Hands-Free Does Not Mean Safe

phoneHave you ever watched the television show “Mythbusters?” It is a great series where science is used to test assumptions and old wives’ tales like these. 

My favorite is that a penny dropped off the side of the Empire State Building will not kill someone, regardless of what you’ve heard your whole life. I used to wonder if there were little craters in New York where people dropped stuff off of buildings. Turns out I wondered for no reason.

I have a myth to bust as well. … No matter what you believe, using a hands-free cell phone is not a safe alternative.

According to the Insurance Journal: “More than 30 studies show hands-free devices are no safer than handheld as the brain remains distracted by the cell phone conversation, according to the safety group. Of the poll participants who admitted to using hands-free devices, 70 percent said they do so for safety reasons.”

Funny thing is I wrote about this same issue one year ago this week, but the myth persists.

The only way to be safe behind the wheel is to pay attention. Period.

Judge Bashes AIG for Lying, Cheating

AIGDo you ever wonder why I say you need someone to help you when an insurance company is involved? Well maybe this headline from this week’s Boston Globe will help explain:

“AIG hid evidence to avoid settlement, judge rules”

American International Group (AIG) is not a minor company. According to Wikipedia, AIG has 63,000 employees, operates in more than 130 countries, and is capitalized for more than $73 billion.

The Boston judge wrote that AIG used “deliberate or callously indifferent acts designed to conceal the truth, improperly skew the legal system, and deprive (the victim) of fair compensation for their injuries.”

The victim is Odin Anderson who was hit by a bus in downtown Boston in 1998. Anderson survived, but was never the same again.

AIG did what insurance companies always do, they denied, delayed and defended. It wasn’t until 2003 that the case ended up in court, where a jury awarded Anderson $2.2 million. … Which the insurance company appealed, and the appeals court agreed with the jury and even upped the award to $3.6 million.

It was after the appeal that Anderson’s attorneys filed a complaint against AIG’s defense. It is that complaint the judge ruled on this week, awarding Anderson an additional $7 million.

The truth is it would have cost AIG less money if it had just done what it was supposed to from the beginning. But it didn’t.

According to the story in the Boston Globe, the judge wrote that “Lawyers for the company made up facts and persuaded the bus driver who struck (the victim) to change his account of what happened.”

The insurance giant lied and cheated to avoid paying what it owed. Remember, this is the same company that was “too big to fail” and was bailed out by the American taxpayer even though it was paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to the people who plunged the country into financial crisis.

Well, now you know where they got the money for the bonuses. From guys like Anderson.

And now you know why you should always have an attorney on your side when dealing with an insurance company.

Like I always say, if insurance companies just did what they were supposed to do, I’d be out of business.

Drive Sober on St. Patrick’s Day

Kiss meIt is St. Patrick’s Day and for many people that means it is time to party hard. Well, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging the public to celebrate responsibly and never drive drunk. According to the agency’s latest fatality data, 105 lives were lost in drunk driving crashes on this holiday in 2012.

The agency offers the following safety tips if your plans include drinking as part of your celebration:

  • Before the celebrations begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
  • Designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home, before drinking.
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.
  • If available, use your community’s sober ride program.
  • If you are walking home be sure to have a sober friend walk with you.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police. You could save a life.
  • And remember, if you know people who are about to drive a vehicle or motorcycle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
  • If you are hosting a party:

If you are hosting a party, the NHTSA makes these suggestions:

  • Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Stop serving alcohol a few hours before the end of the party and begin serving coffee and dessert.
  • Keep the phone number of local cab companies on hand, take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk and get them a cab ride home.
  • Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in a drunk-driving crash.
  • If an underage person drinks and drives, parents may be held liable for any damage, injury or death caused by the underage driver.
  • Likewise, parents or other adults who provide alcohol to, or host a party where alcohol is available to, those under age 21 could face jail time.

NOTE: NHTSA statistical data define the St. Patrick’s Day holiday as 6 a.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18.

For information on NHTSA’s “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving Campaign” please visit NHTSA.gov, view the agency’s Facebook page, or follow the discussion on Twitter at Twitter.com/@buzzeddriving.

