Dam! Need Help on a Case? I’ll Search Until I Find It!

Some days do you feel weird because part of your daily routine has changed? It happens quite regularly with me. Yes both, feeling weird and not having a typical day!

Image result for images feeling weird

Time that follows after finishing work on an in-depth legal case can feel unusual. How about the time after you’ve completed a project or a presentation that you spent hours on, or when you complete a long-term educational goal…and the homework is done! You know what I’m referring to. You feel different!  And kinda weird, which is okay. In fact it’s great!

After I’ve served as an expert, I can relax and think upon the experience and what I learned about myself and my role in the process. I consider  how I did good and how I could do better. My work opens up experiences where I continuously learn about work!

My work as an “expert” requires me to research and study the subject matter at hand. So, I make my own homework all the time….and seem to like it! Am I or am I not an unusual person? I absolutely love to study and analyze information! And like my brother Steven always did, I like to come up with theories and see if I can prove or disprove them to myself. Some of Steve’s theories however, defied gravity, like his skateboard stunts, and water skiing….I still don’t know how he could fly!

Steve

The meaning is:  Crown, wreath

I looked up “Steven and dare devil” and found out that on August 18th 1985, a Rhode Island bartender named  Steven Trotter made the trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel wrapped in inner tubes. Mr. Trotter was fined a total of $5,503. Then, he did it again.  On June 18th, 1995, Steven returned to the Falls and made it another success. This time he and a female partner (a caterer) made the big drop together. That is all fine and good for them, but what about the rescuers? Somebody had to help get them out of “hot” water. Oh my! I remember as children visiting Niagara Falls (height of 167 feet!!)  many moons ago with the family. My brother Steven loved it! I would love to visit again.

But instead I only need to travel a short distance to the pedestrian bridge over the Des Moines River. I love to stop on the south side of the Women of Achievement Bridge and gaze down at the beautiful falls from the Center Street dam…the dam height is 15 feet! I love the dam in Iowa Falls too which has a height of 26 feet! Or course the Saylorville dam is fun to visit too, especially when it’s flowing full force and you get splashed! Dams are gorgeous yet dangerous! Dam! 

Bud

Here’s to you bro! I always have a sip or two on July 17th (Budweiser is not my brand of beer) at a favorite local cemetery and let Randy drink the rest!

I think about people who are daredevils and what their personality and temperament are like. Okay, someone similar to my brother! Someone who takes risks, not silly or reckless dares, but a good slightly risky risk. Are you a person who accepts dares….or risks? Think about your job and your role at work. Think about how I can help you. Law involves uncertainties and risks that cannot be quantified. Some cases may be “risky” because of their sheer complexity or because the subject matter cannot be reasonably measured.

I recognize that when I’m called upon to help on a legal case everyone has a role in the process. From me you will receive a report that is clear, truthful and comprehensive. Here’s a little story about me:

I once searched for a solid week for a black pearl that fell out off a ring from my finger as I was leaving my apartment. The pearl fell through the deck slats and landed somewhere in a huge mess of leaves, etc. below. I had to go to work, and upon returning home I looked for the pearl. I looked every time I left the apartment to go to work or go where I needed to go. Until there ya go! Image result for pearl black7 days later….I found it!  I am one persistent person when it comes to finding something I absolutely know is there! And something so small as a black pearl!

Image result for pearl black and white ring cartoonWhat an incredible ring!

If there is part of your job that is somewhat risky, convince your brain that you are not scared of said dare or risk, and how proud you will be of your accomplishment. Consider all outcomes, and don’t forget others who are or could become involved. Then gather the courage and just do it! Don’t stop until you are done. Feel the exhilaration! This is similar to serving as an expert witness!

Skydiver

 Be safe, especially if you have a dangerous job (or hobby)

What will I study next? How to sky dive?  I would love to! And I’ve thought about it……. Hummm, maybe in Brooklyn! Actually I want to get into art. Not that I’m good at drawing or painting. I just want to study and learn new techniques. Not that risky huh! Stay tuned!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

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Got Questions? Ask the Vocational Expert!

My work is helpful during litigation following an injury or condition that leads to disability.  In any type of litigation, if the disability or limitation is significant, more than likely there will be questions about work and future earnings. In fact, a multitude of questions will arise as the case develops. As a well-trained and open minded vocational expert, I love to answer (and come up with) questions!

