“Somebody Call for An Expert?” I’ll Answer That Call!

I’ve written about my fondness for Eeyore and want you to know I’m a bit attached to Gopher as well, especially when he comes to the rescue! You’ve heard the story when Pooh eats too much honey (honey is often on Pooh’s mind) at Rabbit’s place, gets rotund, and subsequently stuck in Rabbit’s front door. Rabbit is not happy and help is needed. Gopher recommends using dynamite, and he’s an expert with that subject, but Pooh isn’t so hot on the idea. If dynamite was needed, Gopher was ready for the rescue! I’ll answer just like Gopher but am willing to work on a team for better results!

Gopher

He pops out exclaiming “Somebody call for an expert?” 

After thinking it through, Pooh, with assistance from his friendly team, realizes how to get unstuck. Christopher Robin recommends he patiently wait until he gets thin….and it works, however, he still needs a good jolt to move through. The team is successful and Pooh ends up on a happy place…filled with honey!

Honey! Yummy! 

You know this Pooh story and I hope you appreciate it! I too use my expertise to help out in complex cases.  I hope you realize that a good expert has more than expertise.

I strive to educate others in a clear manner and explain a complex  subject to a lay audience in simple terms.  It’s important for me to stand up under questioning (here’s a post on intimidation), commit to my opinion, and stay within my area of expertise. Thankfully, my background and training in Community Health Education helps!  And you know what else, a good expert like me cares.

When I made an executive decision to study forensic rehabilitation counseling at George Washington University on April 15, 2013, I initially felt a bit overwhelmed but focused on following through with the decision, complete the course, and graduate which I did on August 15, 2014 . The program taught me more about courtroom testimony and issues as they relate to personal injury, medical malpractice, life care planning, marital dissolution, product liability, and catastrophic injury cases.

The GWU forensic rehab graduate certificate takes about a year and half to complete and is similar to when I committed myself….ha ha, and completed the Life Care Planning certificate program in 2011 through the University of Florida.

My goal for completing another educational program is to gain valuable insight on how to function more effectively, efficiently and confidently within the legal system. Although most of the coursework is online, visiting Washington DC is always awesome!  

When labeled “a firecracker” by a classmate during our 15th class reunion, I had to look up what that meant!

Yes, I realize I can be a bit firecracker-like, mostly because I’m a bold individual and will do what I have to do to accomplish my goals. There’s plenty of satisfying work to accomplish and life constantly moves forward at a really swift pace so it’s important to not slow down. I work hard for my customers, for myself and for my family.

I believe it’s always beneficial for lawyers and experts to spend time getting to know each other. Yep, attorneys think differently than counselors. So, please let’s spend a little quality time together before we meet in a courtroom! It will truly prove beneficial. You’ll find I’m a genuine person who truly cares about serving as an expert in the field and am willing to offer my voice to help you help your client.  Give me, Amy Botkin, a call at 515-282-7753. Thank you for reading!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Emotional Intelligence and Expert Testimony…Stay in the Ship!

I want to touch a bit on emotional intelligence. Basically, emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions in yourself and sense the emotional needs in others. I’ve been studying this interpersonal skill and certainly am not an emotional master, but I constantly challenge myself to control any “miffed” (annoying) emotions that are connected to stressful situations.

Miffed?  Mad? Upset? Irritated?  Jittery?  Soft?  Antsy?  Optimistic?  All the Above?!?!

For example, when I’ve been on the witness stand in court (serving as a vocational expert), I have experienced verbal assaults on my work, my credentials, or even my vocation, by the opposing attorney. This of course is stressful! However, because I know myself well and have thee highest regard for what I do for a living, I am able to calmly turn mean and rude statements into mush (metaphorically in my mind where it matters!) You’d be surprised how effective a concerned look and a calm statement or simple facial expression saying, “I hope you realize how that sounded” can be.

 

Mush you say??? Yuck. Get Out of Here. No Way Would I Ever Eat That.

