West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

Black Friday as Told From the Other Side of the Cash Register

For as long as I can remember, tradition and society alike have told me it's a good idea to dash to the nearest shopping center and spend an entire 24 hours hunting blackfriday2.jpg bargains and slashed prices during the sheer madness that is the day after Thanksgiving, or, in layman's terms, Black Friday. This year, for the first time since 2010, I'll be spending the craziest shopping day of the year on the side of the cash register opposite of where I spent the past three. This is the first holiday season in quite some time for me that will not be spent working retail.

If you think shopping on Black Friday is chaotic, try being a sales associate during the insanity. I spent my retail stint (a stint that lasted considerably longer than I had originally anticipated, mind you) happily employed by Macy's, the world's biggest and best department store. Naturally a company with that sort of reputation draws an enormous crowd on Black Friday. Lines of serious shoppers eagerly awaiting the store's opening regularly formed outside the main entrances while we, the sales associates, battened down the hatches for what was sure to be a night, early morning, and day of utter chaos.

Remembering and Giving Thanks

Psalm 136 is read every year at Passover. It begins with a simple command: "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good." The Psalmist then walks through Israeli's Jay Stoneking head and shoulders.jpghistory, providing the people with a laundry list of God's mighty deeds. It's a reminder that Thanksgiving isn't theoretical or abstract. We're thankful because we remember and celebrate the good things God has done in our lives.

With that in mind, I began reviewing my year and one thing stuck out--the arrival of my granddaughter, Madelyn.

The Smell of Thanksgiving Day

Mmmmm, the aroma of turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing slowly roasting from emd blb.jpgthe crack of dawn. The scent of it really fills me with warmth and fond memories. I find myself vividly remembering all the family gatherings at my Grandparents' home.

The adults cooked and nibbled on all the side dishes for the grand feast they were preparing for the day as they watched football and visited. The children all played flag football in the yard wearing "Turkey Bowl" t-shirts. We crafted spook houses in the evening in Grandma's basement, which involved spinning around in Grandpa's office chair until you almost fell over. I remember looking out my Grandparents back bay window, watching the parachuters land in the fields behind the home as my Grandparents lived on a farm.

Why I'm Extra Thankful for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. Spending time with family, eating and drinking, and watching TV all day is pretty much my perfectlpp.jpg day, so being encouraged, if not required, to do those things is all the better. My family has done pretty much the same thing every year for Thanksgiving, and even though it's nothing fancy, it is something I look forward to each year. I truly mean it when I say that I am thankful for Thanksgiving, the food I am able to eat, and the people I am able to spend time with on that day. However, Thanksgiving now has an extra special reason for me and my family to be thankful each year.

Two years ago, in early November, my uncle was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. This is a bad diagnosis, no matter what the details, but he was told that the severity of the situation could not fully be determined until he underwent surgery. After that, they would determine the appropriate approach for chemotherapy, radiation, future surgeries, and medications to give him the best chances . The initial surgery was scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving. Everyone was nervous, but hopeful and faithful that things would work out. Unfortunately, that did not end up being the case. That same day of the surgery, the doctors informed my uncle and his family that the cancer was so bad that they did not see any way that they could help. They gave a bleak prognosis, indicating that he might not even make it until Christmas. They suggested that he go home to spend time with his family and do what he could to enjoy the time that he had left, rather than spend it in the hospital undergoing painful treatments that they felt would not make a difference in the end.

Roots

I've never really been a genealogy buff. Sure, I've always been interested in myJay Stoneking head and shoulders.jpg family roots. I remember how much I enjoyed listening to my grandmother tell stories of what it was like growing up on a small farm in Tyler County. But I never really dug deep to mine all of the nuggets of my family's history.

All that changed several years ago when my grandmother gave us a box filled with papers from my great-great grandfather, Elisha. It was a lawyer's dream--a whole assortment of deeds, contracts, and other legal papers dating back 150 years. All of them were written by hand. Many of them used old legal jargon that I had studied in law school, but had never actually seen in my practice. One paper in particular caught my eye. It was a handwritten summons from 1863. Near the bottom, it proudly announced that it was issued in "the first year of the state." It was thoroughly enjoyable making this journey through the past.

People and Their Pets: A Look at the Furry Dodds

Maybe you have a pet or are considering getting a pet. Perhaps you prefer a dog, cat, fish, hamster or have some other preference. Whatever your choice may be, itemd blb.jpg is believed that pets can provide therapeutic and health benefits in addition to endless years of joy.

Pets are not easy and they require a lot of work. I, myself said, "I would never have a puppy again." Puppies are pretty tough, but guess what? I have a new erin1.jpgpup. And, here he is.....

Three Ways Democrats Lost West Virginia (and Three Ways to Find it Again)

Two weeks ago, for the first time in nearly a century, the people of West Virginia CHRIS_REGAN2.jpgelected Republican majorities to both chambers of the legislature. While Republicans expected gains in the off-year election, the results exceeded their wildest expectations. The resounding defeat of Democrats, some who did not even feel threatened enough to run substantial campaigns, made the election in our state a national story. One Washington D.C. newspaper even called West Virginia's shift a "permanent political realignment" in Appalachia.

How could this happen? How could a state that had elected Democratic majorities since the 1920s shift so far in the other direction in one mountain-moving election?

