Maine Car Accident Laws

Whether you’re involved in a crash on I-95 or just down the street from work, you’ll need to file a report and decide if you need to file a claim.
Written by Ethan Moser
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
In Maine, if you are involved in an accident that results in bodily injury, the death of a person, or an estimated $1,000 or more of property damage, you’ll have to report the accident to either state or local police.
Car accidents happen more often than we’d like—even to the most careful drivers. It can be overwhelming enough to deal with your damages without having to worry about what reports or forms you have to file.
Here with the 4-1-1 on when you’ll need to call 9-1-1 in Maine, is licensed
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and all-around car accident genius,
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best car insurance quotes in Maine
. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything from when to report an accident, who’s financially responsible for damages, and how to file a personal injury lawsuit so that you know what to expect for every car accident outcome in the Pine Tree State. 

What to do after a crash: Maine car accident reporting laws

If you should ever find yourself in a
car accident
, the first thing you’ll need to do is make sure that you and all of your passengers, if any, are safe and sound. Next, you’ll want to get your car off the road and help the other party do so as well, if possible. From there, you should check all parties for injuries and call 911 immediately if anyone is hurt
Once you’ve completed these necessary first steps, it’s important that you document the crash to the best of your ability by taking photographs. You are also legally required to exchange insurance information with any other drivers involved in the accident.  
You cannot leave the scene until you’ve given your information to the parties involved in the crash and the police if required (see below for when you should report to the police). 
Even after leaving the scene, you’ll have to inform three different parties of the accident: 
  • The police
  • The DMV
  • Your insurance company 

When to report an accident to the police

According to
Title 29-A section 2251
of Maine Legislature, a “reportable accident” is defined as “an accident on a public way or a place where traffic may reasonably be anticipated, resulting in bodily injury or death to a person or apparent property damage of $1,000 or more.” So, if you had a fender-bender on a back road, no one was hurt, and there was minimal property damage, there’s no requirement to involve Maine state law enforcement. 
You should report an accident to law enforcement as soon as possible after an accident that meets the above criteria. In Maine, you can report to your nearest state police field office, the sheriff’s office in the county where the accident occurred, or any local officer in the municipality where the accident occurred. 
If the police were present at the scene of the accident, you don’t need to file a report—the officers who responded will already have filed their own report. 

When to report an accident to the DMV

In Maine, there are no laws that require you to report an accident to the DMV, though information on your accident will be accessible to them via the
Maine State Police Crash Database.
Information pertaining to your accident will be filed in this database, including a copy of your crash report and/or a Driver Report Form. You will be able to access these records for a small processing fee should you need them for a future personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. 
Driver Report Form
will be provided by police and contain information on:
  • The drivers involved in the accident
  • The vehicles involved in the accident
  • The time and location of the accident
  • The investigating agency
You’ll want to be sure to make your own record of details on the time and date of the accident, any and all injuries and damages to passengers and vehicles, and any other pertinent information in your report in case you want or need to file a personal injury lawsuit. This includes taking thorough photographs of the crash!

Financial responsibility and coverage minimums: Maine’s insurance laws

Like most states, Maine requires its drivers to purchase a minimum level of
car insurance
. In Maine, drivers are required by law to carry a minimum of
50/100/25 liability insurance
coverage, or: 
Driving with basic liability insurance requirements in Maine can result in a number of fines and other penalties that can be difficult, and expensive, to reverse. The first time you are caught driving without insurance in Maine you could face:
You can waive the suspension by providing proof of insurance and paying your court fees in full. You’ll also need to submit an
filed by your insurer, which will stay active for at least three years. An SR-22 is a document that designates an insured party as being a “high risk”, which will inevitably result in higher insurance rates. 
Even if you have liability insurance, you may find yourself involved in an accident with one of the 4.9% of Maine drivers who are uninsured according to the
Insurance Information Institute (III)
.  To avoid the financial and legal headache of dealing with an accident with an uninsured driver, it’s always a good idea to invest in
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

Claiming damages after an accident: Maine’s personal injury laws

Sometimes, the coverage your insurance provides is not a satisfactory amount. In that case, you may want to start a personal injury lawsuit to collect damages from the other parties involved in the accident. Maine law allows you to claim damages, including: 
  • Economic damages: This category covers damages that you can measure in exact dollar amounts, such as medical bills, lost wages, destroyed property, etc
  • Non-economic damages: This category deals with ongoing mental, emotional, and physical distress resulting from an accident, such as pain and suffering, inconvenience, humiliation, etc
In Maine, any claim, whether it is for economic or non-economic damages, is capped at $400,000 per occurrence. 
If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, you should be aware that you only have six years to file your suit from the date of the accident in question. 

Who’s to blame: Maine’s modified comparative negligence law

If you decide to open a personal injury lawsuit and it goes into mediation or even court, the main question that will determine the outcome of the lawsuit is the question of fault. If you’re texting while driving and you get into an accident with another driver who was running a red light, you are technically both partly at fault—so what happens in that case?
Maine uses a modified comparative negligence law. Under this law, an injured party’s damages are reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them by the court, so long as it is lower than 50 percent. Conversely, if a party is more than 50 percent at fault for an accident, they are effectively barred from collecting compensation for damages caused. 
So, in our hypothetical accident, if your texting and driving is deemed to be only 30% at fault for causing the accident, while the other driver’s running the red light is deemed 70% responsible, you’ll be entitled to 40% compensation for damages while the other driver will receive nothing. 

How to save money on car insurance in Maine

Did you know that your
car insurance premium
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