Do you have questions regarding a person’s future in the workforce?

Answers

 I’d love to find your answers!

Solid and detailed answers will describe employment related issues relevant in workers’ compensation, wrongful death, medical malpractice cases, personal injury, family law and many other areas of civil litigation.

It is important to quantify the loss, but how about going further to qualify it and define the best course of action to remedy it? Let’s characterize what is really going on by providing the facts, then finding help in the best places and describing everything in detail! Keep in mind, I pay particular attention to rehabilitation, health and safety!

Questions involve a multi-layer approach & so do Answers!

PuzzlesQs

What, Who, How? Where, Why, When?

Start with concrete observations (What):

Continue on to the specific people involved (Who):

Move to understanding (How):

Describe the locality and environmental issues (Where):

Step out on a limb of interpretation (Why):

Specify timelines and approaches that make sense  (When):

QsI know, I know, as an attorney you don’t like to ask questions that you don’t have the answer to! But you need the facts backed up by an expert, like me!

Qs
Fire Away!

These are randomly generated great questions! Remember, your answer will be multi-layered!

What occupation(s) is this person qualified to do?

Is this person employable? Where?

What is the outlook for certain occupations over the next 5 years? 10 years? etc.

What are transferable skills and how are they applied?

What are this person’s key transferable skills? How in demand are they?

How many jobs has this person held? Is that “normal”?

What did the person’s job involve? (Is there a need for job description and/or job analysis?)

What was the real reason for termination? Why did it happen?

Why has the worker not found employment?

Is the job search reasonable and effective? How can you be sure?

Is the quality of the job search material (eg: resume and cover letter) effective? How?

Are there specific criteria when targeting key occupations? If so, what are they?

How long does a job search take in a particular field? Why?

Why is motivation a factor in a job seeker’s vocational goal?

QsIs this person motivated to find work? How is that so?

How is a person’s employability assessed?

Are there places this person could work? How does one connect to that type of work?

Has this person sustained any career damage? How?

Are job seeking skills critical to the job search? Why?

What barriers influence this person’s hireability? employability? placeability? *Key Placement Factors*

What factors influence compensation and/or earnings?

What vocational services are available to assist with return to employment?

Why is this person underemployed? Will retraining for a different occupation help? How?

What are Soft Skills? (See Soft Skills Matrix) Does this person have many?

What motivates this person to work? (See Motivational Assessments)

What is the wage range for a particular occupation (or field/grouping of jobs?)

What are the statistics reporting in on this particular job?

What resources are useful for a job seeker?

Is the work physical demanding? How so?

Are there ergonomic issues in regards to this work? What are they?

What assistive technology or work tools would allow the work to be performed differently?

Qs

What markets employ this vocation? Is it viable?

What is the effect on smoking and pain? Or to overall injury recovery? Why?

Is age discrimination occurring? Why is this?

Is this person’s mobility in the workforce good or not good? Why?

What accommodations are available for work? How are they accessed?

What are the job requirements or essential functions of this work?

Does the work environment affect productivity? How?

What does this person’s future employment outlook look like?

Has this person sustained any career damage? How?

What is this person’s earning capacity? How is that calculated?

Qs

Just one more question…

Why not call me ~ Amy ~ at 515-282-7753 for help? 

FREEFree 15 minute consultation offering!

If I could help you help your clients, please let me know!

If you have questions on a case that have anything to do with work and serious disability, you need solid and detailed information to base your decisions!

Additionally, life care planning that encompasses forensic vocational rehabilitation consulting is a unique concept. It offers you, the judge and jury with information guaranteed to help your litigated case move along. 

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

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Florida…Recovery Mode is A Lot Like Rehabilitation

Published on: Sep 14, 2017 We had a nice Florida trip early August 2017…finally made it! Initially, the plan was for Randy and me, our son Nick, his friend Jolee (who’s getting married to Jeremy this Saturday!); our daughter Arin and her friend Kassidy to make the trip in June 2017. But due to a hole in the plane that didn’t happen!  Instead (only due to timing issues), we along with Arin, our son Jake, and their mutual friend Bridget made it!

Arin  Presenting the Ocean View!

