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Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits!

I believe any small business owner will find Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits a worthwhile read. Everyone should keep this book as a useful business resource as well. Simple Numbers was written by Greg Crabtree, a CPA with primarily small, private held business owners as clients. Specifically, Crabtree’s accounting firm, Crabtree, Rowe & Berger, PC, focuses exclusively on providing accounting and business consulting services to entrepreneurs.

In his book, Crabtree teaches some key principles to making a business healthy and profitable. He illustrates these core principles throughout the book with straightforward examples that you can compare to your own financial statements. I’ve already begun putting several of them into place.

What I especially found informative and useful were the benchmarks he provides for certain categories of controllable expenses (like labor costs). He then demonstrates how controlling labor costs help lead to healthy profitability.  Mr. Crabtree also provides insight into growing a small business, while maintaining profitability along the way. Frankly, the book told me things I just didn’t know – like how much working capital is essential for a healthy business. My first take-away was  implementing some of these principles and developing spreadsheets to track the key performance indicators recommended in Simple Numbers. In addition to the book, Crabtree has a website where you can find his book and some free sample financial templates you might find helpful as well – www.simplenumbers.me.

So, I have to say that this is one of the most useful and informative business books I have read. After reading The One Thing and implementing the Pareto principle, I am challenging myself to follow through and implement the core principles taught by Crabtree in his book. I hope you like Simple Numbers! For more book recommendations, check out our past reviews.

Get Outside This Spring!

We had a terrible winter in Chicago with very cold temperatures and an unending string of snowstorms. As the days get longer and the sun gets warmer, we need to stay healthy and happy. Our day jobs add a lot of stress as we head into the courtrooms and depositions. The ABA recommends exercise, among other things, to reduce stress for attorneys. Luckily, we have lots of wonderful places to get outside and blow off some steam this spring.

Busse Woods

A jewel of the Northwest suburbs, Busse Woods provides 3,558-acres of land and water to bike, hike, fish, or picnic. Additionally, you can find an eight-mile paved loop trail, perfect for biking and rollerblading. On most days, many people will run the full loop. And if you want to stop, Busse Woods has an small elk herd near the corner of Arlington Heights Rd. and Higgins Rd. Our offices are only 1.5 miles away from the forest preserve and we highly recommend it!

Lake Arlington

With a lake centered in the park, a 2 mile walking path can provide the perfect spring or nighttime walk. The Arlington Heights Park District has made this a great springtime spot. Recently, they added exercise areas, gardens, and fountains for people who need to sweat or just relax. As with any trail, be careful as many people will speed around the path on their bike or rollerblades. And if you are very adventurous or like to boat, you can rent a paddle boat or kayak for a few hours.

Des Plaines River Trails

For a more rustic and less paved walk, visit the trails that stretch from Cook County through Lake County. Depending on where you live, a parking area and starting point should not be too far away. Although you may not walk the entire path, the serenity of the new leaves and wildflowers blooming bring down anyone’s stress levels. With dirt or gravel paths, however, make sure to wear good shoes as you may need to cross wet spots with those spring rains. If you want to see some wildlife in the suburbs, you can spot deer, rabbits, all kinds of birds, and even a coyote. Lastly, in Northbrook, you can also take the family to the Nature Center. After a nice walk, you can learn all about the prairie that surrounds us!

FDA Report Details Hidden Medical Device Injuries

According to a Kaiser Health News investigation, the FDA has built and expanded a vast and hidden repository of reports on device-related injuries and malfunctions.Since 2016, the FDA has entered 1.1 million incidents into an alternative summary reporting repository. This is different than their MAUDE system, which medical experts trust to identify potential problems for patients. Currently, they must report deaths in MAUDE. However, they placed incidents about approximately 100 devices in this hidden repository. The types of devices include surgical staplers and balloon pumps snaked into vessels to improve circulation and mechanical breathing machines. Agency records provided to Kaiser showed that more than 480,000 injuries or malfunctions were reported through the alternative summary reporting program in 2017 alone.

