Safe Winter Driving in Maine

It's that time of year again. Temperatures are dropping, and before we know it, snow will be falling. While blankets of snow draping our towns and cities are nice to look at, they do not make for a winter wonderland on the roads. Cold weather conditions create many hazards and pose serious threats to safe driving.

At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, we see firsthand the effects of dangerous winter driving. Many hazardous driving conditions cannot be avoided, but being aware of important winter driving tips will help to lessen your chances of having an accident. The following guidelines will help Mainers navigate the upcoming frosty season:

Stay home if you can: Avoid excessive and unnecessary driving during storms. If you must travel, allow time for maintenance trucks to plow, salt and sand the roads.

Prep your vehicle: Prior to taking your car out on winter roads, make sure that it is equipped with the proper snow tires. Test the brakes, battery, exhaust system and defrosters. Check fluid levels, add antifreeze and switch to winter-weight oil.

Pack emergency equipment: Stock your car with a winter driving survival kit that includes: a flashlight, a shovel, a snow scraper/brush, sand or kitty litter for if you get stuck, and booster cables.

Reduce your speed: Extra time and distance is required in order to stop on snow or ice without skidding. Drive below posted speed limits, especially at intersections, off ramps, bridges and shady areas where black ice can form.

Never tailgate: Always keep at least three times more distance than usual between you and the car in front of you. Test your brakes often- brake slowly and never slam on the brakes.

Know your car’s limits: Do not assume that your car can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel drive cars and trucks can encounter trouble on icy roads.

Use the correct gears: Avoid using cruise control on slippery roads and use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills and unplowed roads.

Control your driving: Avoid any sudden actions while steering, braking or accelerating in order to stay on course.

Don’t panic if you skid: If you find yourself skidding on slick roadways, try to remain calm and do not brake. Instead, take your foot off the gas pedal and turn your car in the direction that you want to go. Use gentle, steady motions when turning the steering wheel.

Stop spinning the wheels if you get stuck: If you are stuck in snow, spinning the wheels will only make you dig deeper. Instead, turn your wheel side-to-side to clear snow out of the way and then lightly press on the accelerator. If necessary, shovel away snow and pour kitty litter around the wheels to help with traction.

Avoid distractions: Don’t talk on the phone while you are driving. Keep a charged cell phone with you in case of emergencies, but refrain from doing anything that keeps you from fully focusing on your driving and that of the vehicles around you.

With only one big winter storm under our belts thus far, it is inevitable that we Mainers have many more to come this season. By following the above guidelines, you will be better prepared to make it from point A to point B safe and sound during flurries, wintry mixes, blizzards and Nor’Easters.

Travel safely and always remember:

When driving in ice or snow, Joe says “please go slow.”

Dangers of Distracted Pedestrians & Texting While Walking

It is a common sight they we now are all accustomed to seeing - people strolling along and navigating city streets while using their cell phones. According to recent data from the National Safety Council and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, there has been a significant increase in injuries suffered by pedestrians who are distracted by talking or texting on their cell phones. As more and more people use their mobile devices while walking, and even crossing streets, the number of emergency room visits by 'distracted walkers' has grown. This trend is particularly worrisome as more and more children and teenagers own mobile devices, and are also using them in this dangerous manner.

To reduce the dangers of 'distracted walking,' the National Safety Council recommends the following precautions:

-  Do not walk, talk and text

- If you have to talk or text, move out of the way of other pedestrians, to the side of the walkway

- Never cross or walk in the street while using an electronic device

- Do not walk with headphones in your ears

- Be aware of your surroundings

For more information this issue and other safety related news, please visit

Spring into Motorcycle Safety

"For Those Who Ride - Keep Joe Bornstein On Your Side"  

At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, we see firsthand the effects of serious motorcycle accidents. The injuries and consequences are often severe, with over 5,000 fatalities and 100,000 bikers injured each year - - and a 5-year average of 17 fatalities and 600 motorcycle accidents right here in Maine.

Whether you’re young or old, an experienced rider or new, it’s always wise to familiarize yourself with safety tips to help “Share the Road”: 

  • Maintain proper distance from other motorists as bikers are affected by elements that may not faze a motorist.
  • Be alert. As bikers get older, their reaction time begins to diminish. Nearly half of all motorcycle fatalities involve a rider over the age of 40.
  • Wear protective gear and carefully consider wearing a Department of Transportation compliant helmet. Proper safety gear can help save lives.
  • Avoid riding in bad weather.
  • Obey the general safety rules of the road and use hand and turn signals together to draw more attention to yourself when turning.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, call the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein today for a free and confidential consultation.

And remember, by following a few easy to remember safety tips, you'll help make your next ride a safe ride.


Laundry Detergent Pods Dangerous for Children

A recent study conducted by researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found that from 2012 through 2013, U.S. Poison Control centers received reports of 17,230 children younger than age 6 being exposed to chemicals in laundry detergents. This exposure was the result of swallowing or inhalation. As a result of ingesting these dangerous chemicals, 769 young children had to be hospitalized. 

In response to reports that many children still are being injured by ingesting pre-measured laundry detergent packets, the American Cleaning Institute has provided information about the safe handling and storage of these packets. The ACI recommends the following steps:

1. The packets should be stored out of reach and out of sight of children

2. The packets should be stored in their original containers or pouches until ready to be used

3. Children should not be allowed to handle the pre-measured laundry detergent packets

The detergent contained In the pods is highly concentrated, much more so than detergent in the more traditional bottled liquid detergent.  Children who ingest even small amounts of detergent in one of these pods can be seriously injured and require immediate medical treatment.

Airbag Recall: NHTSA Releases Updated List of Affected Vehicles

The U.S. Government has expanded a recent massive airbag recall to now include nearly 8 million vehicles. As part of this product recall, auto safety agency officials are urging drivers to have their airbags repaired due to potential dangers to drivers and passengers. 

The aforementioned faulty airbags are at risk for rupturing due to faulty inflator mechanisms made by Japanese supplier Takata Corporation. This in turn can cause dangerous metal fragments to fly out when the bags are deployed.  

This highly dangerous malfunction has already contributed to four deaths in the United States, and safety officials have estimated that 20 million vehicles could eventually be affected by this problem. 

On Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued an updated warning list of cars and trucks included in this recall. These vehicles include: 

BMW: 627,615 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

Chrysler: 371,309 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500
2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500
2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500
2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500
2008 – Dodge Ram 5500
2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango
2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota
2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300
2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen

Ford: 58,669 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2004 – Ranger
2005 – 2006 GT
2005 – 2007 Mustang

General Motors: undetermined total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe
2005 – Saab 9-2X

Honda: 5,051,364 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2007 Honda Accord)
2001 – 2002 Honda Accord
2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
2003 – 2011 Honda Element
2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot
2006 – Honda Ridgeline
2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL
2005 – Acura RL

Mazda: 64,872 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2007 Mazda6
2006 – 2007 MazdaSpeed6
2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8
2004 – 2005 MPV
2004 – B-Series Truck

Mitsubishi: 11,985 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2004 – 2005 Lancer
2006 – 2007 Raider

Nissan: 694,626 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima
2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder
2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra
2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35
2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45

Subaru: 17,516 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2005 Baja
2003 – 2005 Legacy
2003 – 2005 Outback
2004 – 2005 Impreza

Toyota: 877,000 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2002 – 2005 Lexus SC
2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla
2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix
2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia, 2003-2005 Toyota Tundra 

Moose-Vehicle Collisions Trending Down in Maine

According to a recent article in the Portland Press Herald, though there have been several moose-vehicle collisions in Maine in the month of July, the actual number of these crashes has decreased over the past three years.

Statistics from the Maine Department of Transportation show that from 1995 through 2007, our state averaged 674 collisions annually. However, from 2008 to 2013, the annual average had declined to about 443.

Typically, moose-vehicle accidents are most common in May and June, as these are the months when animals roam for food after Winter.

