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“Eye Witness”

Uncle D said yesterday that he doesn’t like when I start with a coffee pic o’… so I will be brief!


Here’s a good ole-fashioned trial story.  A lawyer was cross-examining a man who had witnessed a car crash. His questioning of the witness went as follows:

Did you see the man on the trainYes sir.

Where was he? About thirty cars back from the train engine.

At that time, where were you? I was in the train car behind the engine.

At this point, what time of night was it? About eleven o’clock.

Are you trying to tell me that you could see a man who was thirty cars away from you, especially as dark as it was? Yes sir.

How far do you think that you can see at night? I would guess about a million miles… cause I can see the moon at night too.  

And now for pic o’ day… some positive thinking!



The Technology Tattletale


Sometimes you can’t even escape a “smart car”!


A Florida woman’s attempt to flee the scene of a crash was foiled by her own car. (NY Daily News) Police report that a 57-year-old woman was charged with fleeing the scene of an accident in  Port St. Lucie, Florida, after an unusual call.

While leaving the scene of the crash, her car’s on-board emergency assistance feature automatically called the police. Her Ford’s 911 Assist feature dialed 911 after her airbag had been deployed. It gave driver Cathy Bernstein’s location and automatically put her on the phone with an emergency dispatcher.

Bernstein initially denied being in a crash, telling the dispatcher that someone had only pulled out in front of her but no impact had occurred. The dispatcher did not believe her.

“Your car wouldn’t call us if someone pulled out in front of you unless there had been an accident,” the operator said in a recording of the call. Around the same time, police were investigating a hit-and-run report near her location.

So, police were sent to Bernstein’s home where they found the wrecked front end of her Ford in her driveway. She initially said that she had hit a tree, but she eventually admitted to hitting a car and leaving the scene. Game, Set, Match!


And for our pic o’ day:


A Case in Progress

I cannot remember the last time that I specifically blogged about a case that our firm is currently handling. Sometimes I will discuss a jury verdict. Most of the time I just discuss cases or legal issues that I see in the news.

I just saw one of our cases being reported about in So, today’s blog is about one of our current cases.

Admittedly, I am attaching as the blog because it was a story that grabbed my attention before I realized it was our case.

Second, this is a lazy way of blogging by just attaching a reporter’s story. And third, the reporter lifted information right from the filed pleading that attorney Geoff Glick drafted. So, it’s interesting to me, to see the case through the eyes of the reporter.

If you want to read the specific article, then click at the attachment above. Below, I have attached the summary that the Virginia Trial Lawyers sent to all of its members summarizing cases that are in the news. Reading it is a lot quicker than clicking the whole article above!

A Virginia woman who was involved in a crash after she took a type of Ambien and then drove a vehicle has filed a lawsuit against the city of Virginia Beach and one of its employees. The lawsuit was filed in Circuit Court and alleges that the woman was under the influence of her prescribed medication, which she believed she took properly, when she crashed into the back of another vehicle. The plaintiff and a 4-year-old passenger were injured in the accident.  After the accident, the plaintiff was convicted of driving while intoxicated. The medication is known to cause “sleep driving,” sleep walking and memory loss, according to the lawsuit.

And for pic o’ day, these two cartoons are nonsense!



Just Count to 10

I just saw a list of lies on the Internet. It was a list compiled on a message board. So, I copied them down as a starter for this blog:

1.  “I did not bet on baseball”.
2.  “There are no soldiers inside of that giant wooden horse.”
3.  “Your money is safe with Bernie Madoff.”
4.  “I’m searching for the real killers.”
5.  “At that moment I hit my face against the player leaving a small bruise on my cheek and a strong pain in my teeth.”
6.  “It’s not you, it’s me.”
7.  “I.  Did. Not. Have. Sexual. Relations. With. That. Woman.”
8.  “There are Weapons of Mass Distruction in Iraq.”
9.  “Welcome aboard the Titanic. Yes, this boat is unsinkable.”
10. “We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”

I had to look some of those up. For instance, #5 didn’t even sound familiar until I googled to learn that the Uruguay soccer player in the World Cup decided that his excuse sounded better than admitting to deliberately sinking his teeth into an opponent.

