Aroostook Jury Awards $240,000 in Medical Malpractice Case

Recently, the Maine Lawyers Review (June 23, 2016) reported that an Aroostook County jury awarded $240,000 to a plaintiff in a medical malpractive case against the Aroostook Medical Center for twice failing to direct him to the services of a surgeon for his hand injury, resulting in the eventual amputation of his left index finger. 

Plaintiff Travis Blair severed a major nerve in his left finger when he cut himself while attempting to free his child’s Christmas present from its packaging (year unspecified). Following the injury, Blair reported to the Aroostook Medical Center where emergency doctors failed to diagnose his nerve injury. Ten days later, Blair’s Primary Care Physician (also an employee of the Aroostook Medical Center) properly identified the damage in Blair’s finger, but informed Blair that it was “too late” for surgical correction and that Blair would likely suffer numbness in his finger for the rest of his life. Eighty-one days after the injury, Blair was seen by an orthopedic who concluded that Blair should have had surgery to repair the nerve in his finger as soon as possible after it had been severed, and that the delay had deprived Blair of his best chance to restore feeling to the finger. Ultimately, Blair’s finger was amputated. 

Notably, the jury’s $240,000 award in this case stands in stark contrast to the findings of the mandatory medical malpractice screening panel—who found in favor of the Aroostook Medical Center. Given the divergent outcomes between the jury award and the panel finding, the article’s author questions whether the med mal screening panel is effective in meeting the goals for which it was established: identification and compensation of meritorious claims and dismissal of those nonmeritorious. 

Last year, a bill (LD 1311) that would have reformed the current medical malpractive screening system—by shifting the responsibility to a state agency—died in the Legislature. The bill was widely opposed by professionals in the legal, medical, and insurance industries. While the article does not offer a viable alternative, the author remarks that the $240,000 award serves as an example of the inefficacy of the current screening panel.

Maine Red Claws Pink Night Supported By Joe Bornstein

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein is proud to support the upcoming Maine Red Claws 'Pink Night' in support of the Maine Cancer Foundation and the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition.

The event, which will help promote breast cancer awareness, will take place at the Claws' home game against the Dakota Wizards on Thursday, February 16th from 6pm - 9pm. The Red Claws are donating 20 percent of their ticket sales from the evening to benefit breast cancer research and awareness. 

Our office will have a large contingent of staff on hand at the Expo Center to display our team spirit and cheer on the home team (who will be wearing pink uniforms!)

The evening will feature an award presentation to Mercy Hospital’s Breast Care Specialists of Maine as Home Court Heroes for their work in breast cancer treatment and there will be members of the Oncology and Mammography staff handing out free goodies to the loyal basketball fans. 

We are thrilled to support this wonderful cause and event.

THINK PINK and Go Maine Red Claws!

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.

According to reports from the Maine Secretary of State, 12 people died in Maine car accidents between December 25th, 2011 and January 9th, 2012 -- seven of those victims were young drivers. Another horrifying statistic - almost two young drivers die each month in Maine and more than 42 are injured in car crashes each week.

Summers, who reports that Maine driver education programs were last updated in 1996, is encouraging curriculums to take advantage of technological advances since then and incorporate new features such as interactive driving simulators. He also would like to see the educational programs updated to reflect current statistics and feature new instructional videos.

Another potential area for improvement is the number of practice hours young drivers complete with driving instructors. Maine's practice driving hour requirement is higher than other states, but it can always be higher. When it comes to driving, practice doesn't necessarily make perfect, but it can help save lives.

As required by state law, Summers has assembled a Technical Review Panel to evaluate driver education programs and incorporate changes and growth. The panel will gather public input from students, educators, law officials and parents in Maine communities and submit a report to the Legislature's Transportation Committee by the end of February.

The Legislature expects to begin working on the overhaul of curriculums during the current session.

In support of this statewide issue, Maine Governor Paul LePage has designated the month of January as 'Young Driver Safety Awareness Month.'

At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, we see firsthand the effects and devastation of car accidents that far too often involve young drivers. We are hopeful that improved driving instruction, education and practice can bring the change that Maine so desperately needs.

Maine Social Security Administration Offers Informational Workshop

The U.S. Social Security Administration will hold an educational workshop on Thursday, January 19th at 9am at the Auburn Public Library. The informational session is open to any and all Mainers interested in applying for benefits, planning retirement or learning more about Social Security.