Don’t Become A Bent Nail

bent nails“When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

That famous quote has been attributed to many, including psychologist Abraham Maslow and financier Bernard Baruch. I am not sure who said it first, but whoever it was may have been watching some lawyer’s commercials.

I understand why so many lawyers use the hammer imagery to try and drum up business. Hammers are strong and quick and … well, that’s about it. Some lawyers will use the phrase “strong arm” for the same reasons.

The problem is that “strong and quick” is just one approach, and it can often be the wrong approach for a particular case. Clients come with a variety of problems that require an attorney willing to do two things not often associated with a strong arm holding a hammer: Put in extra time and be flexible.

Early in my career, I followed the lead of my industry. I did loud and obnoxious advertising, yelling that I could single-handedly beat more money out of insurance companies. But eventually I realized that trying to yell louder than the other guy didn’t really do any good for my clients.

Today, the team I’ve put together consistently wins larger settlements for our clients the old-fashioned way … by working harder while my colleagues practice yelling.

If you need someone to protect your rights against the big insurance companies, I hope you pick Weinstein Law. But if you don’t, at least find an attorney who is more than a one-trick pony. You don’t want to end up a bent nail.

E-cigarettes Can Still Be A Danger To Others

e smokesI am not a smoker and I never have been. But I have seen enough people jonesing for a cigarette that I think I understand the hold nicotine has on some people.

So it doesn’t surprise me at all that electronic cigarettes — or e-cigarettes — have become so popular. It eliminates that pesky second-hand smoke that bothers so many people. It is a vice which hurts no one but the person using the e-cigarette.

But wait .. that’s not exactly true.

According to a story in The Safety Report, calls to poison control centers due to e-cigarettes are on the increase.

“Nationally, poison control centers have seen a 161% increase in calls from people with concerns about these devices. With sales of e-cigarettes doubling to $1.5 billion in the past year, the calls are likely to increase.”

Many of these calls are because young children have gotten hold of an e-cigarette. Part of the problem is that the nicotine in the e-cigarette cartridge is in liquid form and can be easily absorbed through the skin.

“Accidental exposure by children to e-cigarettes is a public health concern that we need to take seriously,” said LaQuandra Nesbitt, M.D., director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness in Louisville, KY. “Parents need to be aware of the potential dangers to their children.”

Please … if you are one of the many who have taken up e-cigarettes … keep them out of reach of children. Apparently there is still a danger in “second-hand e-smoke.”

Why I Am The Social Media Attorney

Here’s a secret: A lot of attorneys don’t like social media.

It’s true. The legal industry isn’t a big fan of outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and big law firms are particularly afraid of going social

In a recent blog post, Kevin O’Keefe wrote: “Despite the business studies and literature supporting the value of social to large enterprises, most large law firm leaders have chosen to opt out of learning about social, let alone use it.”

The fact O’Keefe’s excellent blog is called “Real Lawyers Have Blogs” is itself an indication of how the legal world views social media. Oh sure, law firms will have a “blog” attached to a website, but those are often nothing more than a list of press releases.

I’m a bit of a rebel on this issue. Not only do I have a blog, I have personal Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, as well as a very active Facebook Page for the law firm, Weinstein Law.  That doesn’t even count the community news site we created, Henderson County Now.

So why am I different? Three reasons:

1. I want to talk to you, not at you.

Plenty of attorneys yell at you from television sets, radios and newspaper ads, but I’m not into yelling. I like sitting around the table with my friends, drinking my unsweet tea and talking. Social media gives us the chance to strike up a conversation instead of a screamfest.

2. The new Town Square.

According to the Pew Research Center, 73 percent of all American adults online are using some sort of social media, and 71 percent of those are using Facebook. http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/12/30/social-media-update-2013/ I don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that the important debates in our community are happening on social media, and I want to be a part of the conversation.

3. I am still a little rebel.

I admit it, I have a little problem with authority. It is why I enjoy forcing insurance companies to do the right thing. And it is why, when big law firms said stay away from social media, well, I just had to check it out. And I am glad I did because that’s where I heard the voice of the community (which is why the big guys are afraid, by the way).

For those reasons (and more), I am glad to be on social media, making talking to people and making new relationships.

