Block, Klukas, Manzella & Shell - December 2018

December 2018 815-726-9999 | www.blocklaw.com THEBKMS BULLETIN

Christmas Memories What Makes a Magical Holiday?

“MY CHILDHOOD WAS FILLED WITH GREAT HOLIDAY MEMORIES.” My childhood was filled with great holiday memories. My parents always hosted Christmas and had the whole family over to open presents and eat dinner. I cherish those memories, and I want to make sure my kids have the same kind of happy memories they can look back on. One thing I really loved as a kid was going out to the tree farm with the family. We picked out the biggest tree we could find and chopped it down ourselves. It was a real Griswold family Christmas thing — though we made sure to remember our tools! These days, we have a fake tree at our house because my wife is allergic, but Jennifer managed to find the biggest, most beautiful fake tree on the market. Each year, my job is to set up the tree, and then I get to sit down and watch Is there any day of the year more magical, or stressful, than Christmas? We like to have not one but two big family Christmases at my house. On Christmas Eve, my wife’s family comes over, and we spend the evening together. As soon as they leave, we rush around to clean up the house in time for my side of the family to come over on Christmas Day so we can do it all again. It’s a lot of cleaning and even more chaos, but it’s worth it.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” while the kids put on the ornaments. We have a ton of ornaments, and most of them were given to us by my mom. She likes to get us new ornaments every year. Her own tree must have thousands of ornaments; you can’t even tell there’s a tree under all that glitter and light! Decorating the rest of the house is more of a production for me, because I’m terrified of heights. It must be a sight for the neighbors to watch me up on that ladder trying to put up lights while Jennifer holds the ladder still. I like being Santa far more than I like decorating for his arrival. My girls are 12 and 9, and my oldest still believes in Santa, but this might be the last year for her. I can still recall when my parents told me the truth about old Saint Nick. I was in fifth grade, and it rocked me to my core. At first, all the magic of the holiday seemed to disappear. However, over time, I came to appreciate the work my parents put into making Christmas happen. The time

we get to spend with our families and the desire people have to give back to their communities are where the real magic of Christmas comes from. The holidays are a pretty magical time at the firm, too. Most of the insurance companies try to close out their files by the end of the year. This means it’s usually a good time for our clients because we’re often able to settle their cases and get them their money before the new year starts. Seeing the joy on a client’s face when they get their check after everything they’ve gone through really lights up our season. From everyone at Block, Klukas, Manzella & Shell, we wish you happy, healthy, and safe holidays.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s!

–Brya n Shell

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4 Winter Illnesses You’d Rather Avoid Know What to Look For Before They Attack

Achoo! That’s the last noise you want to hear this winter. Cold weather brings a slew of sicknesses, so be vigilant to treat these common illnesses, or better yet, avoid them altogether. THE COMMON COLD Although there is no cure, a cold is easier to treat than other illnesses. If you or a loved one has a runny nose, low-grade fever, headache, cough, nasal congestion, or sore throat, the common cold has most likely taken hold. With the help of rest and perhaps some cold medicine, like cough drops and decongestants, the cold will come and go in about a week. BRONCHIOLITIS Bronchiolitis appears most commonly in children less than a year old and is caused by other viruses. Of the many symptoms — nasal congestion, low-grade fevers, and coughing — wheezing is the one you should

be most concerned about. If your child is having difficulty breathing and is dehydrated, they may have caught a more serious strain of the virus. Most children will recover with at-home rest, but some may need to be hospitalized for more severe symptoms. INFLUENZA The flu is known for causing high fever, muscle aches and pains, nausea, and other symptoms similar to a cold. Often, the fever will last for around five days, but it can be shortened with the aid of antiviral medications. However, these medications are recommended only for children who face serious complications or hospitalization from the flu. If you want to avoid catching this, your best bet is to receive the annual flu vaccine. STREP THROAT A sore throat, headache, stomach ache, vomiting, and high fever are signs of strep.

This infection is treated with antibiotics and should be addressed soon after the first symptoms appear to prevent further complications. Children with strep throat should stay away from school and other activities until they’ve been on antibiotics for 24 hours.

MORE TO THE STORY Did a Thief Really Sue the Family He Robbed?

There’s nothing that shakes the public’s faith in the legal system quite like hearing a story where injustice is served. Take, for example, the widespread story of Terrence Dickson, a robber from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Dickson broke into a house while the family who owned it was on vacation and helped himself to their valuables. When he tried to make his way out through the garage, Dickson discovered that the automatic garage door was malfunctioning. Unable to open the garage door and horrified to discover he’d accidentally locked the door leading back into the house, Dickson was trapped in the garage for eight days. The robber survived on soda from the garage fridge and dried dog food. When the family returned home, Dickson sued for mental anguish and demanded $500,000. The jury awarded him every penny. Are you outraged by this tale? We would be too had this whole case not been completely made up. The story of Terrence Dickson can be traced back to a Stella Awards email that first began circulating in 2001. The popular chain email often ended with a call for tort reform from a made-up law firm in Ohio. In 2002, after this email gained notoriety, a reporter from Pennsylvania contacted the Bucks County prothonotary’s office and discovered they had no record of any cases involving a dog-food-eating burglar.