This list is almost like a trivia game. I guess it could also have included “I am not a crook”. It does remind us of lies that are told. I wonder if #4 is the original lie of O.J. Simpson. I remember a comedian saying that he obviously was doing a good job “looking for the real killer” on every golf course in California.

This came to mind when I heard about a recorded statement that was taken of an insured, following a crash that she had caused. Her statement to her own adjuster admitted that she started the car, put it into reverse with her gear shift, and then counted to 10 before backing up. She never looked behind her because “that’s how she had been taught”. That sounds like truth even though it seems a bit unbelievable.

That brings it into my world. What do you think of a defense lawyer who files an answer to the lawsuit that admits no fault, despite being told differently by his client?  Or, Is that just providing a good defense?

When I asked that very question to a defense lawyer after filing an answer like that, he just admitted that he did such filing; because,  if he failed to plead that in an answer, it would be lost if the evidence came out differently. Things that make you go Hmmmm.

Does this make you remember that story of George Washington that might have been part truth or part myth… but all good story? That he supposedly said, “I cannot tell a lie… I did cut down the cherry tree.”

The opposite of that thinking was German propaganda monster Joseph Goebbels, who believed that no matter how big the lie, people will believe it if you repeat it enough. Sad.

And for pic o’ day:





Quite the Driver!

You may have faced some traffic this morning. If you were mad at a driver, you will probably be thankful that it wasn’t this driver:


Sarah Espinosa was recently charged with reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, and unlawful possession of marijuana. There is also a possible reckless endangerment charge pending. But that doesn’t tell the half of it.

This New York woman was arrested after she crashed her Toyota Prius into a firehouse…. with a Python snake wrapped around her neck. And, the Python was stolen. (Reuters)

After she crashed into the firehouse, it was the firefighters that were giving aid to Espinosa, who discovered the snake wrapped around her neck. They removed it and secured it.

The responding police then discovered that the python had been stolen from a nearby pet store shortly before the crash. While securing the Python, they  found the marijuana in her possession.

Police acknowledge that it isn’t clear whether it was Espinosa’s alleged intoxication or the snake that was strangling her, that caused the crash.

She reportedly lost control of her car on the Jericho Turnpike, crossed the median, struck another vehicle and then crashed through the door of the Nassau County fire station. One final note, she also damaged two trucks.

DID YOU KNOW that if you want to burn off the calories after eating one plain M&M candy, you have to walk to full length of a football field?

After that driving story, pic o’ day seems a bit anti-climatic.



If Only I Had

Sometimes I hear a client tell me how they think back on the day of their car crash. “If only I had left earlier” or “If only I had gone a different way”, or “If only it had been daylight”.  In fact, that takes the responsibility of the crash away from the true responsible driver.

“If only the defendant had been paying attention” or “If only that teenager had not been texting” or “If only that coffee cup had not fallen on the floor, causing me to reach for it”. Fault for the crash is an interesting argument in trial because many times the defense attorney will admit fault for the crash, but not fault for the injuries. Usually, that is the argument for the jury.

In real life, there are choices that can be made that have long-lasting effects. It’s why I read health and motivation magazines and books.

For this blog, I thought that I would post a recent article from Men’s Health titled “Cancer-Proof Your Body“.  It gives 8 possible stategies to “raise carcinogen shields”. Not surprisingly, there are several tips on vitamins and diet. The strategies also include “relax a little” and “get outside”.

Taking responsibility is what defendants should do when they cause a car crash. This article also is a good reminder to take responsibility for our health. For me, a special reminder to relax a little. There… I feel better already!

DID YOU KNOW that cows can climb up stairs but they cannot go downstairs. The anatomy of their legs does not allow the bending of their knees.

And for pic o’ day a reminder that thinking of the past… not relaxing!mistakes

Read it again, Grammy!