According to the Maine DOT, 80 percent of these types of accidents occur between dusk and dawn.

Safety officers with the DOT believe that both public outreach/awareness and road signage have contributed to the recent decline in the number of these accidents. Last summer, the department installed reflector strips that reflect a moose's outline on roads in Caribou and Fort Kent, where these animals are most often struck by vehicles. 

For more information on moose-vehicle accident statistics in our state and measures that Maine safety officials are taking to reduce these, please visit:

General Motors Preparing to Recall 1.6 Million Cars

General Motors is preparing to recall 1.6 million of its cars due to problems with the ignition switch. In certain vehicles, this switch can turn off suddenly, which in turn disables the air bags and engines in the cars.

Customers affected by the recall will receive notices from General Motors beginning the week of March 10th. These customers will be invited to schedule an appointment with their local car dealer in order to have a replacement ignition switch installed. According to General Motors, the replacement parts have not yet been manufactured, therefore, it is not yet clear when customers will be able to schedule the needed repairs.

The vehicles covered under the recall include: Chevrolet Cobalt (years 2005 - 2007); Pontiac G5 compact (year 2007) ; Saturn Ion (years 2003- 2007); Chevrolet HHR (years 2006-2007); Saturn Sky (year 2007) , and Pontiac solstice (years 2006 and 2007.)

For further information about this recall, please go to

Maine Police Urge Drivers to Move Over, Please

Maine State Police have a request for motorists - move over, please. 

Law enforcement officials are renewing efforts to get drivers to slow down and give parked emergency vehicles plenty of space after two trooper cruisers were destroyed in crashes last month. In addition, inclement winter weather conditions greatly increase the risk of parked emergency vehicles being struck by other motorists. 

According to State Police Lt. Aaron Hayden, although drivers are mindful about obeying the law that requires them to pull over to the right when in front of an emergency vehicle with sirens and flashing lights, many motorists often fail to move over and slow down when approaching a parked emergency vehicle. Lt. Hayden says that failure to obey this law has lead to many accidents. 

In the last five years, 75 State police cruisers have been struck from behind - 24 of those incidents occurring while the vehicle was stopped with flashing lights on, and 12 of those incidents have resulted in injured troopers. 

In 2007, a Maine state law called the Move Over law was passed. This law requires drivers passing a parked emergency vehicle to safely move over to a non-adjacent lane. If it is impossible for a driver to move over into another lane, the law mandates that they slow down to a speed of approximately 45 MPH. 

For more information on Maine's Move Over law, please go here:

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein wishes you and yours a happy and safe new year - both on the roads and off! 

Maine Drivers - Be Aware of Deer on Roads

According to a biologist in our great state of Maine, the population of deer is once again on the rise. More deer in our communities also means more deer on our roadways and a potential for dangerous vehicle/deer collisions. 

Maine motorists are being warned to be extra vigilant of these beautiful, yet potentially dangerous, animals while driving on our highways and rural roads. 

The month of November, the official start of mating season for deer, has been a historically popular time for deer accidents to occur. According to the Maine Department of Transportation, in the last decade, 19 percent of our state's deer collisions have occurred in November. 

Insurance companies in New England estimate that one out of every 207 Maine drivers will hit a deer, the second-highest state in New England after Vermont. 

To minimize the risk of a deer collision, Maine drivers should: 

  • Travel extra slowly and be overly cautious in areas that are marked with deer-crossing signs
  • Use high beams when available and safe for themselves and others
  • Always remain aware of surroundings

For more information on large animal collisions in Maine, please go here:

New Maine Bicycle Law Improves Road Safety

A new bicycle law in Maine, passed as recently as last month, will help to ensure the safety of all who travel our state's roadways.

On June 14, 2013, LD 1460 'A Bill To Revise Maine Bicycle Law" became a law thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Erik Jorgensen of Portland, will work to improve the safety and accessibility of cycling for riders around the state. This particular bill, which was passed into law without the signature of Governor LePage, will hold motorists more accountable and responsible for the safety of neighboring cyclists.

Our state's new bicycle law is comprised of several significant provisions, including:

  • The cyclist/operator of the bicycle can determine the location they feel is safest when traveling on a particular roadway. In addition, when a cyclist feels the need to use a travel lane, they have every right to do so.
  • Any collisions of cars with bicycles will be considered in violation of the 'three-foot law' which clearly states the amount of room motorists must give nearby cyclists and vice versa.
  • Vehicles are not allowed to make turns in front of bicycles when doing so interferes with a rider's ability to safely operate their bicyle.

For more information on Maine bicycle laws, please visit the Maine Department of Transportation's website:

Here's to safer and improved riding and driving on our state's roadways.

Maine Tire Safety and Rainy Weather Driving

Following a series of car accidents that occurred on Interstate 295 in late June, Maine Police are urging motorists to be extra cautious and prepared when driving in wet weather conditions. Law enforcement officials have concluded that excessive speed and inadequate tire tread contributed to the rainy day crashes.

According to an article from the Portland Press Herald, "a vehicle hydroplanes when a tire's tread cannot contact the road because it can't displace a layer of water." The article cited State Trooper Marvin Hinkley, who said that in most cases, a car going 53mph or faster will hydroplane if the water depth exceeds the tire tread.

Patrick Moody, executive director at AAA Northern New England, admitted that even properly inflated tires can often lose contact with the road, even at low speeds.

AAA offers an informational brochure entitled 'Get a Grip' that provides motorists with rainy weather safe driving tips, including driving at reasonable speeds, avoiding abrupt braking or sharp turns, and encourages drivers to drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of them.

Mother Nature is full of unpredictability, but we can probably expect at least a few more clouds and raindrops as our Maine summer progresses. The weather may be left up to chance, but don't take chances on the road!   

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein wishes you a safe rest of the summer... on the roads and everywhere in between.

Drowsy Driving: A Dangerous and Common Road Behavior

Though drunk driving and distracted driving are the most publicized dangerous road behaviors, a recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is highlighting another all too common issue on the road: drowsy driving.

The results of this study were released last Thursday and offered this nightmare of a statistic: 1 in 24 adults in the US admitted to nodding off or falling asleep while driving in the last month. That translates to approximately 4 percent of drivers in our country driving while drowsy.

Furthermore, the health officials who administered this particular test expect the number of drowsy drivers to be higher than reported. They believe that is because many people don't realize when they drift off for a few seconds behind the wheel.

Additional findings from this report, which surveyed nearly 150,000 drivers in 19 states, concluded that driving while sleepy was more common in people ages 25-34, for those who averaged less than six hours of sleep per night, as well as men. The CDC researchers who are experts in this field were not surprised by the results because they believe that many people are getting insufficient sleep. 

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"Click It or Ticket" Campaign Enforced During Holiday Season

As the holiday season approaches, with it comes exceptionally heavy traffic on the road. As more people take to the highways as part of their holiday travel, road safety and seatbelt awareness take the national spotlight.

According to the National Safety Council, the six most recent Thanksgiving holiday periods (November 21-25) saw a 9.8 increase in traffic fatalities when compared to non-holiday periods. For more information and advanced statistics on these findings, please visit:

In an effort to raise awareness and reduce safety belt fatalities, The Thanksgiving Holiday "Click It or Ticket" campaign (running from November 12-26) is being enforced along our nation's roadways. During the holiday weekend, law enforcement officials will be ticketing anyone who is not buckled up. Remember to always wear your seatbelt - every trip, every car, every time.

The National Safety Council studies show that when used properly, seat belts are 45% effective in preventing traffic fatalities. However, 1 in 5 Americans fail to regularly wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle.

For more information on the "Click It or Ticket" initiative, please click here:

During the upcoming holiday period and ALWAYS, remember to buckle up to protect yourself and those sharing the road with you.

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein wishes you and your loved ones a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

Stricter Driving Laws For Maine Teens

In an effort to protect everyone on the road and raise awareness about distracted driving, Maine lawmakers have decided to ramp up driving restrictions for new drivers.

