229-888-0888 • www.puttingpeoplefirst.law Justice MONTHLY Better Together HONORING THE TEAM THAT MAKES MY LAW FIRM SUCCESSFUL SEPTEMBER 2019
After more than a decade in the legal profession, I’m confident in my abilities. I’ve helped underserved workers get the compensation they deserve after a work injury saddles them with mounting medical bills, and I've stood up for clients who couldn’t after an accident left them injured. But I would not be half the lawyer I am without the team that supports me. We may be a small group of legal experts in southern Georgia, but together, we’re a powerful force. In honor of Labor Day, I wanted to recognize my team and the work they do for clients every day. They make sure we are “putting people first.” Our paralegal, Brenda, came to us with years of experience. Born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida, Brenda worked in the Florida government right after high school. She climbed her way up to working in former Gov. Reubin Askew’s administration as a communications liaison clerk, and after Askew’s administration ended in 1979, she became a legal assistant to Jimmie Davis, a Georgia City Attorney. In 1996, she moved back to Florida and took a job as a paralegal in a 60-person law firm. She also mentored high school students for job interviews through the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. By 2006, she was back in Albany, where she worked on defense teams for insurance companies, which has been a tremendous asset to our team since she joined us in September 2018. Brenda’s decades of experience and dedication to the legal craft has made a huge impact on our firm and our patients. Her experience and knowledge is like having another lawyer in our firm! While we strictly do plaintiff’s work for personal injury and workers' compensation, Brenda’s understanding of the insurance system has given our cases an edge and improved competence. There have been times where Brenda’s tasks don’t even require my legal guidance. She knows exactly what to do, when to do it, and can almost read my mind. Up front, we have Marina, who I jokingly call our “Jill of all trades.” She does some receptionist work, but she’s also responsible for pre-litigation work for our personal injury cases, which can be a
lot for a firm of our size and caliber. She will often request medical documents, manage intake for new clients, and prepare demands for insurance companies. I honestly don’t know how Marina gets all her work done between answering the phones, helping clients who come walking in, and managing the legal work we throw at her. Coming from a background in customer service, Marina has the perfect attitude for client interaction. I don’t dare move her away from the front! We had some doctors visiting our office during a tour of a few local law offices a month ago, and they singled out Marina as the receptionist who was the friendliest and had the best greeting in the entire region! That makes me a very proud boss. In the past, I’ve had some stellar teammembers, but with the addition of Brenda and Marina’s consistency, I have one of the strongest teams I have had in years. They go above and beyond their regular job duties to ensure our clients are represented honorably and respectfully. We recently lost another great employee, and while her dedication will be missed, I’m excited to see who we can find to fill her spot. When it comes to hiring, I’ve learned a few hard lessons, but with Brenda and Marina pulling into tenured positions with the firm, I am confident that we will continue in the right direction. For now, I know Brenda and Marina will pick up any slack left by the vacancy. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the decades of civil law litigation, it’s that having a reliable team is invaluable, and that’s just what I have. -William F. “Trey” Underwood, III
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Prior to the 2018 National Football League (NFL) season, the league administration introduced two rules aimed at preventing concussions: Players are no longer allowed to “wedge” block — players running shoulder-to-shoulder into another player — during kick-offs, and they can’t lower their helmets when they tackle. A HEAD ABOVE
THE NFL’S NEWEST RULE CHANGES TO DECREASE CONCUSSIONS
number of reported concussions was 135 compared to 190 from the year prior.
However, it’s worth noting that 2017 saw high recorded rates of concussions. Figures going as far back as 2012 indicate that 2017 was one of the most concussed years in recent football history. Still, NFL and medical officials point to 2018’s decrease in concussions as a positive sign that league initiatives are working. Officials say the new rules helped push the numbers down, and the use of more sideline concussion protocol testing and increased advanced helmet technology aided in this boost. The NFL reported that 74% of its players were now wearing its latest protective headgear, a 33% increase from 2017. According to USA Today, the NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, also indicated that medical teams across the league performed more sideline concussion tests than any year prior and saw a 75% decrease in diagnosing. The league is considering testing mouthguard technology that would give medical teams more information for diagnosing concussions. As we prepare for another season of football, there’s no telling what 2019’s numbers will show about the NFL’s latest safety protocols, but if 2018 was any indication, they just might be headed in the right direction.
Fans and players complained about the “soft” stance the NFL took on the gritty play football was built on. Most notably, former Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was subjected to a game-costing “roughing the passer” penalty for tackling in a way that would have been
allowed in years prior. The NFL reported that it would be using Matthews’ hit as a teaching tape. Despite the backlash, offseason reports may suggest that these rules have influenced concussion rates. The NFL reported a 24% decline in the number of concussions between the 2017 and 2018 seasons, lowering the total from 281 in 2017 to 214 in 2018 when combined with preseason play. In the regular season alone, the
BACK TO THE BUS SAFETY TIPS FOR SMART COMMUTING THIS SCHOOL YEAR
a driver, watch for increased foot and two-wheeled traffic, and honor the right of way.
At the Law Offices of William F. Underwood, III, P.C., we support victims after accidents, but we also value taking precautions to avoid collisions. While kids shuffle back into classrooms, increased traffic will make morning commutes more hazardous. Avoid a costly accident by following these back-to-school commuting tips to make all your travels safe this school year.
