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Archive for Trip and Fall

A Document Worth

Monday, April 25th, 2016

What is it worth? Documents detailing some of the original “Laws of Base Ball” sold for $3.26 million on early Sunday morning, It set a new record for the highest-priced baseball document. (ESPN)  .

The same auction house in charge of this sale also noted that a 1920 New York Yankees’ Babe Ruth jersey sold in an auction for $4.4 million in 2012. That same year,  the Naismith Rules of Basketball sold for $4.3 million.

According to the ESPN article, The original rules of baseball, as written by Daniel Lucius “Doc” Adams, stipulated that the ball could not weigh less than 5¾ ounces, and the bat could be of any length; but no more than 2½ inches at its widest part. The rules also stated that there would be four bases, 30 yards apart, with each base being one square foot.

I always believe that auction items make for a good jury argument, when discussing an injury case. If we put such value on a document and paper, what is the worth of a permanent injury to a leg that causes a lifetime of pain, or a lifetime of worry.

What is it worth to be able to put on an outfit and feel so good… that you don’t even have to look in the mirror?  No scars or pain. Just to feel happy. Emotional value! What is the worth of not having to worry about making that next house payment? Real life values.  Just a thought!

And for pic o’ day…

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Youth and Sports Injuries

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

I try to always give a Monday take-away thought. How about this one?

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OK, not what you were expecting from a Monday morning legal blog? Well, as Sam Elliot popularized the saying in The Big Lebowsky,  ”Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you”.

I probably was a little like that last week, as I fell behind on the blogging a bit. But, I am more of a lion person anyway… so I come roaring back with this morning’s blog!

Because so many kids are playing youth sports, not to mention the expense of equipment. By the way, have you seen the price of a baseball bat? Makes you want three, Right? But I digress.

Sports are more competitive than ever. With competitiveness comes the risk of concussion. I thought about this as I saw a kid riding his bike without a helmet on Sunday. No good!  

So, I thought I would do a short blog on concussions. A good website to read on this, was put together by the nonprofit group Cleared to Play, arising out of an orthopedics practice (Here

Sports concussions can have a lasting impact on a life. Some athletes end up experiencing a life of cognitive and neurobehavioral difficulties.(PubMed) Doctors sometimes call this post-concussion syndrome. No different than what can happen in a car crash or on the battlefield.

Symptoms include chronic headaches, fatigue, trouble sleeping, dizziness, short-term memory loss, and even difficulty with problem solving. Sometimes trying to do simple math and addition of pocket change becomes difficult.

Those who experience untreated concussions and multiple concussions are also at high risk for developing permanent brain injuries and brain damage. Symptoms like depression and anxiety take hold.

Athletes who return to practice or the game too quickly before they have recovered from a concussion are at great risk for second-impact syndrome. According to statistics shown on the website, fifty percent of second-impact syndrome incidents result in death.

Again, for “quick-clicking” purposes and to learn more about sports concussions,go to clearedtoplay.org. Serious stuff!

 And for pic o’ day….

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The Effectiveness of Order

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

It’s not unusual to talk to a new client and get asked one or both of the following questions: “How long will this take?” and “What is my case worth?”. The end at the beginning.

When investigators are called in to determine the cause of an airplane crash, they have to know the ending before they can start at the beginning. What caused the crash assumes the order of end-to-beginning.

The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) sends its GoTeam to the scene and states on its website that:

At the core of NTSB investigations is the “Go Team.” The purpose of the Safety Board Go Team is simple and effective: Begin the investigation of a major accident at the accident scene, as quickly as possible, assembling the broad spectrum of technical expertise that is needed to solve complex transportation safety problems.

When we analyze cases that come in, we start with the same order or working the case. Much like a sandwich… you start with the bread.

So, to be able to answer those first two questions from new clients, I have to start at the beginning. How long the case takes can be based on such factors like length of treatment and whether suit has to be filed. If we get in the case late, it may be hard to start at the beginning, if things are missing from the beginning. Maybe that’s why the insurance company adjuster tells a person that they will treat them fairly in the beginning… they don’t need a lawyer.

States where we practice are pretty tight on advertising results in cases. At the very least, they ask us to remind that each case is different and no value is the same. So, we start at the beginning to determine value of the case. By the end, we can look back over the losses, damages and medical treatment to determine a fair market value.

Unfortunately, to be able to answer both of those client questions at the beginning would be difficult, unless I could travel on the magic carpet of my time and space continuum.

The process of starting at the beginning is not very interesting. In fact, I congratulate you, if you made it this far in the blog. A plan of order is not exciting. Instead, it’s a good application of what George Bernard Shaw said, “Doing what needs to be done may not make you happy, but it will make you great.”

And for pic o’ day, I saw this picture with this caption and laughed. And, maybe the chicken had more of a plan than just getting to the other side?