Despite being thoroughly debunked over 15 years ago, this story is still passed around as truth. No longer just circulated through email chains, the tall tale of Terrence Dickson is included in numerous “outrageous lawsuits” lists, many of which have been featured on the blogs of legitimate law firms! Much like how the details of reasonable lawsuits are left out to make the case seem ridiculous, it is very common for these kinds of over- the-top stories to be completely fabricated. There are extenuating circumstances that can result in a case not playing out as justly as we would like, but these are incredibly rare. Stories like those made popular by the Stella Awards often only exist to turn public opinion against the justice system and personal injury cases. This is why it’s important to fact-check before forwarding any crazy stories.

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Danger by Design Do I Have a Product Liability Case?

We buy most of the goods we use every day from the store, and we trust these goods are in safe, working condition. When this trust is betrayed and people are injured due to hazardous products, they may have grounds to file a product liability case. Here are the circumstances that you must meet in order to have such a case. YOU WERE INJURED WHILE USING A PRODUCT Let’s say you had your car up on a jack to change the oil, and the jack malfunctions, causing the car to come crashing down. Fortunately, you were not beneath the car at the time and were not hurt. While the poorly made car jack almost caused you to be crushed beneath your car, without an injury, you cannot file a claim. THE PRODUCT WAS DEFECTIVE There are a few different ways a hazardous product can be defective: • Design defect — the design of a product made the end result dangerous. • Manufacturing defect — an error during manufacturing led to the product being dangerous. • Marketing defect — dangers known to the manufacturer were not properly communicated, and instructions to avoid these dangers were not provided.

THE DEFECT WAS THE CAUSE OF YOUR INJURY If you are injured while using a defective product, you must be able to prove that your injury was caused due to the presence of the defect. For example, if you are driving a car that is known to roll over when turning corners but you were speeding at the time of the accident, there is a chance your injuries were caused by reckless driving — not by the design defect. YOU WERE USING THE PRODUCT AS INTENDED WHEN INJURED In 2014, Moises Ore filed a lawsuit after falling off a ladder and suffering permanent injuries. There was a manufacturing defect in the ladder that caused it to break while he was retrieving tires at his place of employment. Ore was awarded over $4.7 million in damages. Now, had the ladder broken when Ore was using his weight to swing the ladder around and dance to a popular song, the case may have played out differently. You must be using the product in a manner the manufacturer could reasonably expect consumers to use it in order to have a claim after an injury. Product liability cases seem like they should be open and shut, but manufactures will go to great lengths to cast doubt on your case. If you have suffered an injury due to a hazardous product, call 815- 726-9999. The team at Block, Klukas, Manzella & Shell can help you build a case and receive the compensation you are owed.

SUDOKU

BUTTERY ROASTED CHESTNUTS

INGREDIENTS

• 2 pounds fresh chestnuts, unpeeled • 2–3 sprigs rosemary • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste

• Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven to 450 F. 2. Place a large sheet of foil on a rimmed baking sheet. 3. On a large, flat workspace, place chestnuts flat side down. Using a sharp knife, carve an X on the rounded side of each chestnut. 4. In a large bowl of hot water, soak chestnuts for 1 minute. 5. Pat dry and transfer to a medium bowl. Add rosemary, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Toss to coat and transfer to baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer. Gather the edges of the foil together, leaving an opening at the top.

6. Roast until peels curl up, about 30–45 minutes. 7. Transfer to a platter and serve while hot or warm.

Inspired by Bon Appétit

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1. The Elements of a Magical Holiday 2. What Do My Symptoms Mean? The Truth About the Dog-Food-Eating Burglar 3. Product Liability Case Specifics Buttery Roasted Chestnuts 4. Antiquing in the Age of eBay Antiquing in the Age of eBay INSIDE How to Score the Best Deals

Antique stores are not as common as they used to be. Thanks to online shopping and websites like eBay, it has gotten slightly harder to find quality antique items and good deals. All too often, it seems like sellers rely on eBay and similar websites as a point of reference to price their items, even if eBay isn’t the best avenue to gauge the market. For those of us who love antiques, this can be discouraging, but don’t fret! In the era of mass-produced, low-quality home goods, antiquing is very much alive, and it is still possible to find the unique items you’re searching for. The styles of yesteryear can still be found tucked away in dusty little shops — if you’re willing to put in the work to find them! Here are a few tips for finding those treasures in the age of eBay. INSPECT THE ITEM Good, old-fashioned antiquing comes with one major perk you won’t get on eBay: You get to inspect the item personally before making a purchase. You can investigate the condition of the piece and ask questions about its authenticity. If you notice certain flaws in the item, you can bring that up when it comes time to haggle.

HAGGLE Don’t forget to bargain with the seller! Being able to negotiate the price of an item is another huge benefit of visiting an antique store in person. While some sellers can ask for a “best offer” on their online listings, many don’t, giving buyers next to no flexibility. A lot of people may be too intimidated to haggle, but when you take the time to do it, you will almost always save a little money. DO YOUR RESEARCH As a buyer, you want to have reference points regarding authenticity, condition, and price. If you find an item you’re interested in, take some time to research it further. It’s great to have your smartphone on you so that you can do some digging before extending an offer or making the purchase. The more informed you are, the greater the chance you’ll get a good deal. HAVE FUN Antiquing is about discovering hidden gems and having fun along the way. When you’re traveling or exploring an area you’ve never been to, visiting antique shops can be a wonderful experience chock-full of history and one-of-a-kind items you wouldn’t otherwise come across. When you go in with an open mind, that’s when you find the greatest treasures!

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