Harmonson Law Firm - June 2020

JUNE 2020



I hope that by the time you read this letter, the country will have begun healing from the coronavirus crisis. Regardless of whether we are still under stay-at-home orders or slowly coming out of our period of self- isolation, these will be difficult times. There has been sickness and loss of life. Jobs have been lost and businesses have closed. We have been cocooned at home and isolated from our friends and loved ones. However, this message is not a message of despair but one of hope. STAYING POSITIVE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY

I realized that I get to spend more time with my family. As an attorney, I often work until 7 or 8 at night. Working at home means I get to see my kids more and I get to be a greater presence in their lives. As I did before the crisis, I get up every morning and write in my gratitude journal. I write down the

things I am thankful for — the things we have as a family and the things that make us stronger. We have been fortunate that no one in our family has fallen ill, and for that I am thankful.

During these difficult times, I am reminded of the Serenity Prayer. Written by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1943 during WWII and later popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous, the prayer reads, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Maintaining a positive mindset is crucial right now. Mindset is a choice. We have the choice to be positive and proactive or we have the choice to let our own hyperreactivity, worry, and self-doubt take over. The people who choose positivity over doubt and fear are going to be the people who are able to survive these tough times.

The truth is that we can’t change the current situation. What good does it do for us to have fear, anger, and worry about what we can’t control? All the worry in the world isn’t going to make the

We can also change the people with whom we associate. Now is a good time to step away from those friends and influences who maintain a negative mindset. Give the naysayers on social media a rest. We can choose how much hysteria we hear on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC — turn off the TV and do something else you enjoy. While times may seem bad, the world has survived worse disasters. The atrocities committed during the Holocaust come to mind. During times like these, it’s good to reflect on how others have persevered in the face of adversity. Read a book or watch a movie about survival during difficult times. The following are a few I’d recommend. “The Pianist,” directed by Roman Polanski and starring Adrian Brody, is a true story of a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust through endurance and iron will. “The Pianist” is a testament to human endurance in the face of death.

virus and its aftermath disappear. Fear isn’t going to offer new jobs or bring the economy back. Blaming the president, China, or the World Health Organization isn’t going to make one difference in our own lives. We are in a brave new world, and blaming others just robs us of control over our own lives. What can we change? We can change our attitude. I will admit that I have experienced moments of doubt and worry during this crisis. We have had challenges at home with adapting to new school schedules and raising our toddler. At the same time, we had to juggle new work-at-home routines. Like any business owner, I have concerns about the state of our economy and what it will mean for our business going forward. Despite those worries, I know that the attitude to have now (and anytime for that matter) is positivity.


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Fred Rogers may have passed away in 2003, but the world he created remains with us. In 2018, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” documented his life and outlook, and in 2019, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” depicted Rogers and the journalist whose life was changed by the star of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” These movies demonstrate that we’re still fascinated with the man behind Daniel Tiger and King Friday. Why? In part because the lessons Rogers so thoughtfully depicted are as relevant for today’s generation as they were for those who grew up watching his show. Imaginative play is a foundation of childhood. “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood,” Rogers said. Rogers knew that play, which can seem inconsequential to grown-ups, is an important part of childhood development. Imaginative play allows children to step outside of their own perspective and experience another. In the process, they engage in abstract thinking and expand their universe. Mr. Rogers encouraged viewers to use their imaginations by creating a fantastical world called the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. We all deserve to be loved. Rogers knew that not everyone has someone at home who tells them that they are special and loved. So he took it upon himself to tell viewers, ending each episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” by saying, “You’ve made this day a special day by just your being you.” Feelings are mentionable and manageable. Rogers helped viewers understand that it’s okay to feel mad, sad, and scared, and he helped countless children learn healthy ways to cope with tough emotions. This was a mission dear to his heart. Margaret McFarland, a child psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh who became the chief psychological consultant for “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” shared with Rogers the concept he turned to again and again on the show: “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and whatever is mentionable can be more manageable.”

Last month we talked about liability: Who is liable when your teen driver gets into an auto accident? It’s not always a cut-and-dry situation. Here is what you can do to protect yourself and your minor children following an accident when that accident may have been caused by your child who is under 18: Always purchase and maintain liability insurance and make sure that your licensed children are included in your policy. That way, if your child is involved in a wreck, then your minor child will be covered under your automobile policy. Some insurance companies will allow you to exclude drivers like your minor children. I would NEVER exclude any drivers, even if it will cost you a little more in premiums every month. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish.


Set in WWII Germany, “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is the story of an orphaned girl whose adoptive family hides a Jewish boy in their basement. It’s a sad and poignant story of discovery, love, loss, and resilience in inhuman conditions. “Jojo Rabbit,” directed by Taika Waititi, is a witty story of a German boy who has been brainwashed by Nazi propaganda. When he discovers his mother has been hiding a pretty Jewish girl in the attic, he must struggle with his own perceptions of reality. These types of stories can help put your own feelings into perspective. We will get through this. This is what Americans do. This is what El Pasoans do — just like we did after the tragedy on August 3, 2019. Even though Harmonson Law Firm’s purpose is to help good people who have been injured in bad accidents, we are here for you for whatever you may need. Please reach out to me if you have any legal questions that have arisen as a result of the current crisis whether it be a question about family law, bankruptcy, employment issues, or something else. I know a little about a lot and can point you in the right direction no matter what the legal issue may be.