As of yesterday, there are new laws in effect pertaining to teenage drivers.

New-driver laws in our state used to cover a six month period of time, the new rules will now span nine months of driving. 

There now is a 270-day period where novice drivers are prohibited from

  • carrying passengers (other than family members) in their vehicles without having a licensed driver who is at least 20 years old accompanying them
  • driving between midnight and 5am
  • using cell phones while operating a vehicle

In addition, fines for texting and driving have been increased from $100 to $250.

Drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 make up 10% of license-holders, but are involved in nearly 30 percent of fatal accidents in Maine. By passing tougher new-driver laws, Maine legislators are showing that they are serious about decreasing those staggering numbers and protecting everyone on Maine roads.

Firework Safety Tips

The smell of crisp summer night air and BBQs is here, as well a favorite American pasttime - the 4th of July. More often than not, Independence Day festivities include dazzling fireworks displays, either at the beach or in your nearest city. Now that Mainers can legally purchase fireworks, we just want to take a few moments to remind you about firework safety, to ensure that you and your loved ones celebrate in style and in safety:

  • Purchase only Maine-permissible consumer fireworks, available at licensed stores in the state
  • Purchase only as many fireworks as needed, do not buy an extra quantity
  • Firework users must be age 21 or older
  • Have a hose handy in case of a fire
  • Wear eye protection and any other appropriate safety gear
  • Follow all of the instructions provided to you
  • Light only one device at a time
  • Keep spectators (including people or animals) at a safe distance away from you while lighting the device
  • Clean up all debris when you are finished setting off your fireworks
  • Set devices that do not discharge alone for 15 minutes, then place in water
  • Always be sure to keep unused fireworks, matches and lighters out of the reach of children.

For more information on safety tips and guidelines from the Maine Fire Marshal, please click here:

While fireworks are now legal in our beautiful state, proper safety precautions and measures must still be taken. By following the above guidelines, you can be sure to celebrate with your safety and the safety of others in mind.

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein wishes you and yours a very happy 4th of July!

Anti-Diabetic Medication Actos Linked To Bladder Cancer

As a result of Actos, a prescription anti-diabetic medication, being linked to reports of bladder cancer, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has updated the drug's label. The new Actos packaging now warns users that taking the medication for over a year may lead to an increased risk of this form of cancer. 

Actos, also known by its generic name, Pioglitazone, is manufactured by global pharmaceutical company Takeda, and is typically used to treat Type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes is a condition in which the body does not properly use insulin and as a result cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood. 

In addition to presenting a potential increased risk of bladder cancer, Actos has been associated with the following side effects and symptoms:

  • Development of certain heart conditions
  • Worsening of existing heart conditions
  • Cause of liver disease
  • Possible weight gain
  • Persistent sore throats    
  • Muscle pain
  • Vision problems; blurred vision
  • Yellowing of the eyes
  • Bone fractures
  • Persistent nausea and/or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

In June 2011, new Actos safety announcement labels were issued by the FDA upon the completion of a thorough study, which began in September 2010, and analyzed the medication's link to bladder cancer risk. At the same time, drug regulators banned the use of Actos in France and Germany. 

According to the FDA, more than 500,000 adverse reactions to anti-diabetic drugs were reported from 2004 to 2009. Within those cases, 138 instances of bladder cancer were reported, with 1/5 of the cancer patients taking Actos.

If you or a loved one have suffered serious side effects as a result of taking Actos, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call our office for a free and confidential consultation.

Transvaginal Mesh Linked To Serious Health Complications

Transvaginal mesh (TVM), a medical device used during during urogynecologic procedures, has been associated with serious health complications and countless class action lawsuits.

TVM, also known as bladder slings, is a mesh device made from non-absorbent synthetic material that is inserted transvaginally and used in procedures to treat Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Stress Urinary Incontinence. 

Recent research by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that these surgical meshes can harm patients and put them at risk for serious side effects including:

  • Severe pain
  • Mesh erosion
  • Additional surgeries
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Organ perforation
  • Neuro-muscular problems
  • Vaginal scarring
  • Mesh contraction
  • Vaginal shortening/shrinking

According to FDA reports, in 2010, approximately 300,000 women underwent surgical procedures in the United States to treat Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) and 260,000 women underwent surgical procedures to treat Stress Urinary Inontinence (SUI.) Surgical mesh was used in one out of three POP procedures and 80% of SUI procedures. 

Between 2008 and 2010, the FDA received 1,503 reports of injuries or malfunction due to TVM.

As a result of receiving thousands of reports regarding complications, the FDA issued Public Health Notification warnings to surgeons and patients once in 2008 and again in 2011.   

The FDA is conducting extensive research and testing on urogynecologic surgical mesh devices developed by manufacturers such as: Johnson & Johnson, American Medical Systems, C.R. Bard, Boston Scientific, and Ethicon. These assessments are being done to further evaluate the safety, effectiveness and potential serious complications associated with these devices.

If you or a loved one have been harmed by complications with TVM application and are seeking legal representation, please call our office for a free consultation.

Joe Bornstein's Law Night - Call Us Until 10 P.M.

While the month of March will eventually bring warmer weather and signs of Spring, it also signals something else at our office - it's time for another Law Night!

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein will be extending business hours once again for Mainers who are unable to phone us during the day.

This Thursday - March 1, 2012
5 p.m. until 10 p.m.

Our experienced legal professionals will be on hand ready to answer your questions regarding motor vehicle accidents, personal injuries, Social Security Disability, medical malpractice, workers' compensation, maritime injuries or injuries resulting from certain prescription drugs.

We invite you to give us a call at 1-800-CALL-JOE (1-800-2255-563) on Thursday, March 1, from 5pm until 10pm to speak with a member of our legal team and be a part of "Law Night.”

Carmakers Encouraged To Implement Safer Navigation Systems

A recent article in the New York Times highlighed the potential dangers of dashboard entertainment and navigation systems and their potential to distract drivers.

The federal traffic agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is strongly encouraging carmakers to consider designing and implementing navigation systems in a safer manner. The NHTSA has suggested a list of voluntary guidlines in order to help manufacturers develop and adhere to safer standards. 

The article mentions that even though many dashboard navigation and entertainment units are voice-activated, they still do require a bit of hands-on use, thus posing potential safety risks.

While the aforementioned proposed guidelines are not mandatory and will not eradicate all distracted driving, the NHTSA is taking a step in the right direction and their efforts have been recognized and praised by other federal agencies such as the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Maine Driver Education Programs To Be Reviewed And Updated

Maine teenagers and young drivers are injured or dying in car accidents at an astonishingly high rate and something needs to be done about it. Our state legislators are seeking to bring change by improving Maine driver education programs.

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death of 16 to 24 year olds. In 2008, people among those ages constituted 14 percent of all drivers and accounted for nearly 37 percent of all crashes and nearly 32 percent of all fatal crashes.

This trend is beyond disturbing and often results in tragic outcomes.

Charles Summers, Maine Secretary of State, is advocating for an overhaul of Maine's driver education curriculums in hopes that stronger programs and enforced education can bring change.

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What To Do When You're Injured: Tips To Strengthen Your Case

Being injured in a motor vehicle accident is devastating and instantly affects your daily life - your hours become consumed with doctors appointments and seeking medical treatment and legal representation. 

While an experienced attorney is working hard on building your case, there are many things that you can do as well to strengthen your personal injury case. 

Be sure to follow this guide on what to do and what not to do when injured while in the process of obtaining the justice you deserve: 

What To Do:

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What To Do Directly After A Car Accident - An Important Checklist

It is inevitable that car accidents happen. Even with proper safety precautions, accidents happen daily. With hope, they won’t include you or a loved one, but they are, however, accidents. And the worst part is that they’re unpredictable.

While no one expects to be in an accident, it’s important to be prepared in the event that one occurs.

The following is an important list of steps to follow immediately after being involved in a motor vehicle accident:

STAY WHERE YOU ARE. State law requires that you not leave the scene of an accident.