We stayed some of the time with my mom Ann and met her brand new husband Dave (he’s a keeper!!) who live in Sebring, went out one night with my sister Janice who lives in and works for the City of Ft. Lauderdale . Janice was recovering from a workers’ compensation related injury (neck strain) due to getting rear ended while on duty driving a city vehicle by a distracted tourist driving who was on his phone…read more below).

Wee splashed in to the ocean a few times (absolutely gorgeous mixture of colors); saw an alligator in the Everglades (Jake eyed him from the road!); helped complete an over 500 piece puzzle (which was nonstop until completion!); visited my brother Steven’s cemetery plot and where my dad‘s ashes are buried near Orlando….and witnessed a rainbow from above on the plane ride home! 

No Stopping Until the Last Piece!  

So, think (or don’t because it was too much…) of the mileage we put on in this beautiful state over the days as Randy drove us all around in a not very big SUV…from Orlando to Sebring, from Sebring to Ft. Lauderdale, from Ft. Lauderdale down to the Everglades, through a lot of the Everglades and back to Ft. Lauderdale, from Ft Lauderdale back to Sebring; from Sebring to Winter Haven for a stop at the cemetery and back to the airport in Orlando. And of course lots of driving in between. Thanks for chauffeuring Mr. B, as I was “assigned” the back seat most of the time so one of the kids could co-pilot.

My father’s ashes are buried here with my brother….well not all dad’s ashes. Janice has a beautiful urn at her home filled to the rim! 

It was incredible to view a rainbow from above it on the flight home.  And, come to think of it, I saw an incredible sunset on the way to Florida although one had to (if lucky enough for the window seat like me) really look behind to the West! When in the air one’s feelings can really affect the flight, as you may well know. 

Back to the worker’s compensation situation Janice went through. The person assigned to “help her” was rude, condescending and uninformed. My sister confided to me she wanted to reach through the phone and grab this workers’ compensation specialist by the neck and say…”Hey you! My neck really hurts and I’ve recently received medical treatment. I’m recuperating at home as has been discussed with my direct supervisor and will be back on the streets when I’m better.” And Janice did return to her job quickly considering the situation, but she certainly didn’t need any more stress placed on her by someone who didn’t care!

Another tidbit about our Florida trip…. (continual praying for Florida and all Floridians due to Hurricaine Irma…the stories I’ve been hearing)…I went into the ocean the first time with all my jewelry on (STUPID), but only for a short time before I realized I really wanted to go under and do some serious splashing with these two! Back on the beach as Randy was helping me remove my diamond tennis bracelet, it……it broke in half. I would have NOT nearly had a good time in Florida if the ocean had swallowed my bracelet.  Another Lesson Learned!

This week on Friday 9/15/17, I celebrate my company’s 18th anniversary in business….and my birthday too! I hope you enjoy reading my blog. And I want you to know I truly care about my family, my clients, and the work I perform. I would never be purposely rude to anyone and will always strive to understand any given situation in order to help in any way I can.

In recovery mode from Irma, Florida will be going through a lot of rehabilitation. Thank God my mom, Dave, sister Janice, good friend Bryan and all others who went through HE double toothpicks recently are safe. I hope recovery mode and your state’s rehabilitation is timely.  My mom didn’t have power at her house for several days and it was hot and miserable! I wish I could’ve tossed her an extension cord from my house! Hang in there during rehabilitation!

Please let me know if you are interested to learn how I can help you help your clients.  Give me a call at 515-282-7753 or email vocresources@gmail.com and let me know about your legal case. 

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

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Employability, Hireability and Placeability ~ Got Ability? Need Proof?

To continue on with my post on getting level during divorce, I’m offering working definitions of 3 of my favorite ability descriptors which are Employability, Hireability and Placeability.

Although my vocational assessment and evaluation assignments span a variety of jurisdictions and are designed to meet referral needs, the concepts of Employability, Hireability and Placeability remain constructively intact.

~ Employability ~ Can try to prove

employabilitySimply put, employability is about being capable of getting and keeping fulfilling work. It refers to the capacity to function in a job and to be able to move between jobs the person could actually do considering personal circumstances. There may be an overlay of disability, physical or mental limitations, or specific work-life needs that come into play when determining a person’s employability.

Employability depends on the knowledge, skills and abilities and how these assets are used within the context which work is performed or is sought. To evaluate employability, it helps to break the concept into manageable pieces. I take a look at the skills, attitudes and behaviors the person has developed through their work background and a variety of other life experiences.

