Simon Law Firm APRIL 2018


april 2018

F irst S elf -D riving C ar P edestrian F atality

O n March 18, 2018, Elaine Herzberg sadly became the first fatality of the autonomous car era in Tempe, Arizona, and that is a tragedy by itself. As a result, Uber, the company that operated the car, suspended all self-driving vehicle testing pending an investigation, and Toyota quickly followed suit. The tragedy is significant for a number of reasons, as it highlights several important points. 1. Self-driving cars are not going to be perfect for many years. 2. Video in cars is going to revolutionize car accident claims faster than autonomous vehicles. 3. We all need to keep a close eye on the arbitration clauses that are going to be written into these vehicle purchases. Autonomous Cars Won’t Be Perfect Though the technology matrix of radar and cameras combined with lightning-quick processors can make recognition and response times faster than a human, there are weaknesses. For example, trees can bend under the weight of rain and obscure a stop sign, resulting in a car driving through an intersection. In the recent fatal accident, the vehicle had cameras that law enforcement reviewed. They concluded that the pedestrian stepped right out

into the street in front of the vehicle with no time for the brakes to be activated. A computer may perceive the pedestrian on the curb but have no reason to anticipate that they will step into the road, whereas a human might say, “That lady looks like she might walk in front of me. I should slow down.” The investigation also revealed that the car was going 38 mph in a 35-mph zone. Doesn’t it seem strange that the vehicle’s computer was set to go faster than the speed limit? What is the thinking there? Dashcams Will Revolutionize Accident Claims Faster Than Robot Cars Dashcams are already the standard in Europe, and they’re catching on in the States. The Uber vehicle was equipped with one, so the police were able to review the camera data and confirm that the lady stepped right into the path of the car. Chief of Police Sylvia Moir stated, “It’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode [autonomous or human-driven] based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway.”

we should have video proof. That can only be a good thing. The guilty will be responsible, and the innocent will be blameless. Far fewer frivolous claims will be made, and unfair verdicts will be reduced. Congress Appears toWant Autonomous Cars The bills in Congress governing autonomous vehicles do not prohibit arbitration clauses for the purchasers of vehicles or consumers who book rides with Uber. When you buy these vehicles or take these rides, you have signed away your right to sue them if there are substantial safety defects that cause injury or death. Arbitration panels are stocked with arbitrators who will not bite the hand that feeds them. Consumers are not the repeat customer. Volvo will steer arbitrations away from arbitrators who return large awards for the injured; eventually, the entire panel will be industry-leaning. Furthermore, the results of arbitrations will be kept confidential, meaning that if there is a defect that repeatedly hurts people, it will be harder to find out and force changes. Rideshare passengers with Uber don’t realize that they have already agreed to these arbitration terms when they signed the EULA and downloaded the app. This is the first tragedy in what will be a slowly developing radical change to our world. This one is likely the pedestrian’s fault. Soon, autonomous cars should be back to testing, although maybe only in the daytime, when pedestrians are easier to spot. Time will tell. Be safe out there. –Christopher Simon

Instead of long-drawn-out swearing contests over who had the green light or who changed lanes, | 1

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F amily T ime in the G reat O utdoors

Family adventures are a great way to grow closer and develop meaningful connections. But with lodging prices rising and the logistical nightmare that traveling with the entire family can be, many Americans are looking at a new option: ditching the beaches and resorts and heading to the great outdoors. Actually, we know this option isn’t new at all. Spending time outdoors with family may very well be one of the most time-honored traditions ever.

CAMPING Lodgings and flights are expensive, so going on a family vacation can cost thousands of dollars — and that’s just for the basics! But camping only requires a tent, a fire, picnic food, and water. Rather than scarfing down fast food between flights and dealing with airport security, departure delays, and long flights, take a deep breath and roast marshmallows over the fire with the people you love. HIKING A hike with family is an easy way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. All a hike requires is a trail and a sense of adventure. The best part of hiking is that you can tailor the distance to fit your family’s needs. If you have children or grandkids who aren’t up for the challenge of an arduous daylong trek, there’s sure to be a shorter scenic trail. If nothing else, you can always turn around and backtrack the way you came. Our firm was fortunate enough to represent Dr. Sivananda Nyayapathi and his wife recently in an accident case, and he is our featured client of the month! Dr. Nyayapathi is an accomplished portrait and still-life artist who believes that art is the innate nature of humans; it is one of the most natural ways of communication. In his portraits, he loves the challenge of capturing the personality of the subjects, and he attempts to emulate God’s creativity by playing with the settings in dramatic light and shadow. A self-taught artist, he attended various workshops by well-known artists around the United States in his quest to learn more. While he strives for excellence in his work through constant practice and learning, he instills the

FISHING Fishing is a great way to get out and do something relaxing yet challenging. It doesn’t require a lot of skill or investment. All it takes is the willingness to learn and the desire to connect with nature. This is why fishing is the perfect activity for youngsters of all ages. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your rod and reel and head to the nearest lake or river. While these are all great stand-alone options, together they form an amazing three-headed monster for your next family outing. By combining camping with a hike to a river or lake where you can go fishing, you are sure to create lasting memories with your family that will draw you closer together. Ditch the lines at the airport and the stress of travel. Unleash the possibilities of adventure in the great outdoors.


associations and organizations, including the Portrait Society of America, the International Guild of Realism, the Portrait Society of Atlanta, the Atlanta Fine Arts League, the National Oil and Acrylic Painters’ Society, and more. Siva accepts commissions for portrait paintings. His and some of his students’ work can be seen on his website:

same thirst in his students, too. He regularly conducts workshops for aspiring artists.