TAKE NECESSARY SAFETY MEASURES. Use flags, flares, etc to make yourself visible to other drivers and prevent further accidents.

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Law Night - Call Joe Bornstein Until 10 P.M.

It’s November and at this law firm that only means one thing – Law Night!

Back by popular demand, on Thursday, November 17, the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein will be extending our business hours once again to accommodate Mainers who are unable to phone us during the day.

The following are some significant numbers associated with Law Night:

Five. Our law firm will remain open for five additional hours on Thursday, November 17 to accommodate Mainers. Our Law Night hours will be from 5pm until 10pm.

One. We are the one-and-only law firm to offer an additional five hours of office time to field legal questions from Mainers about: motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, social security disability, medical malpractice and workers’ compensation.

Zero. It costs zero dollars to call our office and seek the help of our experienced legal professionals. Law Night is a free and convenient way for Mainers to gain access to justice well into the evening.

We invite you to give us a call at 1-800-CALL-JOE (1-800-2255-563) on Thursday, November 17 from 5pm until 10pm to speak with a member of our legal team and be a part of "Law Night.”

Anti-Texting And Driving Mobile Applications Help Save Lives On The Road

Distracted driving, specifically texting while driving, has rapidly become one of the most pervasive problems among motorists of all ages –a problem that often results in devastating and tragic outcomes.

Part of the solution for curbing this extremely dangerous and all too common driving behavior? There’s an app for that, several apps actually.

One mobile application, Text No More, available to Blackberry and Android users, rewards motorists who drive without sending or checkingtheir text messages while their vehicle is in motion. When the application is active, instead of receiving text messages, users will receive discounts and incentive coupons from Text No More sponsors. 

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Texting While Driving Becomes Illegal In Maine

On September 28th, Maine will put one final period on texting while driving as an official ban goes into effect.   
The law, which was unanimously passed by the Senate and House in May 2011, makes Maine the 33rd state to ban this highly unsafe and unfortunately all too common driving behavior.
The minimum fine for texting while driving is set at $100.

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Medical Malpractice Stillborn Birth Cases: Article Highlights Disparities In Compensation

An interesting article in today's New York Times points out the wide discrepancies in damages awards in medical malpractice and personal injury cases.

At the heart of the article is the disparity in medical malpractice cases involving stillborn births. In 2004, New York's highest court allowed mothers to be compensated for their emotional distress and heartache in such cases. The verdict in a Brooklyn case where the mother was awarded $1 million for the stillborn birth of her baby recently was recently upheld after lengthy appeals. In the Bronx, however, a mother in similar circumstances was offered $500,000 by the hospital which she rejected. Her lawyer is arguing that the Brooklyn $1M verdict should be the accepted standard.

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How To Pay Your Medical Bills Without Going Through Bankruptcy

Following a motor vehicle accident or another instance where you suffer a personal injury, doctors appointments and medical bills often begin to pile up and can seem overwhelming. While your treatment and recovery are the number one priorities, it is hard to not feel a pressing need to relieve the financial burden of your medical bills. We would like to take the next few minutes to tell you about your options.


The field of personal injury law - both accident and disability claims - is very complex. And almost always, there are also complex insurance issues that need to be unraveled.  In a motor vehicle accident, there are issues of uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage, medical payments coverage, home owners insurance, workers' compensation, private health insurance, Medicare and MaineCare (Medicaid), Social Security Disability (SSDIB and SSI), private disability benefits, and a host of public assistance benefits. There are also special state and federal laws that apply in many cases.

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How Do Maine Uninsured And Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage Work?

Each and every day, Mainers suffer personal injuries in serious motor vehicle accidents. When an unexpected accident occurs, it can strike anyone. You may be a careful driver and think that you have adequate motor vehicle insurance coverage only to find out after an accident that you have a minimum limits policy. Here in Maine, the minimum limits of motor vehicle liability coverage- including uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) - are $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident (if there are two or more injured parties).

But what happens if your past and future medical bills and/or lost wages amount to more than $50,000? On top of that there is the conscious physical and emotional pain and suffering that you would likely experience in a serious accident. Financial tragedy can occur if the driver responsible for the accident does not have insurance coverage sufficient to fully and fairly compensate you for your injuries, and you have minimum limits UM/UIM coverage.

Little is known by most Mainers about UM and UIM coverage. An uninsured motorist is someone who does not have any motor vehicle liability insurance coverage at the time of an accident. An underinsured motorist is someone who has auto insurance, but their limits of coverage are not adequate to fully and fairly compensate you for your injuries, and you carry higher UIM limits of coverage.

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Maine's Contingent Fee System - The Next Best Thing To Free

Many Mainers who suffer from injuries and disabilities shy away from hiring a lawyer because they don't think they can afford one. The truth is that we don't charge our clients a dime unless and until they are successsful in their claims. Under what is called the "contingent fee system," our law firm is paid a percentage of the settlements and benefits that our clients receive. If our client is not successful in getting paid, our law firm does not get paid.

We even pay all client costs up front while working on claims and there is never a retainer required for our legal services. Of course the vast majority of our clients do get paid, and so then does our law firm. The contingent fee system levels the playing field for Mainers without the financial means to pay a retainer to hire a law firm.

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Extra Strength Tylenol's Maximum Daily Dosage Lowered In An Effort To Reduce Overdose Risk

Many of us have known the name since we were children. The red and white packaging is easy to spot on RiteAid and CVS shelves. It has become the catch-all, cure-all for headaches, sprained ankles, sore throats, fevers and more. Tylenol. The popular over-the-counter painkiller used in homes, schools, offices and pretty much anywhere there is a first aid kit, is now making an effort to become more trustworthy and safe for you and your family.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturers of Tylenol, have announced new, lower dosing instructions for the Tylenol Extra Strength drug. This change comes with the objective of reducing the risk of accidental overdosing on the product’s active ingredient, acetaminophen.

The new maximum daily dose for Extra Strength Tylenol is 3,000 mg which is six pills a day. The previous recommended dosage was 4,000 mg or eight pills a day.

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That's A Wrap! Arrive Alive Creative Contest 2011 A Smashing Success

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein would like to thank all of the graduating Maine high school seniors who contributed to our seventh annual Arrive Alive Creative Contest and helped send the message - Stay Safe and Arrive Alive.

We would like to especially congratulate the following students for their creativity, talent and thoughtfulness. All of them are winners of our contest:

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Maine Boating Safety Tips - Be Smart And Responsible At Sea

There are few states that can match the magnitude of waterways that our beautiful state of Maine has to offer. We boast over 6,000 lakes and ponds, 3,000 miles of coastline and 32,000 miles of rivers and streams. And now that summer is in full swing, there’s no better time to enjoy our region’s many great bodies of water.

Boating in Maine provides benefits aside from leisure and relaxation. Each year, boating adds approximately $153 million to our state’s economy. With the additional revenue comes more watercrafts on our waterways, which in turn leads to an increase in boating accidents.

In 2010, the United States Coast Guard reported 4,604 recreational boating accidents in the United States, resulting in 672 fatalities, 3,153 injuries and approximately $35.5 million in property damage.

The following are important boating safety tips that all Mainers should know before they transition from land to sea:

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Maine Bans Texting While Driving

Governor Paul LePage has approved a bill that prohibits text-messaging while driving in Maine. With the Governor’s signature, Maine becomes the 33rd state to make texting while driving illegal and takes a crucial step towards fighting the national epidemic of distracted driving.

The law, which was unanimously passed by the Senate and House in May 2011, is expected to take effect in September, or 90 days after the current legislative session ends.

The minimum fine for texting while driving is set at $100.

In 2009, Maine lawmakers passed a distracted driving law that targets motorists who are engaged in various forms of distracted behavior. Under this law, drivers who commit traffic violations such as running red lights or stop signs can be cited for distracted driving if a police officer believes that to be the cause of the infraction.