Hands-Free Does Not Mean Safe

phoneHave you ever watched the television show “Mythbusters?” It is a great series where science is used to test assumptions and old wives’ tales like these. 

My favorite is that a penny dropped off the side of the Empire State Building will not kill someone, regardless of what you’ve heard your whole life. I used to wonder if there were little craters in New York where people dropped stuff off of buildings. Turns out I wondered for no reason.

I have a myth to bust as well. … No matter what you believe, using a hands-free cell phone is not a safe alternative.

According to the Insurance Journal: “More than 30 studies show hands-free devices are no safer than handheld as the brain remains distracted by the cell phone conversation, according to the safety group. Of the poll participants who admitted to using hands-free devices, 70 percent said they do so for safety reasons.”

Funny thing is I wrote about this same issue one year ago this week, but the myth persists.

The only way to be safe behind the wheel is to pay attention. Period.

Judge Bashes AIG for Lying, Cheating

AIGDo you ever wonder why I say you need someone to help you when an insurance company is involved? Well maybe this headline from this week’s Boston Globe will help explain:

“AIG hid evidence to avoid settlement, judge rules”

American International Group (AIG) is not a minor company. According to Wikipedia, AIG has 63,000 employees, operates in more than 130 countries, and is capitalized for more than $73 billion.

The Boston judge wrote that AIG used “deliberate or callously indifferent acts designed to conceal the truth, improperly skew the legal system, and deprive (the victim) of fair compensation for their injuries.”

The victim is Odin Anderson who was hit by a bus in downtown Boston in 1998. Anderson survived, but was never the same again.

AIG did what insurance companies always do, they denied, delayed and defended. It wasn’t until 2003 that the case ended up in court, where a jury awarded Anderson $2.2 million. … Which the insurance company appealed, and the appeals court agreed with the jury and even upped the award to $3.6 million.

It was after the appeal that Anderson’s attorneys filed a complaint against AIG’s defense. It is that complaint the judge ruled on this week, awarding Anderson an additional $7 million.

The truth is it would have cost AIG less money if it had just done what it was supposed to from the beginning. But it didn’t.

According to the story in the Boston Globe, the judge wrote that “Lawyers for the company made up facts and persuaded the bus driver who struck (the victim) to change his account of what happened.”

The insurance giant lied and cheated to avoid paying what it owed. Remember, this is the same company that was “too big to fail” and was bailed out by the American taxpayer even though it was paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to the people who plunged the country into financial crisis.

Well, now you know where they got the money for the bonuses. From guys like Anderson.

And now you know why you should always have an attorney on your side when dealing with an insurance company.

Like I always say, if insurance companies just did what they were supposed to do, I’d be out of business.

Drive Sober on St. Patrick’s Day

Kiss meIt is St. Patrick’s Day and for many people that means it is time to party hard. Well, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging the public to celebrate responsibly and never drive drunk. According to the agency’s latest fatality data, 105 lives were lost in drunk driving crashes on this holiday in 2012.

The agency offers the following safety tips if your plans include drinking as part of your celebration:

  • Before the celebrations begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
  • Designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home, before drinking.
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.
  • If available, use your community’s sober ride program.
  • If you are walking home be sure to have a sober friend walk with you.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police. You could save a life.
  • And remember, if you know people who are about to drive a vehicle or motorcycle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
  • If you are hosting a party:

If you are hosting a party, the NHTSA makes these suggestions:

  • Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Stop serving alcohol a few hours before the end of the party and begin serving coffee and dessert.
  • Keep the phone number of local cab companies on hand, take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk and get them a cab ride home.
  • Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in a drunk-driving crash.
  • If an underage person drinks and drives, parents may be held liable for any damage, injury or death caused by the underage driver.
  • Likewise, parents or other adults who provide alcohol to, or host a party where alcohol is available to, those under age 21 could face jail time.

NOTE: NHTSA statistical data define the St. Patrick’s Day holiday as 6 a.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18.

For information on NHTSA’s “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving Campaign” please visit NHTSA.gov, view the agency’s Facebook page, or follow the discussion on Twitter at Twitter.com/@buzzeddriving.