Seriously though, emotions can turn into enemies if they get in your way during certain times in your life (like on the witness stand!). I like to think of emotions as waves. A storm has rushed in, the winds are fierce, and the lake is churning up white caps. THESE ARE THE EMOTIONS – the things that get us disturbed, all riled up and self-absorbed.  We liked the calm…

Emotional waves get in your way!

Now think, the storm will blow over and the lake will calm down. During the slowdown of the storm, the waves are just big, and in fact can be quite beautiful. THESE ARE YOUR THOUGHTS – and now you connect with the outside world….and to other people easily.

Calm those waves down!

Now think of a peaceful lake.  Become aware of your own feelings and realize, hey ~ this is what makes me special, my stuff really is helpful and I am good at stilling the waves. Calm yourself down right when the lake’s current does too. Now there is no distinction between yourself and the environment. You become a part of it. Everything clicks. The world is safe….and you are alive! (yet potentially still on that witness stand!)

“I know that I know that I know!”

Understanding the effects of wind, waves and currents is not an easy subject to master. Waves (humans who may be intent on verbal attacks) behave differently under a large variety of different conditions.

So to be familiar with all, or at least rough water conditions, a professional seaman (or how about an expert witness such as myself?!), uses knowledge and skills to confidently control the ship through to the calm following the storm.  That’s what it takes to be a good expert witness.

In another blog, I’m continuing on with another element of emotional intelligence ~ EI ~ stay in the ship!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Dam! Need Help on a Case? I’ll Search Until I Find It!

Some days do you feel weird because part of your daily routine has changed? It happens quite regularly with me. Yes both, feeling weird and not having a typical day!

Image result for images feeling weird

Time that follows after finishing work on an in-depth legal case can feel unusual. How about the time after you’ve completed a project or a presentation that you had spent hours on or when you complete a long-term educational goal…and the homework is done! You know what I’m referring to. You feel different!  And kinda weird, which is okay. In fact it’s great.

After I’ve served as an expert, I can relax and think upon the experience and what I learned about myself and my role in the process. I consider  how I did good and how I could do better. My work opens up experiences where I continuously learn about work!

My everyday work as an “expert” requires me to research and study the subject matter at hand. So, I make my own homework all the time….and seem to like it! Am I or am I not an unusual person? I absolutely love to study and analyze information! And like my brother Steven always did, I like to come up with theories and see if I can prove or disprove them to myself. Some of Steve’s theories however, defied gravity, like his skateboard stunts, and water skiing….I still don’t know how he could fly!

Steve

The meaning is:  Crown, wreath

I looked up “Steven and dare devil” and found out that on August 18th 1985, a Rhode Island bartender named  Steven Trotter made the trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel wrapped in inner tubes. Mr. Trotter was fined a total of $5,503. Then, he did it again!  On June 18th, 1995, Steven returned to the Falls and made it another success. This time he and a female partner (a caterer) made the big drop together. That is all fine and good for them, but what about the rescuers? Somebody had to help get them out of “hot” water. Oh my! My brother Steven would’ve loved it! I remember as children visiting Niagara Falls (height of 167 feet!!) many moons ago with the family. I would love to visit again.

But instead I only need to travel to the pedestrian bridge over the Des Moines River. I love to stop on the south side of the Women of Achievement Bridge and gaze down at the beautiful falls from the Center Street dam…the dam height is 15 feet! I love the dam in Iowa Falls too which has a height of 26 feet! Or course the Saylorville dam is fun to visit too, especially when it’s flowing full force and you get splashed! Dams are gorgeous yet dangerous! Dam! 

Bud

Here’s to you bro! I always have a sip or two on July 17th (Budweiser is not my brand of beer) at a favorite local cemetery and let Randy drink the rest!

