June 30, 2010

Health Insurance Expert Witness On U.S. Healthcare Part 1

In JRW Healthcare Article, health insurance expert witness Jon R. Wampler writes:

Both political parties continue to focus solely on the supply side of our healthcare problem. We really need to be looking at the demand side as well. Value over volume should be everyone’s chief focus, but this will require sacrifice from everyone; physicians, patients, insurance carriers and the uninsured. We simply cannot afford to give everyone everything, no matter what the President says. The numbers just don’t add up.

It is time for all Americans to take a deep breath and revisit what could be done to make our healthcare system more accessible to all, less expensive, provide wider coverage, improve health for average Americans and still allow the 1300 companies currently providing healthcare coverage to continue to do so.

The following five broad reforms might accomplish this and much more without resorting to a government sponsored plan and allowing our government to work on other serious problems like Social Security, Medicare and, of course, our huge deficit. Adding another trillion and a half dollars on an experiment in revolutionizing our existing healthcare system just doesn’t make sense right now.

First, President Obama is just the right person to lead our country in a fighting its current number one health problem . . . obesity. Our young energetic, basketball-playing President could lead our country in an effort to lose weight. Currently two-thirds of all Americans are overweight, one-third of those are obese. Our children are in even worse shape.


June 29, 2010

Sales Expert On Negotiation Part 2

In 5 Things You Have To Do Before You Start Any Negotiation, sales expert Dr. Jim Anderson writes:

To help get you properly prepared for your next sales negotiation, I’ve got some suggestions. Here are five steps that you need to take before you sit down at the negotiating table:

# Deal With “No”: Arguably the word “no” is one of the most powerful words in the English language and it can stop any sales negotiator in his / her tracks if you aren’t prepared for it. Before the negotiation starts you need to assume that the other side is going to say “no” to every proposal that you make. Knowing this, you need to decide in advance how you are going to react when they say it.

# Pick Your “Gets”: It’s a fact of life during any negotiation that you’re going to have to give in on some points. Knowing that this will happen, before the negotiation you need to make a list of what you’re going to get from the other side when you make a concession to them.

# Set The Scene: All too often it’s after a negotiation has started that a negotiator discovers that where and when the negotiation is happening is not in their best interests. Take some time before the negotiation is even scheduled to pick where and when you want it to happen – make sure that it’s easy for you to get to (and to leave) and that it works with your schedule.

For more, see theaccidentalnegotiator.com.

June 28, 2010

The Nursing Expert Witness Part 4

In The Expert Nurse Witness, Ellen K. Murphy writes:

THE ROLE OF A NURSE EXPERT

After being retained as an expert witness, the perioperative nurse should carefully review all relevant health care records. At a minimum, this includes records from the entire health episode at issue, not just those from the perioperative period. The nurse expert will want to try to get a complete picture of what happened and when.

The nurse should review all records for consistency (eg, is the anesthesia record consistent with the perioperative nurse's notes, the surgeon's operative notes, the postanesthesia care record, and the laboratory reports?). The nurse expert may find it useful to create a chronology and identify gaps where additional information is needed. The nurse should request copies of relevant facility policies from the retaining attorney and locate relevant national standards and recommended practices. He or she also may need to conduct a review of the literature published before the time of the event and consult relevant authoritative text books. If the attorney has not already done so, the nurse should consult the nurse practice act and administrative code of the board of nursing in the state where the episode occurred.


June 27, 2010

Trucking Industry Expert Witness On Truck Crashes Part 5

Trucking industry expert witness Robert R. Reed writes on Truck/tractor-trailer crashes:

4."OBC"and "GPS" - This technology is most important and provides a wealth of knowledge for reconstruction after the at-scene investigation. The information from these systems travels in real time from the truck to satellites, ground based towers or the internet and is transmitted to trucking company computers. This information can include driver communication, messages to truck, maintenance, monitoring freight, driver payroll, miles traveled, expences, trip reports, fuel stops, fuel consumption, idle time, truck position and status reports, driver activities, hours of service, "GPS" location, time and distance reports and pick up and deliver times. These technology advanced systems are invaluable to modern trucking companies for use in the management of their operations. These same systems should become part of the normal crash reconstruction process. These systems can be identified on the truck by the monitor and keyboard in the cab and special antenna that looks like "old type popcorn popper" that is usually mounted on back of cab or roof by wind deflector. Also trucking companies with out computers create this same type information in hard copy written documents.

5.Don't rush investigation, secure all information and analyze along with traditional reconstruction efforts to arrive at any causal factors. Trucking companies, truck drivers, injured parties, deceased victims and family members all deserve complete and accurate results from all investigations. * * *Footnote: This article was written to give insight and help enhance large truck crash investigations and is from personal experience in assisting police departments, prosecutors, working as an expert/consultant in civil litigation along with over 30 years in the trucking industry.

June 26, 2010

Insurance Expert To Speak At Equestrian Professional Seminar

On July 5, 2010, financial planning experts at Equestrian Professional will begin a three-part seminar series on financial planning for horse professionals. This series will focus on what horse professionals can do to create a secure financial outlook for their businesses and their own financial future.

The first seminar we will address financial recovery and stability. The speaker will be successful farm manager, Pam Saul of Breslin & Young financial planners. The second seminar in the series will focus on asset and earnings protection. The speaker will be equine insurance expert, Reed Schroeder, who will cover insurance options for horse professionals. The third and final seminar in the series will focus on building for the future - financial planning and prosperity. The speaker will be investment manger, Marc Reisman, who will discuss retirement planning and investment options for horse professionals.

If you are in the horse business, you can't afford to miss this seminar series. Equestrian Professional's seminars can be attended online via webcast or via your phone. The lecture portion is free to all horse professionals but you must register to attend.*

For more, see dressagedaily.com.

June 25, 2010

Financial Planning Experts On The Horse Business Recession Part 2

On July 5, 2010, financial planning experts at Equestrian Professional will begin a three-part seminar series on financial planning for horse professionals. This series will focus on what horse professionals can do to create a secure financial outlook for their businesses and their own financial future.

The Reactions
Many horse business owners have dipped into their retirements and savings (or maxed out their credit) in order to weather the recession. Others have made significant (and successful) changes to their businesses, but are finding that they must now adjust their business model in order to make these changes more profitable. Still others are in a state of uncertainty – the recession may have presented them with an opportunity- for example, to purchase discounted real estate or invest in a special horse. However, they find themselves reluctant to make a commitment in the current economic climate.

Whether a business has taken a direct hit or only been marginally effected - the recession has created a tumultuous business climate and currently, most horse businesses are either financially unstable or in some stage of economic recovery.

For more, see dressagedaily.com.

June 24, 2010

Sales Expert On Negotiation Part 1

In 5 Things You Have To Do Before You Start Any Negotiation, sales expert Dr. Jim Anderson writes:

To help get you properly prepared for your next sales negotiation, I’ve got some suggestions. Here are five steps that you need to take before you sit down at the negotiating table:

Create A “Want” List: How can you be successful during a negotiation if you don’t know what you want? Take the time to create a list of what you want to get out of the negotiation. Be careful here: not all wants are created the same. Make sure that you distinguish between the ones that you can’t live without and the ones that would just be nice to have.

