Dickerson Oxton - October 2019

816-268-1960 | 913-428-8220 www.dickersonoxton.com

OCT 2019






By the time you receive this newsletter, my kids will be gearing up for what is probably their favorite holiday. Between dressing up as their most beloved characters and getting a free pass on eating sugar, it’s easy to see why Heidi and Ian love Halloween so much. Still, there are those who want to take this fun- filled holiday a little too far. As you may be aware, a petition has been making the rounds to get Halloween moved to the last Saturday of October from here on out — something candy companies seem particularly interested in. Mars, Inc. even offered 1 million free Snickers chocolate bars to Americans if the measure went through. But despite the fact that these delicious candies happen to be my favorite, I have to disagree. Moving the date of Halloween would be a grave mistake. I say this both as a concerned father and a personal injury lawyer. As convenient as it may seem to have Halloween over the weekend, the truth is the risk isn’t worth it. The holiday already sees a spike in the number of kids who get hit by cars because of how many are trick-or- treating at night. But the weekend closest to Halloween is also when most adults have their own costume parties, meaning there will inevitably

be drunk drivers on the road. Making the holiday explicitly on a weekend will associate it even more with alcohol consumption and many more tragic accidents will take place. Thankfully, this change doesn’t look like it will happen, at least not in the near future. Of course, regardless of what day of the week Halloween lands on, it’s important to do all you can to keep your trick-or-treaters safe from traffic. Make sure they are visible at night even if that means using reflector tape on an otherwise dark costume. Also, have your kids look both ways and remove their masks while crossing the street. This will improve their peripheral vision and help them spot cars before it’s too late. Last but not least, keep your young kids close to you and always bring a flashlight even if you don’t plan on being out after dark.


looking forward to a fun-filled, relaxing fall with the family.

A somewhat new tradition we’ve started is heading to the Louisburg Cider Mill for Cider Fest every year. Between the corn maze, live music, kids’ activities, and, of course, fresh- baked cider doughnuts, the drive down is more than worth it. Plus, we can pick out our pumpkins right there at the mill! We usually end up getting 2–4 pumpkins a year. I’m far from what you would call an artist, but I’ve always loved carving jack-o’- lanterns. The kids look forward to helping out, and they love displaying their creations on our front porch. So, that’s our fall in a nutshell: doughnuts, pumpkins, and trick- or-treating. No matter what your traditions are, I hope you and your family have a safe and happy autumn!





"Moving the date of Halloween would be a grave mistake."


Until next time,

Safety will always be doubly on my mind with these sorts of things — the protectiveness of being a parent mixes with the very real situations I’ve encountered while representing injured families. But that said, I’m


–Tom Dickerson



Givingth WAYS INSURERS WI Slip and fall cases are probably the best-known examples of personal injury cases, right along with car accidents. This isn’t surprising given that 1 million people are hospitalized for these accidents every year. However, this doesn’t mean that every fall will be an open-and-shut case — many factors can affect the strength of your claim. WAS THERE NEGLIGENCE? A key factor in slip and fall cases is being able to prove that negligence on the part of the property owner lead to the accident. This means they ignored or failed to address possible risks or violations that a reasonable person would have taken care of. For example, if a store owner leaves a hazard like a wet floor unaddressed for long periods of time, and/or they did not routinely check for such hazards, their inaction likely contributed to your injuries. WERE YOU AT FAULT? Just because you fell on someone else’s property doesn’t mean you are blameless in the eyes of the law. If you fell while Don't Let the Dogs Out KEEP PUPS AND KIDS SAFE THIS HALLOWEEN

Thinking With YourGut THE AMAZING CONNECTION BETWEEN YOUR STOMACH AND YOUR BRAIN While it may seem strange to think about, the human stomach is truly a thing of wonder. Most humans only acknowledge its digestive processes, but the gut plays a much more influential role in our day- to-day lives than simply breaking down food for nutrient production; it is closely connected to our emotional states, as well.  Think about it. Have you ever felt butterflies before a date, intestinal pain during moments of stress, or nausea before an important presentation? Have you ever told someone to “follow their gut” before making a big decision? These physical symptoms are not a coincidence; they are known in the scientific world as the gut-brain axis . Your gut is connected to the limbic system, the part of the brain that processes emotions. The brain sends messages to all other organs in your body, so it’s not surprising it communicates with your stomach, too. What is surprising, however, is that the connection goes both ways. Just as your brain can relay information to your gut about excitement and anxiety, your gut can have a direct impact on the way you feel. According to a recent study published by the National Library of Medicine, when a person’s microbiome — the diverse population of good and bad bacteria living in the GI tract — becomes significantly altered or imbalanced, psychological or neurological issues can arise. In response to these emerging findings, dietary approaches and probiotics are being explored to see how well they can modulate a person’s microbiome and address symptoms. While research is still being conducted to determine the extent of the stomach’s influence over emotional and mental states, plenty of evidence proves the connection is real. Your stomach “talks” to you all the time, and, if you didn’t have enough reasons to pay attention to the food you eat, now you have one more thing to keep in mind. If you start thinking a bit more with your gut, your health will thank you for it!




