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The Accident Report Evidence

     While looking through the Costco monthly magazine, I saw a recipe for Crispy Chocolate Ice Cream Mud Pie.  To be honest, I didn’t really look at the recipe. I know that I am not going to buy the ingredients and whip that up. Not interested in the real details.

     I was focused on the picture of that chocolate ice cream. I looked closely as though I was investigating an accident scene;  so that I could see every detail of the crust, the chocolate chips and the drizzled syrup.

     I know several people that don’t eat ice cream or don’t like chocolate. I’m guessing that they would  just turn the page when seeing that picture, or the words “ice cream” or “chocolate”.

     The above does make sense because we all have different taste buds. That’s the only way that I can understand anyone eating Brussel Sprouts. Looks more like a green mind without an IQ.

     When a person goes to the emergency room, the Emergency Doctor doesn’t ask “Hey, did anyone bring an accident report along”. I’ve never seen mention of accident scene photos or a discussion of property damage in any ER records. Those doctors and nurses just treat the injuries.

     After leaving the emergency room, many clients then seek additional treatment at the family doctor or a chiropractor or physical therapist. Of course, if something is broken or they have some serious problems, then the referral might be to another specialist.

     Again, I don’t see any records of those treating doctors, with any mention of an accident report or any discussion of how the cars were damaged. They treat injuries and complaints and discuss things like spasms and radiating pain.

     When insurance companies get involved in claims, their attention seems to want to steer clear of any mention of medical records. Instead, they will do things like send pictures of the vehicles in the crash or write  letters that say “based on these pictures, I don’t believe that your client could be very injured from this accident”.

     I suspect that they use these same arguments when they try to go out to the persons house. They want to force or “encourage” a settlement, before I am retained, or before a client may be fully healed or finished with treatment.

     An accident report is not allowed to be mentioned as evidence during a trial. In fact, even the term “accident report” is a basis for a mistrial.

     A jury is to decide a case based solely on the evidence and the weight that they give to the evidence. Even though a police officer may be highly qualified in investigating a crash, that officer may have no special accident reconstruction training or any property damage knowledge, for evidence purposes. 

     An accident report cannot have some special evidence significance. So, the officer can testify to the “investigation notes” but not formally to the “accident report”. The legislature decided  that an accident report has too much significance for the average person and might influence a jury without the appropriate foundation. 

     Finally, I just want one paragraph on  defense hired experts. I do believe that juries understand that defense experts get more defense work, when that opinion is favorable to the defense. So, it’s not unusual for them to not speak to any treating physicians. Instead, many of them will attempt to focus on property damage or pictures at the scene. Strange though, when they are treating physicians not paid by defense, they don’t seem as concerned with non-medical materials.

     Insurance companies and defense doctors don’t seem to like the “chocolate” or “ice cream” of the case. They prefer just moving on to  pictures and not getting into the specifics of the details of the injuries and crash (recipe). Of course, they do ignore pictures when the cars look like crushed cans. Then, they look for something more favorable like blaming the client. 

     And, now pic o’ …. a bit of medical cartoon humor. 


A Football Lesson

This weekend, I was "stuck" in the house because of the pelting snow. When you construct the perfect weekend, it usually includes being with family, being curled up with a good book and not having to go anywhere. Then, when it really happens, you realize that maybe it's not really the perfect weekend! I think I'd rather take my wife on a nice vacation.

Nowadays, curled up with a good book includes also reading your kindle and surfing the internet. Because the Colts are playing in the Super Bowl this Sunday, it also causes me to search the ends of the earth for anything written about the Colts. Occasionally, you even find a nugget or a life lesson in some of these articles. 

On Friday, a client called to discuss her medical treatment. Her injuries are so significant, that even after the conclusion of her claim, she will suffer permanently and need continuing medical treatment. It's understandable that she regularly faces depression over not feeling well. In addition, she remarked that everyday, she remembers the accident and is having a hard time with that too.

My client's feelings are understandable. Hopefully, counseling and time will help heal emotionally and physically. For client's like this, I hope that the insurance company will not make her "live through" the crash again, by making her go through a jury trial to get what she deserves. In many instances, I try to elicit testimony from family and friends, as much as possible, instead of my client, so they don't have to be so descriptive about their difficulties.

The Indianapolis Star did a story on a rookie cornerback for the Colts. In the Championship game last week, that sent the Colts to the Super Bowl, the player let a receiver get behind him and score on an 80 yard touchdown pass. All cornerbacks say that they feel like they are on an island out there, when they are covering receivers by themselves, knowing that a mistake or misstep will cost their team. Plus, a rookie even feels that much more pressure.

The reporter asked this rookie cornerback how he was able to overcome his mistake. Compounding the misstake was that it was in front of thousands of fans and millions of TV viewers. As a cornerback, he said that you have to have a short memory. Otherwise, you'll keep dwelling on what happened in the past and not be able to do well the next time. He said that he remembers the receivers that score on his mistakes, but he also forgets.

Real life isn't a football game. You don't just "get over it" when you face hard times and, it is hard to put behind you. However, this article caused me to remember an HBO special that I watched years ago, called "A Century of Living", where life was seen through several who had lived beyond 100 years. One gentleman summed up his life by saying that life is filled with a lot of ups and downs. You can either choose to pick yourself up and move on or not. His reason for long life was that he just kept on going.  


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