Friedman Simon - January 2020

If You’re Hurt and No One Is Around to See It,


Do You Have a Claim?

With Simple and Actionable Goals

With every new year comes an opportunity to reinvent ourselves or start down a new path toward self-improvement. Making resolutions is a big part of many families’ New Year’s traditions, and parents often have a desire for their kids to take part in that tradition when they’re old enough. Following through on resolutions is tough, especially for young children, but with your help, they can achieve their goals. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH. You are your children’s role model for almost everything, including following through on New Year’s resolutions. So, ask yourself if you follow through on your own resolutions. When you proclaim that you will read more books or finally get a gym membership, do you actually try to do it? Your kids will assign as much importance to New Year’s resolutions as you do, so by sticking to your own commitments, you can help them stay on track too. KEEP THINGS SIMPLE AND ACHIEVABLE. When your kids are forming their resolutions, their first attempts will probably be very broad. Statements like “I want to be more kind” or “I will try to help more around the house” incorporate good values but don’t include any actionable steps. Help your kids think of tangible ways to act on those goals. For example, if they want to be tidier, a good resolution might be for them to clean their room once a week or take responsibility for one household chore every day. DON’T DO ALL THE WORK FOR THEM. While it’s important for you to help your kids formulate their goals, be sure that you aren’t taking over. If they’re ultimately responsible for their resolutions, they’ll feel more compelled to keep them. Instead, suggest different goal areas they could improve, such as home, school, or sports, and let them elaborate. When it comes to creating habits, nobody is perfect, so even if your kids falter on their goals in the middle of February, don’t worry. The important thing is that you continue to encourage them every step of the way.

Witnesses are often a key part of personal injury cases. When a car accident occurs or someone slips and falls, there are usually people around who see it all play out. That third-party testimony can be invaluable when the insurance company questions your claim. But what happens if you get hurt while no one’s around? That’s exactly what happened to one of our clients recently. An elevator door crushed her into a wall on an otherwise empty floor, causing severe injuries. She filed a premises liability claim against the building’s owners for the harm the malfunctioning automatic door had done to her. But the defendants leaned on one key issue: the fact that no one else saw the injury take place. The opposition to our client’s claim can essentially be boiled down to “How do we know this even happened?” In the absence of video or eyewitness reports, insurance companies will often try to cast doubt on a case in this way. That’s why our team knew we had to have compelling evidence on our side. Very early on in the claims process, we requested the maintenance records from the building owners and the company that maintained their elevators. We ended up having to send this request multiple times and still never received the records from the time of the accident. That entire week was mysteriously missing from their logs. Thus, we argued that a spoliation of evidence had occurred. The records pertaining to the elevator in question at the time of the accident had either been discarded or negligently misplaced. Either way, it was a major hole in the defendant’s case. Having achieved a far better negotiating position, we were able to win our client a favorable settlement. It just goes to show that some hurdles, like a lack of witnesses, can be overcome. Doing so takes early diligence to collect as much relevant evidence as possible. That’s the difference a hardworking legal team can make on your case.



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