The Joel Bieber Firm

Call 1-800-451-6393

Archive for Trip and Fall

The Law of Long Life

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Physicians of the Roman Empire used to believe that walnuts could cure head ailments, since their shape was similar to that of a brain. In medical writings of that time, the walnut was recommended as, “if chewed and laid on as a plaster, cures gangrene, carbuncles, stye in the eye, and hair loss”.

Moving forward  to modern medicine, researchers at the National Cancer Institute gathered and pooled data about people’s exercise habits. (The study) This study included six health surveys totaling more than 661,000 adults, most of them middle-aged.

     With this cumulative data, the researchers grouped the adults by their weekly exercise time; comparing those who did not exercise at all to adults who worked out for various amounts of weekly exercise, including 10 times the current health and exercise national recommendations or more. That category meant that the highest exercise group did more than a regular amount of weekly exercise, exercising moderately for 25 hours per week or more.

     Using the data from these groups, the researchers then compared 14 years’ worth of death records for the group. Not surprisingly, they determined that the adults who did not exercise at all were at the highest risk of early death.

     Those who exercised a little, not meeting the recommendations but at least exercising a little bit, lowered their risk of premature death by 20 percent.

     Those who met minimal recommended exercise guidelines precisely, completing 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise; statistically lived longer lives and a 31% less risk of dying during the 14-year period compared with those who never exercised.

     Here’s the “kicker”. The blue ribbon” for best exercise benefits resulted among those who tripled the recommended level of exercise by working out moderately; mostly by walking, for  a total of 450 minutes  of exercise per week. Their reward: those adults were 39 percent less likely to die prematurely than people who did not exercise.

     So what’s the conclusion? Anyone who is physically capable of activity should try to “reach at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week and have around 20 to 30 minutes of that be vigorous activity,” says Klaus Gebel, a senior research fellow at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia. And… even more exercise is better.

     Despite these statistics on exercise, it usually doesn’t impact someone to exercise. It’s the same reason that a pack of cigarettes can warn of imminent danger from smoking, while a person ignores and lights up.

     I am going to use these statistics to touch on a final point that is one of my “soapbox items”. Last week, owners of hotels in Virginia Beach came out against any offshore drilling of the shores of Virginia Beach. (Pilot Online) They are against it because they know that any drilling that causes an oil spill will end all tourism in Virginia Beach. Still, politicians continue to push offshore drilling to “create jobs”.  I guess facts can’t get in the way.

     One final note, I did perk up when the Romans suggested using walnuts to fight hair loss. Hmm!

 

And for pic o’ day:

IMG_0061

Please click the Facebook “Share” button below this post to let others know you enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

Sports and Jury Selection

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

It’s NBA playoff basketball time so it’s probably a bit predictable that I have managed to combine law and basketball into my Monday blog. That’s because I went to the Wizards/Hawks game on Saturday night in Washington D.C.

Here’s a picture of me at the game during the game-winning shot by Paul Pierce. Looking at this crowd and trying to search for me is like asking you to “find Waldo”.

IMG_0084

You can see me in the bottom left corner of the picture, standing just above the photographers in a blue jacket and blue shirt… looking ”fan crazy”. A shot at the buzzer will do that to a fan. At least that’s my excuse! I suspect that you are still having a hard time finding me! That’s the power of a crowd.

Several years ago I met an NBA referee from Virginia. He was officiating back in the 1990′s. I asked him what it was like to referee a game with Michael Jordan playing, and whether it was hard to do it. He described it as if the power of Jordan walking on the floor was much like attending an Elvis Presley, and that you couldn’t help but be impacted by it.

He hastened to add that he quickly adjusted. I guess that he didn’t want me to think that his officiating could be influenced by the cult of personality. When I look again at the screaming crowd on Saturday night, it makes me wonder how any official can avoid being influenced. I guess that’s part of home court advantage.

It reminds me of being an official of faculty basketball, as a freshman at Bob Jones University. The entire league was made up of teams from the college professors. And, the president of the university was also playing… Dr. Bob Jones III.

I remember calling one foul on him where he just stared at me after I blew the whistle and made the call. Tough times for a mere college freshman! Years later he laughed about that when I told him that story. I have to admit… I was influenced.

During my jury selection for a case trial, I try to ask questions that are intended to reveal any bias or prejudice. Sometimes I will receive an answer from a prospective juror that will reveal one of those characteristics. I have seen several potential jurors struck by defense attorneys, just because they didn’t want a juror hearing a car crash case, if that juror responded that they had previously been in a car crash. The defense attorney is sensitive to a potential bias toward my client, who was hurt in the crash.