To know if those skills, attitudes and behaviors are in demand, I then research and survey the person’s labor market to identify jobs that match the person’s background and capacities.

It works best for me to highlight the person’s skills and capacities in the best possible light! Skills are transferable regardless of disability, especially with creative adaptation and accommodation.

In addition, if there are avenues to match the person more closely with jobs (eg: short term training), further vocational research is performed with the results offered in a helpful way.

~ Hireability ~ Cannot prove

Hireability

The term hireability is a way of describing the likelihood an individual might get hired for a job they are physically and psychologically capable of performing.

The most prevalent method of hiring is the interview, therefore, it is always helpful to view how a person presents their skills. The individual’s presentation is critiqued, job searching skills are assessed and other issues are addressed relative to the potential to attain employment in various environments.

Further, hireability is about a person’s soft skills, including their style of communication, level of self-confidence, initiative, tact, and motivation. All these elements are important to a business who has hiring needs!

Throughout my placement experiences, I find businesses look to hire individuals who are responsible, trainable, friendly and able to work on teams. Reliable transportation, good references, a neat appearance, and a pleasant personality are commonly preferred.

Throughout my placement experiences, I also understand often is not necessary to assess an individual for hireability, and to rely on the person’s natural ability to succeed without the need to administer a “test”.

~ Placeability ~ Can try to prove

Placeability is the likelihood that a person will actually access, secure and maintain work within his or her labor market, usually in a specific job or occupation. Placeability is affected by labor market conditions (outside of an individual’s control) and is partly about how in-demand the individual’s transferable skills are and how well she or he can present those skills.

The dynamics of placeability include the availability of jobs in a certain geographic area; employer attitudes and policies, the evaluee’s age and culture; and specific occupational hiring requirements. I’ve had many years of work experience placing people and there are numerous variables!

If the person has barriers to employment, for example a functional limitation that would benefit from accommodation, resources are discussed to avoid unnecessary conflicts in the person’s working world. Please realize all functional limitations are restrictions but NOT all restrictions are functional limitations!

Here’s another rather important variable: 

~ Willingness to Work ~ Can definitely prove!

I have testified to this several times. If you are a job seeker and need proof that you are validly looking for reliable work, let me know if I can help. 

Thank youThe bottom line for any business usually involves making and/or saving money! Are you doing that? If you are employed, yes you are! I thank you! And I’m sure your business thanks you too.

Need a vocational evaluation consultation? Call me 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.com

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

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“Somebody Call for An Expert?” I’ll Answer That Call!

I’ve written about my fondness for Eeyore and want you to know I’m a bit attached to Gopher as well, especially when he comes to the rescue! You’ve heard the story when Pooh eats too much honey (honey is often on Pooh’s mind) at Rabbit’s place, gets rotund, and subsequently stuck in Rabbit’s front door.

Rabbit is not happy and help is needed! Gopher recommends using dynamite, and he’s an expert with that subject, but Pooh isn’t so hot on the idea. If dynamite was needed, Gopher was ready for the rescue! I’ll answer just like Gopher but am not an expert in dynamite, I am in forensic rehabilitation consulting!

Gopher

Popping out, he exclaims “Somebody call for an expert?!” 

After thinking it through, Pooh, with assistance from his friendly team, realizes how to get unstuck. Christopher Robin recommends he patiently wait until he gets thin….and it works!, however, he still needs a good jolt to move through the door. The team is successful and Pooh ends up in a happy place…filled with honey! 

Honey! Yummy! Related image

You know this Pooh story and I hope you appreciate it! I too use my expertise to help out in complex cases. I also hope you realize that a good expert has more than expertise that you can appreciate! 

I strive to educate others in a clear manner and explain a complex  subject to a lay audience in simple terms.  It’s important for me to stand up under questioning (here’s a post on intimidation), commit to my opinion, and stay within my area of expertise. Thankfully, my background and training in Community Health Education helps!  And you know what else, a good expert like me cares. I love my career, and deeply care for my work.   