Pick A Start And An End Point: Before you start any negotiation, you can pretty much identify the main issues that will be coming up during the negotiation. Take the time to determine what your starting offer is going to be for each of these points. Many negotiators do this step and then forget to do the next part – make up your mind as to where you are going to be willing to end up on this point.

For more, see theaccidentalnegotiator.com.

June 23, 2010

Hydrology Expert Witness On Flood Insurance Part 2

In THE PERFECT STORM: The Science Behind Subrogating Catastrophic Flood Losses, hydrology expert witness Richard Van Bruggen writes:

The National Flood Insurance Act also required the identification of all floodplain areas and established flood risk zones. This is good news for subrogation professionals because it provides a warning to landowners and potential tortfeasors that flooding could occur and that additional safeguards should be taken. Sometimes, constructive notice to a potential tortfeasor of the dangerous propensity of flooding in an area is as easy as indicating it in the property deed, legal description, or other documents relating to the property. In the earlier example involving the Subaru vehicles being flooded in Kenosha, Wisconsin, there was a great deal of disagreement as to whether or not the vehicles were actually parked on a “100-year flood plain”. There was even disagreement as to exactly what that meant. City and state records were sketchy, and the entire area had been covered in crushed gravel, further complicating the question as to whether or not a floodplain had existed. Early land deeds were pulled and anecdotal testimony from farmers in the area was successfully solicited in order to show a pattern of flooding in the area where the vehicles were stored. One farmer had kept meticulous rainfall and flood records in an old notebook going back fifty years.

June 22, 2010

Trucking Industry Expert Witness On Truck Crashes Part 4

Trucking industry expert witness Robert R. Reed writes on Truck/tractor-trailer crashes:

3. Equipment inspection - Severe accidents and fatalities warrant a complete inspection of units involved. If equipped with "ECM" modules and "ABS" modules this data should be retrieved for use in reconstruction. This can be done using truck manufacturers dealers or third parties in your area after the at-scene investigation to acquire printout reports for review. The most modern"OBC" systems on trucks can send this data to the trucking company computers which then can be retrieved from the trucking company. Also both hydraulic and air brake "ABS" systems have warning lights for drivers indicating proper operation."ECM" and "ABS" systems may provide data on multiple systems of the truck including speed, overspeed of governor, distance, cruise control usage, engine brake and hard braking "ABS" events, transmission usage and engine system faults. This data along with mechanical systems inspections gives complete information on the vehicles operation and maintenance factors. "ECM" and "ABS" modules are standard equipment on most large trucks.

June 21, 2010

The Nursing Expert Witness Part 3

In The Expert Nurse Witness, Ellen K. Murphy writes:

Expectations for affidavits, deposition, and testimony must be clear. Cases literally can be won or lost if filing dates are missed. If the case requires expert testimony, it will be lost if an expert does not testify.

Remuneration should be set above the nurse's hourly rate as an employee and should include expenses because it will not include any of the benefits employees typically receive. Nurses should not set their fees so high, however, that they appear to be meretricious witnesses who are willing to testify to anything for a price. Typically nurse expert rates begin at approximately $100 per hour and, depending on the nurse's credentials, may be higher.

June 20, 2010

Financial Planning Experts On The Horse Business Recession Part 1

On July 5, 2010, financial planning experts at Equestrian Professional will begin a three-part seminar series on financial planning for horse professionals. This series will focus on what horse professionals can do to create a secure financial outlook for their businesses and their own financial future.

The Problems
The recession has had a widespread effect on the equine industry. Sales barns and breeders are supporting unsold inventory or are selling horses below cost. Show barns have reduced the number of shows they attend, are competing closer to home, and/or are bringing fewer customers on the road. Trainers and professional riders are implementing new strategies to attract and retain clients: i.e. leases and syndicates have gained popularity. Additionally, some trainers are moving into new markets, like selling online training programs. Boarding stables are dealing with more past due accounts and abandoned horses than ever before. Rescues are over burdened with unwanted horses and their donors are tapped out.

For more, see dressagedaily.com.

June 19, 2010

Computers Expert Witness On Electronic Evidence

In About Electronic Evidence, computers expert witness Ernesto F. Rojas of Forensic & Security Services Inc. writes:

Electronic Evidence, also known as Digital Evidence, is any information which has been stored or transmitted in digital form and may be used in a court of law. Current trends indicate that more than 95% of all information exists solely in electronic form and never gets printed. Electronic records may include corporate plans, design plans, intellectual property, medical records, financial records, photos, spending histories, browser histories, etc.

Most person to person communications are electronic in nature, leaving a digital fingerprint. These communications include e-mail, instant messaging, texting, cell phones, and even land-based VOIP telephones. Volatile information derived from these communications might include financial information and transactions, schedules, timelines, and even the location of a defendant at a specific time.

In recent years, civil litigation has begun to demand that attorneys work with electronically stored information (ESI). ESI is highly volatile, easy to change or destroy, and requires immediate attention for preservation. Collection of ESI requires professionally trained personnel. In Texas, collection of ESI requires licensure by the State of Texas' Private Security Board.

June 18, 2010

Hydrology Expert Witness On Flood Insurance Part 1

In THE PERFECT STORM: The Science Behind Subrogating Catastrophic Flood Losses, hydrology expert witness Richard Van Bruggen writes:

Federal flood insurance was first made available in 1968 through the enactment
of the National Flood Insurance Act.4 Prior to this program, affordable private
flood insurance was generally not available. Under the National Flood Insurance
Program (NFIP), federally subsidized flood insurance is made available to
owners of flood-prone property in participating communities. These participating
communities are required to adopt certain minimum floodplain management
standards and programs, including restrictions on new developments and
designated floodways, a requirement that new structures in the 100-year flood
zone be elevated to or above the 100-year flood level5, and a requirement that
subdivisions are designed to minimize exposure to flood hazards. For highhazard
coastal zones, additional standards are imposed, sometimes including
the requirement that buildings be elevated on pilings and that the Base Flood
Elevation (BFE) include potential wave heights.

June 17, 2010

Wood Products Expert Witness On Indoor Air Quality

In

The Healthy Choice
, wood products experts at the National Wood Flooring Association write on how wood floors improve indoor air quality:
A recent Life Cycle Analysis of wood flooring conducted by the University of Wisconsin supports this belief. The study compared five different floor coverings in regard to four substances considered to be harmful to the atmosphere: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. All these substances contribute to atmospheric warming and human respiratory ailments. The results of the study show that wood flooring had no emissions for methane, nitrogen oxide and other particulates, and minimal emissions for carbon dioxide. Wood floors also have the added benefit of not harboring allergens, microorganisms or harmful pesticides that can be tracked in from outdoors. In addition, dust, mold and animal dander contamination is minimal in homes with wood floors, which can significantly improve indoor air quality.

June 17, 2010

Trucking Computer Systems Expert Witness On Truck Crashes Part 3

Depending on type of system used and data computed, this information is invaluable to crash reconstruction efforts. Each system develops reports in multiple formats that can be deciphered for indisputable information that can prove or disprove action of the driver or vehicle involved in a crash. These systems are similar to an airplane's " black box". This article gives examples and explanations of items of importance that need to be addressed and data that may be available in these systems for use in large truck crash reconstruction.