Usually near the end of my prospective jury panel questioning, I will ask a variation of the following to the panel: “You have heard the judge describe the events of this crash and now you have some details about my client and her treatment. Based on what you heard, is there anyone who believes that they cannot be fair and impartial in this case. Perhaps something about these facts causes you to be already influenced before you have heard the case.”

I may even recite some examples of where I would be influenced. I tell them that there are just some cases that I personally could not be fair to all the parties because of the facts.  That’s because we are all subject to outside influences. However, that doesn’t always mean that such influence is a bias or prejudice. In some examples, the referee of the case— the Judge, has to make that call.

And for pic 0′ day, here’s some influence and persuasion:

IMG_0065

Please click the Facebook “Share” button below this post to let others know you enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

Sadness and Mental Anguish

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Huffington Post recently wrote about Dennis the Dachshund, who had ballooned up to 56 pounds. He had been on a diet of White Castle burgers and pizzas.  When a nursing student saw his condition, she talked her relative into letting her adopt Dennis.

With a new diet of dog food and a bit of exercise, Dennis dropped 44 pounds. He was now down to an appropriate size and weighing 12 pounds.

o-DENNIS-570

Unfortunately, he continues to deal with his excess skin after his weight loss. In the good news department, his owner says that his personality is shining through and he no longer seems depressed.

There’s an advertising campaign for Hotels.com that makes me laugh every time. Captain Obvious states the obvious about travel and making plans. Usually in the ads, someone will tell him, “thanks, Captain Obvious”, after he has stated the obvious.

I feel, to some extent, that I am about to state the obvious. People who suffer injuries in car accidents feel down and sometimes truly depressed. They no longer can do the things that they did before. Unlike Larry the Dachshund,  this is caused by someone else not because of a diet of White Castle burgers.

When discussing damages to an adjuster or a jury, I try to focus on the damages on the inside rather than just the outside. I believe that the damage of sadness and mental anguish is greater than the damage of wearing a cast.

I’m not sure that I have always done a very good job of conveying such damages. However, I am always curious when someone suggests that “Isn’t a case worth three times medicals?”. The longer I practice, the more I realize that such loss is not a mathematical equation. In almost every case, the client will usually say along the way, “I just wish that I was back to where I used to be”. That is a better measurement of the true loss.

And for pic o’ day, I am posting a picture that was just sent to me, from a “few” years ago. It’s my parents all dressed up for Thanksgiving. Now that makes me smile!

IMG_0008

Please click the Facebook “Share” button below this post to let others know you enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

A Baby’s Pain

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Because of scheduling, I didn’t get to the blog yesterday morning. We did finish up the April eBlast and we will be sending and posting it shortly.

For today’s brief blog, I wanted to reference an article dealing with a baby’s pain that is relevant to our practice and also will serve as something to question doctors about in the future. From DailyMail.com comes a report that relates to what a baby feels.

Here are the highlights:

  • Young babies are more sensitive to pain than adults, according to study
  • Doctors previously assumed very young babies had high pain threshold
  • New findings by Oxford University shows newborn babies do react to pain 

 

I wish this study wasn’t true. Hopefully, it will make adjusters consider certain claims more seriously in the future, even if there is not a significant amount of medical bills.

Please click the Facebook “Share” button below this post to let others know you enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

Truck Crash Domino

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

I think that every Friday is a good Friday, but this is especially Good Friday!

Speaking of a play on words, a Canadian newspaper had a story about a truck wreck. The story headline stated Bread Truck rolls over, hundreds of loaves toast. 

And finally, I looked out the back window of my office and saw this sign only a few feet away. It caught my attention!

IMG_0237

 

While in college, I was driving to take a final exam. It would be another two years before I enrolled at law school. At that time, my intent was to go to law school and become a corporate lawyer. I’m not sure I really knew what that meant but I thought corporate was for me.

I stopped at a red light. Unfortunately, a TruGreen truck lost its brakes and ran into the back of my little car. The short story,  that event set a sequence of events in motion. A truck that caused me to no longer want to be a corporate lawyer. A personal injury lawyer was born!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and a meaningful Easter Sunday.