I think about people who are daredevils and what their personality and temperament are like. Okay, someone similar to my brother! Someone who takes risks, not silly or reckless dares, but a good slightly risky risk. Are you a person who accepts dares….or risks? Think about your job and your role at work. Think about how I can help you. Law involves uncertainties and risks that cannot be quantified. Some cases may be “risky” because of their sheer complexity or because the subject matter cannot be reasonably measured.

I recognize that when I’m called upon to help on a legal case everyone has a role in the process. From me you will receive a report that is clear, truthful and comprehensive. Here’s a little story about me:

I once searched for a solid week for a pearl that fell out off a ring from my finger as I was leaving my apartment. The pearl fell through the deck slats and landed somewhere in a huge mess of leaves, etc. below. I had to go to work, but upon coming home I looked for the pearl. I looked every time I left the apartment until there ya go! Image result for pearl blackI found it!  I am one persistent person when it comes to finding something I absolutely know is there! 

Image result for pearl black and white ring cartoonAn incredible ring!

If there is part of your job that is somewhat risky, convince your brain that you are not scared of said dare or risk, and how proud you will be of your accomplishment. Consider all outcomes, and don’t forget others who are or could become involved. Then gather the courage and just do it! Don’t stop until you are done. Feel the exhilaration! This is similar to serving as an expert witness!

Skydiver

 Be safe, especially if you have a dangerous job (or hobby)

What will I study next? How to sky dive?  I would love to! And I’ve thought about it……. Hummm, maybe in Brooklyn! Actually I want to get into art. Not that I’m good at drawing or painting. I just want to study and learn new techniques. Not that risky huh! Stay tuned!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Got Questions? Ask the Vocational Expert!

My work is helpful during litigation following an injury or condition that leads to disability.  In any type of litigation, if the disability or limitation is significant, more than likely there will be questions about work and future earnings. In fact, a multitude of questions will arise as the case develops. As a well-trained and open minded vocational expert, I love to answer (and come up with) questions!

Do you have questions regarding a person’s future in the workforce?

Answers

 I’d love to find your answers!

Solid and detailed answers will describe employment related issues relevant in workers’ compensation, wrongful death, medical malpractice cases, personal injury, family law and many other areas of civil litigation.

It is important to quantify the loss, but how about going further to qualify it and define the best course of action to remedy it? Let’s characterize what is really going on by providing the facts, then finding help in the best places and describing everything in detail! Keep in mind, I pay particular attention to rehabilitation, health and safety!

Questions involve a multi-layer approach & so do Answers!

PuzzlesQs

What, Who, How? Where, Why, When?

Start with concrete observations (What):

Continue on to the specific people involved (Who):

Move to understanding (How):

Describe the locality and environmental issues (Where):

Step out on a limb of interpretation (Why):

Specify timelines and approaches that make sense  (When):

QsI know, I know, as an attorney you don’t like to ask questions that you don’t have the answer to! But you need the facts backed up by an expert, like me!

Qs
Fire Away!

These are randomly generated great questions! Remember, your answer will be multi-layered!

What occupation(s) is this person qualified to do?

Is this person employable? Where?

What is the outlook for certain occupations over the next 5 years? 10 years? etc.

What are transferable skills and how are they applied?

What are this person’s key transferable skills? How in demand are they?

How many jobs has this person held? Is that “normal”?

What did the person’s job involve? (Is there a need for job description and/or job analysis?)

What was the real reason for termination? Why did it happen?

Why has the worker not found employment?

Is the job search reasonable and effective? How can you be sure?

Is the quality of the job search material (eg: resume and cover letter) effective? How?

Are there specific criteria when targeting key occupations? If so, what are they?

How long does a job search take in a particular field? Why?

Why is motivation a factor in a job seeker’s vocational goal?

QsIs this person motivated to find work? How is that so?

How is a person’s employability assessed?

Are there places this person could work? How does one connect to that type of work?

Has this person sustained any career damage? How?

Are job seeking skills critical to the job search? Why?

What barriers influence this person’s hireability? employability? placeability? *Key Placement Factors*

What factors influence compensation and/or earnings?