1.Identify vehicles, both trucks and trailers - serial numbers, gross vehicle weight ratings {GVWR}, date of manufacture model numbers, company numbers, fuel tax sticker {IFTA}, DOT numbers and ICC/MC numbers.

2.Complete photos of vehicles, truck and trailer, not just damaged areas. Photos of crash scene and pavement area including skid marks. Do not attribute skid marks until it is determined if unit or units are equipped with "ABS" brakes and "ABS" is functional. Tractor could be "ABS", trailer could not have "ABS" or visa versa.

June 16, 2010

The Nursing Expert Witness Part 2

In The Expert Nurse Witness, Ellen K. Murphy writes:

A nurse who is asked to consult or testify must approach the agreement with the retaining attorney as he or she would any other contract. The nurse expert has absolutely no duty to consult and cannot be subpoenaed to testify unless he or she consents to do so. This is a main point that should be negotiated up front. After the nurse agrees to provide a service, the nurse is legally bound by contract to do so; thus, there must be a clear expectation of services, timelines, and remuneration for time and expenses.

* Does the service consist of reviewing medical records and providing an opinion to the retaining attorney?

* Is this opinion to be an oral or written report?

* Does the record review include obtaining copies of relevant standards?

* Does the review include filing an affidavit of merit? If so, what is its due date?

June 15, 2010

Electrical Expert Witness & the National Electrical Safety Code Part 2

Electrical expert witness David J. Marne, P.E., is the author of McGraw-Hill's National Electrical Safety Code® (NESC®) Handbook. Here he answers the question:

Do communications utility workers and power utility workers need to follow the NESC® or OSHA rules?

Both.

The National Electrical Safety Code® (NESC®) has been adopted in some form by each state in the United States except California. It contains work rules for power and communication utilty workers. It also contains rules for power and communication poles, lines, and equipment.

OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) is a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor. The OSHA standards cover the responsibilities for employers and for employees in the United States, including power and communication workers. Each employee should be knowledgeable of the OSHA requirements that cover the work that employee is engaged in. Employees may not work closer than 10 ft to energized electrical lines and equipment without training and knowledge of the electrical hazards involved.

June 14, 2010

Fatigue Expert Witness On Driver Fatigue Part 3

In Driver Fatigue is the Number One Safety Issue in the Truck and Bus Industry, fatigue expert witness Dennis Wylie writes:

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Fatigue and Alertness Study

The importance of driver fatigue led the U.S. Department of Transportation and Transport Canada to commission the largest, most comprehensive over-the-road study of driver fatigue and alertness ever conducted. Dennis Wylie was the Principal Investigator, and he and his associates designed, executed, and documented a study involving 80 U.S. and Canadian tractor-trailer drivers in an operational setting of real-life, revenue-generating trips totaling more than 200,000 miles and 4,000 hours of driving. The scientists monitored the drivers and trucks continuously by electronic instrumentation. The study focused on several work-related factors, including:
Hours of driving during a work period
Number of consecutive days of driving
Time of day when driving took place
Schedule regularity

The results of this driver fatigue and alertness study form an important part of the foundation for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's upcoming revisions of the hours-of-service rules for commercial drivers.

June 14, 2010

Building Materials Experts On Household Mold Part 6

In Mold, Housing and Wood, building materials experts at the Western Wood Products Association write:

Other conditions can increase the amount of mold spores in the indoor air of buildings. Homes with exposed-dirt crawl spaces and basements tend to have more airborne mold spores than homes without (Lumpkins, 1973; Su, 1992). With the right humidity conditions, some molds can grow on house dust. It is not surprising, then, that poor housekeeping and high indoor humidity are both associated with increased levels of airborne mold spores (Solomon, 1975; Kozak, 1979).

The biggest source of indoor mold spores is often the outdoor air (Solomon, 1975). Higher levels of indoor mold spores tend to be found in homes with yards having dense and overgrown landscaping (Kozak, 1979).

Indoor mold levels are generally lower in buildings with forced-air heating systems (as opposed to window ventilation) and lower still when these systems include a well-maintained and properly functioning air conditioning system.

Mold spore levels outdoors vary with the season and weather. They may be very high in the growing season or approach zero when snow covers the ground (Solomon, 1975). Except for the snow-cover situation, mold spores in normal indoor environments are usually between 20-50 percent of the outdoor levels.

June 13, 2010

Aircraft Operations Expert Witness On Aircraft Parts - #3

In Parts Produced by an Owner or Operator. Are They Legal? aircraft operations expert witness David A Botich writes on how owners may keep their aircraft airworthy if parts are unavailable or otherwise unobtainable:

As this has been a subject that many have asked “how do I do this?”, the Assistant Chief Counsel for Regulations, AGC-200 of the FAA has written a Memo addressing this issue. I will summarize the main points of concern here.

1. Only the owner/operator can produce the part for their aircraft. They cannot produce that part for sale or for another aircraft.

2. The owner/operator doesn't need to actually produce the part but must be the “producer” by overseeing and directing the production process. This means that he may hire another person to make the part so long as he is directly responsible for the process by participating in the design, manufacturing and quality control.

3. The part must be produced using the same design data, material, process, etc. that was used to produce the original part. This can be done by using the original FAA approved design data or by reverse engineering the part.

4. The part is an FAA approved part as it meets the requirements of FAR 21.303

5. The producer must properly document the production process. All approved parts require this documentation process.

6. The part can be manufactured by either a certificated or non-certificated entity

Once the part is produced it will require the installation by a certificated mechanic or facility.

June 13, 2010

Criminalistics Expert Witness On Apartment Security Part 2

In Apartment Security and Litigation: Key Issues, criminalistics expert witness Daniel B. Kennedy writes on the nature of premises liability litigation in an apartment setting:

Criminologists and security specialists are very important in premises liability for negligent
security litigation (Kennedy and Homant, 1996). Although the role of criminologists and
security specialists in litigation has been criticized (Godwin and Godwin, 1984; Ingraham,
1987), it is often difficult to present or defend a premises liability case without the presentation
of testimony by an expert. For example, before a duty even arises, a judge must be convinced
that a given crime was foreseeable; that there was a reasonable likelihood or an appreciable
chance that victimization would occur (Homant and Kennedy, 1994). Information to that effect
can be presented through a criminologist who analyzes prior crime patterns at a location or in its
surrounding neighborhood. The principle here is that the best way to forecast future crime at a
location is to examine prior crime at a location. A criminologist may also examine certain land
uses, architecture, socioeconomic characteristics, and general ecology of a neighborhood in order
to establish the presence of crime correlates (Kennedy, 1993).

June 13, 2010

Floods Expert Witness On Flood Policies

In THE PERFECT STORM: The Science Behind Subrogating Catastrophic Flood Losses, floods expert witness Richard Van Bruggen writes:

Most standard property policies and flood policies contain subrogation clauses
which prohibit the insureds from giving up any rights to recover from any entities
that may be responsible for a flood loss. Impairment of an insurer’s subrogation
rights, which should be looked for in contracts, leases, or other agreements
which the insured entered into, discharge the insurer from any obligation to make
a payment under the policy. This became a big issue with Hurricane Katrina.
Owners and mortgagee should be careful not to sign releases that might impair
the subrogation rights of their insurers.

