Negligent Acts Explained | Maine Injury Law

Maine law recognizes that individuals have a duty to act reasonably and prudently to avoid causing harm to others. This duty extends to various circumstances, such as drivers on the road, property owners, medical professionals, and manufacturers of products. Negligent acts can include reckless driving, failure to maintain safe premises, providing inadequate medical treatment, and producing defective products.

To navigate the complexities of the scope of negligent acts in Maine, seeking legal counsel is essential. Attorneys experienced in Maine’s negligence and personal injury laws can provide guidance on how negligence principles apply to specific situations and help you understand your rights and options for seeking compensation.

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Maine’s Negligence Laws 

Maine law concerning negligent acts and injury is primarily governed by tort law principles. The negligent act definition provided by Maine law is an act, or failure to act, that breaches the duty of care owed by one individual to another, resulting in harm or injury. To establish a claim for negligence in Maine, the plaintiff must prove several elements:

  • Duty of care—the defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff to act reasonably and prudently to avoid causing harm;
  • Breach—the defendant breached this duty by failing to meet the required standard of care;
  • Causation—the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries;
  • Proximate cause—the harm suffered was a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s failure; and
  • Damages—the plaintiff suffered actual damages, such as physical injuries, emotional distress, or financial losses.

Maine follows the principle of comparative negligence, where a plaintiff’s recovery may be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault. If the injured party is found to be 50% or more at fault, they may be barred from recovering damages. An injured party found to be 25% responsible for the accident, for instance, may still recover for their damages, but their award will be reduced by 25%. Alternatively, an injured party found to be 75% at fault may not be able to recover at all. An experienced attorney can examine the circumstances of your case, including any aspects of comparative negligence, to help determine your case’s value and provide guidance on your best course of action.

Acts of Negligence

Negligent acts can occur in various aspects of daily life and can lead to serious consequences. Here are a few examples of negligent acts.

Car Accidents

A driver who is texting on their phone while driving fails to notice a red light and collides with another vehicle, causing injuries to the occupants of the other car. The driver’s distraction and failure to obey traffic signals may constitute a negligent act.

Medical Malpractice

A surgeon fails to review a patient’s medical history before surgery, leading to complications. The surgeon’s failure to take necessary precautions and obtain relevant information may represent a negligent act.

Premises Liability

A store owner neglects to fix a broken step in their shop, leading a customer to trip and injure themselves. The owner’s failure to maintain safe premises and correct a known hazard may constitute negligence.

Professional Negligence

An accountant makes errors in a client’s tax return, resulting in financial penalties for the client. The accountant’s failure to provide accurate and competent services could be considered a negligent act.

Dog Bites

A dog owner allows their aggressive dog to roam freely without a leash, and the dog bites a passerby. The owner’s failure to control their pet and prevent harm to others may be seen as a negligent act.

Construction Site Accidents

A construction company fails to provide proper safety equipment to visitors at the site, leading to a visitor sustaining injuries. The company’s failure to ensure a safe environment may constitute negligence.

Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home staff neglect to provide proper care and attention to a resident, resulting in the resident developing bed sores and infections. The staff’s failure to meet the resident’s basic needs and prevent harm may be a negligent act.

Slip and Fall

A property owner neglects to clear ice from the sidewalk in front of their building during the winter. A pedestrian slips on the ice and injures themselves. The owner’s failure to maintain a safe walkway may be considered negligence.

Child Supervision

A babysitter leaves a young child unattended near a swimming pool, resulting in the child falling into the water. The babysitter’s failure to provide proper supervision and ensure the child’s safety may be a negligent act.

Does the Type of Negligent Act Impact Damages?

The type and amount of damages that can be awarded depend on various factors, including the nature and extent of the injuries, the evidence presented, any contributory fault on the part of the plaintiff, and other specific circumstances of the case. For example, if the evidence presented shows that the defendant’s conduct was intentional, knowing, reckless, or that they acted with a wanton disregard for the safety of others, a person may be able to recover punitive damages in addition to compensation for their injuries.


To navigate the complexities of the scope of negligent acts in Maine, seeking legal counsel is essential. Attorneys experienced in Maine’s tort law can provide guidance on how negligence principles apply to specific situations and help individuals understand their rights and options for seeking compensation in the event of harm due to another party’s negligence.

Have You Been Injured as a Result of Another’s Negligence?

If you or a loved one was recently hurt in a preventable accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to cover your accident-related expenses and damages. At Mann Law, LLC, our dedicated team of Maine injury lawyers has decades of experience aggressively pursuing fair compensation on behalf of our clients. We take a comprehensive approach to every case we handle, so at the conclusion of your case, you can rest assured knowing that you received the attention you deserve. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation today, give Mann Law, LLC a call or connect with us through our secure online contact form.

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Christiana E. Mann Christiana “Chrissy” Mann has specialized in civil litigation for 21+ years as a savvy and creative litigator, and she’s regarded as a fair, compassionate, and zealous advocate on behalf of her clients.