Aulsbrook Law Firm - March 2020

MARCH 2020


M arch is National Ethics Awareness Month, and it’s meant to bring greater attention to the idea of ethics and ethical behavior, which, at times, can seem in short supply. My definition of ethical behavior is to do the right thing when no one is looking. Both C.S. Lewis and Aldo Leopold, an American author and philosopher, share this partial quote, which instructs us to act ethically even if we don’t think anyone knows about it. In other words, we shouldn’t act ethically because of some payoff. We do it because we are motivated by inherent goodness, not for any extrinsic benefit. Since our practice is devoted to personal injury, we have had the chance to get to know many other injury attorneys as well as medical providers and facilities in our market. As with any industry, there are times when you see how some people handle ethical challenges. We’ve had to terminate relationships because some folks we’ve done business with don’t live up to our ethical standards. I hope all of our clients and our referral partners know that we have the highest ethical standards. We always strive to do what’s right even when no one is watching! In order for me to become licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Texas, I had to be approved by the Board of Law Examiners to be of fit moral and ethical character. I’ve been open about my past struggles with drugs and alcohol, which I’ve mentioned a time or two in this newsletter. I had a brief relapse while I was in law school after years of sobriety. The Board of Law Examiners requires a questionnaire to be filled out after graduating law school, and I will be the first to say there were some questions that tested my ethics. Doing the Right Thing — Even When No One is Looking

potentially deny my admission to the bar with this information, but I can hold my head high today knowing that I was 100% truthful.

When the board approved me to practice law, I was immediately placed into situations that I could budge on the ethics — or stay true to my beliefs. In my 12-step work, one of our cliche sayings is “Do the next right thing.” When you are faced with your next ethical dilemma, I hope you do the next right thing! And never be afraid to do the right thing when no one is looking.

I could either not disclose to Texas, or I could do the right thing and ethical thing. I admitted to the relapse. It was a difficult thing to do, knowing the Board could

-Matt Aulsbrook 1


A Parent’s Guide to International Women’s Day 6 Empowering Books About Girls to Read With Your Kids


Property Owners and Slip-and-Fall Liability

When people are injured due to slip-and-fall accidents, they may seek damages from the owners of the property where they were injured. When there are medical bills to pay or lost wages to recoup, it seems like a natural course of action, but determining liability isn’t always easy. Slip-and-fall accidents can happen for a number of different reasons, and they are not all considered negligence on the part of property owners. However, property owners do have a responsibility to keep their properties reasonably safe.

This year, men and women around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day with lectures, panels, and marches on March 8, but have you thought about how you can bring the spirit of celebrating women’s rights into your home? If you haven’t planned a family activity around girl power yet, consider adding some inspiring tales of real-life women to your bedtime story routine. A few years ago for Women’s History Month, HuffPost rounded up 17 such books, and we’ve picked some of our favorites! If you’re on the hunt for reading material, head to the library and check one of these stories out. ‘Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History … and Our Future!’ by Kate Schatz This book explores 26 women of all stripes, one for each letter of the alphabet. Snag a copy to share the stories of Billie Jean King, Rachel Carson, Sonia Sotomayor, and more with your kids ages 8 and up! For a similar read focused on incredible girls rather than women, check out “Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World” by Susan Hood. ‘Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell’ by Tanya Lee Stone The title of this book says it all! In it, the author tells the story of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first American woman to don the white doctor’s coat at a time when most girls were expected to stay home. This book is recommended for kids ages 5 and up, as is its sequel, “Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers?: The Story of Ada Lovelace.” ‘Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World’ by Rachel Ignotofsky This beautifully illustrated book reads almost like a collection of folktales, following the careers of women in STEM “from the ancient to the modern world.” There’s no better way to share the stories of brilliant ladies like Jane Goodall, Katia Krafft, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas with your kids. Check out the companion books about women in art and sports, too! ‘Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers’ by Sarah Warren This short book for 6–8-year-olds tells the story of Dolores Huerta, an often-overlooked American activist who helped lead the charge for the rights of immigrant workers. A teacher by trade, Dolores was inspired to become “a warrior, an organizer, and a peacemaker” by her students. Don’t miss this chance to share her tale with your little ones!

In most cases, slip-and-fall accidents occur to poorly maintained conditions, such as:

Construction sites with open pits and exposed building material Sidewalks, curbs, or parking lots with uneven or deteriorating pavement

Loose or uneven flooring

Slick floors due to moisture, ice, or oil

Poor or no lighting to highlight potential hazards

Even with these conditions, property owners still might not be liable if the person who received the injury could have reasonably avoided the cause of the accident (such as walking around a puddle concealing damaged pavement).

There are a few conditions in which the property owner may be at fault and liable.