What vocational services are available to assist with return to employment?

Why is this person underemployed? Will retraining for a different occupation help? How?

What are Soft Skills? (See Soft Skills Matrix) Does this person have many?

What motivates this person to work? (See Motivational Assessments)

What is the wage range for a particular occupation (or field/grouping of jobs?)

What are the statistics reporting in on this particular job?

What resources are useful for a job seeker?

Is the work physical demanding? How so?

Are there ergonomic issues in regards to this work? What are they?

What assistive technology or work tools would allow the work to be performed differently?

Qs

What markets employ this vocation? Is it viable?

What is the effect on smoking and pain? Or to overall injury recovery? Why?

Is age discrimination occurring? Why is this?

Is this person’s mobility in the workforce good or not good? Why?

What accommodations are available for work? How are they accessed?

What are the job requirements or essential functions of this work?

Does the work environment affect productivity? How?

What does this person’s future employment outlook look like?

Has this person sustained any career damage? How?

What is this person’s earning capacity? How is that calculated?

Qs

Just one more question…

Why not call me ~ Amy ~ at 515-282-7753 for help? 

FREEFree 15 minute consultation offering!

If I could help you help your clients, please let me know!

If you have questions on a case that have anything to do with work and serious disability, you need solid and detailed information to base your decisions!

Additionally, life care planning that encompasses forensic vocational rehabilitation consulting is a unique concept. It offers you, the judge and jury with information guaranteed to help your litigated case move along. 

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Big Miss Steak…..Cut Your Meat, Chew A Lot and Eat Slowly!

We humans make some big mistakes. It’s those misguided or wrong actions or judgments that range from simple to complex that can cause alarm and then when understood and corrected can turn into an unforgettable learning experience.

My family and a couple of the kid’s friends had Florida travel plans this month of June 2017 to visit my mom and her new husband; and my sister too. Disney was in the works and a lot of beach time was in mind.

We were ready to board the plane…in fact most passengers had already boarded, when I heard over the intercom something to the effect of “stop boarding.” I then witnessed passengers I watched moving into the plane’s bridge walk back out with their carry-ons in tow; and thought “oh no, no, no, this doesn’t seem right.”

After all passengers were back in the boarding area, the announcement came on that the plane had been hit by the baggage handling cart causing a hole in the fuselage and we would not be flying. I listened to several passengers give their theories…and some actually felt the impact from the baggage cart when it hit the plane on the side. Wow.

The flight was canceled….after being at the airport patiently waiting to board for 3 hours, because no rescue plane could be found.  Did you know rescue planes existed? Many passengers were grumbly and we figured someone at the airport possibly got fired. I watched with fascination through the terminal window as the plane was being inspected, even the pilots were taking pictures! 

Being a Saturday evening, this was the last flight of the week until Thursday, (can you read into what airline I’m referring to if you’re familiar with DSM flights?). Although there were some options for our travel the next week, none would have worked out for each of our schedules. No vacation in Florida. No Disney for the kids. No beach for me…and I even packed four bikinis!, no seeing our friends and family, no nothing…and all the energy involved in the planning of the trip, down the tubes.

I really just wanted to get out of the airport and back home that day. I looked at this experience with the family as practice however, because we’ll be doing it again! Plus I learned how to pack more efficiently and know I can take food on the plane! 

Question: How the heck did a human driver hit a huge airplane with a golf cart and seriously damage it? This was A Big Mistake affecting a lot of people! Of course my mind went into litigation thinking as there could probably be some lawsuit for any reason. Good thing no one was injured; and hopefully those who really needed to get to Florida ASAP got there without too much anguish.

Related image

You’re Fired!! You’re Fired!! You’re Fired!!

When my son Jacob, now 22, was very young, he used to love to repeat You’re Fired! You’re Fired! You’re Fired! over and over.  I really never had any idea who he was firing, but he did a lot of it! Jacob was fond of Charizard, of the Fire/Flying Pokemon species, maybe that’s why he was fond of the phrase? Are you? Have you ever been fired? Have you had to fire someone? Did you learn from it?