And a couple of theme pic o’s:

IMG_0006IMG_0099

 

Please click the Facebook “Share” button below this post to let others know you enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

Comments Comments Off

Not the Tricks

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

There used to be a cereal commercial for Cocoa Puffs where Sonny the Cuckoo Bird would scream that “I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”.

IMG_0001

 

I imagine that part of the reason that General Mills knew that it would be such a hit as a cereal, was that they literally and proudly stated on the box that the cereal was made with real Hershey’s chocolate.

Of course, if parents really believed that they were doing a good thing by serving that to their kids…. then someone is cuckoo. However, I was reminded of that cereal advertising…

(This is kind of like a mid-blog commercial to say that I’m glad that General Mills has modified the ingredients of Cocoa Puffs  to make it almost as healthy as a Pop Tart or maybe candy corn, and yes that is sarcasm. Now back to our blog! )

As I was saying, I was reminded of that Cocoa Puffs advertising when I recently read a sales list that suggested doing the following to be a successful sales person:

The world’s best salespeople take charge of sales meetings by adjusting their chair’s seat height. They begin meetings with their chair adjusted slightly below their customer’s, which subliminally signals that the customer is in a dominant position. As the meeting goes on, the salesperson will slowly elevate his or her chair in order to sit slightly higher than the prospect—putting them in a dominant position. The slow transition subliminally stages the prospect to be more receptive to suggestions from the salesperson. And if they can’t adjust the chair, they simply change their posture to achieve the same effect.

Now, my impression of that sales recommendaton borders on nonsense and unbelievable. Or, it’s at the intersection of offensive and the advertising of a chocolate-covered cereal.

What am I saying? What ever happened to honesty and integrity? There are still people who believe that the most successful lawyers are the ones who are slick and tricky.

That’s why it was refreshing when I recently attended a trial lawyers’ seminar where the speaker stated that the most successful trial lawyers are the ones who honestly present their case and have jurors truly believing the evidence. That there is no place for tricks in the courtroom, and that jurors see through that anyway.

I guess a cereal doesn’t have to be covered in chocolate to be profitable!

And finally, because it is officially spring… our pic o’ day:

photo

 

Please click the Facebook “Share” button below this post to let others know you enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

A Recipe of Loss

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Just looking at this picture makes me hungry! These are called “cruffins”. A combination of a croissant and muffin.

Ry Stephen, the proprietor of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, grabs a finished tray of cruffins, his croissant/muffin hybrid, in San Francisco.

They are made at a bakery in San Francisco named Mr Holmes Bakehouse.(SeattleTimes.com) The baked cruffin has various fillings that include Fluffernutter cream or strawberry milkshake. Here are pictures of a couple different fillings:

 

filling

 

 

Apparently the cruffin is so good that it created temptation to commit a crime. Someone broke into the bakery during the night last week. In the morning, nothing from the bakery was stolen… except the recipe for the cruffin and 230 other recipes from the bakery.

The empty folders were even left behind. Only the recipes were taken. The owner of the bakery learned of the theft just a short time before his bakery was to open. His staff called to tell him the recipes were gone. So, he didn’t even have time to call the police. He knew that he needed to race to the bakery and get as many items made as he could, because people would be lining up outside, with the doors to open at 7am.

So far, there are no suspects. Police think it could be a competitor. The employees are already allowed to take home any recipe that they want, so they are not current “cruffin suspects”.

When I read this story, it made me wonder about the value of the recipes. What if a jury had to decide their value in a civil case? At the end of the article, the reporter quoted one customer who said that as soon as she heard about the theft, it made her want a cruffin. “If someone stole it, it’s got to be good”.

That last quote reminded me of some of the things that insurance adjusters have said to me in automobile claims. The theft of the recipes has created value… “and they are now actually better off”. I never get used to such nonsense in negotiations. But writing this blog still makes me hungry!

 

And for pic o’ day… probably hard to listen to these instructions:

calm down

Please click the Facebook “Share” button below this post to let others know you enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

The Universal Emergency Number

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

I have to admit that I really have not thought much about how 911 became the emergency number. Yet, I know how important it is. As a side note, I  have had parents tell me that they tried to teach their young child about the number by asking them who to call in an emergency. Many smile and say that their child has replied, “Call Joel Bieber”.

