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What is a Tort Case, and What does it Involve in Maine?

A tort case in Maine is a non-criminal wrong or illegality that constitutes an injury to an individual. For a case to be named as tort, they must be at least four features:

  • A duty
  • A duty breached
  • An injury
  • Injury is as a result of the duty breached

In a tort case an injury party either be a private or public entity. A private entity refers to an individual or a private agency. A public entity means it is a government owned establishment either at the local level or at the state level. There are laws of the state that governed tort cases in Maine.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What is Maine Tort Law?

Tort law in Maine refers to a compilation of legal thoughts and statutory guidelines as it concerns tort cases in the state of Maine. The Tort Claims Act of the State of Maine exerts sovereignty on cases of liability lodged against the government. By M. R. S. A., Tit. 14, §§ 8101 –8118 of 1977, government entities are immune from tort claims seeking the recovery of damages. The exceptions to the rule are in § 8103 of the same chapter. The law also imposes a statutory two-year statute of limitation, having filed a written notice of claim within 180 days from the incident. Of the three kinds of torts (negligence, strict liability, and intentional), the government is liable only those pertaining to negligence. Claims arising from legislative, judicial, and discretionary acts do not belong to the liability list for government entities. Payments of claims by the government to claimants do not include punitive damages. All payments arising from a single incident have a cap of $400,000.

What Kinds of Cases are Covered by Tort Law in Maine?

Some examples of tort cases in Maine are:

  • Negligent torts regarding ownership, maintenance, or operation of government infrastructure such as unimproved landed property, automobile, buildings, equipment
  • Strict liability torts: pet attacks, invasion of privacy, product liability, medication errors
  • Intentional torts of abuse of responsibility, unlawful incarceration, intentional disruption of process, harassment

What are the Differences Between Criminal Law and Tort Law in Maine?

Criminal law differs from tort law in many ways, some of which are:

  • Intent of offense: In tort, the intent of wrongdoing forms the basis for interpreting the incident and assessing verdicts. Criminal law covers cases that are by description, dangerous, both in intent and action.
  • Identity of filing party: the one bringing legal action in personal injury cases is the complainant, or plaintiff; but for criminal cases, the state is the prosecuting counsel
  • Burden of proof: in tort cases, the court generates an opinion based on the preponderance of available evidence. To put it differently, evidence with over 50% convincing power is sufficient for ruling in a tort case. In criminal cases, the burden of proof must be beyond reasonable doubt in order to be acceptable for generating a verdict.

What is the Purpose of Tort Law in Maine?

The primary reason for tort law in Maine is to compensate persons who have suffered injuries due to an omission or commission by an offending party. An after-effect of this provision is the maintenance of civil rights, and a sense of belonging to the community. Although the penalties are not punitive relative to criminal cases, the consequences of being liable to serve as a future deterrent in the society.

What is a Tort Claim in Maine?

A tort claim in Maine is a written notice filed against the state, a delegated employee or a political subdivision. A tort claim is a compulsory step for parties seeking compensatory damages from a government entity. The laws of the state prohibit any party from filing a tort lawsuit with the superior court of the state without getting feedback from this step.

How Do You File a Tort Claim in Maine?

Having defined the injury, the status supporting the notice of claim, the government entity involved, and the monetary damages to be recovered, parties may proceed to file a tort claim with the state department, agency, board, commission or authority purported to be responsible for the injury. A copy of the claim form must be submitted to the Attorney General of the State. If the notice of claims is against a political subdivision or employee representative, parties must file the notice and address it to the administrative receiver for the agency. It could be the agency lawyer. The receiving employee on behalf of an agency must prepare to receive service of summons and complaint. Note that all filings of tort claims must take place within 365 days from the incident.

What Does a Tort Claim Contain in Maine?

A written notice of a tort claim in Maine must contain the following information:

  • The full names and contact information of the claimant, as well as that of a legal or family representative.
  • A short but clear statement of the basis of the claim. It should include the date, time, location, and the circumstances surrounding the occurrence of complaint
  • Names and address of government employee involved ( if known)
  • A brief but clear description of the type of injuries suffered
  • A self explanatory statement of the monetary damages claimed

What Happens after a Tort Claim is Filed in Maine?

After filing a tort claim with the Attorney General’s Office, the Risk Management Office works with the attorney general’s office to determine if government liability coverage includes the claim at hand. The involved state agency conducts an investigation in partnership with the attorney general’s office to determine the credibility of the case. If the claim type is listed in the coverage, the Risk Management Office contacts the injured party for supporting documentation. Thereafter, the unit reimburses the liable agency to pay the individual. If otherwise indicated, the injured party is at liberty to take legal action at the relevant Superior Court.

Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Tort Claim?

While small claims cases do not require an attorney for the legal process, claims involving government entities or corporate bodies almost always need the services of a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer interprets the incident in the light of the law and determines from the onset if it will be a worthwhile case. They also go on to prepare the necessary documentation in the language of the law being conversant with what works in the system. A personal injury lawyer focuses on getting their clients paid, and that in good time.

Can I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me?

A typical Google search or any other search engine will return the names and addresses of law firms in Maine with personal injury law expertise. This is provided the user engages the right search terms. Additionally, some parallel government websites and third party websites provide a directory of legal experts in Maine according to their area of expertise. Use the Maine Judicial Branch as an internet handle to get the list of licensed attorneys in the state.

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