When I made an executive decision to study forensic rehabilitation counseling at George Washington University (back on April 15, 2013), I initially felt a bit overwhelmed but focused on following through with the decision, complete the course, and graduate (which I did on August 15, 2014 ). The program taught me more about courtroom testimony and issues as they relate to personal injury, medical malpractice, life care planning, marital dissolution, product liability, and catastrophic injury cases.

The GWU forensic rehab graduate certificate takes about a year and half to complete and is similar to when I committed myself….ha ha, and completed the Life Care Planning certificate program in 2011 through the University of Florida.

My goal for completing another educational program allowed me to gain valuable insight on how to function more effectively, efficiently and confidently within the legal system. Although most of the coursework is online, visiting Washington DC is always awesome!  

When labeled “a firecracker” by a classmate during our 15th class reunion, I had to look up what that meant!

Yes, I realize I can be a bit firecracker-like, mostly because I’m a bold individual and will do what I have to do to accomplish my goals. There’s plenty of satisfying work to accomplish and life constantly moves forward at a really swift pace so it’s important to not slow down. I work hard for my customers, for myself and for my family.

I believe it’s always beneficial for lawyers and experts to spend time getting to know each other. Yep, attorneys think differently than counselors. So, please let’s spend a little quality time together before we meet in a courtroom! It will truly prove beneficial. You’ll find I’m a genuine person who truly cares about serving as an expert in the field and am willing to offer my voice to help you help your client.  Give me, Amy Botkin, a call at 515-282-7753. Thank you for reading!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

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Rights of the Expert Witness ~ I’ll Take a Veggie Slice, Please

Rights of the Expert Witness

expert

I continually assess and evaluate (there I go again!) my rights, values, professionalism, and of course ethics (which I really enjoy!?!) and am hopeful to write more on these topics and my career in the field of forensic rehabilitation counseling.

As far as rights, I found this great listing online (website is referred to below), and yes I added the graphics! I agree with the following essential considerations for taking on the role of expert witness:

  1. I have the right to be paid for my work.  Dream of Getting Paid
  2. I have the right to be prepped in advance of my testimony.
  3. I have the right to ask questions about the case.
  4. I have the right to work for either side, without fear of retribution.
  5. I have the right to change my opinion from previous testimony, as long as my opinion is evolving (based on new information, science and/or experience) rather than revolving (based on which side I’m working for). 
  6. I have the right to say “I don’t know”, if in fact, I don’t know. Just because I’m the expert doesn’t mean I have all the answers. I am clearly okay to say “I’m sorry, that’s outside my scope of practice”.
  7. I have the right to solicit objective feedback about my testimony from  the attorney who has called (and of course, they have the right to  decline to give it).
  8. I have the right to set limits with counsel about the scope of my testimony. 
  9. I have the right to disagree with another expert’s practices or  conclusions, even when I perceive that expert to be: a.) more educated;  b.) more famous; or c.) more experienced. 
  10. I have the right to disregard the initial instinct to view opposing counsel’s expert as the enemy, but instead recognize everyone’s role in the process and share pizza and a bottle of wine with that expert after trial is over.

Pizza

 Truly, It’s All Good Work!

I am glad my career continually evolves! I accept responsibility when providing forensic vocational services to be clear, truthful and comprehensive in my evaluation and report products, and in my role as an expert witness. Thank you for reading!

Please contact me Amy Botkin for more information ~ 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.com

I’ll take a veggie slice and a glass of Chardonnay please. You?

Source for Rights: http://www.forensichealth.com/2011/07/13/10-things-the-fho-expert-witness-bill-of-rights/

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

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Medical Practice and Procedures…It Happens, Things Go Wrong. Need Help with a MedMal case?

Time for a health update blog…a personal one I didn’t really want to write  with a mix of questions and a story about medical practice and procedures. The point here, my attorney reader, is I want you to think about me, as a forensic rehabilitation consultant, and how I can help you help your client!

Randy’s heart took a detour late last summer, 2017 when the ticker was running really fast.  Randy doesn’t participate in races (that I’m aware of….I’m the competitive one!), but his heart sure was! He does however donate blood on a regular basis. In fact, he was donating early on a Saturday morning (he’s donated 14 gallons according to the sticker on our front door!) when the nurse at the blood center told Randy she thought his pulse was “strange.” His precious blood was still drawn (double reds)!  

Randy is a popular Type A- donor.  