Siva exhibits his paintings and has won many awards in regional, national, and international competitions. He is a registered associate living master by the Art Renewal Center and a signature member of the Oil Painters of America. Siva is also a member of other acclaimed art

For more information, call 770-495-9069 or email

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PROBLEMSOLVED! DON’T HAVE PRESCRIPTION DRUG INSURANCE? Prescription drug prices are the result of a mishmash of laws, private contracts, and obscure practices. Health insurance companies contract with prescription benefit managers (PBMs) who serve as middlemen to provide prescription benefits. The PBMs cut deals with pharmacies to set a discount from the list price of the drugs, to choose the drugs under the plan, and to determine how much the customer will owe and what the copay is. If you don’t have insurance and don’t know what to ask, you will often have to pay the walk-up cash price, which can be hundreds of dollars more expensive than the health insurance price. Even crazier is the fact that sometimes the PBMs have contracts that forbid the pharmacy from telling you about cheaper options. Georgia passed a law against this, but its application is somewhat spotty. I don’t personally have prescription coverage, so when I was looking at getting my daughter’s Ritalin prescription, the cash price was $270 for a 30-day supply. After doing some research on GoodRx, I was able to find that the cash price is only $160 at most Atlanta pharmacies if you mention the GoodRx code. If you need certain prescriptions, go online and check the GoodRx prices for your pharmacy, and see what you can find! The company makes a small profit for directing business to the pharmacy, but it is free for you. The moral of the story is to do some research on what you are paying, and cross-check even your insurance prices against the GoodRx prices. Sometimes, GoodRx prices even beat the health insurance prices!




RoastedAsparagus WithLemonBreadcrumbs

Spring is the height of asparagus season. This dish, which features the crunch of breadcrumbs and a refreshing splash of lemon, is the perfect way to highlight the natural flavors of the vegetable

without overwhelming them. INGREDIENTS

• •

2 pounds asparagus

• •

1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped 2 teaspoons lemon zest Juice of one lemon (not packaged lemon juice)

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• • •

Kosher salt

• •

Freshly ground pepper 2 garlic cloves, minced


Heat oven to 425 F. Toss asparagus with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20–26 minutes, turning asparagus halfway through. 2. When asparagus is nearly done, heat remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add breadcrumbs and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and fold in parsley and lemon zest. 3. Transfer asparagus to serving platter, drizzle with lemon juice, and top with breadcrumb mixture. | 3

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F irst S elf -D riving C ar P edestrian F atality 1 3 A wesome W ays to C reate L asting M emories F eatured C lient B usiness of the M onth 2 R oasted A sparagus W ith L emon B readcrumbs W hat to do if Y ou D on ’ t H ave P rescription D rug I nsurance 3 A pril F ools ’ P ranks F rom the P re -I nternet A ge 4 April Fools’ Day isn’t what it used to be. Sure, it’s still a fun distraction, with Google announcing “scratch and sniff” digital technology and Amazon declaring new features enabling Alexa to understand your pets. But it’s pretty hard for anyone to genuinely pull your leg in the internet age. April Fools’ Day isn’t what it used to be. Sure, it’s still a fun distraction, with Google announcing “scratch and sniff” digital technology and Amazon declaring new features enabling Alexa to understand your pets. But it’s hard for anyone to genuinely pull your leg in the internet age. Back when you couldn’t debunk a hoax with a simple Snopes search, things were a little more interesting. Here are a few of the most hilarious — yet somehow convincing — April Fools’ pranks in history. 3 APRIL FOOLS’ PRANKS


Nixon for President, 1992 When NPR’s popular “Talk of the Nation”

white images showed farmers pulling huge strands of noodles off tall trees and prompted hundreds of viewers to call into the station and ask how they might procure their own spaghetti tree. Thomas Edison’s Amazing Food Machine When Edison was in his prime, Americans truly believed he could make anything — even a machine that transformed air, water, and dirt into biscuits, vegetables, meat, and wine, as reported by the New York Daily Graphic in 1878. The article was reprinted in newspapers across the country. Thousands of people bought the trick. When Buffalo’s Commercial Advertiser ran an editorial on Edison’s genius in the endeavor, the Graphic reprinted it in full, along with the headline, “They Bite!”

program announced in 1992 that former President Richard Nixon had announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, listeners were shocked. Never mind that he’d been the center of the largest presidential scam in history, but his campaign slogan, “I never did anything wrong, and I won’t do it again,” left something to be desired. NPR even brought political experts on the show to discuss the ramifications of such a move, and listeners flooded the station with outraged calls — until host John Hockenberry revealed that the on-air Nixon was actually comedian Rich Little. Swiss Spaghetti Growers Enjoy Record Harvest Ah, to be as naive as we were during the early days of television. In 1957, a BBC news show called “Panorama” conducted a special report on a massive spaghetti harvest in Ticino, Switzerland, following a remarkably mild winter. The black and

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