What Does the FDA Say?

Kaise reports that the FDA has also opened many pathways to report injuries. Many of these pathways appear private or obscured. A registry exemption was created without any public notice or regulations. All the device manufacturer needs to do is request such an exemption. Such exemptions have been given to pelvic mesh and devices implanted in the heart.

After the reported 480,000 injuries or malfunctions in 2017, Alison Hunt, another FDA spokeswoman, said the majority of device makers’ “exemptions” were revoked. She continued by saying that a program took shape that requires a summary report to be filed publicly.

The FDA stated the alternative summary reporting program two decades ago. They wanted to cut down on redundant paperwork. Due to the under-reporting of device problems, they had an influx of thousands of reports each month. Since many of the reports looked similar, they proposed a solution. A device maker would seek an exemption to avoid reporting certain complications and would instead send a spreadsheet on a specific timetable of all injuries. Additionally, the public could see the list of the exempted devices. However, at some point, that list became private.

The Surgical Stapler

An example of the risks associated to these hidden databases is how doctors turned to surgical staplers. Although some had concerns, only 84 injuries or malfunctions were openly submitted. However, nearly 10,000 lived in the hidden database. The public databases reported 250 deaths related to staplers since 2001. One of the market leaders stated they used the reporting exemptions to file stapler-related reports.

Based on this reporting, the FDA has announced a plan to investigate surgical staplers and their safety. Dr. William Maisel said, “Improving the safety of surgical staplers and implantable staples is a top priority for the FDA, and we believe our forthcoming draft guidance to industry and planned advisory committee meeting will advance those efforts.”

What Does This Mean for You?

“The public has a right to know about this,” said Dr. S. Lori Brown, a former FDA official who accessed the data for her research. Dr. Brown told Kaiser that if doctors only rely on the public reports, they can easily reach incorrect conclusions. Other experts say that the FDA has handed over the regulations to the device manufacturers.

Your doctors generally take great care of you. But they rely on these systems when they choose the tools to help you. Although a doctor does not have to always talk to you about the procedures, you can ask questions. Some questions can include:

  • Has this device ever been subjected to human clinical trials? What information do you have about those trials?  Who sponsored the research?
  • Is the way you want to use the device “off-label”? Are there any warnings or contraindications on the device label?
  • Do you have any written information about this device? What about materials that do not come from the manufacturer?
  • What has been your personal experience with the device?

Your doctors want to help and you want the reassurance of your safety as you go through these procedures.

If you or someone you love has been injured after a medical procedure, contact the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today at (847) 357-0403 for a free consultation.

Teenage Driver Car Accidents

When you hand over your keys to your teenager, you may feel excited and scared. And you have every reason to wait up based on the statistics. Teen drivers are at a high risk of vehicle crashes. According to the  AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 16 and 17 year older teenage drivers are more likely to get into a car accident then adults. Additionally, motor vehicle crashes have become the leading cause of death and disability for teenagers in the United States. And unfortunately, most of these crashes occur based on critical errors on the new drivers.

These errors include

  • lack of scanning needed to detect and respond on time to hazards,
  • speeding fast on dangerous road conditions,
  • texting and
  • other distractions, such as friends in the car.

These critical errors can be prevented with quality supervision by parents of driving practices by parents who can aid in helping the teenager in gaining the experience and developing driving skills as needed.

Common Types of Teenage Driver Accidents

Most common types of crashes are left turns, rear-end and running off the road. This could be due to the fact that majority of the newly licensed teen drivers receive their permits while lacking skills to drive on the road which leads to higher risk of crashing compared to the more experienced drivers. Driver inexperience is a dangerous cause of accidents because the teenagers who newly receive their driver’s license are not properly equipped to face the dangers of the roads and crash risks are particularly high on the first month of earning license.