June 13, 2010

Wood Flooring Experts On Allergens

In

The Healthy Choice
, wood flooring experts at the National Wood Flooring Association write on allergens:
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. Even more alarming, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States....

Environmental triggers can be controlled only to a degree, but one of the areas that has the most impact on allergens is the family home. Eliminating dust, mold and animal dander can have a huge impact on the home environment. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to replace your old, worn out flooring with hardwood floors.

According to an EPA study, wood floors do not harbor allergens, microorganisms or harmful pesticides that can be tracked in from outdoors. In addition, dust, mold and animal dander contamination is minimal in homes with wood floors. Based on these EPA findings, wood floors promote a healthier living, and work, environment.

June 12, 2010

Trucking Computer Systems Expert Witness On Truck Crashes Part 2

Trucking computer systems expert witness Robert R. Reed writes on Truck/tractor-trailer crashes:

Some very important items often overlooked in truck crashes are the "OBC" on board computer system and "GPS" global positioning satellite systems used on approximately 70% of modern carriers fleet. Another feature overlooked is the "ECM" engine control modules and "ABS" anti-lock brake system modules that have been on most large trucks since the late 1990's. The "GPS" and "OBC" are used to monitor drivers, freight, positions of equipment, communications, hours of service, fuel consumption, dispatch, maintenance, driver activities and truck operation and build data reports into the trucking computer systems that are used during the normal course of business in the trucking industry and can be available to assist in crash reconstruction. "ECM" and "ABS" modules are systems built into the truck's electrical system that record and store information on the trucks operation including speed, distance brake usage and diagnostics of both engine and brake system.

June 12, 2010

Flight Operations Expert Witness On Aircraft Parts - #2

In Parts Produced by an Owner or Operator. Are They Legal? flight operations expert witness David A Botich offers an excerpt from Federal Aviation Regulations:

PART 21—CERTIFICATION PROCEDURES FOR PRODUCTS AND PARTS

Subpart K – Approval of Materials, Parts, Processes, and Appliances

21.303 Replacement and modification parts.

a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may produce a modification or replacement part for sale for installation on a type certificated product unless it is produced pursuant to a Parts Manufacturer Approval issued under this subpart.

(b) This section does not apply to the following:

1. Parts produced under a type or production certificate.

2. Parts produced by an owner or operator for maintaining or altering his own product.

3. Parts produced under an FAA Technical Standard Order.

4. Standard parts (such as bolts and nuts) conforming to established industry or U.S. specifications.

This is stated in FAR 21.303 (b) (2) above but does not explain how this can be accomplished, only that it can. The intent of this is to allow owners a way to keep their aircraft airworthy if parts are unavailable or otherwise unobtainable. This does not mean that your needs must meet any specific requirements, such as the part is no longer produced or it takes six months to get it, but only that you follow the requirements of producing that part.

June 12, 2010

Electrocution Expert Witness On Shocks & Electrocutions

Electrocution expert witness Lawrence Kamm writes on shocks and electrocutions:

Every year approximately 400 people in the U.S. are killed by electric shock. More are injured by being startled by an electric shock, lose their balance, and fall off a ladder.

To cause a shock the electricity must enter at one place on your body and exit at another place. It is the current through your body which causes the shock, not the voltage at a single place. A bird on a high voltage wire gets no shock. It is common for one of the shock places to be the earth or a piece of metal connected to the earth. Think of a faucet in your bathroom for an example. Think of bare feet on wet ground for another example.

Electricity through your body spreads out between the two places and can raise bloody hell between. If enough passes through your heart your story ends by ventricular fibrillation followed by asphyxiation because the heart stops pumping blood. Electric current can damage your organs and your nervous system. Among my clients is one whose one bare foot was on the ground, whose other bare foot stepped on a manhole cover, and whose body shakes to this day. Dogs are sometimes electrocuted sniffing around construction sites. Cows give less milk when they get small shocks from milking machines; there is major litigation as a result. People get shocked, and sometimes killed, by touching an electrocuted body in order to rescue it from contact with a fallen high voltage wire. A minor electric shock to a person on a ladder can startle a person who then loses his balance, falls off, and is seriously injured by the fall. I will talk about electric tools later on.

A common mode of shock comes from touching a defective electrical appliance, such as a hair dryer, with one hand and a water faucet with the other. To say nothing about standing in a bathtub of water.

For more, see http://www.ljkamm.com/.

June 12, 2010

Risk Management Expert Witness On WTC Property Insurance Part 4

In The World Trade Center Property Insurance Trial: Lessons Learned?, risk management expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

It is obvious, that clear agreement did not exist between the parties as to what form applied on 9/11/01, almost two months after binding. The most important lesson, applicable to each of the parties, simply boils down to the need for documentation of all substantive communications to ensure that there is a meeting of minds during the placement and negotiation process and, when coverage is bound, all parties have an explicit agreement regarding the form. Agreement to any subsequent form changes must also be fully documented.

Furthermore, each of the parties, by adhering to the following rather elementary principles or procedures, can substantially reduce the potential for disputes and litigation:

Insurers should:

* not bind coverage without obtaining and reviewing the proposed form
* indicate the applicable form in their binders
* not waive their right to approve form changes
* affirm their agreement in writing to any form changes

June 12, 2010

Bicycle Accident Reconstruction Expert Witnesses On Head Injuries Part 3

In HEAD INJURY: WOULD A HELMET HAVE HELPED?, bicycle accident reconstruction expert witnesses at Walters Forensic Engineering write:

Helmets significantly reduce the possibility of a skull fracture. The impact force of a striking object against the helmet is applied over a small area at the outer edge of the helmet. The purpose of the helmet is to distribute this force over a larger area at the interface of the helmet with the head. This results in a decreased maximum force at the skull relative to an equivalent non-helmeted impact and decreases the probability of a skull fracture.

June 12, 2010

Storm Water Expert Witness On Floodplains

In THE PERFECT STORM: The Science Behind Subrogating Catastrophic Flood Losses, storm water expert witness Richard Van Bruggen writes:

In contrast to a “floodplain”, “floodways” are determined within the floodplain.
Any encroachment or development on floodplains reduces the flood carrying
capacity of a river, increasing flood heights in adjacent areas. In order to limit
floodplain development within a central channel area of a river where most of the
flood water conveyance occurs, floodways are established. Usually, there is no
development allowed in the floodway. Flood damage which occurs in a floodway
presents opportunities for subrogation. However, one example to the contrary is
in Sonoma County, California, where development in the floodway can exist but
must have any net hydraulic effect on the conveyance of the river and homes
must be on piers at a minimum level.

June 11, 2010

Wood Manufacturing Experts On EPA's New Lead Rule

Wood manufacturing experts at the Window and Door Manufacturers Association issued a briefing on the EPA Lead Rule Update:

EPA's new "Lead Rule" went into effect on April 22, 2010 requiring contractors, property managers and others paid to renovate structures built before 1978 to be certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

WDMA staff and member company representatives have met with EPA and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials regarding the "Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting" (RRP) rule expressing concerns over the lack of certified firms, trained renovators, and approved test kits that will be necessary to effectively implement the rule without significant disruption of home renovations throughout the U.S.