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Egyptian Honey

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

I was reminded by yesterday’s Our Daily Bread  of the findings of archaeologists who discovered King Tut’s tomb in 1922. Despite the local rumors that a curse would be placed upon anyone who entered this sealed tomb, they began preparations to carefully enter the tomb through the debris, and down the tomb’s interior chamber steps.

As they finally opened the door to the chamber in 1923, they began the long process of careful excavation. In 1924, their slow pace brought them to a sarcophagus with three coffins. (History.com) Then, they began finding the tomb-filled riches that had been placed there by the Egyptians to help usher the king into the afterlife.

Among the riches that were discovered included golden shrines, jewelry, statues, a chariot, weapons and clothing. There were small boats representing the journey to the netherworld and a shrine for the young pharaoh’s embalmed organs.

Also found within the tomb were honeycombs that contained honey that was still deemed to be edible.(thebeejournal.com) The reason that honeycombs with edible honey was placed in the Egyptian Pharaoh tombs, was later revealed in the oldest medicine book in the world.

The Egyptian Papyrus Ebers was found in 1873, containing a listing of over 800 medical problems and diagnoses. In addition, there were treatments and cures with recipes for these medical problems. Over half of the recipes included the use of honey. Once again… honey for the Pharaoh to help combat medical problems in the afterlife.

We do now know that honey naturally produces hydrogen peroxide which is included in antibacterial ointments and such. Honey proponents also point out that it serves as a preservative for meats and fruits. It has been held out as an antioxidant, amino acid and includes vitamins that also helps to reduce inflammation and assists in the regeneration of the skin.

I’m not writing this blog as an advertisement for honey, but I do find those tomb discoveries and their history to be interesting. I have also been fascinated to hear that (CNN) King Tut’s tomb has a 90% chance of having hidden chambers with more potential discoveries to be found.

I blog about the finding of honey and its medicinal properties from these ancient days. These Egyptian doctors would certainly be amazed by all the medications and treatments that are available for prescription today.

For some of our clients with permanent injuries, they will need continuing medical treatment and medications. So, we have a life care planner to prepare a future medical care plan to outline what will be needed, and the costs that are associated with the future care. These plans can include many different items and treatments. King Tut’s tomb is a reminder that Egyptian life care plans would have had items like honey, tiny boats and religious shrines for the afterlife plan. A bit different from today.

And for pic o’ day…

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Let’s See What Happens

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Have you ever heard anyone say that they are losing weight for their wedding? I have always thought that it should be the opposite.

Why, you ask? Because all those wedding photos are taken and kept forever. My thought? That a person should eat as much and as fast as possible, in an attempt to gain weight for their wedding. Then, when someone looks at their wedding photos years later, they will always say, “you look so much thinner than you did back on your wedding day”. Good idea? Right?

Just my thought for planning for the future.

We just started a competition at the firm. A “Biggest Loser” competition. We got the idea from one of our new employees, who came from an employer where they ran this competition… and it motivated her to lose over 90 pounds. That is truly some serious capital letter successful loss of LB’s.!

We didn’t make participation mandatory… but we did create some “hard-to-ignore” cash and prizes.

So here’s my continuing theme on looking to the future. They had the “secret weigh-in” yesterday. Based on that number, the winner will be determined by the percentage of weight loss.

I’m sure that for the contest weigh-in,  people took out their cellphones; took off their shoes, and tried to weigh as little as possible. I suspect that they were embarrassed to log in their weight to the “weight monitor”.

I remember going to Weight Watchers, where I would go behind this curtain and be weighed. It was a bit like that. No one was calling out my name and weight, thankfully.

This secret weigh-in reminded me of my “eating wedding strategy”. For the weigh-in, why not go to Golden Corral the night before… and then eat a monstrous breakfast. Top that off with some heavy clothing and maybe not just a cellphone, but carry one of those big old home phones in the pocket. Lots of weight. Don’t they do that to horses at the racetrack?

Just a thought! Then, it’s all easy weight loss from there.

My blog picture from yesterday jogged my mind to write this blog today. Plus, every now and then, I hear someone say that they are going to wait to hire a lawyer… after they hear what the adjuster is willing to offer them for their claim. To me, that seems to be the horse and the cart… long after the cart is before the horse… or something like that.

Adjusters probably love to hear that someone will wait until “they see what the adjuster will offer”. That’s because it makes it harder to collect evidence and photos and video, if time has elapsed and things disappear. Cars are repaired and witnesses move away or forget important facts. Plus, police officers who investigate crashes, investigate many more crashes and forget specifics to the case.

What happens at the beginning can influence what happens at the end. So the moral of the story is… here’s an excuse to eat big meals… and it makes it easier for us when we can get busy on a case early!