Okay, here’s one (of my own mistakes) about me as I was getting ready for the Florida trip. As I considered what to take as a carry-on (free on this airline), I decided upon a smaller purple suitcase with wheels I’ve used before….and as I was packing it I felt something lodged at the bottom.  Upon retrieval, I found a maroon jewelry box and opened it.

Wrapped up in tissue was my diamond tennis bracelet!  Being missing for over a year, I had seriously thought it was lost for good. Okay this Big Miss Steak wasn’t so bad, and I hope I learned my lesson.  There was another time time I was stopped at airport security because a pocket knife was found buried inside an unknown ripped seam inside my little purse. Swiss Army Knife Clip ArtOops. 

I strive to be extremely careful with my work, especially with my writing skills. However typos do arise and I’ve been known to unfortunately miss my own (including having a date wrong on my resume for a couple years before I noticed it!)  BTW, other’s typos glare at me.  But big mistakes, like negligence when it comes to a patient’s health care, is something I can help with.

I’ve recently worked on a medical malpractice case; and in this case the patient died, however my role/goal was to perform a vocational evaluation and assess his earning capacity had he not died in such a short period of time. For more information on my work in this case and how I followed basically the same methodology as other evaluations, please contact me. 

Image result for big miss steakYes everyone makes mistakes and everyone needs to be careful in our roles at work. I don’t know if anyone was fired or if there was any lawsuits over this airport incident, but it got me thinking about mistakes, including the many of my own.  

I’m not saying eating steak is a mistake, but I agree becoming a vegetarian is a big missed steak!  Keep in mind I am a vegetarian and have not eaten steak in well over 6 years (although I can’t deny the great smell!)  To each their own, just be sure you cut your meat carefully, chew a lot, and eat slowly!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Get Level During the Divorce Process…With an Earning Capacity Evaluation!

Are you an attorney who works with divorcing couples? Have you utilized vocational expertise to help level out the uncharted territory for your client?  Whether employed, unemployed or underemployed, an earning capacity offers valuable information regarding marital assets. 

My company, Vocational Resources Plus LLC offers vocational consulting services, in particular an earning capacity evaluation, which will benefit parties in a divorce in many ways. 

Let’s Get Level

If you need a clear, objective picture of a divorcing husband’s or a divorcing wife’s earning potential, and not just what he or she is currently earning during the divorce process, but how their vocational background could unfold with options and corresponding wage information, let me help! As a vocational expert, I know what skills are in demand in today’s employment market, and what income these skills can command in various careers.

Career picI report on the evidence and am always prepared to back it up through expert testimony!

An evaluation will provide recommendations on the person’s functional capacity, personality, work skills and abilities, transferable skills, work values, aptitudes, interests, motivators,  work readiness and ideas for employment. Any recommendation or opinion is backed up with supportive data that highlights the individual’s vocational presence.

Based on individual circumstances of employability, hireability and placeability (3 of my favorite ability descriptors!), other factors are assessed, for example, job seeking skills and job search records.

Most importantly, during a divorce your client’s personal story deserves to be heard, especially when we’re talking about talents that include job skills and the career the person gravitates towards.  Results of all assessments and analyses are explained accordingly in a clearly written report.

Postit marriageI can help tell your client’s vocational story realistically and persuasively.

In one case I’m aware of, the divorcing woman declined to hire her own expert (umm: me) and found herself at a serious disadvantage. The “opposing” vocational expert sure did a number on what he declared she would earn in today’s workforce even though she hadn’t worked anywhere in 10 years!

There were inaccuracies and factual errors in this expert’s report on a specific career (it was teacher) that made me wonder if he (the opposing expert) had actually ever talked to a teacher about their job in real life! (Ahh, try being married to a teacher like me!) The opposing expert did not make sense! You simply don’t start out (with an outdated bachelor degree, no license, no certification(s), and no recent teaching experience) at $50k!! Not reality!