That’s a good answer too! Still, we all learn at a young age when and why to call 911. Now I know the story of 911. Rather than trying to act creative in writing about it, let me post a portion of an article from Howstuffworks.com. It’s how the number began:

Prior to 1968, there was no standard emergency number. So how did 911 become one of the most recognizable numbers in the United States? Choosing 911 as the universal emergency number was not an arbitrary selection, but it wasn’t a difficult one either. In 1967, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) met with AT&T to establish such an emergency number. They wanted a number that was short and easy to remember. More importantly, they needed a unique number, and since 911 had never been designated for an office code, area code or service code, that was the number they chose.

Soon after, the U.S. Congress agreed to support 911 as the emergency number standard for the nation and passed legislation making 911 the exclusive number for any emergency calling service. A central office was set up by the Bell System to develop the infrastructure for the system.

On February 16, 1968, Alabama Senator Rankin Fite made the first 911 call in the United States in Haleyville, Alabama. The Alabama Telephone Company carried the call. A week later, Nome, Alaska, implemented a 911 system. In 1973, the White House’s Office of Telecommunication issued a national statement supporting the use of 911 and pushed for the establishment of a Federal Information Center to assist government agencies in implementing the system.

After its initial acceptance in the late 1960s, 911 systems quickly spread across the country. By 1979, about 26 percent of the United States population had 911 service, and nine states had passed legislation for a statewide 911 system. Through the latter part of the 1970s, 911 service grew at a rate of 70 new local systems per year, according to the NENA. Approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population had 911 service by 1987. In 1999, about 93 percent of the U.S. population was covered by 911 service.

I guess if Paul Harvey was still alive and reading this story, he would finish the blog in voice with… And now you know the rest of the story.

And for pic o’ day I am attaching two in the “education genre”;

 

and 1and 2

Please click the Facebook “Share” button below this post to let others know you enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

Deciding the Value

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

We start the Monday blog with a picture that Mom sent that needs no real introduction… if you have been living with snow:

fetch

And now a sweater story from ESPN. A reminder that something is worth what someone will pay for it.

A man walked into a Goodwill store and found an old West Point sweater that caught his attention.

lombardi 1

He took it to the front to be weighed because that’s how they determine the price. The price of the sweater was 58 cents… so the man got change from his dollar plus a sweater.  No one had looked on the inside of the sweater. Inconspicuously written on the tag at the neck area was Lombardi 46.

lombardi2

The man took the sweater home and didn’t think much about it until he was watching a documentary on the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi. On the documentary, he noticed that Lombardi was wearing the sweater that the man had bought. That’s when he pulled the sweater out and noticed the name written on the tag. It was the sweater that Lombardi wore at West Point while coaching there from 1949-1953.

He eventually decided to turn it over to Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas. This past Saturday it was auctioned and ultimately sold for a bid amount of $43,020. A sweater that had a value of what it weighed until it was determined that it had been owned by the most famous football coach of all time.

One final note. When I ask a jury to consider the damage of pain and suffering in a personal injury case, sometimes it’s difficult to put a value on pain and suffering. However, an old sweater reminds that whoever gave that sweater to Goodwill… is probably feeling a bit of pain and suffering and maybe even some mental anguish in an amount of at least $43,020

And finally, a password idea:

password pic

Please click the Facebook “Share” button below this post to let others know you enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

Choosing the Right Path

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

While attending college, I knew that I wanted to go to law school. I expected to be a corporate lawyer. I’m not even sure why except that it seemed to be what I wanted as a career path. Then, I was in a car accident on my way to a final exam during college.

I had been rearended by a corporate truck. The experience changed my “want”. I no longer wanted to be a corporate lawyer. Instead, I wanted to represent the injured and learn personal injury law.
In law school, there are certain courses that are mandatory. Tort Law was a mandatory two semesters. It introduced me to a wide spectrum of personal injury cases. Then, I interned for two law firms during school and learned more personal injury law.
I have always been thankful for that experience in college, that changed my career choice of the kind of law that I wanted to practice. Based on that, I recently laughed when I read a satirical view of representing insurance companies by a writer who has since passed away. In my opinion, his tongue in cheek view of such legal representation pretty much sums it up:
It is an honorable calling that you have chosen. Some of you will soon be defending poor, helpless insurance companies who are constantly being sued by greedy, vicious widows and orphans trying to collect on their policies. Others will work tirelessly to protect frightened, beleaguered oil companies from being attacked by depraved consumer groups. [Buchwald Commencement address, Tulane University School of Law}

And for our pic o’ day on this Monday:

IMG_0042

 

Please click the Facebook “Share” button below this post to let others know you enjoyed reading it. Thanks!