Distracted Driving and Your Teenager

Distracted driving is also a major factor of teen vehicle crashes. Examples of distracted driving include

  • taking your eyes and mind off the road, eating,
  • talking on the phone,
  • switching between radio stations or changing songs your a Bluetooth enabled device,
  • engaging in conversations with the passenger and
  • most dangerous of all, texting while driving.

Additionally, distracted driving become even more dangerous during the nighttime when visibility is lowered.

How to Reduce Injuries for a Teenage Driver

Research has proven that wearing seat belts significantly reduces the risk of fatal and serious injuries in car accidents. This includes accidents involving teenage drivers. Reports say that teenager are more likely to not wear a seat belt while driving. Parents and adults must share the importance of the rules of driving and regulations placed to keep the drivers safe on the road.

If you know someone who has been injured in a teen driving accident or you have been the victim of teen driving accident, contact an attorney for legal assistance. The Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. has over thirty years of experience handling car accident cases. For a free consultation, call us today at (847) 357-0403. Our attorneys can review the accident and discuss your injuries.

Are You Allowed to Put a Security Camera on Your House?

With the rise of companies like Nest and Ring, millions of Americans have added security measures to their homes. In addition to security systems, these small security camera devices can protect your home. And its convenience makes it similar to monitor from anywhere. All you need is your phone and the app. Recently, in Mount Prospect, an interior security camera – with the help of a scream – caught a home invader on tape. However, this technology has restrictions.

Where Can You Point a Security Camera?

Generally, cameras outside are almost always fair game. Many buildings in urban and suburban areas have a number of security cameras. In fact, you may request this footage in cases of slips and falls. However, if a camera points somewhere private, like a neighbor’s window, then you may risk someone else’s privacy. Generally, the outdoor cameras could not be placed in an area that would invade someone else’s property. But to be the best neighbor possible, make sure your camera’s range only protects your home.

Many cameras today have a wide range and high definition. The best practice is to ensure safety and protect everyone’s privacy. If you are a property owner, you can contact professionals to place cameras. And if you believe someone has invaded your privacy through the use of an improperly located camera, contact an attorney, like the attorneys at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today.

Placing an Indoor Security Camera

Some businesses place security cameras inside to prevent shoplifting. These cameras are generally placed where no one would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, like a storeroom floor. However, in some instances stores place securitycameras in places where one may expect some privacy. Examples include bathrooms and dressing rooms.

Generally, stores may place security cameras in some dressing rooms, but many national chains place them outside of the dressing room instead to provide customers with privacy. Bathrooms have been almost universally deemed off limits by courts for placement of security cameras. Other areas like rented rooms, hotel rooms, and locker rooms are generally off limits for security cameras.

Additionally, it’s legal in the United States to record surveillance video with a hidden camera in your home. Many people use nanny cams or other hidden cameras. But similarly to placing a camera outside, if you want to ensure your placement follows the laws of Illinois, contact an attorney. For instance, he only time surveillance laws in Illinois permit you to record someone secretly is if you have a reasonable expectation that a crime is about to be committed against you or someone in your household.

Construction Injuries Caused by Steel Beams

i beam

Accidents on construction sites can lead to some very serious injuries to the workers. Construction sites are dangerous work places and that involve hard physical labor and often includes powerful machinery. The nature of construction sites includes being in dangerous locations such as great heights and road side where the chances of accident are greater.

Due to its resemblance to an upper-case “I”, the most common steel member for building construction is the I-beam. Other names include a joist or girder. The beam has flanges that attach on either side of the central core component. The beam can weigh more than 400 pounds.

Accident in Evanston

On October 9, 2018 at 8:25 a.m, a steel beam fell 30 feet and tragically killed a construction worker in Evanston. Another worker was also critically injured. The two men, ages 55 and 27, worked near a nine-story apartment building on 811 Emerson Street in downtown Evanston. Suddenly, a beam fell as the crane tried to offload it. At the time of the accident, it remained unclear how the beam fell. However, news reports claimed it appeared that the crane may have lost balance as it unloaded the beam.