Even following divorce, my services can help an “ex” find appropriate work. With the results of interest and aptitude tests, along with professional guidance, the value of hiring a vocational consultant is enhanced should the cost of placement services be included in the alimony proceedings.Earnings $

Knowing your earnings ability will directly impact the resolution of the economic aspects of your divorce.

Please contact me to discuss how I can help level the playing field so the divorce process moves in a fair and equitable manner. It makes sense to have a person’s earning capacity known early in the proceedings.

Do it before a different report says otherwise! Having valid and reliable information on earnings directly impacts the resolution of the economic aspects of any divorce.

Call me ~ Amy ~ at 515-282-7753. If I don’t answer, please leave a message!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Need to Retain an Expert? I’m Here to Help!

As a forensic rehabilitation consultant, I could be available as your next retained expert! I’m Here to Help You Help Your Client! Unique consulting services help identify insights into your litigated case while first-hand testimony helps others to understand it.  In fact, listing me as an expert may spark some much needed movement in the litigation process.  rp_Professional-Expert-Witness1.jpg

And, the sooner the better! When you involve an expert like me on certain cases early in the process, you’ll be in a good position knowing you have a professional on hand for the duration of your case.

My companies Vocational Resources Plus LLC and Life Care Planning Resources Plus LLC lovingly co-exist. I’ll celebrate the beginning of 19 years in private practice on September 15, 2017 (and they say it’s my birthday too, yeah)! Although I’ve been in the field of vocational rehabilitation from the start….that’d be 1999, forensic rehabilitation and life care planning are both new specialties!

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In celebratory style, I’m reaching out to attorneys who are passionate about helping clients.

Here on this website you’ll find various links to my writings about serving in various capacities within my field, such as my focus on life care planning (with a vocational rehabilitation component), vocational consulting, placement, and serving as an expert witness.  I like to blog about why my work is important and to help people identify how to use my services. Further, it’s fun to write and I like to showcase my credibility, methodology and expertise. (Read my disclaimer!)

LightbulbWant to help your clients even more? Consider tapping into my creative resources!

My analysis and opinion of how I can help your case will be straightforward, honest and grounded in rehabilitation. As such, this may or may not support your case. I can usually determine whether or not I can help your case within the first few hours of research, and will limit such fees based on our agreement.

Please keep in mind that permission to use my name, or in any way indicate that I am an expert witness or consultant for your side of a case, either informally or formally with other parties, is not granted until a retainer is secured. Contact me for information on retaining me!

FootballIf I have to pass on a case, I’ll do what I can to offer recommendations.

So, give me a call at at 515-282-7753 and let’s have a conversation. I promise to value your time!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

My Shoulder is Nearly Healed…In Time for Helping Out with New Work Comp Laws!

At the beginning of the year 2017, I injured my left rotator cuff. I believe the tear was formed during a combination of activity, but I’m not entirely sure what happened.  It took the shoulder a long time to heal and it affected my physical capacity for more than five months.

The first six months are critical to any injured body part that wants to heal. Proper care, nutrition, stretching, exercise and relaxation are essential components of rehabilitation.  A “don’t give up attitude” is too. I can relate to the limited movement, the pain, and the frustration from the rotator cuff injury!

What’s good is that my shoulder (along with my arms and entire core) is much stronger than before because, well simply put, I care about my shoulders and exercise with purpose so they can work hard for me! 

I was offline for maintenance, but I’m back and stronger than ever!

They’re your only shoulders, all yours. If there’s injury, please do everything possible allowing it to heal on its’ own.  

I seriously believe practicing yoga/focused stretching is valuable during any healing process. But what happens when a shoulder injury becomes chronic after 6 months? If surgery is performed, it’s even more paramount to pay attention to rehabilitation efforts. 