The interactive presentation lead by Social Security Adminstration staff will guide participants through accessing and using The website, which offers services including but not limited to: retirement benefit estimates, online application for retirement, Medicare and disability benefits, applying for assistance with Medicare prescription drug costs, replacing a lost Medicare card.

**To register for the workshop, contact the Auburn Public Library at (207) 333-6640, ext. 4. **

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.

In personal injury claims, over 99% of the money paid out comes from insurance companies, most of them large, national companies with headquarters far away from Maine. You've heard of them: State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, Concord, Peerless, GEICO, Dairyland, USAA, AMICA, Chubb - there is a long list. They are quick to take insurance premium dollars from Mainers, but when an injury occurs and the time comes to pay money to a victim, the situation can change dramatically. If often takes a law firm like ours to force the insurance companies to pay a fair and just settlement to injury victims.

In Social Security Disability claims, for years you've paid dearly into our federal system. The SSA system is there to help our disabled clients, but not without some major legal advocacy by our experienced attorneys on their behalf.

In our 37-year history, we have successfully recovered more than $200 million in settlements and benefits for our over 18,000 clients, greatly helping the Maine economy. Think of the financial relief for these Mainers whose medical bills and lost wages have been paid. We offer a free initial consultation, either by phone or in person at one of our six conveniently located offices, your home or the hospital. 100% of the claims in which we represent clients here in Maine are handled on a contingent fee basis. Few if any other Maine law firms can make this pledge.

Plain and simple: If you don't get paid, we don't get paid.

Contact us today and let our staff of 12 attorneys and 65 legal professionals help you get the justice you deserve.

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein - Maine Lawyers Working For Maine People.

Caring Through Charity

At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein we are proud to give back to the communities that our clients come from. With a statewide practice and five local offices in Biddeford, Portland, Lewiston, Augusta, and Bangor, we see the efforts of numerous charities and organizations that support the wellbeing of Mainers. It is with great pleasure that we commend these companies with our respect, gratitude, and financial support.

Here is a partial list of some of the organizations we have supported in the past few years:

AG Bell
American Association of Justice
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
Autism Society of Maine
Bangor High School
Boys & Girls Clubs of Maine
Boys to Men
Brain Injury Association
Brewer Youth Sports
Camp Susan Curtis
Cape Elizabeth Theater
Carmel Boy Scout Troop
Carolina for Kibera
Center Day Camp Scholarship Fund
Cedars Auxiliary
Chabad House
Citizens for Justice
Coastal Humane Society
Community Counseling Center
Community Mediation
Congregation Etz Chaim
Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Deboche Project
Double B Equine Rescue
Gary's House
Good Shepherd Food Bank
Hampden-Newburgh Little League
Hillel at Northeastern University
Hillel Society of Lehigh University
Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine
Independent Transportation Network
Jewish Family Services
Jimmy Fund
John Bapst Memorial High School
Junior Achievement of Maine, Inc.
King Middle School
Leadership for Maine

Levey Day School
Literacy Volunteers
Maine Bar Foundation Campaign for Justice
Maine Civil Liberties
Maine Educational Center for the
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Maine Civil Liberties Union Foundation (MCLU)
Maine Jewish Film Festival
University of Maine School of Law Alumni Association
Maine People's Alliance
Maine Reads
Maine Trial Lawyers Association
Maine Women's Fund
Majority 101
March of Dimes
Marine Animal Lifeline
Mount Holyoke College
Muscular Dystrophy Association
Muskie Fund for Legal Services
National Multiple Sclerosis
Old Orchard Beach Firefighters
Penobscot Theater
Perkins School for the Blind
Portland Chevra Kadisha
Portland High School
Preble Street Resources Center
Reiche School
Schair Memorial Lecture
Shaarey Tphiloh Synagogue
Shalach Manot Project
Supreme Court Historical Society
Tedford Housing
Temple Beth El - Kulanu Campaign
TSA Research Fund
United Way
Academic Council For Post-Holocaust, Christian,
Jewish & Islamic Studies
Waynflete School


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Health Care For Kids

The State of Maine is urging parents to enroll their children in health care coverage so they can get the medical attention they need to stay well and to succeed. 

With nearly 19,000 children and teens uninsured in the state of Maine, and roughly 11,000 eligible for the state’s Medicaid program known as MaineCare, the nonprofit organization Maine Children’s Alliance has partnered with Key Bank to help make it easier for those in need to get proper coverage.

