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Dancing Through 2017
How My Clients Inspire Me Every Day
As we step into 2018, I’m taking a moment to look back and take stock of everything that’s changed in my life. Personally, 2017 was a difficult year, as I lost both my mother and father-in-law only 6 months apart. But I’ve found that, in the midst of tragedy and challenging times, you learn to appreciate every day for the incredible opportunity that it is. This is something I see nearly every day in my clients as they battle through physical pain and difficult situations to find new strength and purpose. I constantly draw inspiration from the grit and positivity of the people I serve. Last year, I had the opportunity to represent many of these impressive people. One client had recently undergone neck surgery when she was in a serious car accident, forcing her to undergo another surgery. Still, she kept her eyes on the bright side of life, never succumbing to a “why me” mentality. “In the coming year, positivity is what all of us at Winston & Damman hope to help our clients reach, despite whatever circumstances they find themselves in.”
Another woman I represented was simply doing a good deed, driving a friend home from the airport, when a driver cut across the freeway and slammed into them head- on. Despite four intense surgeries and weeks of excruciating pain, she still maintained her resolve. Perhaps the most moving story of human perseverance I encountered last year, though, was a client I represented who, after sustaining an array of serious injuries, was forced to give up the career she’d built over the previous 30 years. Despite her life being turned upside-down, she’s one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. She’s a truly amazing individual, challenging herself to learn a new set of skills and pursue a new career path that can accommodate her injuries. I have no doubt that with such an upbeat, determined perspective, she’ll easily succeed on whatever path she chooses to follow. There’s a quote from author Vivian Green up in the office that resonates with me every day: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” When given the worst news possible, we have two options. Either we can hide our heads in the sand and never come out for the rest of our lives, or we can do everything in our power to ensure that tragedy doesn’t define us. In the coming year, positivity is what all of us at Winston & Damman hope to help our clients reach, despite whatever circumstances they find themselves
in. To that end, we’re working to be as approachable as possible, to let our clients know that we’re thinking of them and how we can help. Whether it’s through this newsletter, checking in with a client months after their case, or simply guiding our clients through difficult situations, we want to connect with the people we serve on a personal level. We want to let them know that, despite how it may sometimes feel, they’re far from alone. Each new day brings a new opportunity to learn the story of a new, incredible client and help them move through even the most challenging of circumstances. 2017 may have been a difficult year for many of us, but 2018 is already looking bright. I’m excited to see what it has in store for all of us.
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Want to See Better Report Cards in 2018 Make Reading a Family Resolution
Every parent wants to see their child do well in school, and there’s one fun activity that benefits students of all ages: reading. In a world with so much stimulation, however, it can be difficult to motivate kids to put down a screen and pick up a book. New Year’s resolutions are the perfect opportunity to make reading a priority. Here are a few tips to make 2018 the year your kids become bookworms . Make It a Family Resolution There’s no better motivator than solidarity! Plus, we’re guessing everyone in your household could stand to read a little more. You don’t have to read the same books or set identical goals, but it’s a lot more fun when everyone participates. Schedule weekly reading discussions so everyone can share the cool stories they’ve read. Stack your completed books in your house somewhere as a monument to all the knowledge your family has gained. Set Reward Milestones Positive reinforcement will propel your kids to keep reading long after the calendars have turned. For a certain number of books completed or hours spent reading, offer them a prize. You can even create a big end goal to really cement those reading habits. Better yet, set a combined goal that the entire
family can work toward. Don’t be afraid to pull out all the stops. If your kids know that reading one book per week through June means an extra-special summer vacation, their enthusiasmwon’t wane come spring. Use Reading Apps Goodreads is a social network for bibliophiles. You can find recommendations, share ratings, and create lists of both completed and to-be-read books. Users also create reading lists based on topic, genre, decade, and more. With over 2 billion books added, you’ll never run out of inspiration. Biblionasium offers the same services, but it’s designed specifically for children. Talk to other parents and create a network of friends and classmates. After all, nothing is cooler to a kid than what their friends are doing. Avid readers tend to do better academically from kindergarten through college. In fact, a study from the Journal of Education and Practice found that reading comprehension predicted success in other subjects more than any other factor. If you want to see improved report cards, make a reading resolution for your entire household.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Insurance Adjusters’ Secret Weapon
Imagine you’re in court disputing the validity of a car accident claim you made to your insurance company. Their attorney argues that the company has already paid an amount appropriate for the damages to your car. But a month after they sent a meager check to cover the damages, you began to suffer from serious neck pain due to whiplash, eventually requiring surgery. Despite mounting medical bills that you cannot afford, the insurance company refuses to provide adequate compensation.