In addition to the opt out provision being removed EPA has issued two additional notices regarding the RRP rule. The first is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to strengthen the 2008 RRP rule in housing and child-occupied facilities by expanding post renovation requirements. The second notice is an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to announce EPA's intention to regulate renovations on the exteriors of public and commercial buildings. The EPA announcement goes on to say if EPA determines that lead-based paint hazards are created by interior renovations, EPA will propose regulations to address the hazards.

June 11, 2010

Trucking Industry Expert Witness On Truck Crashes Part 1

Trucking industry expert witness Robert R. Reed writes on Truck/tractor-trailer crashes:

The investigation of large truck crashes can be complex and overwhelming for inexperienced or inadequately trained personnel. Past practices have shown that some truck crash investigations have been conducted inadequately, producing erroneous and incomplete information. Some reasons for this are the complex systems and advanced technology in modern trucks that are not processed at the crash scene or the follow-up reconstruction effort. The statistics of approximately 100 people killed each week across the country and vast numbers of serious injuries and 409,000 police reports of crashes involving large trucks in 2001 dictates that adequate training and procedures are used so thorough investigations are completed using all data available.

June 11, 2010

Electrical Accidents Expert Witness On Electrical Injuries

Electrical accidents expert witness Lawrence Kamm writes on electrical injuries:

Electrical accidents create personal injuries which are the subjects of attorneys' lawsuits. Expert witnesses reconstruct these accidents for lawyers and establish their liabilities. Among these accidents are electric shocks, electrocutions, electrical explosions, electrical fires, and flash burns. Lawyers are particularly interested in product liability cases. This lawyer's tutorial explains the basics of electrical accidents as an introduction to dealing with expert witnesses.

Electricity is a major asset but, along with gasoline, drugs, and explosives it can do major harm if not handled carefully. Electricity is invisible and has no sound or smell but it can give you a shock which may startle you, paralyze you, damage your internal organs in many ways, burn your skin, and kill you. The heat from a short circuit arc may give you a flash burn and a blast injury, the radiation from an electrically powered X-ray tube, laser, or radar antenna can cause internal or external burns, a lightning strike may give you a major shock or electrocution, and an electrically operated device may malfunction and injure you.

Other than shocks to people electrical accidents can start fires, cause explosions, and damage equipment.


For more, see http://www.ljkamm.com/.

June 11, 2010

Hydrology Expert Witness On Hydrology versus Hydraulics

In THE PERFECT STORM: The Science Behind Subrogating Catastrophic Flood Losses, hydrology expert witness Richard Van Bruggen writes:

HYDROLOGY VERSUS HYDRAULICS
While hydrology is the study of the rainfall-runoff process, including the
determination of design frequency storms and floods, hydraulics is the study of
how the water flows. In the case of flood flows, this could be the analysis of pipe
and channel systems, culvert and bridge design, and the determination of river
floodways and floodplains. The hydraulics part is essential to determine how
much water fits in the pipe or channel or how far it spreads out on the floodplain.
As with hydrologic simulations, hydraulic simulations can also be conducted.
Frequently, hydrology and hydraulics are combined in order to connect with a
coherent theory as to why a specific torfeasor caused the flood damage, even
though the rainfall is considered to be an act of God. Sometimes a tortfeasor can
be blamed for the flood damage simply because a channel or culvert system,
while adequate to handle the storm, became inadequate over time because of
sedimentation, overgrowth, or lack of maintenance of the system. Hydraulic
simulations will explain whether or not that lack of maintenance actually caused
the water to overflow the banks of the culvert or channel, or whether it would
have overflown anyway. Examples of Hydraulic Simulation Models are:

• HEC-2 (Corps of Engineers – Hydrologic Engineering Center);
• HEC-RAS (Corps of Engineers – River Analysis System); and
• WSPRO - USGS/FHWA, Water Surface Pro.

June 11, 2010

Aviation Expert Witness On Aircraft Parts #1

In Parts Produced by an Owner or Operator. Are They Legal? aviation expert witness David A Botich writes:

The answer to this question is yes, so long as that part meets certain criteria.

This is a subject that has a very profound affect on maintaining and modifying aircraft, and yet is widely unknown or misunderstood. It offers an alternative solution to the owner/operator, whereas it allows a person to produce a part to be installed on a type certified aircraft. Such a person need not be an FAA approved manufacturer. Of course this does not mean that a person may produce a part for an aircraft without following any requirements. It does mean that a person may produce a part, and that part will be eligible (read legal) to be installed on an aircraft, if he follows the FAA requirements for the production of that part.

June 11, 2010

The Nursing Expert Witness Part 1

In The Expert Nurse Witness, Ellen K. Murphy writes:

Expert nurse witnesses typically are needed whenever the adequacy of another nurse's actions are in question. Usually, this occurs in disciplinary proceedings against a nurse licensee before an administrative law judge or in malpractice cases where the actions of the nurse are alleged to have contributed to a patient's injury. For decades, most courts accepted that physicians had the necessary expertise to explain standards of nursing. More recently, it has been recognized that testimony about what a nurse should have done best comes from another nurse. For example, in 1958, a California court allowed a physician to testify about what nurses should have done saying, "Surely a qualified doctor would know what was standard procedure of nurses to follow" (Goff v Doctor's Hospital, 166 CalApp2d 314, 319 [1958]).

Fourteen years later, a Pennsylvania court recognized that a physician might not be the best expert on nursing standards, but it still allowed physicians' testimony to be admitted because, "all areas of medical expertise within the knowledge of nurses are also within the knowledge of medical doctors" (Taylor v Spencer Hospital, 292 A2d 449, 452 [Pa Super 1972]). Finally, in 2004, an Illinois court explicitly held that a physician was not qualified to testify as to the standard of care for the nursing profession under the laws of the state of Illinois (Sullivan v Edward Hospital, 806 NE2d 645 [Ill 2004]). Along with this increasing judicial recognition of the unique body of nursing knowledge comes an increased responsibility for nurses to be willing to share their expertise with lay legal decision makers; however, they must do so within the context of the unfamiliar, adversarial legal system.

June 11, 2010

Pesticides Expert Witnesses & Consumer Products Part 2

Pesticides expert witnesses may testify and provide reports on consumer products treated with pesticides:

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requires the registration of any substance intended to prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate pests. However, the Code of Federal Regulations prescribes the conditions under which an exemption from registration is allowed for treated articles or substances. It allows an exemption for:

An article or a substance treated with or containing a pesticide to protect the article or substance itself (for example, paint treated with a pesticide to protect the paint coating, or wood products treated to protect the wood against insects or fungus infestation), if the pesticide is registered for such use.


For more, see epa.gov.

June 11, 2010

Insurance Experts On Teen Motor Vehicle Crashes Part 2

According to the Center for Injury Prevention and Control, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group. Most teen accidents can be easily avoided. Insurance experts at CURE Auto Insurance provides the following list of tips for teens and parents to ensure teens stay safe behind the wheel.