Key Bank is now providing MaineCare applications at all 62 of the bank’s locations throughout the state, and has trained business personnel to help assist Mainers in the application process. Families who earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or approximately $28,000 annually for a family of four, qualify for MaineCare.

For those families who earn too much to qualify for MaineCare, but cannot afford private insurance, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) also helps provide health insurance for children. Families who earn up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or approximately $42,000 annually for a family of four, are eligible for coverage under S-CHIP.

For more information on health care, and to see if your child is eligible under either MaineCare or S-CHIP, please visit the Maine Children's Alliance website at:

And take advantage of the opportunities that Maine offers to help protect your children. Because the children of today, are the leaders of tomorrow.

Illegal To Smoke In Car With Children

A new statewide law made it illegal to smoke in a vehicle with children.

Beginning September 1, 2008, it is now illegal to smoke in a vehicle in the State of Maine when children under the age of 16 are present. The law was passed in an attempt to cut down on the amount of secondhand smoke youths are exposed to, as Governor John Baldacci declared that it costs too many lives and too much money.

Violators will be warned during the first year and will then be subject to a $50 fine thereafter.

According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, children are most likely to be affected by secondhand smoke, as their developing lungs are susceptible to asthma attacks, respiratory tract infections, and other damaging health effects. The U.S. Surgeon General also warns of links between secondhand smoke exposure and cancer and heart disease.

The new law follows a city ordinance passed in Bangor in 2007 when they became one of the first cities in the U.S. to ban smoking in cars with children present, and follows the lead of California, Arkansas, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and some Canadian provinces, who have passed similar laws.

For more information on the new statewide smoking law please visit:

Apply Now For Home Heating Assistance

Maine residents of Androscoggin and Oxford counties can now apply for home heating assistance.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
was created to help low-income homeowners and renters pay for heating costs in the upcoming 2008-2009 winter.

To apply, Mainers must fill out an application and set up an appointment with Community Concepts by the end of August. 

When calling, be sure to have ready:

  • The names and social security numbers for all who live in the household
  • Proof of gross household income for the last 12 months.
  • Copy of recent electric bill
  • Oil company and account number
  • And if renting, the phone number of landlord.  

To set up an appointment, residents of Oxford County should call 743-7716, and Androscoggin County, 795-4065.  More information is available online at:

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

  • Bicycle helmets are required for all bicyclers under the age of 16. 
  • Ride your bike with the traffic, not against it.
  • A bicyclist can pass a motorist on the right when it is safe to do so.
  • Check to make sure your bike’s reflectors are in good working order, and if possible use a light while riding at night.
  • Check to make sure your brakes work properly.
  • Always observe the usual rules of the road.

For drivers, please remember to leave plenty of room when passing a bicycle. Maine has a new law that says motorists must give at least three feet when passing someone riding a bike.

The new Maine law states:

  • An operator of a motor vehicle that is passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall exercise due care by leaving a distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of no less than three feet while the motor vehicle is passing the bicycle.
  • The Maine law that once prohibited motorists from crossing the solid yellow center line in the road while passing a bicyclist has been changed. The new three-foot passing law now allows motorists to cross the solid yellow center line to pass bicyclists when it is safe to do so.

For more information on bicycling safety, education, and access throughout the state of Maine, contact the Bicycle Coalition of Maine ( 

And remember to share the road, because a safe ride is always a good ride.


Top 10 Safest States For Children  has compiled a list of the top ten safest states to raise children.  Our beloved State of Maine scored a favorable ranking of sixth, and was heralded for passing laws with the safety of teenage drivers in mind. 

The report went on to say, "Maine law limits the number of passengers a new driver can have in the car, restricts cell phone use, and can point to a graduated system in which drivers are not able to obtain a full license until their 17th birthday. Maine law is one of only nine states that stipulates all three.”

However, even with the precautionary laws in place, people ages 16-24 make up only 13 percent of all Maine drivers, but are responsible for more than 33 percent of all the fatalities on Maine roads since 2003 ( 

At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, we see firsthand the dangers young drivers face everyday.  We urge parents to prepare their teens for life on the road, and have created a school sanctioned creative contest to warn teens about the dangers of drinking and driving.  To learn more about this special contest and to view all past winning entries, please visit our website:

Top Ten Safest States to Raise Children:

1. Connecticut
2. Rhode Island
3. New Jersey
4. New York
5. California
6. Maine
7. Pennsylvania
8. Massachusetts
9. Maryland
10. Oregon