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How About a New Habit?

I always seem to get the same answer, when I ask the defendant about speed at their deposition. It does something like this: “How fast were you going?” “Well”, the defendant will say with a look of uncertainty, “I was going just under the speed limit.” “How do you know”, I ask. “Out of habit, I know that I was just going a little under the speed limit”.

Mornings bring out the certainty of habit. Some people get out of bed when the alarm goes off or they get up without the need of the alarm. Others, out of habit, will hit that snooze bar a few times. When I mention habit, I’m sure that something comes right to your mind about something that you do everyday.

I know that I drive the same way, every day, out of habit. I could take different routes to work. I guess that if I were trained by the CIA, I would go a different way. Isn’t that what they train to do or have I read too many spy novels?

When I am doing discovery in any case. I do try to find out about the habits of opposing parties. Do they get their car regularly inspected? Do they regularly take medications? Do they drive aggressively? In fact, the only things that can be introduced as past conduct about bad driving relates to whether you can establish habit. If they drink, have they already been previously convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol?

You and I both have good and bad habits. Calling someone or stopping by to see them might be a good habit. Forming good habits is discussed from an online post of FastCompany.com. Here what it says as a good plan for starting a new good habit:

Building new habits

Start slowly: Go to bed and wake up fifteen minutes earlier for a few days until this new schedule seems doable.
Monitor your energy: Building a new habit takes effort, so take care of yourself while you’re trying. Eat right, eat enough, and surround yourself with supportive people who want to see you succeed.
Choose one new habit at a time to introduce: If you want to run, pray, and write in a journal, choose one of these and make it a habit before adding another.
Chart your progress: Habits take weeks to establish, so keep track of how you’re doing for at least thirty days. Once skipping a session feels like you forgot something–like forgetting to brush your teeth–you can take your ritual up a notch.
Feel free to use bribery: Eventually habits produce their own motivation, but until then, external motivations like promising yourself concert tickets can keep you moving forward. Choose things you enjoy: your before-breakfast ritual has the potential to become your favorite part of the day.

And for pic o’ day, I post another funny one from my mom!

Don’t Forget Your Teeth

     One business traveler forgot more than $20,000 worth of jewelry, when she left her Italy Hotel. USA Today reports that over 30,000 items are left behind at the McCarran airport in Las Vegas, when they shed them for security screening. That’s 82 items a day of forgetfulness.

     The USA Today article says that people have left possessions that have included diamond engagement rings, an NFL Super Bowl ring and even some professional video equipment.  One Hyatt hotel reported that a bride left behind her wedding ring.  One hotel manager described their lost property department as “a treasure trove”.

     Many hotels say that they respect the guests’ privacy and will not return an item unless the owner asks for it.  Of course, the article says that some of the forgotten items that have been been requested to be returned included hearing aids and false teeth.

      I wonder how you forget the teeth.  Do you remember when you decide to order lunch corn on the cob? Calling the hotel front desk and asking if housekeeping found a set of teeth in room 1224, has to be an embarrassing mouthful. (Promise… no more on this)  

     Robert Bjork, a UCLA psychologist professor, says that habits protect us from forgetting things. Those habits “are disrupted by travel”. Most people develop strategies to lessen the forgotten items. I’m probably like most. I try to do a “one more time”,  just before leaving the hotel room. At the airport, I look closely at the bins and pat the pockets to make sure I’m feeling the wallet, keys and cell phone. Thankfully, the teeth aren’t a worry.

     In everyday life, it is understood that we forget. That even extends to the important stuff. For injury claims, defense attorneys and insurance companies don’t seem to understand such forgetfulness.

     Sometimes, a client will be taken to a hospital after the crash and report leg, back and neck pain. Such reported injuries may even include broken bones. Then, when they claim a  head injury a few days later, the defense attorney attacks them for not “reporting all their injuries at the hospital”.

     I’m guessing that you might think, “yea, why wouldn’t they say that they had a headache?” Well, I’ve asked ER doctors about that. Their training is to treat life threatening injuries; stop the bleeding and fix the breaks. For a headache or someone even hitting their head, there may be no significant discussion unless the person is unconscious at the hospital.

     Many people will hit their head against the seat or even the side window or door. Sometimes, they even notice tenderness when they get home. Being knocked dazed may not even register as a head injury. Then, they later start to notice symptoms of a head injury that may include such things as a headache, nausea, difficulty sleeping, forgetfulness and anxiety. Symptoms that they did not have before the crash.

     Some injuries and symptoms may not be readily known; Or, a person gets distracted at the hospital or could even be a bit shook up when talking to emergency medical people. If it’s believable that a person would leave their ring or teeth behind because of distraction or forgetfulness; then it sure seems to me that someone might not always know or report every injury immediately. It’s just not a defense that concerns me because it deals with true humanity.

     And now…. pic 0′ day. Everyone should dress casual for Friday and Saturday.

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