Don’t Become A Bent Nail

bent nails“When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

That famous quote has been attributed to many, including psychologist Abraham Maslow and financier Bernard Baruch. I am not sure who said it first, but whoever it was may have been watching some lawyer’s commercials.

I understand why so many lawyers use the hammer imagery to try and drum up business. Hammers are strong and quick and … well, that’s about it. Some lawyers will use the phrase “strong arm” for the same reasons.

The problem is that “strong and quick” is just one approach, and it can often be the wrong approach for a particular case. Clients come with a variety of problems that require an attorney willing to do two things not often associated with a strong arm holding a hammer: Put in extra time and be flexible.

Early in my career, I followed the lead of my industry. I did loud and obnoxious advertising, yelling that I could single-handedly beat more money out of insurance companies. But eventually I realized that trying to yell louder than the other guy didn’t really do any good for my clients.

Today, the team I’ve put together consistently wins larger settlements for our clients the old-fashioned way … by working harder while my colleagues practice yelling.

If you need someone to protect your rights against the big insurance companies, I hope you pick Weinstein Law. But if you don’t, at least find an attorney who is more than a one-trick pony. You don’t want to end up a bent nail.

E-cigarettes Can Still Be A Danger To Others

e smokesI am not a smoker and I never have been. But I have seen enough people jonesing for a cigarette that I think I understand the hold nicotine has on some people.

So it doesn’t surprise me at all that electronic cigarettes — or e-cigarettes — have become so popular. It eliminates that pesky second-hand smoke that bothers so many people. It is a vice which hurts no one but the person using the e-cigarette.

But wait .. that’s not exactly true.

According to a story in The Safety Report, calls to poison control centers due to e-cigarettes are on the increase.

“Nationally, poison control centers have seen a 161% increase in calls from people with concerns about these devices. With sales of e-cigarettes doubling to $1.5 billion in the past year, the calls are likely to increase.”

Many of these calls are because young children have gotten hold of an e-cigarette. Part of the problem is that the nicotine in the e-cigarette cartridge is in liquid form and can be easily absorbed through the skin.

“Accidental exposure by children to e-cigarettes is a public health concern that we need to take seriously,” said LaQuandra Nesbitt, M.D., director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness in Louisville, KY. “Parents need to be aware of the potential dangers to their children.”

Please … if you are one of the many who have taken up e-cigarettes … keep them out of reach of children. Apparently there is still a danger in “second-hand e-smoke.”

Why I Am The Social Media Attorney

Here’s a secret: A lot of attorneys don’t like social media.

It’s true. The legal industry isn’t a big fan of outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and big law firms are particularly afraid of going social

In a recent blog post, Kevin O’Keefe wrote: “Despite the business studies and literature supporting the value of social to large enterprises, most large law firm leaders have chosen to opt out of learning about social, let alone use it.”

The fact O’Keefe’s excellent blog is called “Real Lawyers Have Blogs” is itself an indication of how the legal world views social media. Oh sure, law firms will have a “blog” attached to a website, but those are often nothing more than a list of press releases.

I’m a bit of a rebel on this issue. Not only do I have a blog, I have personal Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, as well as a very active Facebook Page for the law firm, Weinstein Law.  That doesn’t even count the community news site we created, Henderson County Now.

So why am I different? Three reasons:

1. I want to talk to you, not at you.

Plenty of attorneys yell at you from television sets, radios and newspaper ads, but I’m not into yelling. I like sitting around the table with my friends, drinking my unsweet tea and talking. Social media gives us the chance to strike up a conversation instead of a screamfest.

2. The new Town Square.

According to the Pew Research Center, 73 percent of all American adults online are using some sort of social media, and 71 percent of those are using Facebook. http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/12/30/social-media-update-2013/ I don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that the important debates in our community are happening on social media, and I want to be a part of the conversation.

3. I am still a little rebel.

I admit it, I have a little problem with authority. It is why I enjoy forcing insurance companies to do the right thing. And it is why, when big law firms said stay away from social media, well, I just had to check it out. And I am glad I did because that’s where I heard the voice of the community (which is why the big guys are afraid, by the way).

For those reasons (and more), I am glad to be on social media, making talking to people and making new relationships.