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Court Decision: Burns v. Architectural Doors and Windows, 2011 ME 61

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court sitting as the Law Court today upheld a jury verdict entered against the plaintiff in a product liability case arising out of an allegedly defective overhead door. Burns v. Architectural Doors and Windows, 2011 ME 61 (Saufley, C.J.)

Plaintiff was injured at work when an overhead door closed while he was walking through and struck him on the head. Plaintiff knew that the door had no safety mechanism to prevent it from stopping if it encountered an obstruction. Basically, once one pushed the "down" button, the door would slam down with no emergency shut-off switch.

Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant ADW which had installed the door and against the manufacturer of the door on one product liability count alleging defective condition because the door did not contain a safety mechanism. Neither Defendant had manufactured the allegedly defective closing mechanism. The Superior Court entered an order on the Defendants' summary judgment motions, allowing Plaintiff to go forward on a failure to warn theory although this was not included in his pleadings. Plaintiff settled with the manufacturer and proceeded to trial against ADW.

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Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month Helps Decrease Motorcycle Accidents In Maine

Be it on our state’s rural back roads or the open lanes of I-95, motorcycles are back in action. The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein would like to remind Maine bikers about the importance of safe riding.  

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a national initiative aimed at getting drivers and motorcyclists to coexist on the road. Typically, May is one of the deadliest months for bikers, as many begin riding again after taking the winter months off.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the two key factors in motorcycle accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities are:

  • Age - As bikers get older, their reaction time starts to diminish. Nearly half of all motorcycle accidents involve a rider over the age of 40.
  • Helmets - A recent study found that motorcyclists are 37 percent less likely to die in an accident when wearing a helmet, yet only 20 states have mandatory helmet laws. Maine bikers are urged to carefully consider wearing a helmet when they ride.

At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, we see firsthand the effects of tragic motorcycle accidents and would like to remind bikers of some critical safety tips to keep in mind this season:

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Share The Road Maine: Safety Tips For Bicyclists, Motorists And Pedestrians

As the weather in New England continues to warm, May will quickly turn to June and Mainers are embracing the chance to spend more time in the beautiful outdoors. Sixty degree weather brings the the joy of taking refreshing jogs and bike rides, walking the dog in the park and going for relaxing drives up the coast.

As a result of these new spring activities taking place, our streets and roads undoubtedly become more crowded and being able to coexist on the roadways is crucial. We all have a shared responsibility for being street-smart and obeying the rules of the road.

So whether you’re cruising around on four wheels, two wheels or walking your friendly, four-legged companion on our state's roadways, remember to follow these important guidelines:

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Joe Bornstein Launches New Website

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein is proud to unveil our firm’s newly revised website:

Our interactive, multimedia website provides Mainers with information on our areas of practice, the history and philosophy of our law firm, and answers to frequently asked questions. In addition to learning about personal injury and Social Security Disability law, visitors will find biographies on our team of experienced attorneys, directions to our six conveniently located offices, past settlement and verdicts, as well as client testimonials.

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Deck Collapse At Sugarloaf-Area Bar Sends Five People To Maine Hospitals

Five patrons of a restaurant near Sugarloaf were injured on Saturday, April 16, 2011, when the wooden fire escape where they were gathered collapsed. At least 10 people fell 15 feet to the ground when the landing and staircase where they were standing crashed to the ground, striking rocks.

Two men and two women were brought by ambulance to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, Maine. Another injured individual was taken to the hospital by private vehicle. Three of the people were treated and released, while one was admitted to the hospital and another was transferred to Central Maine Medical Center.

The cause of the collapse at the The Rack bar and grill restaurant in Carrabassett Valley is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal's Office. The names of the victims have not been disclosed.

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Motorcycle Fatalities Down Two Percent According to Governors Highway Safety Association

According to a report released on April 19, 2011, by the Governors Highway Safety Association, motorcycle fatalities dropped by two percent in the first nine months of 2010. However, this may not represent a lasting improvement in safety, officials warn. While there were 80 fewer motorcycle deaths from January to September, 2010, the number of fatalities began to creep up in the last three months of 2010.

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Court Decision: Fitzpatrick v. Cohen

U. S. District Court Judge Singal entered an order on April 12, 2011, in Fitzpatrick v. Cohen applying the amended Wrongful Death statute, 18-A M.R.S. sec. 2-804 in a case where the injury which allegedly precipitated the death of the decedent occurred before the amendment went into effect.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was seriously injured in a car accident on July 2, 2008. A lawsuit for damages was filed against the defendant on December 29, 2009. On February 11, 2010, Ryan was killed in a skiing accident. His father and personal representative, David Fitzpatrick, alleged that Ryan's death was caused by the 2008 car accident.

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"Move Over, Maine," Instructs State Police


When approaching police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks or other vehicles with flashing lights in the breakdown lane, drivers are required by law to:

  • slow down to a reasonable speed
  • if possible, move into the passing lane

In an effort to keep emergency responders and other motorists safe at the scene of an accident, Maine State Police are ramping up enforcement of the highway ‘Move Over’ law, first introduced in 2001.

The imposed fine for not obeying this law is a minimum of $311 per violation.

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Rear Facing Car Seats Until Age 2 Recommended By American Academy Of Pediatrics

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that children under two years of age be strapped into rear facing car seats, as announced in an article in the New York Times of March 21, 2011. Generally, toddlers are promoted from rear facing seats to front facing ones when they reach one year of age. However, based on a 2007 study by the University of Virginia, the experts are now extending that period for another year.

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Joe Bornstein's Arrive Alive Creative Contest 2011

Attention Maine High School Seniors:

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein's 7th Annual Arrive Alive Creative Contest is officially underway!

We are pleased to announce the continuation of our Arrive Alive Creative Contest scholarship program for high school seniors. The contest is open to graduating seniors who wish to send a message to their peers about the dangers of drinking and driving and the dangers of distracted driving.

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Law Night - Call Joe Bornstein Until 10 P.M.

Back by popular demand, on Thursday, February 3, the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein will be extending our business hours once again to accommodate Mainers who are unable to phone us during the day.

Our phone lines will remain open until 10pm, so feel free to call us at 1-800-CALL-JOE with your legal questions.

Our staff will be ready to answer your questions about:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Personal Injuries
  • Social Security Disability
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Injuries Related to Darvon/Darvocet

When you call on Law Night, you will speak directly with one of our experienced legal professionals.

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Maine Driving Law: Windshields And Windows Have To Be 100% Snow-Free

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein would like to remind our fellow Maine motorists that your car's windows and windshields must be clear of all snow and ice before you drive after a storm.

According to Lewiston Police officer, Craig Johnson, the two main causes of winter driving accidents are slippery roads and reduced visibility, both of which can be caused by drivers failing to remove snow from the glass of their vehicles.

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State Legislators Looking To Ban Habits Of Distracted Pedestrians

The New York Times of January 26, 2011, cites further efforts by lawmakers across the country to curb iPod and cell phone usage by pedestrians and bicyclists. Not only are legislators in New York and Arkansas looking to curb distracted walkers, but they are working in other states on banning non-motorists' earbuds. (Interestingly, the Arkansas proposal was withdrawn earlier this week due to a flood of protests by constituents.)

In Oregon, for instance, pending legislation would forbid bicyclists from using mobile phones and music devices, while in Virginia, a bill has been proposed to prevent cyclists from using a "hand-held communication device."

In California, the same state senator who led a successful campaign against text messaging by motorists is now re-introducing a law to fine bicyclists $20 for first-offense texting.

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The Risks Of Non-Recourse Loans In Personal Injury Claims

The New York Times, in an article of 1/16/11, exposes the risks of non-recourse loans to injured plaintiffs. The practice is unregulated in most states and is exempt from laws that protect borrowers from other lenders, such as banks.

A number of professionals--lawyers, judges, and regulators--believe the lack of regulation is resulting in great sums of money being siphoned from the injured into the hands of the lawsuit lenders. Rates often exceed 100 percent a year, according to a review by The New York Times and Center for Public Integrity. Moreover, the lenders are not required to provide prospective borrowers detailed information about the interest rates.