The beam hit the two men who were immediately rushed to the nearby hospital. Tragically, the 55 -year-old Davis Bialas was pronounced dead at the hospital. The autopsy states he died of enduring multiple injuries in the accident. The 27-year-old man was stuck under the beam and had to be extricated and then taken to the hospital in critical condition. He went through surgery.

What Kind of Injuries Can Result from an I-Beam?

Construction workers hurt on site have options available for recovery such as getting medical bills paid, being able to take time off work to recover from the injuries, to not being able to go to work at all due to the injuries or even switching to job that is less physically demanding.

If you are a construction worker who has been hurt at work or know someone who has sustained serious injuries and are trying to recover the serious medical problems, or going through the pain of injures and financial worries of paying your medical bills or other bills due to the lack of attendance at work, you need to contact an attorney right away. An attorney will provide you the option and help you understand your rights under the laws.

What Next?

Hiring an attorney will help in many ways. An attorney will examine your case and help determine how much cost you have incurred due to the accident. They will then determine is you are eligible to file a worker’s compensation claim or a third-party liability lawsuit. If you or someone you love has been injured by a falling I beam, call the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today at (847) 357-0403

 

Winter Pet Protection Tips and Recommendations

 

We have had a lot of cold and snow in Chicago this winter. After all of this shoveling and heavy coats, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. is ready for spring. And although many of us know that we need to watch for summer dangers to our pets, we forget that our animals also feel the cold.

Even if we all want winter to end really soon, the groundhog may not be right – we still have at least another month of winter weather. And snow can sometimes fall in April! With the snow and the cold, some people think that their pets get to enjoy that weather due to their big, heavy fur coats. However, if you are cold, your pet is also cold!

Winter Weather Tips for Your Pets

Pets are just as likely to get frostbite and hypothermia as you. But it’s easy to protect them from the cold. Below are several tips to keep your best friend safe this winter.

Limit time outdoors

Even the biggest and furriest dog should not spend huge amounts of time outside in the winter. A thick coat does not protect all of their body parts, especially their paws, their nose, and their ears. First, never leave your pets outside alone, even if they roam outside during other seasons. Dogs loves their walks and exercise, but otherwise, they should stay inside. Even if you think your pet may tolerate cold weather better, if you do not want to be outside, don’t leave them out there.

Additionally, arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Just as we worry about our elderly neighbors as they grab the shovel and go outside, please stay alert of your pets who may need extra care and patience on the ice.

Bundle Up and Wipe Down

Next, some dogs have short coats, especially short-haired and smaller dogs. If you have such a pet, consider putting on a dry sweater or coat when you take them for their walk. Additionally, older dogs and puppies may have stronger reactions to the cold.

Additionally, many sidewalks may have salts or other chemicals on them. Your pet’s paws and bellies can become coated in these chemicals, which will irritate their skin. Wipe down all of the paws with a damp towel before you pet licks them. You definitely do not want the salt in their mouths! At this time, also check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. Chemicals can get caught between their foot pads to cause severe pain as they burn the dog’s skin.

Lastly, if you use a de-icing treatment, consider using a pet-safe deicer that you can purchase at many pet stores.

Listen to Your Pet

Although they may not have a voice, your pet can tell you how they feel in different ways. For example, if you notice that your pet begins to whine or shiver, they should come inside. Signs of hypothermia for your pet is the same as they are for you. However, you may have trouble identifying frostbite. Either way, if your animal appears in pain due to any exposure to the cold, be safe and consult your veterinarian immediately. Damage may take a few days to show their true signs and a trained vet will help.

Protect Outdoor Pets

For example, if you have an outdoor cat, remember to provide them protection. They need extra food and water, so give them a hand.

Lastly, livestock have their own needs. If you have a horse, remember to provide them an area to escape from the wind and cold. Provide a lot of water and food during extreme cold as they will use this energy to stay warm. And a horse always loves to have a dry blanket placed on them.