 

And for pic o’ day…

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The Hearing Aid Example

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

And to get us started for the Monday blog…

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A look-back at my summer employments brought me this memory. The previous summer, I had worked as a pipefitters helper at Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock (Norshipco) and decided that for this college summer, I was  going to look for a sales job. Yes, I admit it, I was looking for something easier!

I landed a job down near Sandbridge, selling timeshares. Looking back, I probably couldn’t have found a job with more stress. So much so, some mornings I would wake up and long for that long walk, through the dirt, to the Pipefitter’s shop.

Each morning before our sales day began, there was a sales meeting in the timeshare office and conference room. The General Sales Manager would go over the previous day’s sales and then give us some motivational speech.

I don’t remember many of his “speeches”; but one particular day, I specifically remember one speech about focusing on the positive and not the negative. He began pounding on the table. Then his voice went into an amazing high-pitched crescendo. Then he screamed, ” I will not listen to any of your excuses, it’s just negativity”.  At that point, he ripped his hearing aid out of his ear. Then he exclaimed, “See, I can’t hear your negative excuses for not selling”.

At that point, I don’t think that I was motivated, as much as fascinated. A hearing aid just lying on the table.  Part of me wondered if he had a wooden leg and if that would come flying off next. Maybe with some kind of screaming, “See, your excuses have no leg to stand on!”. OK… I don’t really remember that last part.

Thinking back on his focus on positive thinking does have some good life application. However, it isn’t totally relevant to our practice of law.

Instead of ignoring the negative, it’s best to look at reality. Rarely is there a perfect case. Most of the time, there are issues of fact or something related to the injuries of the client that make for a possible jury problem or adjuster argument, when the case is presented.

Rarely, do I find someone in perfect health. So, it’s not unusual to find a preexisting condition that gets aggravated by the crash. Rather than pretending that there’s no prior issues, it’s better to look closely at the prior medical history and let doctors describe how the crash made them worse. Now, a negative becomes a positive because we have focused on the prior medical history instead of ignoring it. Sometimes a preexisting injury is the reason that a minimal crash or little property damage can cause a person real problems.

Today is the start of major league baseball. Each team has 162 regular season games in front of them. I suppose that some of those teams are best not to focus on the reality of their chances for winning. Their true reality… not contending for first place.

For me I like to positively look at reality. I think that Abraham Lincoln had a good way in looking at life, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses”.

 

And for pic o’ day, a bit of Disney…

Disney

 

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Really? Resting Comfortably?

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, Jason Bohn made the 36-hole cut at the Honda Classic on Friday, but then reported chest pain to the tournament’s medical staff. On Sunday, it was announced (ESPN) that he had a medical procedure.

Here is what the headline stated,

Jason Bohn required stent to repair blocked artery, ‘resting comfortably’

Now, I don’t know who they are kidding. As far as I am concerned, there are two errors in that headline, based on my personal experience of being in the hospital. First, there is no rest in the hospital. They constantly take your temperature, blood pressure, and saturation breathing levels. And that’s just the start.

Just as you might start to nod off, even in the middle of the night, it seemed like they were waking me up. I was always thinking, I wonder if I could hide under the bed and get some sleep?

The second bit of nonsense in that headline is whether he was comfortable. I really don’t know anyone who has ever been in the hospital who claimed that they were comfortable… except for that brief moment or two, right after they give you pain medication.

In every jury trial, I try to discuss physical pain and mental anguish for jurors to consider. In my experience, only those who have really experienced pain can try to put a value on it. I can still hear the old song by Carly Simon, Haven’t Got Time For The Pain. (Lyrics)

One way to quantify pain is to consider what we will pay to avoid pain at the dentist. People gladly pay for Nitrous Oxide and several shots of Novocaine to avoid tooth pain. I remember asking for some of that “laughing gas” that doesn’t really make you laugh. I have heard of some people who claim that they don’t really mind dental pain. I think they are the same folks who would wear braces on their dentures. Just silly!

The flipside of physical pain is the consideration of mental anguish. I think it is really worse. Rose Kennedy was asked how she could stand all the loss in the Kennedy family. She explained that, “It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens but it is never gone.”

I believe that there are wounds and injuries that never show on the body that are much greater than anything that shows up on an x-ray or bleeds. Why mental anguish is pain that is really always there just below the surface. Hard to put a value on that damage!

So, the next time that you read or hear that someone is “resting comfortably”, I hope you just shake your head. Those two words are said to make everyone else feel better… not the person who is supposedly “resting comfortably”. Just my two cents!

And our Monday Pic o’ day was sent to me after my Pothole story. It made me laugh ,and not much about a pothole and two flat tires can normally make me laugh. There’s probably a song in there somewhere that could include sticks and stones or cracks in the sidewalk!

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What is Really Important?