Rehabilitation includes body and mind. Speaking of mind, I am grateful to hear of the new change in the Iowa workers’ compensation law to provide workers who have a serious shoulder injury and can no longer return to their existing job with vocational rehabilitation benefits. After July 1, 2017, if in the workers’ compensation system for a shoulder injury, the individual will receive assistance with gaining knowledge through training at a local community college…and we have good ones here in Iowa!

Also in January of this year 2017,  I worked with a vocational rehabilitation client through this same scenario.  The client had a serious rotator cuff injury with multiple surgeries to his shoulder and wasn’t expected to be able to return to his job as a roofer. He expressed interest in work as a heavy machine operator, so upon research and contact with local resources, I prepared an in-depth report to support my findings to help him move into a new career. Please let me know if (after July 1, 2017) you have a need on a case involving a shoulder injury as this information is fresh!

Gerald the Cat…Studious, Quick and Very Orange & Very Cool!

“Iowa’s workers’ compensation law will be changing significantly for injuries that occur after July 1, 2017. 

Shoulders (85.34)   Shoulder injuries are no longer considered industrial disabilities and are now categorized as scheduled member injury based off of 400 weeks.

Shoulder Rehabilitation (85.70)  An employee who has sustained an injury to the shoulder resulting in PPD who cannot return to gainful employment because of the disability, now has the right to be evaluated by the department of workforce development, and if deemed appropriate, referred to an area community college to receive new career vocational training. The employer or the employer’s insurer is required to pay financial support for participation in the program up to $15,000 for tuition, fees, and required supplies.”

Nice Biceps!

Please let me know if you have a need for a vocational expert like me to help. I have lots of experience helping Veterans with returning to school so they can then commence with a new career. Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon!

I enjoy using cool cats to support my work!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Balance Your Case With Your Client’s Real Story

(Original post May 2016)

In her teen days my sister Janice (the Floridian) was quite adept at gymnastics, particularly on the balance beam where she made great use of her balancing skills. When Janice moved on to college, dad cut up the balance beam for a new use as exit steps from a sliding glass door to the back patio!

Balance BeamDad constructed a balance beam and re-purposed it as well!

Balancing is involved in many areas of day-to-day living and is critical to an abundant life. People balance tires, bank accounts, relationships, priorities and work….you get the idea. Finding balance is an ongoing lifetime project. I’ve heard the comment that it’s good to fall / fail because it means you were trying. If you think about your success, you will be successful. If you think about your falls or your failures, you’ll learn to improve.

My dad’s balance had not been good lately, although he was working on improving it. He moved continuously during each day, but a stroke and a fall down steps lead to no return to life on earth. Dad died a week after he turned 83 in the morning on 5/5/16. I’ve blogged about Death as Part of Living, and can now fully realize one has to die from many things in order to move through life and live fully….and there’s always a story to tell.

Highway BalanceRichard R. Prochnow

4/26/33 – 5/5/16

As my dad aged, he never stopped working hard and to his best ability. There was a balance in how he lived his life, and I’ll never stop learning from him! I can calm my mind and simply hear his voice when he called on the phone….“Hi Amy, this is your dad.” [Like I didn’t know!] Then he’d talk about what was happening! And it was real, interesting and well-balanced for the soul.

In whatever situation you’re in, keep on practicing finding balance, and you’ll find a way to not fall; or a way to increase your sense of balance at its core. You may lose direction, or momentarily become blinded, but you’ll find your way again. Trust yourself. Just like my dad did driving thousands if not millions of miles on the road traveling to participate in the world around him.

On a lighter side (yes, I cried but I want you to think about your own life with no tears involved), as part of my personal story, I remember an incident a long time ago while I was working as a banquet server for a hotel…walking into the room full of diners with a large tray of full drinking glasses (tea/water)….well, never mind. Let’s say there was an imbalance that could’ve been disastrous!

Spilled WaterI learned to readjust the next tray and focus on my goal…..just to get the glasses on the table safely without spilling!