3. Don't drink and drive. Although this seems obvious, according to the NHTSA, teens are at far greater risk of death in an alcohol-related crash than the overall population, despite the fact that they are below the minimum drinking age in every state. Do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you have been drinking or get in the car with someone that you suspect has been drinking. This split second decision has changed the lives of millions of teens.

4. Wear your seatbelt. Despite being the most at risk group for accidents, teens also have lower seatbelt use rates than adults. Take charge by letting your friends know when they get into your car you won't drive until everyone has a seatbelt fastened.

5. Familiarize yourself with your car. Learn how to properly maintain your car, and know how to check and add oil and windshield washer fluid. Be aware of indicator lights on your vehicle and what they mean. In addition, add the number for AAA or a local dispatch number to your cell phone in case of emergencies.

Parents are instrumental in the development of safe teen drivers. The best drivers come from the combined efforts of teens and their parents. Therefore, it is crucial that every parent talks to their teen about safe driving. To help in this process, CURE Auto Insurance also provides tips for parents that have teen drivers.

June 11, 2010

Liability Insurance Expert Witness On WTC Insurers Part 3

In The World Trade Center Property Insurance Trial: Lessons Learned?, liability insurance expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

Jurors rendered verdict in favor of ten, and against three of the 13 insurers. Regardless of the verdict, there are no winners in this case. The causes of this litigation could have been avoided and the fact remains that none of the parties to this case are blameless.

However, it is not the purpose of this article to castigate anyone involved in the placement and negotiation process, rather, by highlighting key issues that were the subject of the litigation, it is to identify some of the lessons learned or should be learned and to prompt insurers, brokers and risk managers to reexamine their role and involvement in the insurance placement and negotiation process.

Based on trade press reports, the following are some of the key issues that emerged during the trial:
The broker’s intention to switch from the WilProp form, that was part of the underwriting submission, to the Travelers form was not communicated properly to the insurers

None of the insurers identified the applicable form in their binders

Several insurers waived their right to approve the form;

On 9/11/01, the final policy form has not been agreed upon and the broker was still analyzing the Travelers form

Silverstein’s risk manager authorized to bind on the basis of the Travelers form in July without obtaining and reviewing it and he did not have copy of it on 9/11/01

* When the form was requested from Silverstein’s risk manager on 9/12/01, he released the WilProp form. None of the parties adequately documented their negotiations.

June 10, 2010

Insurance Claims Expert Witness On WTC Insurers Part 2

In The World Trade Center Property Insurance Trial: Lessons Learned?, insurance claims expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

Although this was a complicated and large insurance placement that taxed the world market capacity and there was pressure to complete it to meet the 7/24/01 deadline for the closing of the WTC lease, there is no excuse for the failure of the parties to reach explicit agreement on which form applied when coverage was bound, let alone by 9/11/01, almost two months after binding. By no means was this a unique placement as there are many other large insurance programs just as large and complicated, which must be placed in a relatively short time frame. Undoubtedly, various issues and problems that led to litigation in this case exists in many other instances but will remain hidden absent of a claim and subsequent dispute about coverage.

June 10, 2010

Electrical Expert Witness & the National Electrical Safety Code Part 1

Electrical expert witness David J. Marne, P.E., is the author of McGraw-Hill's National Electrical Safety Code® (NESC®) Handbook. Here he explains the difference between the NESC® and the NEC®:

The National Electrical Safety Code® (NESC®) governs the construction, operation, and maintenance of utility lines, substations, and generating plants. It covers both electric power and communication lines from the generating plant to the customer's meter. The NESC® used primarily by utility employees.

The National Electrical Code® (NEC®) governs the customer's installation after the meter: homes, factories, industrial facilities, etc. The NEC® is used primarily by homeowners, electrical contractors, and electrical designers.

June 10, 2010

Bicycle Accidents Expert Witnesses On Head Injuries Part 2

In HEAD INJURY : WOULD A HELMET HAVE HELPED?, bicycle accidents expert witnesses at Walters Forensic Engineering write:

Brain Injuries

In general, brain injuries caused by impacts are produced by one of two mechanisms. Sudden deceleration is one of these, and in such a case the brain is injured due to its motion inside the head, including collisions with the inside of the skull. The notable feature of this kind of injury is that the brain may suffer serious trauma even where the skull remains undamaged. The other mechanism of brain injury occurs when the skull is cracked or penetrated, in which case brain injury can occur regardless of the level of head acceleration during impact.

June 9, 2010

Wood Products Experts On Household Mold Part 4

In Mold, Housing and Wood, wood products experts at the Western Wood Products Association write:

Poor ventilation and/or air circulation combined with high indoor humidity ­ from showers, cooking or other activities ­ can result in condensation that promotes mold growth on cooler surfaces. Poorly insulated walls may also provide a surface for condensation and mold growth in buildings that do not have general humidity problems.

Surface moisture on unseasoned framing lumber, appearing as the wood dries, may create conditions for mold growth. However, once the moisture content of the wood falls below 20 percent, mold growth can no longer be supported. Depending on the climate, framing lumber will dry to below 20 percent moisture content during the construction and before the building is enclosed.

In instances where wood is chronically exposed to water, wood decay fungi can invade. Decay fungi can penetrate more deeply and attack the structural polymers in the fiber, reducing the strength of the wood.

June 9, 2010

Fatigue Expert Witness On Driver Fatigue Part 2

In Driver Fatigue is the Number One Safety Issue in the Truck and Bus Industry, fatigue expert witness Dennis Wylie writes:

The causes of driver fatigue, fatigue-induced cognitive impairment, driver drowsiness, and the subjective experience of fatigue include:
excessive hours of work
inadequate hours of sleep
night time driving
irregular work-rest schedules

In 1995 the U.S. Department of Transportation sponsored a National Truck and Bus Safety Summit. The goal was to bring together representatives of the many organizations involved in motor carrier safety to prioritize the safety issues facing the industry. Groups of experts represented drivers, enforcement, shippers and carriers, researchers, highway safety, professional associations, safety management systems, government organizations, and manufacturers/suppliers. This comprehensive assembly came to the consensus that driver fatigue was the number one safety issue of the motor carrier community. Driver fatigue remains the leading safety issue today.

June 8, 2010

Criminalistics Expert Witness On Apartment Security Part 1

In Apartment Security and Litigation: Key Issues, criminalistics expert witness Daniel B. Kennedy writes on the nature of premises liability litigation in an apartment setting:

When landlords fail to take appropriate security measures to provide their tenants reasonable protection against criminal attack, a negligent tort arises. A tort is a “private or civil wrong or injury” (Black, 1968: 1660). In order to prove a tort, the plaintiff must establish that (1) the defendant owed a duty to provide reasonable security, (2) the defendant breached the duty to provide reasonable security, (3) this breach of duty was the cause in fact, and (4) was the foreseeable cause of (5) the plaintiff’s injury (Spain, 1992). Generally, these elements must be proven to a civil jury who will decide whether a defendant is liable according to the level of proof known as “preponderance of the evidence.” In other words, if a jury determines that 51 percent or more of the evidence favors the plaintiff, he or she will win and the landlord will lose.