One of my favorite childhood memories takes me back to my love of a great story. My grandmother used to get her morning coffee and butter raisin toast. Then, she would sit down in her big red chair and I would sit on the right arm of the chair.

She would reach to her left and pick up a story book from the stack of books that were collected next to the chair. Then, she would open the book and begin to read as I would peer over her arm and look at the pictures and words that I could not yet comprehend.

She had read these same books to me over and over so many times, that I could repeat the words verbatim. Still, with exciting voice inflexion and change of voices to match each character in the books; she read them as though it was the first time, and I listened so attentively as though I had never heard this story.

The stories all had some lesson that included some hero. And, of course, there was always a good ending to the story. Then, I would say, “Read it again Grammy, read it again”. She would commence at the beginning again until we would move on to the next book. The only break usually included her getting a refill on her coffee.

Many times before bed, we would be right back to those same stories. Even if we had to take a break for real life things. As I type this blog, it takes me back to such a good feeling of just sitting there, never wanting the Grammy to stop reading.

In Saturday’s, there was a story titled “Job seeker tries to plant seeds at Va. Beach expo”. The story included a picture of a young man standing in front of the display. He is bit out of place at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, where the Virginia Flower & Garden Show is set up.

The many displays on the floor include potted greenery and garden tools. At this one display, a 27-year-old man stands with a table behind him, and a large white sign that says “John Wike/Bachelor Degree-Business Management”. Instead of selling rakes, he is pitching himself for employment; hoping that during the three days of this convention that someone will have a job opportunity for him.

In real life, the end of the story is not always perfectly scripted. Many clients that call me also weave a story of lost wages and lost opportunity. Sometimes on their path of life, they are unable to pursue a career or take a desired job that has been offered. Other times, they miss so much work that their employer either terminates them or they lose some career advancement opportunity.

Part of the damages of an injury claim can include making a claim for lost wages. That claim exists even if a person did have sick time that they could take as a benefit of their employment. The person that hit them does not benefit from the collateral benefit of a sick leave payment.

Virginia also recognizes a claim for loss of earning capacity. Following an accident, a client may be earning more than they were earning before the car crash. However, they may have lost a job or career opportunity that could have provided a better income for their future. For that, the person that caused the crash should also be responsible.

Every day, I hear “stories” about difficulty. Fortunately, I have also seen many good endings, despite the road of difficulty in getting there.

After I read the “Wike story” about how he was seeking a job; I also continued to read the comments that followed. One person commented that they really enjoyed reading the story. Then, they wrote, “please do a followup story on him…. I bet he gets a job soon”. Just like me, they like a happy ending.

In my head, I can still hear my high voice saying to my Grandmother, “Grammy, read it again” and my grandmother turning the book to the beginning and off we go again to a happy ending.

Just for conversation, I still have people ask me about “my holidays”. So, I am posting this pic o’ day that makes me laugh:




Bad Idea in a Patrol Car

On the way home from South Carolina, we saw two speeding police cars go past us. We were creeping along the road in Charlotte. We knew that we would probably be creeping a little longer because the problem was obviously more than just morning traffic.

When the police cars raced by, someone mentioned that it sure looked odd to see them driving so close. In fact, it almost looked like one officer was chasing the other.   That leads me to what happens when a Deputy crashes his own patrol car. reports that a Louisiana Deputy did just that. 911 had been called to report that a police car had hit a tree.

When we start our representation of a client, we usually mail a letter under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to get a copy of all the 911 calls. I wonder if the Louisiana call sounded something like, “This is Deputy Hyer. I’d like to report a single-car accident involving a drunk driver”.  (911 operator): “Deputy, would you go to the scene?” (Deputy): “I am the scene”.

According to the story, the Deputy has resigned. I guess if that tree had not jumped out in front of the Deputy, there would be no story. This story ends with its own wisdom. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t drink and drive in a police car. Yes, watch out for moving trees. And then there’s that.

For pic o’ day, how about some computer advice!

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. 


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