Conclusion

Although winter may come to an end (hopefully!) soon, the cold air can stay in Arlington Heights for a long time. As you walk your dog around Lake Arlington or in Busse Woods this spring, if you have a coat on, consider protecting your dog. Even with the daffodils coming out of the ground, remember to keep everyone safe.

If you take these steps, your pets will enjoy the play and exercise but will also stay safe. However, you may also encounter pets that do not have owners who understand the dangers of the winter. If you see a pet outside too long, politely let the owner know about the risks and your concerns. Many people just do not understand how the cold affects their animals and need to know this information. Stay warm and enjoy the snow!

Heart Month — New Hands-Only CPR

As a leading cause of death for both men and women, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. proudly participates in American Heart Month to prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects.

You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk the Department of Health and Human Services recommends to:

  • Watch your weight.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke,
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure,
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation, and
  • Get active and eat healthy.

In addition to traditional CPR, officials also recommend everyone learns how to perform hands-only CPR.

What is Hands-Only CPR?

Hands-Only CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths. They recommend this tactic for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an “out-of-hospital” setting. For example, if you see someone suddenly collapse while playing basketball, officials recommend attempting hands-only CPR. It consists of two easy steps:

  1. Call 9-1-1 (or send someone to do that).
  2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

Next, when you call 911, you need to stay on the phone until the 911 dispatcher tells you to hang up. The operator will ask you about the emergency. Then they will also ask for details of the location, the individual’s status, and other relevant information. If you find yourself in this situation, remember to be specific about all of the details. It will make it easier for emergency personnel to find you and help the individual. Lastly, remember that answering the dispatcher’s questions will not delay the arrival of help.

According to the American Heart Association, about 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival. Chest compressions push oxygen-rich blood through the body to keep vital organs alive. Hands-Only CPR buys time until EMS arrives.

How To Keep the Beat

The American Heart Association recommends keeping a few songs in your head in an emergency. Depending on your taste in music, they have several examples so that you remember the correct rate to compress an individual’s chest.  Song examples include

  • “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees,
  • “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z,
  • “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira” or
  • “Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash.

If you like a more scientific method, when performing CPR, you should push on the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. Of course, that corresponds to the beat of the song examples above.

Side Impacts Car Accidents

side impact accident

Author Brady Holt

Side impact car accidents occur when a car is hit by another vehicle or object from the side. These accidents are also known as T-bone accidents or broadside collisions. T-bone accidents can lead to death or serious injuries for both the driver and passenger. Side impact car accidents kill 8,000 and injure 10,000 people each year. Even worse, the most likely victim of a side-impact accident is a child. Even at low speeds, side impacts result in serious injuries to passengers.

Although modern cars are developing fantastic safety features, very little protection exists for a side impact accident. Even vehicles that have side-impact air bags do not provide occupants with the protection needed from such accidents. These protections become even less important when the accident occurs with cars driving at high speeds. Regardless, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates these protections, if installed in all cars and trucks, would save hundreds of lives each year.

Causes of Side-impact injuries

Among many reasons for side impact accidents are:

Common Injuries

Unfortunately, victims of side impact crashes are likely to have serious injuries if not death. People riding on the side of the car where the impact occurs suffer the worst injuries. Many of these injuries will affect a person’s neck, head, chest, or legs. For passengers on the other side of the car, the most common injuries include head and chest injuries.

Neck and spine damages often lead to chronic pain, shock and paralysis. These injuries usually occur due to the crash impact which causes whiplash. Whiplash most commonly occurs with accelerated movement after an accident. These injuries will affect the nerves and discs in the spine and may cause a concussion.Some life threatening injuries include:

Due to the severity of the types of injuries, it becomes incredibly important for people to visit medical personnel after an accident.

What to do after a side impact accident?

One of the most frequent questions we hear is what should I do after an accident. On the scene, if possible, remember to exchange insurance information with the other drivers. You should also document the damagers to the vehicle with pictures and write down all of your injuries. When you visit a medical professional, make sure to talk about any pain or worry you have. If you are unable to communicate or document due to the severity of your injuries, do so as quickly as possible and get any police records you can get.