One personal injury attorney in the Bronx calls the practice "legal loan sharking." The state of Colorado has filed suit against two of the largest lawsuit lenders, LawCash and Oasis Legal Finance, charging them with violations of the state's lending laws.

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Joe Bornstein Opens Sanford Office

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein is proud to announce the recent opening of our sixth office location at 913 Main Street in Sanford. Adjacent to Bergeron Shoes, we are located in the heart of historic downtown Sanford. This newly renovated office, together with our Biddeford office, will help make access to justice available to Mainers living in York County.

First settled in 1739 and incorporated in 1768, Sanford includes the village of Springvale and is situated on the Mousam River. It borders the towns of Shapleigh, Acton, Alfred, Kennebunk, Wells, North Berwick and Lebanon.

To schedule an appointment at our Sanford office, phone us toll-free at 1-800-CALL-JOE (1-800-2255-563) or call our Sanford office directly at (207) 324-1277. As with all of our offices, the Sanford office is wheelchair accessible to better serve Mainers who are injured or disabled.

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Darvon And Darvocet Recall

In November 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that painkillers Darvon and Darvocet have been voluntarily recalled after studies showed potential harmful side effects. Two of the most commonly prescribed pain medications, the drugs have been associated with serious health problems such as suicide, physical addiction and overdosing.

First introduced in 1957, Darvon and Darvocet contain the active ingredient, propoxyphene, an opioid that is used to treat mild to moderate post-surgical pain. However, a report prepared by the FDA found more than 3,000 cases where the drugs were linked to serious health problems. The agency also indicated that Darvon and Darvocet are no more effective than safer, over-the-counter painkillers. An estimated 22 million people have been prescribed Darvon or Darvocet.

Serious side effects that have been linked to the prescription pain medication Darvon and Darvocet include:

  • Severe heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Heart attack
  • Sudden death
  • Accidental overdosing
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Attorney C.J. Newman Joins The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein – one of Maine’s leading personal injury and disability law firms – is pleased to announce the hiring of its 11th attorney, C.J. Newman. Attorney Newman joins a staff of nearly 60 legal professionals and is responsible for much of the firm's legal research and writing.

A graduate of the University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine School of Law, Newman served as an editor for the Maine Law Review, a biannually published law journal.

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Christmas Tree Safety: Decorate and Celebrate in Safe Style

As you deck the halls and get into the holiday spirit this season, remember to always make safety your number one priority. Christmas trees can pose serious dangers if not properly cared for.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, each year fire departments respond to approximately 260 fires caused by Christmas trees. One-third of these fires are caused by electrical problems, while one in every five of these fires is caused from a heat source being to close to the tree.

Here are some important tips on choosing, maintaining and decorating your Christmas tree:

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Study of Patient Safety Yields Disturbing Results

According to a large, multi-year study of patient safety practices, hospitals’ efforts are still flawed and falling short.

The study, conducted from 2002 to 2007 in 10 North Carolina Hospitals, found that not only was patient risk common, but also that the rate of harm did not significantly decrease during the five-year span of analysis.

Led by Christopher Landrigan, patient safety researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, the study examined records of 2,341 admitted patients and included both rural and urban medical centers of varying size.

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Holiday Gift Giving: 'Tis The Season To Give Safely

This holiday season, The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein encourages adults to consult the 2010 toy recall list and be aware of any and all potential dangers prior to shopping for presents.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 44 toys have been recalled this year due to safety hazards including: toxic levels of lead or cadmium, choking risks and sharp edges or protruding parts. In addition, there has been a 7.6 percent increase in emergency room visits among children in the United States due to defective playthings.

Fisher-Price, a trusted brand of Mattel, Inc., recently recalled over 10 million products that were contributing to toddler and children choking and sustaining cuts that required stitches.

The products included in this major Fisher-Price recall are:

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National Take-Back Day Helps Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

On Saturday September 25th, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will be collecting unused, expired, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction. The service is free and anonymous, with the goal of reducing prescription drug abuse in the U.S.

The National Take-Back Day initiative is a service to public safety and public health concerns. The day is designed to help educate Mainers on the dangers of prescription drugs, and drop zones will be located throughout the state in secure and confidential locations.

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise throughout the U.S., with the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses increasing at alarming rates. Studies show that prescription drugs are often obtained from family and friends, with many of the users unaware of their effects and dangers. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away, both of which are potential safety and health hazards.

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DePuy Hip Replacement Parts Recalled - Over 90,000 Patients Affected

A popular hip replacement part is being recalled.

Johnson & Johnson, in conjunction with its DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary, recently announced that it’s recalling parts used for hip replacements. An estimated 93,000 people will be affected by the product recall.

The DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System are the two products involved in the recall. The Acetabular System helps address pelvic problems, while the Resurfacing System substitutes a metal device for the ball of a human hip. Both carry a high rate of repeat surgeries needed by people who have received the parts.

The decision to recall the two products is based on the findings from a recent study conducted in the UK. The study showed a five-year rate of revision surgery of 12 percent for the ASR Resurfacing System and about 13 percent for the ASR XL system. The double digit rates are uncommon and higher than expected.

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Over The Limit? Under Arrest!

Maine State Police will be cracking down on impaired driving from August 20th - September 6th. In association with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the nationwide safety campaign Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest will help educate Americans on the dangers of drinking and driving while attempting to put an end to it.

Each year, nearly 12,000 people die in accidents in which a driver was at or above the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of .08. Recent studies show that 32 percent of fatalities in motor vehicle accidents involve an intoxicated driver, with the highest percentage of alcohol impaired drivers in fatal crashes age 21-24.


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Maine's "Move Over" Law Facilitates Safety

In attempt to help keep public safety workers safe and eliminate motorists from getting caught in accidents, Maine State Police are promoting Maine’s “Move Over” law.

First introduced in 2001, the “Move Over” law requires drivers to move into the passing lane or slow down when traveling by police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks and other vehicles with flashing lights in the breakdown lane. Since 2003, 16 state police cruisers have been struck from behind while parked alongside the road.

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Social Media Searches And What They Mean To Your Case

Social media websites are more popular than ever. With over 500 million active users, Facebook leads the way. But for as great as social media sites are for keeping in touch with friends and networking with prospective colleagues, they also invite the public into your life. And on occasion that might not be a good thing.

It is well known that employers and colleges take to the web to research a potential applicant, but now, insurance companies have started digging around online to help determine whether you are as injured as you say, or if you’re injured at all.

Due to this new style of background checking, it’s important to assume everything done online is public and can be used against you.

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New Maine Motorcycle Law Reduces Noise

On July 12th, a new law in Maine made it illegal for motorcyclists to modify their exhaust system to make it louder. The law is designed to limit the “noise pollution” of motorcycles but applies to all vehicles and carries a $137.00 fine.

The previous law governing road noise stated that vehicles must have adequate mufflers that are maintained properly to prevent excessive or unusual noise. The current law defines “unusual noise” as motor noise that is noticeably louder than that of similar vehicles in the surrounding environment.

The law was created to cut down on riders that rev their engines, especially in downtown areas where the noise echoes off buildings, as well as in residential neighborhoods. Some police departments will issue warnings during the first two weeks of the new policy, allowing bikers and drivers an opportunity to alter their vehicle if necessary.

At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, we see firsthand the effects of serious motorcycle accidents on a regular basis. Carefully riding a bike is hard enough, and our advice to you is to focus on riding safe instead of trying to alter your bike. Because there’s nothing better than a safe ride that’s enjoyable to you, while not bothering anyone else around.

For more information on the new motorcycle law please visit:

Maine Boating Safety Tips Help Summer Be Safe

With more than 6,000 lakes and ponds, 3,000 miles of coastline, and 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, few states can match the magnitude of water that Maine has to offer. And now that summer is in full swing, there’s no better time to enjoy our many great bodies of water.