Questioning here ??? Should the nurse have continued with the blood draw knowing the pulse was “strange?” Well, she did! Luckily, no harm done. When Randy got home (rode his bike…at what speed I don’t know! to/from blood donation which is common for him!), I took his pulse and in fact, it truly was “not right”.

A couple days later, he had a doctor appointment (I scheduled it out of wifely concern); and sure enough, we got tachycardia…going 144 bpm. This means a cardiologist is needed. BTW, thank you to the nurse at the blood center for catching this.

Following an array of testing, diagnostic procedures, and preparations, he received an ablation early November 2017. Thank God it worked! Randy’s back down to a regular beating heart and a normal pulse (his BP was never a concern.) His cardiologist did an excellent job and Randy was back riding his bike in a short period of time. He wasn’t happy to be told not to! In fact, I think he disobeyed doctor’s orders one day.

We expect our doctor to always be right. We expect our nurse to always be right. We expect all our health care providers to always be right. We in fact, expect our bodies’ to become “right” whenever we receive treatment in the medical field.

Image result for rightBut things can go wrong and a patient can become injured during the course of treatment. That’s why we have attorneys to help, right!?! And yes, we expect our attorney to always be right (ha, ha, another blog topic!)

“Dr. NeverWrong”, the cardiologist who performed the ablation on my husband’s heart has this nickname! Nurse Charlie, one of Randy’excellent RN while hospitalized told me! Charlie told me he has worked with this cardiologist who has quite a fan base (being only one of few docs in town that I’m aware of who perform ablations).  Because the doctor was humble, gracious, and ever so respectful, I’m sure he would not want to be called  Dr. NeverWrong! Can you guess who I’m referring to? What? Attorneys don’t guess!  

Recently, I was involved in a medical situation which could be worthy of a claim. How do you help your clients decide whether to file a claim? If there’s been harm done? Here’s the abbreviated personal story.

When preparing for a mammogram last October 2017 (actually sitting quietly in a 1/2 gown which was heated!) and waiting for the machine set up, I informed the technician of an unusual skin issue I was experiencing thinking it could be poison ivy or something. I’ve had my share of poison ivy issues, even a four day hospitalization for a severe case in the past (contacted through an outdoor camp fire…..watch out!…it was horrible.) The technician dismissed my concern and we went ahead with the mammogram (I truly love big machines, especially cranes), yet this large machine is not one of my favorites. And even more so following what I experienced.

Anyway, to not go into detail  uggh ; [   I ended up with a severe spreading skin condition that lasted too long. I was absolutely miserable. Going to the ER once on a Sunday and urgent care twice during the weeks that followed was no fund. And I went because I couldn’t stand the physical and emotional toil…and my doctor’s office wasn’t open at the time of my needs!  Not until I went back to my personal MD to finally get the correct diagnosis; and a prescription did I feel a little better.  

But the prescription did NOT help and the condition worsened. I literally had to just wait this one out…..and deal over time with the largest organ in our system: the skin. I was so distraught I even sought mental health care. I’m okay now, thank you! Whew!

I didn’t file a claim, should’ve/could’ve I? The time, energy, money and definitely my mental health was compromised and consumed in a fashion that I certainly didn’t chose. The only time I have filed a legal claim was when my parents did against the railroad for their negligence leading to my car/train collision and subsequent injuries, hospitalization and rehabilitation (there’s much to this personal story.)

I think the key into what makes or doesn’t make a person seek a lawyer when they think they’ve been wronged has to do with respect (or lack of) by a medical provider. Of course, everyone makes mistakes. But negligence, followed by covering up issues and not telling the truth is where the wrongs and not the rights come in to play.  That’s not where I come in just yet, that’s where you, the attorney is on the field. I enter the game by sorting out what the plaintiff needs and the costs of those needs.

If you need a life care plan for a client who has filed a medical malpractice claim, please contact me.  Following a needs assessment and subsequent life care plan, my recommendations are grounded in rehabilitation. I’m not saying I’m always right myself.  But I will tell you I care and I will do what I can do to help you help your client.Image result for right

Please don’t contact me if you will act more like the red devil lawyer on the left…..as I’m not interested in helping. If you are however a good attorney like the white angel on the right who truly cares about your clients, contact me!  