The Myth of Litigation-Driven "Defensive Medicine"

Following a wave of recent political efforts undertaken by insurance companies gcb.jpgand healthcare providers, numerous states enacted harsh limitations on a victim's ability to seek compensation in the event that they were harmed by the malpractice of a doctor or hospital. The nature of these limitations is unique to the medical field and many members of the public would be surprised to find out just how severe these restrictions are. In many cases, these restrictions are so burdensome that it has become very difficult for victims of medical malpractice to seek justice for their injuries.

One of the arguments advanced by the proponents of these limitations is known as the "defensive medicine" argument. The argument asserts that because doctors are worried about getting sued, they order otherwise unnecessary and costly tests just to protect themselves from a lawsuit. The argument goes that this type of "defensive medicine" drives up costs for everybody and if only doctors and hospitals could be protected from the consequences of their negligence, these costs would go down. However, the link between lawsuits and defensive medicine now appears to be a myth.

Living with a Senior Dog and the Importance of Finding Homes for Senior Dogs in Shelters

On November 6, 2000, my life was forever changed for the better when I brought Michelle with door.jpghome a little fur ball that I had found two days earlier at a pet supply store where the local animal shelter had brought several puppies hoping to find them homes. It was love at first sight when this little white and black fur ball that fit in the palm of my hand climbed onto my lap. Although my heart said, "Take this puppy home now," I wanted to take a day or two and make sure I was ready for the responsibility of becoming a puppy parent. My friend who was with me at the time, however, knew that the puppy who would come to be known as Cassie, was meant to be with me and snuck back and paid the adoption fee so that Cassie would be waiting for me when I accepted what my friend and I already knew: I was becoming a puppy parent. When I went to the shelter the following day to say I wanted the puppy, I learned she was already mine and would be permitted to come home with me the following day.

Cassie and I have been through a lot together over the past 14 years. She has saved my life in more ways than one. The energetic, little puppy who grew up and learned how to let herself out the front storm door if I forgot to lock it and make her rounds through the neighborhood, calmed significantly as she aged. By the time she was three, no leash was needed as Cassie would rarely leave my side. Until recently, all I would have to do is make a noise and she was right back by my side if she strayed too far.

World Prematurity Day

November 17, 2014 marks the 4th worldwide awareness day for prematurity. "World Prematurity Day" is a global movement to raise awareness aboutstacy's blog2.jpg prematurity highlighting the burden of preterm birth, informing on simple, proven cost-effective solutions and invoking compassion for families who have experienced preterm birth." Most people probably don't even know that such a day exists, but if you are the mother of a preemie, undoubtedly that day sparks many emotions for you. For some parents of preemies, it is a day that you thank God for the blessing of your sweet baby, who overcame the odds and survived her premature birth. For other mothers, it reminds them of dark days spent in the NICU with their teeny tiny baby, almost unrecognizable from all of the tubes and wires that were keeping her alive, feeding her, breathing for her. For some mothers, it's a reminder of the day you gave birth to the baby you prayed for and who grew inside of you, yet were unable to hold and hug when she was born. A reminder of days that turned into weeks, and weeks into months for some women who spent nights praying and begging God that her child would get to one day make it home to see the room she prepared for her, or meet her brothers and sisters anxiously awaiting her arrival. Hopefully for many of those moms that story ended happily, and those sweet, prematurely born babies are now thriving and healthy. And because of your struggles, the days with your child are fuller and you are cherishing hugging and kissing those sweet faces that you stared at through a glass crib for so long. Unfortunately, the stories don't always end happily, and for some mothers, this is just another day to be reminded of the loss of their precious baby who got her wings too soon. A day that their heart aches, and they are reminded of the piece of them that was lost.

If you are one of the fortunate people who have never given November 17th a second thought these past few years, then hopefully after reading this you will. Premature birth is the leading cause of death for newborns. Every year 15 million babies are born prematurely. Statistically, that is one in ten babies. A pregnancy is 40 weeks long. Doctors consider a baby full term when the mother reaches 37 weeks of pregnancy. Therefore, any baby born before 37 weeks is considered premature by the medical definition. Most doctors define the age of viability as 24 weeks. In many hospitals, 24 weeks is the cutoff point for when doctors will use intensive medical intervention to attempt to save the life of a baby born prematurely. In the hands of experienced specialists, some babies born slightly earlier may have a chance of survival. The earliest baby to have ever survived a premature birth was born at 21 weeks 5 days. The likelihood of survival jumps from 17 percent at 23 weeks to 39 percent at 24 weeks. By 25 weeks, the baby has a 50-50 chance of survival if born. Jumping another ten percent the next two weeks and by 28-31 weeks if born, babies have a 90-95 percent chance of survival; however, this doesn't discount the many obstacles that the baby will have to overcome. The lungs are the last major organ to develop and won't be fully developed until 34 weeks or slightly later. The biggest hurdle premature babies must overcome is breathing on their own. But any loss of oxygen to the brain for a sufficient amount of time can lead to brain damage which is why proper ventilation is essential to survival. The journey of a gestational baby is so fragile and time is of the essence.

recent verdicts & news

Winning Experience: Read about our Appellate Decisions, as well as our Verdicts and Settlements.  Recent cases: Kilgore v. Bedi , (Ohio County, West Virginia, 2013) - Medical Malpractice, Personal Injuries - nearly $900,000 Verdict -- Turkoly v. Gentile et al. , Verdict, $5,100,000.00 (Medical Malpractice, Mahoning County, Ohio, 2013) -- Cox v. Personal Service Insurance Company , (Belmont County, Ohio, 2012) - Bad Faith Insurance Practices - $10,000,000.00 Verdict;