Each year, boating adds approximately $153 million to the state’s economy. But with the additional revenue comes more watercrafts on Maine’s waterways. And with the increase in boats comes an increased amount of boating accidents.

In 2008, there were nearly 5,000 recreational boating accidents in the United States. According to the United States Coast Guard, the accidents resulted in more than 700 deaths, 3,000 injuries, and $54 million in property damage. Of the 700 deaths, over 500 were from victims who drowned without wearing a life jacket.

At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein we see victims of summer boating accidents each year, which is why we want to help educate boaters on how to be safe on the open seas. Because when it comes to boating safety, a little education can be the difference between life and death.

The following are a few boating safety tips that all Mainers should know before they shove off from land:

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Click It Or Ticket Campaign Helps Save Lives

The two-week public safety campaign, Click It or Ticket, recently came to a close, but the effects may well last a lifetime. The campaign helps promote the use of seatbelts and increases awareness of their benefits.

Started in North Carolina in 1993, Click It or Ticket has spread nationwide. A recently approved $30 million grant from Congress for television and radio advertising helped promote the campaign which was observed from May 24-June 6.

During the two-week window, police cracked down on seatbelt usage, or the lack there of, in an attempt to help save lives while educating the general public. Fines during the Click It or Ticket campaign for drivers and passengers not using their seatbelts ranged from $70 to $310.

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Medical Malpractice Complaints In Maine On The Rise

Complaints to the Maine state medical board are on the rise. In the last ten years, the board has seen an increase in complaints of nearly 50 percent with the current pace expected to reach a record high in 2010. In 2009, 224 formal medical complaints were made to the state board.

Patient complaints of physician negligence have grown steadily recently partly due to the relative ease of filing a complaint. Patients can now submit complaints online, over the phone or via mail. Online, patients can easily research information about physicians, disciplines, and licenses. According to the Federation of State Medical Boards, the rate of complaints has increased on average by double digits nationally.

Common complaints to the medical board include drug abuse, incompetence, and doctors developing sexual relationships patients. But as the number of formal complaints rises, the number of people reviewing the complaints has remained the same.

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St. Mary's Hospital Loans Medical Equipment To Mainers

St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston is offering a unique service to residents of greater Androscoggin County. Those in need of medical equipment and unable to afford it are able to borrow various home healthcare equipment for free.

Medical Equipment To Go, or METGO, is a service provided by the hospital to area residents who are unable to buy or rent their own medical equipment. The equipment in stock covers many of the basic needs for home healthcare including crutches, canes, commodes, shower chairs, walkers, IV poles and wheelchairs.

Now in its second year, the program helps patients who are uninsured and those who Medicare denies covering the cost of equipment. The borrowing process is simple, as St. Mary’s asks those in need to fill out a form and will loan the equipment for an unidentified period of time. Some patients borrow equipment for a few weeks while they recover from an injury or illness, others use the equipment upwards of six months to a year.

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Motorcycle Safety Means Business In May!

Be it on back road byways or the open lanes of I-95, motorcycles are back. And what better time to remind riders of safety than the beginning of season, which is why May is national Motorcycle Safety Month.

Unseasonable temperatures gave motorcyclists a head start to riding this year, but while riders are rejoicing, officials are concerned about the early start. Motorcycle accident fatalities have been increasing every year since 1997, while motorcycle injuries have been increasing since 1999. Typically, May is one of the deadliest months for bikers, as many begin riding again after taking the winter months off.

With over 5,000 fatalities and 100,000 injured bikers annually nationwide, motorcycle safety has become a national health concern. In 2007, motorcycles accounted for 13 percent of total traffic fatalities, while totaling fewer than 3 percent of the registered vehicles on the road. From 2005 to 2009, a total of 99 people died on Maine roads in motorcycle-related crashes, of which only four were women drivers. Maine had its first motorcycle death of the year on April 12.

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Pet Safety Travel

Most everyone loves their pets, often treating them as an additional family member. However, not all people take the proper safety precautions for them when driving.

Pet safety group, Bark Buckle UP, recently studied vehicles to see which are the most pet-safe. According to the study, the Ford Edge is the safest car on the road for pets.

Following the Ford Edge are the Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Journey, Ford Flex, Ford Transit Connect, Kia Soul, Honda Element - which has a "dog friendly model" complete with ramp, rear car kennel, pet bed and fan, Smart Car, Subaru Outback, and Volvo XC60.

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Moose Accidents Increase In Spring

Spring is a joyful time in Maine. Mainers emerge from the depths of winter to make the most of the warmer weather. But with the warmer weather comes the end of hibernation for Maine’s wildlife as well. And the end of hibernation means animals are on the hunt for food.

In Maine, the sides of the road are among the first areas to green up in the spring, offering animals a source of food after a long winter of a bland diet. The salt found along roadsides left from winter is also appealing to moose, who are likely to be spotted feeding this time of the year.

With an estimated 30,000 moose in the state, second only to Alaska, and no real system of keeping them off the road, it comes as no surprise that there are approximately 700 moose related accidents annually in Maine.

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Auto Insurance Rates Remain Low In Maine

Auto insurance is mandatory in all U.S. states but two, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. But despite being a requirement for most Americans, rates vary state-to-state and person-to-person. A recent report by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners ranked Maine as one of the lowest cost per auto insurance compared to all other states.

In 2009, the average auto insurance premium in Maine was $902.85. Louisiana, in comparison, was the highest in the U.S. with an average premium $2,510.87.

There are several reasons why auto insurance rates vary person-to-person and state-to-state. Determining factors include:

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Lead Poisoning Hits Home In Maine

Healthy Homes, Healthy Families recently sponsored a two-part class on the hazards of lead in Lewiston and Auburn. According to the Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Lewiston-Auburn has the highest number of lead poisoned children in Maine.

Lead poisoning is a serious environmental hazard that can lead to learning disabilities and behavioral problems that can last a lifetime. Children are most vulnerable, with lead dust being the main cause.

More than 60% of housing in Maine may have lead paint in it. Those that live in older homes with chipped paint are at the greatest risk and most poisonings that occur in rental property are due to paint in poor condition. Any building or home built before 1950 is likely to contain lead paint.

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Horses Rule The Road

Maine has many miles of rural land with many farms, barns, and stables. With warm weather nearing, more and more horses will soon be out and about on our roadways. Therefore, it’s important to know the rules of the road both for horses and their riders, as well as approaching drivers.

Horses are prey animals, which means they react to their surroundings. They can be frightened or startled by loud noises, bicycles, barking dogs, cars, trucks, and just about anything around them. Horses react instinctively, potentially causing unforeseen circumstances. For the safety of all, when near horses, it is wise to expect the unexpected.

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Truck And Bus Drivers Banned From Text Messaging When Behind The Wheel

A new federal law prohibits truck and bus drivers from sending or reading text messages while driving.

The new law was established to help reduce the number of accidents involving “big rigs” and is effective immediately. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles will be subject to fines upwards of $2,750.

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Distracted Pedestrians Walk Into Accidents

Distracted drivers have generated much attention over the past few years -- Enough to get many states to ban cell phone usage and text messaging while operating a motor vehicle. Lately, however, a new phenomenon has emerged: distracted walking.

As cell phones, MP3 players, and other mobile devices become more and more ubiquitous, there has been an increase in injuries suffered by pedestrians. People everywhere can be seen walking while talking on cell phones, sending text messages, listening to music, and surfing the web. What they are seemingly failing to see, is what’s right in front of them. 

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Winter Driving Safety Tips Help Prevent Accidents

Driving during the winter can be dangerous. Roads are slick with snow and ice, and it gets dark early, limiting one’s visibility. And despite the fact that many Mainers have lived in-state for much of their lives and have experience with winter driving, it’s important to refresh oneself on how to best navigate the slippery season.

At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, we see firsthand the effects of dangerous winter driving. The results often do not paint the picture of a winter wonderland. But by being careful and following a few winter driving tips, you’ll be much more apt to make it from point A to point B safe and sound. Because with only a few winter storms under our belt, it’s inevitable that Maine has many more to go.