texting or were in a prohibited area, the property owner or their insurance could argue you were at least partially responsible for your injuries. This is a concept known as comparative fault, and it can drastically affect the compensation you receive from a slip and fall claim. DID THE FALL HURT YOU? This may sound like a condescending question, but the insurance company won’t be above asking it. One of the most important factors in slip and fall cases is whether or not your injuries were the direct result of the accident. You will need to show that the harm you suffered was not inflicted prior to or after the fall. This is why keeping records of your doctor visits and pursuing a claim soon after a fall can make a huge difference for your case. As trick-or-treaters take the streets this Halloween, it’s important to remember our pets may not be as excited for the holiday. Dog attacks are unfortunately very common this time of year with many children paying the price. Whether you’re a dog owner or a parent leading your kids around the neighborhood, there are some steps you can take to keep everyone safe this Oct. 31. Even if your dog is normally extremely friendly, Halloween can change things. Strange costumes, constant visitors at the door, children grabbing at them suddenly — the whole situation can be very stress- inducing for any pet. Anxiety or perceived threats can make a dog lash out, especially if they feel trapped. To help avoid this, keep your dog away from the door. Of course, not being able to get up and check who keeps coming to the door may cause your dog even more anxiety. Often, it’s best to keep them in a quiet, separate section of the house with their favorite chew toy and a family member to keep them calm. If you plan OWNERS, DON’T LET YOUR DOG COME TO THE DOOR.

Insurers use plenty of angles to throw your slip and fall case into question — from the comparative responsibility of you and the property owner to the severity of injuries you suffered. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer in your corner can make all the difference in these not-so-simple cases.


Vegan Ooze Smoothie Inspired by ForkAndBeans.com


on keeping your dog in the backyard, make sure your fence is high enough that kids can’t stick their hands over, or at the very least, post “beware of dog” signs.

Green Smoothie Ingredients • 8 oz almond or coconut milk • 2 cups fresh spinach

• 1/2 frozen banana • 1/2 fresh avocado • 2 tbsp hemp seeds • 1 tbsp maple syrup • 1 cup ice


Before you head out trick-or-treating, it’s a good idea to talk to your kids about safety, including using proper etiquette around other people’s dogs. Let them know they should ask the owner before petting a dog, and they shouldn’t try to scare or play with them. Not only could such behavior result in a nasty bite, but your child could even be deemed to be at fault for provoking the attack. When the worst happens, you need to act quickly. Separate the dog and victim immediately and do everything you can to learn the pet’s vaccination history. Without it, a doctor will have to assume the worst and administer a painful rabies shot to the victim. Regardless, you should help the victim seek medical attention before any infections or complications occur. EVERYONE, KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN A BITE OCCURS.

Purple Smoothie Ingredients • 8 oz almond or coconut milk • 1 cup frozen blueberries • 1/2 cup fresh spinach

• 1/2 frozen banana • 2 tbsp hemp seeds • 1 tbsp maple syrup • 1 cup ice


1. In a blender, combine all ingredients. 2. Blend on high until smooth. 3. For added fun, serve in beakers and flasks with crazy straws.


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1200 Main St. Ste. 2120 Kansas City, MO 64105

816-268-1960 | 913-428-8220 www.dickersonoxton.com



Fall for the Dickersons Learn About Your Gut-Brain Axis Slip and Falls Are Far From Simple Don’t Get Bit This Halloween Take a Break Vegan Ooze Smoothie Avoid Getting Your Hands Dirty This Halloween


No-Carve Pumpkin Designs!


Jack-o’-lanterns go hand-in-hand

pumpkin. Don’t forget to add a few plastic spiders! You can also use string art to create ghostly words or images. Lay our your design with small pegs or nails and wrap the string around them to reach your desired effect. NOTHING BUT NET   You can create eerie pumpkins using fishnet stockings. Spray-paint your pumpkin if desired — just make sure the design of the stockings will stand out. Once the paint is dry, cut the legs off the stockings, slide the pumpkin inside, remove the extra fabric around the stem, and use hot glue to secure it.  COLORFUL PAINT  Painting your Halloween pumpkins gives everyone a chance to participate. Be creative by using different designs,

cutouts for silhouettes, drip paint to create a marble design, or nail polish and water to give white pumpkins a unique and vibrant look. A SPOOKY MONSTER  By adding a witch hat, wrapping a pumpkin in cheesecloth, attaching spider legs, or tying on a vampire cape, you can create a pumpkin version of the most popular Halloween monsters. Along with these accessories, you can also use paint, construction paper, and other craft materials to add the details that will make your creation pop! For more detailed directions for these pumpkin designs and more ideas, visit WomansDay.com.

with Halloween, but digging through the inside of a pumpkin is not something everyone

enjoys. If you aren’t keen on cutting open a pumpkin, here are a few no-carve ideas you can try this Halloween! HAUNTED HOUSE  Take a few pumpkins, stack them on top of each other, and create a spooky pumpkin haunted house! Then, use paint, balsa wood sheets, and hot glue to create silhouettes, ghosts, windows, and doors for a haunting effect!  CREATIVE WITH STRING  Use cotton twine and hot glue to create a web-like design on the surface of your

ADVERTISING MATERIAL: The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements. This newsletter is provided to former clients, individuals who have contacted the firm regarding representation, and individuals who have requested to be on the newsletter mailing list. This newsletter is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or direct solicitation for employment of the firm on any particular legal matter.


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