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

 

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Balance Your Case With Your Client’s Real Story

(Original post May 2016)

In her teen days my sister Janice (the Floridian) was quite adept at gymnastics, particularly on the balance beam where she made great use of her balancing skills. When Janice moved on to college, dad cut up the balance beam for a new use as exit steps from a sliding glass door to the back patio!

Balance BeamDad constructed a balance beam and re-purposed it as well!

Balancing is involved in many areas of day-to-day living and is critical to an abundant life. People balance tires, bank accounts, relationships, priorities and work….you get the idea. Finding balance is an ongoing lifetime project. I’ve heard the comment that it’s good to fall / fail because it means you were trying. If you think about your success, you will be successful. If you think about your falls or your failures, you’ll learn to improve.

My dad’s balance had not been good lately, although he was working on improving it. He moved continuously during each day, but a stroke and a fall down steps lead to no return to life on earth. Dad died a week after he turned 83 in the morning on 5/5/16. I’ve blogged about Death as Part of Living, and can now fully realize one has to die from many things in order to move through life and live fully….and there’s always a story to tell.

Highway BalanceRichard R. Prochnow

4/26/33 – 5/5/16

As my dad aged, he never stopped working hard and to his best ability. There was a balance in how he lived his life, and I’ll never stop learning from him! I can calm my mind and simply hear his voice when he called on the phone….“Hi Amy, this is your dad.” [Like I didn’t know!] Then he’d talk about what was happening! And it was real, interesting and well-balanced for the soul.

In whatever situation you’re in, keep on practicing finding balance, and you’ll find a way to not fall; or a way to increase your sense of balance at its core. You may lose direction, or momentarily become blinded, but you’ll find your way again. Trust yourself. Just like my dad did driving thousands if not millions of miles on the road traveling to participate in the world around him.

On a lighter side (yes, I cried but I want you to think about your own life with no tears involved), as part of my personal story, I remember an incident a long time ago while I was working as a banquet server for a hotel…walking into the room full of diners with a large tray of full drinking glasses (tea/water)….well, never mind. Let’s say there was an imbalance that could’ve been disastrous!

Spilled WaterI learned to readjust the next tray and focus on my goal…..just to get the glasses on the table safely without spilling!

We balance our bodies in many, many ways. Balancing skills make use of poses and states of mind to focus attention on work, yoga, aerobics, tabata, healing touch, hiking, golfing, bike riding…being with the person you love. You get the drift, physical activity that involves any number of exercise moves or mental positions.

Yes, simply thinking with a sense of balance is very, very good and helps avoid failure (and falling). Jurists use a balancing test to weigh the importance of multiple factors in a legal case. If you want to highlight these factors, I am more than ready to help you bring a balanced case to court.

This is the Chinese symbol for Balance! When I look at it, it makes sense! Because my work is my life calling and I continuously learn and practice balancing, I will help you help your client. Call me at 515-282-7753 to educate me on your case. A vocational evaluation or a life care plan may provide just the balance you were looking to tell your client’s real story.

P.S. At times I am asked to simply evaluate a specific aspect of a case. Or my opinion on what someone else has already reported. Even how I feel about various aspects of a person’s capacity to succeed….. Don’t hesitate to call me : )

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

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Seen The Reasonable Person Lately? I Keep Looking Every Day!

This is my response to a discussion question while attending GWU awhile back:  

The term “reasonable man”…actually “reasonable person” is a legal expression used in both criminal and tort law. It refers to a theoretical person in society who shows average judgment, skill or care in his or her conduct. The reasonable person standard is the basis for comparison when deciding issues of liability in civil or criminal cases involving negligence. 

In the same circumstances, how would an average person have behaved?

In my personal opinion, who is average? When I think about who may be “average” in our society, it’s difficult to see through the many beautiful layers of culture but I suppose there truly are average people among us. I would think people do not want to be seen as “average”.  

Jane Doe and Joe Blow are boring. They have no emotions! No feelings! Nothing but going with the flow of their life and not messing up or doing stupid things. It’s hard for me to define the average person because I have probably never met one.

I think it’d be very hard to find one boring/I mean average person, let alone 12 which makes me curious of the jury formation process. I didn’t make it through, although I’ve only been summoned once and I would love to be on a jury. Speaking of, have you seen the play production 12 Angry Jurors? When Nick (my oldest son) was at North High a few years back, he was involved in the play and I’ve also seen it at the Stoner Theater with Richard Thomas as the lead. It’s a great production and makes you think about doubt!

