file a lawsuit. The Maine statute of limitations provides the deadline. If you do not file by the deadline, you will likely lose the right to file. 

Under Maine Revised Statutes Title 14 Section 752, you have six years to file a lawsuit for damages. This includes damages for personal injuries and property damage. The deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is different. The family or representative of the estate can file a wrongful death suit. They must file the lawsuit within two years from the date of death. 

The statute of limitations does not apply to the insurance settlement process. Your insurance policy will list the procedures for filing a claim. But if you miss the deadline the insurance company has little incentive to settle. They know that you lack recourse through the court system. 

Missing the deadline set by the statute of limitations can have disastrous consequences. Consult with an experienced Maine auto accident lawyer to protect your rights. 

Maine’s Minimum Insurance Liability Coverage Amounts

Anyone that owns or operates a vehicle in Maine must carry at least the minimum amount of insurance. Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage. It only covers damages that you cause in a car accident. The minimum required limits are: 

  • $50,000 for bodily injury or the death of one person caused by the owner or driver of the vehicle; 
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident caused by the owner or driver of the insured vehicle; and 
  • $100,000 for total bodily injury or death liability caused by the owner or driver of the vehicle. 

A Combined Single Limit policy of $125,000 also meets the minimum insurance requirement. Maine auto accident laws also mandate several other types of insurance. The first is $2,000 per person in medical payments coverage. This covers medical expenses incurred by you and your passengers.

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.