Suddenly, asking for money to cover your medical bills seems suspect. The validity of your claim is in serious danger, and perhaps even completely sunk. Back in the day, insurance adjusters would sometimes hire private investigators to tail accident victims and dig up dirt that appeared to invalidate their claim. But today, an adjuster often need only turn to sites like Facebook to find the victim undermining their own case. Whether you’re a victim of a car accident, a disabled person trying to claim benefits, or an individual accused of a crime you did not commit, it pays to be savvy about your social
The case seems to be turning steadily in your favor. That is, until the insurance company’s attorney pulls up an image on the screen. It’s a status update from Facebook, your Facebook, posted the day after the accident. “Got in a brutal car wreck last night. My car’s totaled, but luckily, nobody’s hurt!”
media usage, especially in the midst of a hotly contested case. One way to block an insurance adjuster’s prying eyes is to set your social media profiles as private, allowing only friends to view your posts. Still, adjusters sometimes will send you friend requests, banking on the chance that you’ll add a stranger. Don’t do it. It’s best to avoid posting anything that could potentially be incriminating in the first place. If you’re seeking benefits for leg surgery, for example, that picture where you’re poised to ski down a steep slope isn’t going to look good for you in court. Be smart, and don’t give the opposition any ammo to use against you. Anything found on a public Facebook or social media site is completely admissible in court.
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What ‘12 Angry Men’ Can Teach You About Juries
Lessons From a Courtroom Classic
If you’ve ever binge-watched way too many episodes of “Law & Order,” you know that the legal process makes for compelling entertainment. In addition to being a genre in its own right, courtroom drama can teach you a thing or two about law. Hollywood is in the business of making things larger than life, so don’t assume that court in real life will play out like it does on screen. That said, there are a lot of movies that offer probing insights into the legal experience. “12 Angry Men,” one of the best legal dramas of all time, is a prime example. Released in 1957, the movie retains all of its power and relevance to this day. The premise couldn’t be simpler. It focuses on a jury deliberating the case of a man accused of murder. The magic of the movie is that it dramatizes the process of coming to a verdict to stunning effect. Watching it, you come to realize just how ambiguous evidence can be and how difficult the job of a juror is. We
won’t spoil anything here, but suffice it to say that the ending is surprising in the best possible way. Directed by Sidney Lumet and featuring an incredible performance form Henry Fonda, “12 Angry Men” is a certified courtroom classic. Current Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor remembers watching the movie in college and the powerful reaction it produced. “It sold me, I was on the right path,” she says. “The movie continues to ring the chords within me.” You may not come away from “12 Angry Men” ready to become one of the nation’s preeminent judges, but hopefully, you’ll learn a little bit about what being a juror is like, and be thoroughly entertained while you’re at it.
Laugh Out LOUD
Slow Cooker Raspberry WHITE HOT CHOCOLATE
Looking for a way to prepare a warm treat for the kids while they’re out building snowmen? Break out the slow cooker and enjoy the best hot cocoa you’ve ever had!
• 1 cup white chocolate chips • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk • 2 cups heavy cream, divided • 3 cups milk (any variety will do)
• 2 tablespoons powdered sugar • 1 teaspoon vanilla • 4 tablespoons raspberry liqueur or syrup
1. In a slow cooker, combine white chocolate chips, condensed milk, 1 cup cream, and milk. Cover and heat on low about 2 hours.
3. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip until stiff peaks form. 4. Serve mugs of hot chocolate with about 1 tablespoon of raspberry liqueur or syrup to taste and a dollop of whipped cream.
2. In a large bowl, mix remaining 1 cup cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
(Recipe inspired by SlowCookerGourmet.net.)
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this edition INSIDE
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Nicole Winston Looks Back on 2017 The Resolution That Leads to Better Grades Don’t Ruin Your Case With Facebook The Enduring Power of ‘12 Angry Men’
Warm Up With Some Hot Cocoa What Music Does Your Dog Love?
Don’t Stop Retrievin’ Looking for new ways to spend
Your Dog’s Favorite Music
and Behavior, concluded that dogs may have their own music preferences. And while pups tend to enjoy many genres, the most popular seem to be soft rock and reggae. The study, which evaluated kenneled dogs’ preferences for soft rock, Motown, pop, reggae, and classical music, revealed that dogs spend significantly more time lying down and less time standing when any music plays. And while music didn’t seem to persuade the dogs to quit barking, the pups were significantly more likely to bark once the music stopped. Researchers also measured the dogs’ heart rates during each tune. When dogs listened to reggae and soft rock, their heart rates were significantly lower, which indicates a reduction in stress. And, even though the dogs specifically enjoyed different music genres, their physiological and behavioral changes remained constant over the five-day study.
Professor Neil Evans at the University of Glasgow suggested that this study may not represent the musical tastes of all dogs. “Overall,” he writes, “the response to different genres was mixed, highlighting the possibility that, like humans, our canine friends have their own individual music preferences.” In 2015, the University of Glasgow conducted a separate study that examined the effects classical music has on our canine friends. They originally found that, while the music was calming at first, after a week of listening to classical music, the dogs seemed to become disinterested in the tunes and their stress levels eventually increased. So, based on these newer findings, it seems as though a variety of music can keep your dog both interested and relaxed while they are kenneled. So, the next time it’s too rainy to go to the dog park, put on a doggie-friendly playlist for them to enjoy. Who knows? Maybe your dog has the same taste in music as you!
time with your dog? Is fetch just a little too overdone? Is your furry friend’s anxiety getting the better of them? Try putting on some Bob Marley. Studies have shown that classical music calms canine nerves, but did you know Rover may actually have his own taste in music? Recently, a study from the Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow, published in the journal Physiology
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