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Car Accidents In Maine: Ten Important Steps To Take After An Accident

It’s inevitable that car accidents happen. Even with proper safety precautions, accidents happen daily. With hope, they won’t include you or a loved one, but they are, however, accidents. And the worst part is that they’re unpredictable.

While no one expects to be in an accident, it’s important to be prepared in the event that one occurs.

At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, we see firsthand the effects of auto accidents on a daily basis. In over 35 years, we have helped over 15,000 Mainers get the justice they deserve, which is why we’d like to pass along the following tips for what to do in the event that you’re in an accident. After all, accidents happen – we just hope they don’t happen to you.

Ten Important Steps To Take When In An Accident:

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Snowmobile Safety Helps Prevent Accidents

After nine deaths in the 2009 season, the state of Maine is stressing snowmobile safety this winter. The safety campaign is asking snowmobilers to “ride right, ride smart, and ride responsibly.”

Snowmobiling is one of Maine’s favorite pastimes. With 13,000 miles of signed trails in the state, there’s an abundance of room to ride for the 100,000 registered snowmobiles. Yet despite the land reserved for riders, it’s up to snowmobilers to maintain their safety.

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Texting While Driving Bans Increase

On January 1st, New Hampshire became the latest state to make texting while driving illegal. Maine’s southerly neighbor joined the ranks of seventeen other states, Guam, and the District of Columbia, where driver safety is of utmost importance. In New Hampshire, the fne for texting while driving is $100.

Though not yet illegal in Maine, texting while driving is a dangerous distraction. As other states, including Maine, debate legislature to make texting while driving illegal, it’s safe to say that it’s only a matter of time before being banned in all fifty states. Currently in Maine, it is illegal to drive while being distracted.

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Texting While Driving: A Dangerous Distraction

A new poll by CBS News shows that nearly all Americans think texting while driving should be illegal. According to the poll, 97% of those surveyed feel the dangers and risks of texting while driving and the subsequent results are enough to warrant punishment.

Currently, in Maine, it is not illegal to text while driving. It is, however, illegal to be distracted while driving. The new distracted driver law which went into effect on September 12, 2009 encompasses all potentially distracting actions. While not illegal to talk or text on the phone, eat, drink, apply makeup or other such actions while driving, it is illegal if one causes an accident or is deemed to be driving distracted by a police officer.

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Car Accident Fatalities In Maine And Across The Nation Down

Despite more distractions than ever for drivers on the road, car accident fatalities are declining. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the rate of driver fatalities is at the lowest it’s been since the government began tracking such data in the 1970’s.

The current recession is a contributing factor to the decrease in driver fatalities, as fewer miles are driven during a downward economic trend. Though despite the smaller number, adjusted figures show that the decrease in fatalities isn’t only because fewer people are on the road.

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Maine ATV Accidents: New Law Respects The Rider

Prior to September 12, 2009, game wardens in Maine could stop an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) regardless if a violation had occurred. Now, a warden must have reasonable suspicion that an operator has violated the law before stopping an ATV.

The new law reverses that of the Maine Supreme Court which allowed game wardens to stop ATV operators regardless of whether a violation had happened. Though the new law is more lenient than that of the past, respecting the privacy of the rider, concern for public safety is on the rise. For the eighth consecutive year serious injuries from ATV accidents increased.

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Car Accidents In Rural Areas On The Rise

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorists in rural areas are more likely to die in motor vehicle accidents than those in urban areas.

Despite more motor vehicle accidents occurring in congested areas, and only 20 percent of the population living in rural areas, 60 percent of traffic fatalities happen on rural roads. One major factor for the high percentage of traffic fatalities is the amount of miles driven. Because homes, schools, businesses, and neighboring towns are spread out, more time is spent behind the wheel. With greater distances to travel, more often than not speed limits are higher, leading to more serious accidents. Typically, there is no public transportation in rural areas.

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Pedestrian Safety: Make Room For A New Law

Pedestrians, by law, now have more room to run and walk when on the road. A new law protecting pedestrian safety states that drivers must leave at least three feet of clearance between their vehicle and a pedestrian when passing. The decree is a continuation of a similar law for passing bicyclists.

The new law went into effect on September 12th and is being considered by many as an awareness act. Known as “An Act To Improve the Health of Maine Citizens and Safety of Pedestrians," drivers must now be more cautious of their actions around pedestrians or they will be fined.

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Distracted Driver Law Keeps Eyes On The Road

Beginning September 12, a new Maine law will help alter the course of accidents. Now, no longer can a driver operate a vehicle while distracted without being penalized.

The new distracted driver law is an attempt to cut down on accidents in Maine. Many states have previously banned the use of cell phones or text messaging while driving, however, Maine isn’t looking to technology as the root of the problem. It is instead hedging the most common denominator, drivers being distracted. 

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Moose Spring To Life

For as pretty and as sought after as the state animal may be, moose can present quite the problem for Mainers. Growing upwards of nine feet and weighing nearly 1,600 pounds, moose may be a joy to look at, but certainly not to run into.

With an estimated 30,000 moose in the state, second only to Alaska, and with no real system of keeping them off the road, it’s little wonder why there are approximately 700 moose related accidents annually in Maine. 

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Don't Hang Out In The "No-Zone"

Buses, 18-wheelers and RV’s are notorious for having blind spots. In addition to not being able to see behind their vehicle, drivers also have difficulty seeing directly in front of them, and to either side starting at the end of the cab and running about 20 to 40 feet back. These blind spots are known as “No Zones,” and are the danger areas where accidents are most likely to occur.

Sharing the road with these types of large commercial vehicles can be dangerous to drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians alike. But with the proper education and advised caution, all of the aforementioned parties can travel safely and simultaneously, and arrive at their destination and out of harm’s way.

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Motorcyclists Beware!

While fatalities involving motorists in cars and trucks, bicyclists, pedestrians, and even alcohol-related accidents dropped dramatically in 2007, highway deaths of motorcyclists soared for the tenth straight year, accounting for nearly one out of eight highway deaths.

Experts expect this trend to continue as more and more people are riding motorcycles today for longer distances thanks in part to high gas prices and the near fifty miles to the gallon fuel efficiency motorcycles get.

A direct correlation to motorcycle fatalities is safety. While cars and trucks offer airbags, seatbelts, and improved fenders, motorcyclists are left exposed while riding, and therefore are at a much greater risk to be seriously injured when in an accident. And with the 1977 state repeal of the helmet law, motorcyclists over the age of 14 may ride a motorcycle without a helmet in the state of Maine, but do so at their own risk.

The median age of motorcyclists is also a contributing factor to the high number of fatalities, as many middle-age men who once rode motorcycles are returning to their youthful passion. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are seventy-five percent more registered motorcycles today than there were ten years ago. And while riding a motorcycle may be like riding a bike, over time one’s skills and reaction time decrease, often resulting in a learning curve that must be overcome for a rider to once again feel comfortable on a bike.

To a motorcyclist, there’s nothing more enticing then the open road. But at The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, we see firsthand the dangers motorcyclists face every day on those very roads.

So ride safe! Because if you do, the only statistic you’ll have to worry about is how much fun you had!

Don't Rock the Boat! - Maine Boating Safety

Although Maine has a low incidence of boating mishaps, a fatal boating accident on Long Lake last summer made us all stop in our wakes to take a second look at the rules and regulations that protect our water playgrounds.  

While it's easy to wonder if this tragedy could have been avoided if the proper safety precautions were taken, it's more important to learn from past mistakes to ensure that history does not repeat itself.

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Bicycle Safety

Spring has officially sprung, and that means kids all across the state will be riding bikes again.  And with the influx of new riders on the road, it is important for both bicyclists and drivers to pay attention and follow a few simple rules.  Doing so will make everyone's ride more enjoyable.

For bicyclists, regardless of your experience, it is important to remember

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