We balance our bodies in many, many ways. Balancing skills make use of poses and states of mind to focus attention on work, yoga, aerobics, tabata, healing touch, hiking, golfing, bike riding…being with the person you love. You get the drift, physical activity that involves any number of exercise moves or mental positions.

Yes, simply thinking with a sense of balance is very, very good and helps avoid failure (and falling). Jurists use a balancing test to weigh the importance of multiple factors in a legal case. If you want to highlight these factors, I am more than ready to help you bring a balanced case to court.

Because my work is my life calling and I continuously learn and practice balancing, I will help you help your client. Call me at 515-282-7753 to educate me on your case. A vocational evaluation or a life care plan may provide just the balance you were looking to tell your client’s real story.

P.S. At times I am asked to simply evaluate a specific aspect of a case. Or my opinion on what someone else has already reported. Even how I feel about various aspects of a person’s capacity to succeed….. Don’t hesitate to call me : )

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Seen The Reasonable Person Lately? I Keep Looking Every Day!

This is my response to a discussion question while attending GWU awhile back:  

The term “reasonable man”…actually “reasonable person” is a legal expression used in both criminal and tort law. It refers to a theoretical person in society who shows average judgment, skill or care in his or her conduct. The reasonable person standard is the basis for comparison when deciding issues of liability in civil or criminal cases involving negligence. 

In the same circumstances, how would an average person have behaved?

In my personal opinion, who is average? When I think about who may be “average” in our society, it’s difficult to see through the many beautiful layers of culture but I suppose there truly are average people among us. I would think people do not want to be seen as “average”.  

Jane Doe and Joe Blow are boring. They have no emotions! No feelings! Nothing but going with the flow of their life and not messing up or doing stupid things. It’s hard for me to define the average person because I have probably never met one.

I think it’d be very hard to find one boring/I mean average person, let alone 12 which makes me curious of the jury formation process. I didn’t make it through, although I’ve only been summoned once and I would love to be on a jury. Speaking of, have you seen the play production 12 Angry Jurors? When Nick (my oldest son) was at North High a few years back, he was involved in the play and I’ve also seen it at the Stoner Theater with Richard Thomas as the lead. It’s a great production and makes you think about doubt!

Yet, our legal system compares actions of people and makes a decision based on the factors involved whether or not a reasonable person would or would not do the same thing. Using this standard can lead to strange outcomes. I found a Brigham Young Law Review titled Better Off with the Reasonable Man Dead. It’s kinda funny! It can be found at http://www.law2.byu.edu/lawreview4/archives/1992/2/aus.pdf

In part it reads: The Reasonable Man first appeared in the law (Did he evolve? Was he created?) in the 1837 case of Vaughan V Menlove. The defendant’s haystack caught fire due to poor ventilation. The defendant had been warned on numerous occasions that this would happen if he left the haystack. The defendant argued he had used his best judgment and did not foresee a risk of fire. The court held his best judgment was not enough. He was to be judged by the standard of a reasonable man.

The Reasonable Man has had many first names: Prudent, Ordinary, Typical, Ideal, Average, Right Minded…. He has qualities of a good citizen, an ordinary chap. On the other hand, others say he is inadequate, makes mistakes, is selfish and afraid. He does typical things (takes out the garbage, opens doors for others, etc.) he doesn’t do atypical things (like parking his car on the freeway to scrape a small blob of bird poop off his windshield.)

Image result for bird poop on windshield

A BIG blob!

The Reasonable Man is shy. He doesn’t want to talk about himself, but his best friends (judges and law professors) are happy to talk about him. And talk about him a lot!

The reasonable person adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. George Bernard Shaw. 

I’m going to look for a Reasonable Person or two in my town (or in the courtroom) and see what transpires and why it may be that s/he is average…..a common; or on the flip side I’ll also look for the Unreasonable Person who is above average, maybe a bit wild and adventurous. No doubt in my mind this will be fun!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.