June 8, 2010

Ergonomics Expert Witness On Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Part 2

Ergonomics expert witness John D. Lloyd, Ph.D., M.Erg.S., C.P.E., writes on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS):

Symptoms of CTS are usually experienced in the region of the hand served by the median nerve. This encompasses the second to forth fingers and base of the thumb on the palmer side, and backs of the first four fingers on the dorsal side.

Acute CTS is often associated with nocturnal pain and tingling, episodic tingling during the workday and gradual numbness, all of which may be encouraged by certain activties such as abnormal postures, or repetitive or forceful hand motions. Symptoms usually diffuse shortly after the activity is changed.

As severity increases the patient may experience aching, tingling and what has been described as ‘painfull numbness’ in the fingers of the median distribution and deep in the palm. Perceptually the patient may recall subjective feelings of uselessness related to the affected hand and wrist, mental sensation of swelling (although not apparent on inspection), clumsiness, and difficulty performing everyday tasks, such as unscrewing a bottle cap.

At the most severe level, patients with CTS may experience dull aching throughout the limb which radiates not only distal to the site of compression, but also proximally. Patients may report pain throughout the forearm, upper arm, shoulder, and even the neck. Changes in coloration of the skin become more apparent, especially with exposure to cold. There may be excessive sweating in the palm and a possible mild degree of edema which has been related to vasomotor imbalance. Wasting of the thenar muscle and mild weakness of the abductor pollicis brevis or opponens pollicis muscle may also be observed in severe cases.

June 8, 2010

Bicycle Expert Witnesses On Head Injuries Part 1

In HEAD INJURY : WOULD A HELMET HAVE HELPED?, bicycle expert witnesses at Walters Forensic Engineering write:

Those of us who work in the legal and insurance industries are aware of the benefits gained through use of protective equipment such as seatbelts and helmets. However, when an accident occurs and liability is in issue, the plaintiff who failed to make use of protective equipment will typically argue that the equipment, if used, would not have reduced the injury suffered. These liability determinations are made by the judge or jury, and establishing the necessary causal connection between the injury suffered and equipment used (or not used) is a matter of expert scientific evidence.

June 7, 2010

Acoustics Expert Witness On Sound Insulation

Acoustic expert witness Angelo J. Campanella, P.E., Ph.D. FASAA explains the difference between sound absorption & sound insulation:

There is often confusion between sound insulation and sound absorption.

Sound is absorbed when it encounters a material which will convert some or all of it into heat, or which allows it to pass through not to return. For this reason good sound absorbers do not of themselves make good sound insulators. Sound insulators rarely absorb sound. Sound absorbers contribute little to sound insulation. They are treated separately in sound control design.

Sound insulation prevents sound from traveling from one place to another, such as between apartments in a building, or to reduce unwanted external noise inside a concert hall. Heavy materials like concrete are the most effective materials for sound insulation - doubling the mass per unit area of a wall will improve its insulation by about 6dB. It is possible to achieve good insulation over most of the audio frequency range with less mass by instead using a double leaf partition (two independent walls separated by an air gap filed with a sound absorber).

Mr. Campanella is principal of Campanella Associates, campenellaacoustics.com.

June 7, 2010

Insurance Expert Witness On WTC Insurers Part 1

In The World Trade Center Property Insurance Trial: Lessons Learned?, insurance claims expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

Had the tragic events on 9/11/01 not occurred, we would have never learned about negligence, mistakes, errors and omissions, inconsistencies, and confusion that plagued the placement and negotiation of the property insurance program for the WTC and brought to light during the WTC trial.

The primary parties involved in the litigation were 13 WTC insurers, including Lloyd’s syndicates, counted as one, the broker Willis and their client, Silverstein Properties, the leaseholder. The insurers contended that they were bound by the WilProp 2000 form, which defines “occurrence” and would limit the WTC claim to $3.5 billion, while Silverstein’s position was that the Travelers’ form applied, which does not define occurrence and would respond to the each of the WTC towers separately, resulting in a $7.0 billion loss payment.

After the brilliant work by lawyers on behalf of the parties to this litigation, determination of what form applied to the 9/11/01 claim was left to a jury, unfamiliar with insurance, which was so confused early in the trial that it sent a note to the judge asking, “what is this case about” and, during their deliberations, asking whether Munich Reinsurance and Swiss Reinsurance were a part of Lloyd’s.

June 6, 2010

Pesticides Expert Witnesses & Consumer Products Part 1

Pesticides expert witnesses may testify and provide reports on consumer products treated with pesticides:

The presence of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) in or on various items has become of increased concern to consumers. In response to these concerns, many products (e.g., cutting boards, kitchen sponges, cat litter, toothbrushes, and juvenile toys) are being treated with antimicrobial pesticides. Antimicrobial pesticides are substances or mixtures of substances used to destroy or limit the growth of microorganisms, whether bacteria, viruses, or fungi -- many of which are harmful-on inanimate objects and surfaces.

Treated articles typically refers to articles or products that are treated with an antimicrobial pesticide to protect the articles or products themselves. The pesticides are usually added to the products (e.g., plastic shower curtain) during manufacture; however, they may be added after manufacture but before use of the article (e.g., incorporation of a pesticide in paint).

These treated products often make implied or explicit public health pesticidal claims to protect the public against harmful microorganisms.

For more, see epa.gov.

June 6, 2010

Sales Expert Witness On Representative Agreements Part 3

Sales expert witness Glen Balzer is a widely published author on distributor and representative relationships and agreements, as well as sales organizations and commissions. Here he writes on traits of successful representative agreements.

Mature suppliers and representatives do not treat each other as the junior partner in a representative partnership. When a partner is able to insert a biased clause into the agreement, it must be because the other partner has less experience in terms of drafting and negotiating representative agreements. Remember that the junior partner will ultimately learn that a biased agreement is to its disadvantage. Keep bias out of the agreement and ensure that the relative power of the supplier and representative is balanced.

June 6, 2010

Insurance Experts On Teen Motor Vehicle Crashes Part 1

According to the Center for Injury Prevention and Control, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group. Most teen accidents can be easily avoided. Insurance experts at CURE Auto Insurance provides the following list of tips for teens and parents to ensure teens stay safe behind the wheel.

Safe Driving Tips for Teens:
1. Put your cell phone away. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver, and more than half a million were injured. Statistics show that talking on the phone or texting while driving is just as dangerous as driving drunk. Next time you're tempted to use your phone in your car, ask a passenger to send a text for you or pull off to the side of the road if it is urgent.

2. Don't allow too many friends in your car. Getting your license is an exciting time and teens are always ready to drive their friends around. However, according to the NHTSA teens are 15% more likely to get into an accident with more than two friends in the car than if they were alone. Driver distraction is a huge issue for new drivers, so remember to stay focused and minimize distractions in your vehicle.

Citizens United Reciprocal Exchange, (CURE) is a not-for-profit reciprocal exchange headquartered in Princeton, N.J. Founded in 1990 by New Jersey Insurance Commissioner James J. Sheeran and award-winning insurance expert, Dr. Lena Chang.

