Law Office of William F. Underwood - March 2019

Justice MONTHLY

229-888-0888 • www.puttingpeoplefirst.law

MARCH 2019

Walking Under

Ladders

HOW YOU AND OTHERS AFFECT YOUR LUCK

Y ears ago, I shot a local commercial advertising my legal aid for those seeking workers’ compensation, and it became a popular topic of discussion. During this commercial, construction-site scenes looped in the background. Despite local concern and teasing, I haven’t noticed any bouts with bad luck to date. It was a popular commercial that made the phone ring. I walked under a ladder as a wrecking ball and other

I firmly believe that we create our own luck. The actions you perform will subsequently lead to reactions. While you cannot control how others act, you can control your reactions. Take a client of mine who is undergoing his second neck surgery as an example. I previously represented this client in a case in which he needed his first neck surgery, but a few years later, he sought my services again. his own business. I can guarantee you that he was not hoping to be injured again, nor was he praying for another spinal and neck surgery. Unfortunately, that’s not how it looks to insurance companies, who believe this client was trying to commit fraud. This client could have become defensive and combative with the insurance company, but instead, he sought our professional help. We know we can help him find “good luck” and get compensated appropriately again. This also happens to construction and maintenance workers or other employees in dangerous jobs. Accidents and injuries are the norm in these professions, yet many insurance companies believe no one can be that unlucky. Their fate must be their fault, as these companies try to claim. This time, he was pulling out of a gas station and was hit by another driver. My client was following the rules and minding As a lawyer, I know you’re not to blame for someone else’s mistakes. Your bad luck or misfortune is due to the poor decision of someone else, and you shouldn’t have to pay for their misconduct. Likewise, my clients don’t just find luck when I help them receive compensation in a case. I work hard to make sure their fortune changes, because it’s about time someone else’s decisions are made in their favor.

Maybe walking under the ladder had an opposite effect.

Bad luck can be a common topic and fear for clients who are facing a lengthy legal battle and feel that life has continually dealt them worse hands each year, and for others who are injured in seemingly “safe” situations. I completely understand this feeling. It’s hard not to blame fate when you have legal trouble, mounting bills, and pain, especially when your actions that began this whole situation were normal, like driving or visiting your favorite shop. While I don’t hold an official degree in psychology, I often play the role of psychologist with my clients to help them find some relief during this difficult time. People open up easily when you sympathize, and in order for me to help clients to the best of my ability, I need them to feel comfortable enough to divulge information. Still, I’m often reminded of something my dad commonly said, “I’m not the psychiatrist. I’m not the doctor. I’m just the lawyer.” Despite my best efforts to help people through their difficult times, I can only do what I’m trained to do: fight for them in the legal arena.

-William F. “Trey” Underwood, III

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GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR DIGITAL HOME ASSISTANT

More and more people are welcoming in the Amazon Echo or the Google Home into their spaces. Everyone knows they make great Bluetooth speakers and can tell you the weather forecast, but they’re also capable of so much more. Digital assistants can do a variety of tasks depending on how much you want them to do for you. For example, if you want your digital assistant to be heavily involved in your daily life, you can use the Echo or the Home as the core of your “connected home.” You can connect numerous compatible devices to these assistants, including other Bluetooth or networked speakers, lights, thermostats, coffee makers, refrigerators, and even microwaves. Of course, therein lies the challenge — you must have compatible devices to make a connected home efficient. And let’s be honest: Many of us aren’t going to buy a connected fridge or Wi-Fi enabled lightbulbs just to get the most out of our digital assistants. What you can do, however, is make use of what you already have. Here are some ways to put your digital assistants to work without committing to a connected home.

have a few Echo Dots or Google Home Minis? If you do, you’re set. You can communicate in any room where another device is present.

Your digital assistant can also make outgoing calls. As long as the device has access to your contacts (or the person you’re trying to contact has an Echo or Home), you can easily make the connection. Want to send a text message? No problem! You can dictate a text to anyone in your smartphone’s contact list and send it without ever touching your phone. Aside from communications, the assistants can handle calendars, appointments, emails, and more. You can ask for information relevant to you, like “When is my flight again?” Google Home can recognize your voice, or the voice of anyone in the house, and respond accordingly. There’s no worry that anyone’s calendar or appointments will be mixed up with yours. If you want to learn more, search for tutorials online. We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to what these digital assistants can do for you.

Both the Echo and the Home make excellent communication hubs. In the home, they can be used as a local intercom system. Do you

DEPOSITION DECREES PREPARING FOR YOUR SWORN STATEMENTS IN COURT

As you move through the intricacies of your case, you may be faced with a deposition. These witness examinations are similar to an interview and are typically done in an

when answering uncomfortable questions. Defensive and argumentative remarks will only work against you.