If you believe your injuries require more attention, contact an attorney as soon as possible. They can help you walk through any discussions with insurance companies and preserve any information you may need. The attorneys at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. have years of experience with side-impact collusion injuries. If you or someone you loved has suffered from such an injury, contact us today for a free consultation at (847) 357-0403. Remember that many states have strict statutes of limitation of one to two year to bring a personal injury lawsuit.

After consulting with an attorney, they will discuss the possible damages that you have suffered. These damages may include medical bills, lost wages, damage to vehicle, out of pocket expenses and vocational rehabilitation. In some circumstances, other noneconomic damages include pain and suffering, disfigurement, inconvenience and loss of consortium. Insurance companies act as private, for-profit companies and they may was to settle. In many instances, a personal injury lawyer will help you negotiate with these companies to recoup your damages.

Nursing Home Brain Injuries

nursing home brain injury

When people place their vulnerable elderly relatives in a nursing home, we expect they can handle their needs. Many elderly people need help with daily activities. Generally, staff is incredibly friendly, supportive and available for all kind of help. Unfortunately, sometimes residents suffer neglect and negligence. This neglect can lead to traumatic brain injuries.

An incident took place in Bartow County, Georgia where an employee of a nursing home was convicted for forcing an elderly woman – 95 years old – to strike herself in the face. The employee had pinched the victim’s earlobe and forced the elderly women to repeatedly hit herself in the face. The employee was found guilty of the offenses.

What Head Injuries Occur at Nursing Homes

Head injuries can occur due to:

  • falls out of a bed,
  • slips in a bathroom,
  • improper bed rails,
  • wet floors,
  • transportation related injuries, and
  • weak upper bodies that cannot catch a slip or fall.

50% of deaths that occur due to falling occur after a head injury. Additionally, 32% of hospital admissions involving a head injury result from a fall. Of these head injuries, 25% occur in elderly adults who are in a nursing home facility.

How Can Nursing Homes Reduce Head Injuries

Nursing home staff must reduce hazardous situations that may result in a head injury. Therefore, the staff must stay alert and aware of the situations of their residents. Additionally, facilities must supervise the weaker residents. If a resident has certain diseases, such as dementia, additional resources may be necessary. Lastly, overmedication or undermedication neglect could result in a slip or fall.

If a significant fall occurs, the nursing home may need to dismiss the employee. If the employee remains, they need to hold them responsible for their actions or inaction.

When Your Family Member Suffers a Head Injury

First, take your relative to emergency care for evaluation and treat the any injury. Due their age, even a minor injury could result in significant pain and suffering. If your relative has declining health, they become even more susceptible to injury. If you need to discuss the injury with a lawyer, find a local experienced personal injury lawyer, such as the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. to discuss your options. Many attorneys will meet with your for a free consultation. If you desire a free consultation with our attorneys, call us today at 847-357-0403.

Generally, nursing homes do not provide specific rehabilitative therapies to address the needs of person with head brain injury. Regardless of if the brain injury occurs at the facility or not, you may need to find an outside care provider. Approximate 244,000 residents suffering from brain injuries in nursing homes without proper treatment. Luckily, some nursing homes put great efforts to get those residents with brain injuries into facilities that have the resources to care for them. Unfortunately, around 4 million people require long term care and the current brain injury facilities can only accommodate 40,000 patients.

Medicaid Rules

Medicaid is required to cover the cost of nursing home for long term care under the United States laws. The laws do not require the Medicaid to pay for specialized that those suffering from brain injuries need. Facilitates that can handle cases for brain injuries are not licensed as nursing homes which means that Medicaid would not cover the facilities for long term care. Nursing homes recognize that those with brain injuries should not be in restrictive areas therefore they refuse to take them. This leaves elderly who require nursing home care and have brain injuries to a severe disadvantage.

About the Firm


Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron

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