• If the property owners created the conditions that led to the injury (for example, they spilled oil on the sidewalk and left it there) • If the property owners were aware of unsafe conditions but chose not to do anything to fix them • If the property owners were not aware of unsafe conditions but should have been (any “reasonable” person would have spotted the problem and done something about it) It often comes back to what the property owner “knows,” with common sense mixed in. If you’re injured in a slip-and-fall accident that could have been easily prevented by a little maintenance from the property owner, the law may be on your side. And even if it isn’t as clear cut, with the right legal team by your side, you may still come out on top and get the compensation you deserve. If you have questions about a slip-and-fall case or you were injured in an accident, give us a call at (817) 369-5943 for a free consultation.



THE CONTINUOUS CLICK H ave you ever wondered why your car’s turn signal clicks? The universal sound dates back to the 1930s, even though the turn signal itself was invented sending current to the “blinker” for a split second, and it makes a distinct clicking sound. This process repeats over and over as you sit in traffic. How Does the Turn Signal Work?

in 1909. A man named Joseph Bell patented the electronic device that made it happen, and by 1939, Buick included flashing, clicking turn signals in their vehicles. Buick was ahead of its time, as many other car manufacturers were slow to adopt the technology. It wasn’t until the 1950s when more people were buying cars that “clicking” signals were standard on just about every new automobile on the road. Where does the sound come from? In some cars, particularly in older models, the sound and flashing signal is generated by a thermal style flasher. Electrical current flows through the flasher, which houses a bimetallic spring. When the turn signal is switched on, a current is sent through the spring, heating it up. The two metals in the spring heat up at different rates. As a result, they bend in a specific way. This bending accomplishes two things: It completes the circuit, Texas-Sized LAUGHS

In newer vehicles, especially those produced from the early ‘90s onward, you’re likely to find an electronic relay-style system. These devices are controlled using a microchip and an electromagnet. The chip regulates the electrical current that runs through the electromagnet.

Like the old flasher model, this relay completes the circuit to turn on signal lightbulbs for a split second while making the clicking sound. And, interestingly enough, this sound is physical. There is a moving part in the relay unit making the noise as current passes through it.

Today, while some new vehicles still use the electronic relay, more vehicles use devices that are completely chip-controlled, which means no moving parts. Instead, the clicking noise is produced electronically through either the driver side speakers or a dedicated speaker on the signal control unit itself.



Inspired by


This St. Paddy’s Day, try taking a festive spin on a classic staple. If you have red velvet lovers in your family, they’re sure to love this equally decadent treat.


• •

1 cup graham cracker crumbs 1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs

3 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened

• • • •

2/3 cup sugar

• •

1 stick butter, melted

3 eggs

1 oz green food coloring (gel works best)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract Green sprinkles, optional


1. Heat oven to 350 F, and line a 9x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. 2. In a large bowl, combine crumbs, butter, and food coloring. Press into the baking pan. 3. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar together.

4. Add eggs one at a time and stir in vanilla. 5. Pour mixture over the packed crumbs. 6. Bake for 40 minutes or until the center is set. 7. Let cool completely before adding sprinkles and slicing.







INSIDE Doing the Right Thing — No Matter What! 1 6 Empowering Books to Read With Your Kids for International Women’s Day How Do You Determine Liability in a Slip-and-Fall Case? 2 The Continuous Click Green Velvet Cheesecake Bars 3 Stay Stateside With These Little-Known St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations 4

Cases We Handle: • Personal Injury • Wrongful Death

• Criminal Law/DWI • Business Law

Staying Stateside for St. Paddy’s?


thousands of people to watch celebrities, musicians, bands, floats, and Miss Arkansas glide by. The event also features a Blarney stone kissing contest and a parade king and queen.

A Little Luck in America’s Heartland

There’s no place quite like Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day. What was once a purely religious holiday to honor the legend of St. Patrick chasing all the snakes out of the country has turned into a global celebration. But if a trip to Ireland isn’t in the budget, check out these three little-known stateside destinations that are just as festive.

O’Neill, Nebraska, is home to the world’s largest shamrock and more unique St. Patrick’s Day traditions. This Irish community doubles down on its heritage every March with a traditional parade, music, and Irish dancing. But the town also hosts a popular dodgeball tournament and donkey basketball. What could be better than pummeling your opponents in dodgeball and outpacing the competition while riding a donkey in the school gymnasium? Perhaps enjoying a pint or two with your teammates afterward. And O’Neill is just the spot to do it.

Short and Sweet in Arkansas

Ohio’s Little Piece of Ireland

Thanks to the clever thinking of some Irish friends meeting for a pint at a bar on one of the shortest streets in the world, Bridge Street in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the First Ever 17th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade will travel 98 feet once again this year. Don’t assume the turnout isn’t robust just because the distance is staggeringly low. The parade lasts for hours, drawing

You may not be able to fly to Ireland, but you can visit a little piece of it right in the U.S. Head to Dublin, Ohio, this St. Patrick’s Day for a traditional celebration sure to put a wee bit o’ pep in your step. Partake in a traditional Irish breakfast or enjoy a parade complete with bagpipers and Irish dancers. Boasting one of the largest celebrations in the U.S., Dublin is an affordable alternative for those looking to celebrate the Irish way.



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