SPEAK SLOWLY AND CLEARLY Your answers are being recorded, so you will need to talk clearly, slowly, and loudly. This will give the recording device the best chance to accurately record your responses, and it will avoid confusion later. STICK TO THE FACTS Keep in mind that even in a civil case, you are under oath. Do not guess, and if you don’t know the answer, say you do not know the answer. You are also allowed to ask the opposing lawyer to clarify their question to help you understand it better. BE CONCISE Do not try to speculate what the lawyer may ask next by answering more than the question asked. Sticking with simple “yes” and “no” answers will keep you in control of the information that is divulged, and it will put the onus on the experts hired by both sides to dictate the flow of questions. Don’t prepare for your deposition alone. Our legal experts at the Law Offices of William F. Underwood III, P.C., can help. Give us a call at 229-888-0888.

attorney’s office with a court reporter present. It’s an opportunity for each side to learn what a witness knows about a case, and these are a common and necessary part of personal injury law. Despite their normalcy, giving a deposition can be stressful and exhausting. Prepare for your upcoming deposition with the following tips from our experts. FOLLOWYOUR LAWYER’S ADVICE Your attorney is the expert on both your case and the law, so your best bet is to listen to their cautionary advice about how to answer questions. Additionally, divulge any and all information about your case to your attorney, even if you don’t believe it is necessary. Your lawyer will only be able to adequately give you advice if they know every aspect of your case. BE PROFESSIONAL The saying, “First impressions are everything,” is never truer than in a deposition. Wear comfortable and clean business attire, speak calmly, and keep your composure, even

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JOE CAMEL’S DEMISE The Multistate Lawsuit That Changed the Tobacco Industry

If you were born before the late 20th century, you likely have memories of Joe Camel’s dazzling, rugged adventures or the Flintstones’ favorite cigarettes. In fact, tobacco products have been a large part of American culture since the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts. But little was understood about the health risks these products pose until the 1950s. By then, hundreds of civil suits had been filed against major tobacco companies for fraud and personal injuries. Yet, only two of these cases favored the plaintiffs, and those outcomes were reversed in higher courts. Around 1960, British scientists began publishing studies about the links between smoking and severe health issues, causing a turn against tobacco that ultimately led to restrictions in advertising in 1970. But society wasn’t done. In 1994, 40 attorney generals across the U.S. sued four of the biggest tobacco companies in the country — which comprised more than 90 percent of tobacco sales — for relief and consumer protection. The states felt that since the products were causing so many of their constituents to become sick, tobacco was a statewide funding issue that resulted in increased public health costs. The large corporations sought to settle the matter outside of court, and together with the attorney generals, they urged Congress to limit individual cases against tobacco companies in exchange

for payments by the companies of more than $368 billion over 25 years to individual states, active government campaigns against tobacco use, compensation for tobacco farmers, and restrictions on advertising. The bill subsequently failed in Congress, leaving the parties to battle the matter in court.

In 1998, 46 states and tobacco companies settled the matter out of court with the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). This agreement remains one of the largest civil agreements in U.S. history, and its supplies are maintained with yearly funding from tobacco companies. The payments have been used to create antismoking and antitobacco campaigns, and in 2018, states were awarded more than $27 billion. The MSA paved the way for powerful campaigns against smoking and tobacco use, contributing to decreased smoking rates across the U.S. It remains one of the most pivotal cases in history, impacting consumers, health care, and advertising to this day. 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 February newsletter:

Inspired by Food & Wine magazine.

Everything Popcorn

Ingredients •

3/4 cup popcorn kernels 2 tablespoons flaky sea salt

2 teaspoons granulated onion 1/3 cup canola oil

Craig Ward Jermaine Harrison Odell Williams

• •

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds 2 teaspoons granulated garlic

• •

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Your recommendation and word are 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 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.

Directions 1. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds. Shake skillet often and cook until white seeds are golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add garlic, onion, and salt. 2. In a large saucepan, combine popcorn kernels and oil. Cook over medium-high heat, covered, until corn kernels start to pop. Once popping, continue cooking and shaking the pan intermittently until popping ceases, about 3–5 minutes. 3. Transfer popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Pour in butter and toss to coat. Finally, add seasoning, toss again, and serve.

Thank you for trusting us to serve you!

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inside Dispelling Bad and Good Luck PAGE 1 Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Digital Home Assistant? PAGE 2 Preparing for Your Deposition PAGE 2 How a Lawsuit Changed the Tobacco Industry PAGE 3 Everything Popcorn PAGE 3 Celebrate Dr. Seuss PAGE 4

Who Was Theodor Geisel? 1 BOOK, 2 BOOK On March 2, Read Across America Day is celebrated by students, teachers, and community members in towns throughout the country. They chose that date to pay author on the list by a long shot. But Seuss did not break into the children’s literature industry easily.

Seuss and his nearly 50 children’s books almost never got off the ground. His first children’s book, “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” was denied by more than a dozen publishers. Legend has it that Seuss was on his way home to burn the manuscript when he ran into an old friend who suggested another publisher. The rest is history.

homage to one of the most beloved children’s authors who was born that day: Theodor Geisel. That name may sound unfamiliar to you, but “Dr. Seuss” should ring a few bells. His name alone is so associated with literacy that in 2007, the author of an article in U.S. News & World Report that chronicled the history of 1957 — the year “The Cat in the Hat” was published — wrote, “Greece had Zeus — America has Seuss.”

Given the enthusiasm for reading Dr. Seuss has fostered in children for the past eight decades, it’s no wonder the National Education Association chose his birthday to mark a day dedicated

In 2001, Publisher’s Weekly released a list of the bestselling hardcover children’s books of all time in the U.S. Of the books in the top 100, Seuss authored 16, which is more than any other

to celebrating reading. After all, he’s often quoted as saying, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.”

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