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

During the reign of Louis XIV King of France, it was considered bad manners to knock on a person’s door with your knuckles. Instead, good etiquette dictated that you scratch with the little finger of your left hand. For that reason, courtiers would let the little fingernail on their left hand grow long. Maybe they got tired waiting outside the door in the cold… while they scratched!

American businessman King Camp Gillette spent eight years trying to invent and introduce his safety razor. After founding Gillette Safety Razor Company in 1902 he started to manufacture and sell. In 1903 he had a start that seemed to indicate failure. He sold a total of 51 razors and 168 blades. The second year… 90,884 razors and 123,648 blades. His vision for a successful disposable razor company was looking up! The importance of a disposable razor was now realized by the public.

Robert E. Lee was not a slaveholder. In fact, he never believed in slavery. He was very hopeful that Virginia would not seceded from the United States and took a strong position against it. What motivated him to be the Commanding General of the Confederacy was his love for Virginia and that he didn’t want to see anything bad happen to it. At the conclusion of the war, he announced that “I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished”. Losing the war did not hurt his reputation. He has been called America’s greatest soldier. He knew what was important to him.

People are now talking about going to Mars. According to the Mars One project, over 100,000 people have already applied. While there are private enterprises working toward trips to Mars, NASA is charting a possible government trip to Mars. There are four women astronauts who are currently training to be considered for the mission. (Glamour.com)

The Government mission is estimated to be about 15 years away from takeoff. It will take that long to build and test the equipment. Radiation exposure is still a major obstacle, among many others.

The shortest route to Mars from here is 35 million miles of travel. With current estimates, it would take somewhere between six to nine months for travel one way; And if you plan a round trip, it’s about two to three years.

When NASA initially announced that they were taking applicants for training for a potential Mars trip, 6100 applied. I guess if you are a parent or married, you turn to your family and tell them that you are pursuing your Mars dream… and everything will work out. Time flies when your having fun? Decisions have intended and unintended consequences.

I have listed these various news items and stories over the years. Depending upon the time period creates the importance of the event. Then, the next generation comes along and what seemed important before is replaced by current importance.

On a daily basis, I see clients who are going through difficult times and hardships. A crash that changes lives in a moment.

One thing that I have learned through my years of the practice of law is that nothing else really matters… if you don’t have your health. As Steven Adler said, “You can have all the riches and success in the world, but if you don’t have health, you have nothing”.  You really don’t care about trips to Mars or how loud someone might be knocking at the door.

And for pic o’ day, I have a couple that show “importance”:

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Vocational Rehabilitation Testimony

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Vocation Rehabilitation! I suspect that those 2 words just made you scroll to the bottom for the picture. So, let me make this short and relevant to our clients’ claims.

In 1984, a Canadian farmer began renting advertising space on his cows… and businesses bought. He had the foresight to look for other avenues of income.

In Virginia, a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist can testify as an expert on what someone lost as a result of their injuries. They testify about work capacity and loss of opportunity. It is up to the jury to believe whether it is a realistic damage of the case.

A person may be working as a waiter but was planning on being a cabinetmaker. After their injuries, they are unable to do the physical labor. So, the jury can receive testimony on what the person could have made, if physically able to pursue their desired vocation of becoming a craftsman in cabinetry. Lost opportunity and lost income.

It reminds me of the story of actor Steve McQueen. He was taking karate lessons and encouraged his teacher to pursue acting. So, kickboxing champion Chuck Norris was motivated to pursue acting! He was able to pursue his dream without physical limitation.

And for pic o’ day… one of my yearly favorites:

Klegg

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Hard to Win an Argument

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

Stephen Hawking records the story of a well known scientist who was presenting a public lecture on astronomy during the early 1900′s. He described how the earth orbits around the sun. That the sun, in turn, then orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy.

At the end of his lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room stood up and verbally confronted him in front of everyone.  ”What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.”

The scientist coyly smiled at her and then asked her, “If that is true, then what is the turtle standing on”. “You’re very clever, young man, very clever”,  said the little old lady, “But it’s turtles all the way down!”.

I was reminded of this logic this past week as my trial Listserv group was filled with opinion messages. Someone started with the subject title of off-topic. It became a discussion about Muslims and Donald Trump. Soon, lawyer after lawyer was chiming in with opinion.

Every now and then, (by mistake) I would read one of those emails. I saw a few lawyers agree with each other. I never saw someone email back, “Wow, you have changed my mind”.

Dale Carnegie wrote about human relations, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still“. Blaise Pascal summed up persuasion, “People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have discovered, than by those which have come into the mind of others”. 

As a trial lawyer, I live in a world of persuasion. Many times at the conclusion of each case, I  find myself wanting to ask the jury, “What more should I tell you to persuade you? What do you want to hear to make up your mind?”. When I have figured that out… I have been successful for my client.

For pic o’ day, I will start posting some holiday pictures, but Amy M. sent this one and it made me laugh!

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