Yet, our legal system compares actions of people and makes a decision based on the factors involved whether or not a reasonable person would or would not do the same thing. Using this standard can lead to strange outcomes. I found a Brigham Young Law Review titled Better Off with the Reasonable Man Dead. It’s kinda funny! It can be found at http://www.law2.byu.edu/lawreview4/archives/1992/2/aus.pdf

In part it reads: The Reasonable Man first appeared in the law (Did he evolve? Was he created?) in the 1837 case of Vaughan V Menlove. The defendant’s haystack caught fire due to poor ventilation. The defendant had been warned on numerous occasions that this would happen if he left the haystack. The defendant argued he had used his best judgment and did not foresee a risk of fire. The court held his best judgment was not enough. He was to be judged by the standard of a reasonable man.

The Reasonable Man has had many first names: Prudent, Ordinary, Typical, Ideal, Average, Right Minded…. He has qualities of a good citizen, an ordinary chap. On the other hand, others say he is inadequate, makes mistakes, is selfish and afraid. He does typical things (takes out the garbage, opens doors for others, etc.) he doesn’t do atypical things (like parking his car on the freeway to scrape a small blob of bird poop off his windshield.)

Image result for bird poop on windshield

A BIG blob!

The Reasonable Man is shy. He doesn’t want to talk about himself, but his best friends (judges and law professors) are happy to talk about him. And talk about him a lot!

The reasonable person adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. George Bernard Shaw. 

I’m going to look for a Reasonable Person or two in my town (or in the courtroom) and see what transpires and why it may be that s/he is average…..a common; or on the flip side I’ll also look for the Unreasonable Person who is above average, maybe a bit wild and adventurous. No doubt in my mind this will be fun!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

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Cross Examine & Win Em Over!

An attorney who excels at cross examining an expert witness is thoroughly knowledgeable of the case. Think of the volume of information the attorney needs to absorb. All data that comes into the case has to be analyzed.

Using intuition and instinct to discover weak points in the witness’ presentation, the attorney formulates and asks clear questions to elicit precise information in a fair and calm manner. This requires patience and and self-control, especially if you’re working on the spot!

I’ve been a vocational expert witness during workers’ compensation court proceedings about 12 times over the last 16 years. I have served in courtrooms (mostly conference rooms with a deputy commissioner presiding) with up to eight people present.  For a copy of my most recent litigation history, please inquire.

It’s important to be familiar with rough courtroom conditions, especially when on the stand.

I’ve experienced verbal assaults on my work, my credentials, my vocation, and even my personality by the opposing attorney. I learned a lot from prior mistakes but even more from recent successes.

I was the primary job placement specialist in my first court appearance many moons ago. The opposing attorney stabbed my body language…in an erroneous and made up way. I denied it and because there was nothing to see because human bodies speak for themselves, he undermined his credibility not mine. And I remember that.

A recent court case involved typical cross examination, starting out with repeating basic questions to get different responses from me…then the pressure. I used first-hand knowledge and communication skills to respond to his questions, remaining true to my convictions while expressing strong belief in my work.

Hopefully I revealed to everyone in the room that being confident, calm and polite is a respectful way to answer difficult questions (even personal attacks). The judge on this case was newly appointed. I don’t know the decision nor have I reviewed the transcripts. These help to some degree.

My goal as an expert witness is to win over the people in the courtroom.

To prepare for cross, I think of all the factors that may arise on a case and memorize 5 to 7 main issues or circumstances, paying attention to what is most likely the heart of the matter, commonly being extent of occupational disability. I realize the cross examiner will try very hard to prove his or her theory of the case, while devaluing mine.

The opposing attorney wants to discredit me, and will piece away at any potential weakness in what I said or reported.

I rely on my expertise, research on disability and rehabilitation, objective evidence, direct placement experiences, the principles of ergonomics, and the provision of reasonable accommodation to help determine an individual’s work potential.

I understand how worker profile changes may impact access to the labor market and wage earning capacity. I can respond creatively by highlighting the constructive and favorable strengths of how my work brings successful results.

I educate everyone in the courtroom about the scope of my practice and how it works when the individual agrees with my approach. Most importantly, I focus on matching people within their own world of work.

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

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