June 5, 2010

Computers Expert Witness On Tactics In Depo & Testimony Part 3

In My Favorite Top 10 Strategies and Tactics Used by Expert Witnesses in Deposition and Trial Testimony, computers expert witness Judd Robbins writes:

Expert Witness Tactic #7: Whenever you attempt to answer a list-related question, end your answer with: "that's all I can recall at this moment." This permits you to bring up additional list items later.

Expert Witness Tactic #8: Answer questions as simply as possible. Yes or No is excellent, whenever possible. Stop as soon as you answer the question that was asked. Then just wait for the next question.

Expert Witness Tactic #9: Remember that you do not need absolute conclusions. You only need to express your best opinion, based on the most probable scenario, and to a reasonable degree of scientific or medical certainty.

Expert Witness Tactic #10: People realize that nobody knows everything, not even experts. What you do know, you should answer confidently. What you do not know, you should admit readily.


Visit http://www.expert-witnesses.net to learn more about each of these tips and other expert witness advice, and get a jump start on your competition by discovering how to earn additional income as an expert witness in your specialty area.

June 5, 2010

Trucking Expert Witness On ABS Systems Part 3

In Truck/Tractor-trailer brakes and accident reconstruction, trucking expert witness
Robert Reed writes:

The importance of checking proper operation of the ABS system is that some fleets do not have in house maintenance that can diagnose and repair systems and over the road trucking companies tend to not take trucks/trailers out of service for repair for ABS light that stays on. Bulbs or fuses sometimes disappear from the dash warning light and system. Some veteran drivers remember the late 1970's and don't care for ABS because they think they have more skill in braking than ABS. This is not true as the new ABS systems have proven there reliability. Trucks/trailers with ABS problems will revert back to regular braking if any faults exist and the wheel or axle with a problem can skid. This can change or explain a stray skid mark that shows up at a scene. Other problems can develop with ABS with maintenance or lack thereof ABS wheel sensors, wiring, or exciter tone rings can be damaged and cause faults. Some fleets will avoid the costs as the truck still has regular brakes. Most normal stops by trucks/trailers do not involve ABS functions as ABS only releases the brake when skids/lock-up situations are detected but emergency/panic stops involving crash situations need the ABS functions to stop sooner or maneuver. If you encounter the unusual check for proper ABS functions.

June 4, 2010

Wood Products Experts On Household Mold Part 3

In Mold, Housing and Wood, wood products experts at the Western Wood Products Association write:

Where is mold found in buildings?

The presence of molds in our everyday environment means they can grow anyplace under the proper conditions. In all cases, moisture is the essential element for mold growth in buildings. There are many potential sources for unwanted moisture in buildings. For example, improperly maintained air conditioning systems that create excessive condensation can be a breeding ground and distribution mechanism for mold particles.

Mold growth may be found in walls, ceilings and floor cavities when standing water is produced in a building or gets in and stays for more than a few days. Sources for water to support molds and other fungi in homes include plumbing leaks, gaps in roofs, siding or masonry, poorly sealed windows, porous slabs and foundations, inadequate drainage, and faulty roof drains and downspouts.

June 4, 2010

Fatigue Expert Witness On Driver Fatigue Part 1

In Driver Fatigue is the Number One Safety Issue in the Truck and Bus Industry, fatigue expert witness Dennis Wylie writes:

Fatigue causes cognitive impairments that affect vigilance, attention, perception, and decision making – processes that are crucial to safe driving. These objective, measurable cognitive fatigue effects can occur without any marked degree of prior physical exertion, and the driver may not be aware of these impairments. Another serious fatigue threat to safe driving is drowsiness – the tendency to fall asleep at the wheel. This is also a condition that drivers tend to underestimate (or to be totally unaware of) while it is actually happening to them. Circadian rhythm interacts powerfully with fatigue and sleep debt, and has a major impact on human error.

Driver fatigue is also partly a subjective experience (that is, one that the driver is aware of), characterized by lack of motivation, feelings of exhaustion, boredom, discomfort, and a disinclination to continue driving. These effects of fatigue can impair driving safety by impairing sustained attention and safe decision making.


June 3, 2010

Ergonomics Expert Witness On Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Part 1

Ergonomics expert witness John D. Lloyd, Ph.D., M.Erg.S., C.P.E., writes on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS):

First described by Sir James Paget in 1865, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common example of a nerve compression disorder. Other terms used to describe this disorder include: writer's cramp, occupational neuritis, partial thenar atrophy, and median neuritis. is caused by restriction of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel, an anatomic space in the wrist bound on the palmar side by the inelastic transverse carpal ligament and on the dorsal aspect by the carpal bones. The 10 structures that transverse the carpal tunnel include the four tendons of the flexor digitorum superficialis, the four tendons of the flexor digitorum profundus, the flexor pollicis longus and the median nerve.

Robbins (1963) suggests three possible alternatives by which the cross-sectional area of the carpal tunnel may be compromised, thus reducing the available volume through which soft tissue structures pass:
1. Increase of volume of the contents of the carpal canal
2. An alteration of the osseus trough
3. Thickening of the transverse carpal ligament

The tendons which form a bridge between metacarpals in the hand and the flexor muscles of the forearm are lubricated along their path by tenosynovium, which allows the tendons to glide against each other. Personal factors or occupational conditions which cause irritation to or inflammation of the tendons can result in swelling and thickening of the tenosynovium. Since the median nerve is fragile compared to the surrounding structures, it compresses as the tendons swell, producing symptomatic experience of CTS.

June 2, 2010

Acoustics Expert Witness On Measuring Sound

Acoustics expert witness Angelo J. Campanella, P.E., Ph.D. FASAA describes how sound is measured:

A sound level meter (SLM) is the principal instrument for general noise measurement. The indication on a SLM (aside from weighting considerations) indicates the sound pressure, p, as a level referenced to 0.00002 Pa, calibrated on a decibel scale.

Sound Pressure Level = 20 x lg (p/0.00002) dB

Often, the "maximum" level and sometimes the "peak" level of the sound being measured is quoted. During any given time interval the peak level will be numerically greater than the maximum level and the maximum level will be numerically greater than the (rms) sound pressure level;

Mr. Campanella is principal of Campanella Associates, campenellaacoustics.com.

June 1, 2010

Sales Expert Witness On Representative Agreements Part 2

Sales expert witness Glen Balzer is a widely published author on distributor and representative relationships and agreements, as well as sales organizations and commissions. Here he writes on traits of successful representative agreements.

Prepare for the future. Partnerships are born during a phase of euphoria. They develop during a phase of expansion and excitement. They mature during a long period of hard work. They unwind for a number of reasons, most of which are quite natural. Upon termination, both supplier and representative must be able to go about their own respective businesses. Spell out clearly the conditions under which either party may terminate the agreement and the responsibilities of both parties after notice of termination.

The supplier and representative must both have the ability to terminate the representative agreement for cause and convenience. Sometimes termination for cause achieves instant agreement between the parties, as in cases where the representative or supplier becomes insolvent. Getting both parties to agree that a particular cause is valid is often difficult. Gaining agreement as to which party is responsible for cause is routinely more difficult. Termination for convenience eliminates an avoidable and unnecessary argument.