Hit the Road
As buses fill your neighborhoods, consider alternate
As your teens join the throngs of drivers each morning, make sure they understand safety precautions of morning commutes. Teach them to leave early to account for traffic, avoid texting or eating, and limit the number of passengers in their vehicle. Prior to the school year, drive their route with them and consider downloading apps to track their driving habits.
routes to work or leave your home earlier. Additionally, if you have new drivers in your home, walk them through bus safety and right of way laws, including stopping whenever they see a bus with an extended stop sign and following at a safe distance. As for your little riders, remind kids about bus safety. They should always remain seated while the bus is moving, never cross the street until the bus driver says so, and wear their seatbelts if the bus has any. Despite all the precautions you can take, accidents happen. The legal experts at the Law Offices of William F. Underwood, III, P.C. can help you and your family get the compensation you deserve after an accident. Learn more about your options at PuttingPeopleFirst.law and inquire about a consultation by calling 229-888-0888.
Walk This Way
If your kids live close to school, consider having them bike or walk to school! Make sure kids wear visible clothing, teach them to look both ways before crossing streets, and pair them up with a neighborhood buddy. For more peace of mind, walk your child’s route with them before school starts. They will learn where to go and what to expect, and you will know all the obstacles and how long it takes them to get home. If you’re
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MIRACULOUS AND MALICIOUS Asbestos Prompts the Most Famous and Widespread Mass Tort Case in History
Asbestos was the “miracle mineral,” and its composition made it vital to numerous industries. Because it was durable and fireproof, it was used across automobile, construction, manufacturing, power,
One of the first and most famous of these cases was that of James Cavett, a retired boilermaker with the insulation company Johns Manville. In 1982, Cavett was awarded $2.3 million in compensatory
and chemical industries, according to the Mesothelioma Center. Workers across the U.S. began more prevalently using asbestos during the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, but workers have been using this natural compound since the Stone Age. The first indication of asbestos danger was recorded in the late 1800s, when lung conditions were reported among an Austrian doctor’s patients. By the 1970s, the increasing demand for
damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages for medical and financial complications. Records show Johns Manville hid evidence of the harmful effects of asbestos from workers and consumers for years. Later, along with dozens of other companies that regularly used asbestos, Johns Manville filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Today, lawsuits are still being filed on behalf of workers who were forced to handle a dangerous material. The
asbestos slowed as more medical professionals preached the hazards of the once-popular “miracle mineral.” Workers who were exposed to it primarily suffered from lung conditions, like mesothelioma: a tumor in the tissue of the lungs, heart, and other organs. Starting in the 1980s, hundreds of thousands of claims were filed on behalf of workers who were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos, despite decades of scientific findings proving the materials were hazardous and deadly. More than $6 billion was given to patients, but lawsuits continue to pour into the legal system every day.
Environmental Protection Agency recently tightened its regulations on asbestos testing and legality, too, in an attempt to rid the market of the malicious mineral. If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos, the legal experts at The Law Offices of William F. Underwood, III, P.C. can guide you to proper legal aid through our network of mass tort legal professionals. Learn more about our active mass tort cases, including compensation for hernia mesh, talcum powder, and 3M earplug victims, online at PuttingPeopleFirst.law or call 229-888-0888. We Value You! At the Law Offices of William F. Underwood, III, P.C., the trust we build with our clients is our most valuable asset. To show our appreciation, we would like to thank the following clients who have referred others to us since our August newsletter: Jacqueline Hardrick, Martha Craft, Innocence Davis, Pastor Bernard Johnson, and Valerie Willard. Your recommendation is greatly treasured by everyone at our office. Clients can also leave their comments on our services through Google reviews ! These statements give us critical feedback and help other clients facing stressful life situations to find a dependable lawyer. Previous and current clients can also receive free notary services at our office. Learn more about this service by giving us a call at 229-888-0888.
Thank you for trusting us to serve you!
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inside Meet Our Team! PAGE 1 NFL Lowers Concussion Rates in 2018 PAGE 2 Back-to-School Safety Tips PAGE 2 How The ‘Miracle Mineral’ Cost Companies Billions of Dollars PAGE 3 Have a Laugh PAGE 3 The Vibrant Colors of America’s National Parks PAGE 4
THE BEST NATIONAL PARKS TO VISIT THIS FALL
Acadia National Park, Maine
Have you ever wanted to experience the colors of a Boston fall while enjoying the peace and tranquility of the great outdoors? Autumn leaves are a universally appreciated sign of the changing seasons, and there’s no better place to see those vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds on display than in one of America’s national parks. So, if you’ve got some free time this autumn, here are some parks worth seeing.
scenic lookout points accessible by car, so don’t worry about hoofing it into the forest if that’s not your thing. Park wherever you like and watch the warm colors of ancient maples, oaks, and cedars change before your eyes.
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, MAINE
While the maple, birch, and poplar trees of Acadia begin to change color in September, mid-October is the best time to witness autumn in full swing. The park is crisscrossed with unpaved trails that date back to a time of horse-drawn carriages, preserving an idyllic setting. If you want to see the colors in full effect, take a drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard, and watch the sun crest over the vibrant leaves. To fully experience fall in the Northeastern U.S., Acadia National Park is a must-see.
GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, WYOMING
While the West might typically be associated with evergreen pines, the deciduous trees of the relatively small Grand Teton National Park pack a colorful punch starting around the third week of September. It’s also breeding season for elk in the area, and their high, eerie whistles can be heard in the evenings. Popular destinations in the park include the Christian Pond Loop and String Lake. Just because the weather is cooling down doesn’t mean you have to abandon your favorite national parks until next summer. The natural beauty of America can be experienced at any time of the year, so start planning your next autumn outdoor excursion!
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, TENNESSEE AND NORTH CAROLINA
Further south, the autumn colors of the Smoky Mountains are no less breathtaking than those in the Northeast. This park offers many
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