You can explore more of Mr. Rogers’ enduring messages at MisterRogers.org. Share “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” with your children and show them a world where they can grow, learn, and play.

Photo: wikimediacommons_François Clemmons

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Should I Seek Medical Care After a Car Accident During a Pandemic?

Never loan your vehicle to your minor child if they do not yet have their license. The same is true if there are restrictions on your child’s license that prevent them from driving without an adult present in the vehicle. Do not let them drive the car without a licensed adult present. If they get into an accident in this situation, then your costs will be considerable. Do not loan your vehicle to your minor child if you know that your child is an incompetent or reckless driver. As a rule of thumb, do not let your teen drive your vehicle if your child has received a very serious traffic infraction or been involved in two or more traffic accidents or received two or more traffic citations resulting in a conviction. If your child is involved in an accident, then you should call your insurance company to discuss the wreck and to request that they provide you and your child coverage for the accident. If you happen to be the victim of a negligent teenage driver, then please give our office a call at 915-584-8777 to discuss the particulars of your individual circumstance. We have helped thousands of people injured in motor vehicle accidents here in El Paso and throughout the borderland.

In March, the federal government eased restrictions on the hours of service rules for 18-wheelers and other commercial motor vehicles to help support relief efforts for COVID-19. These rules were put in place to help prevent driver fatigue, and their temporary suspension makes it an especially dangerous time to be out on the road right now. If you do have to drive and you are involved in an accident, what should you do if you are worried about contracting COVID-19 while receiving treatment for your injuries? First, perform a risk analysis. If you are seriously injured or suspect that you suffered a serious injury like a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, etc., then the only choice is to go to the hospital to get checked out. If your injuries are not serious or life-threatening, then my advice is to monitor the COVID-19 statistics in the area, paying attention to all government shelter in place orders and directives. By the time this article reaches you in June, restrictions may have eased. Regardless, never go to the hospital solely because you think it will make your case better. What about seeking physical therapy and other therapeutic treatment right now? Some local facilities are open, while others are only offering telemedicine or are temporarily closed. However, going into June, more health care facilities may be open, though there are no guarantees.

This article comes direct from the blog at ClarkHarmonsonAttorney.com/blog. Be sure to visit the blog for more insight from Clark!



Some of our clients have made the choice to get physical therapy, including one client who recently had a wreck with an 18-wheeler and had serious pain in his arms and back. Another client has chosen to wait it out until this passes. Both choices are good for those specific clients. Likewise, you should make the best choice for you. If you are not going to seek treatment, then keep a pain journal until we can safely resume “normal” activities. In your journal, note the following: 1) Write it to “your lawyer” so that it will remain privileged in the event that your lawyer doesn’t think it is helpful. 2) Journal that you want to get medical treatment but are scared to get that treatment because of the fear of contracting COVID-19. 3) Write down any and all aches and pains you experience. Note where the pain is located and its intensity. Have you been in an accident? Give us a call. You don’t have to wait to start your claim and we can get started on your case.

Bacon may be a paleo favorite for breakfast, but this hearty sausage meal can be enjoyed any time of day and is the perfect way to mix things up!


2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves

1 clove garlic

8 Roma tomatoes

1/2 tsp salt

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz each)

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar


1. For marinade: In blender, combine olive oil, garlic, salt, vinegar, and basil. Cut 2 tomatoes into quarters and add to mixture. Cover and process until blended. Halve remaining tomatoes for grilling. 2. In bowl, combine chicken and 2/3 cup marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Reserve remaining marinade. 3. Heat grill to about 350–400 F. Lightly oil grates. Grill chicken until internal temperature reads 165 F, about 4–6 minutes per side. Grill tomatoes until lightly browned, about 2–4 minutes per side. Discard remaining marinade. 4. Serve chicken and tomatoes with reserved marinade.

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5505 North Mesa St. Suite 3 • El Paso, TX 79912 WWW.CLARKHARMONSONATTORNEY.COM 915.584.8777


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Facing Challenges with a Positive Mindset

The Timeless Lessons of Mr. Rogers

How to Protect Yourself From Out-of- Pocket Costs After an Accident


Grilled Basil Chicken and Tomatoes

Should I Seek Medical Care After My Car Accident?


3 Ideas for the Ultimate Backyard Campout

3 IDEAS FOR THE ULTIMATE CAMPOUT Right in Your Own Backyard Even though it’s almost peak camping season, you and your family might opt to cancel your out-of-town trip this summer, but don’t worry. Just because you don’t head into the mountains doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy time outdoors with a backyard campout. It might not be your favorite spot in a sprawling national park, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn backyard camping into the best staycation ever with these ideas and more. Make a DIY Tent While pitching a tent for camping always comes with some level of frustration, making your own tent using household items like tarps, rope, blankets, and more can be a fun project for the kiddos. It’s an opportunity to let them exercise their imaginations and build something they can relax, play, and even spend the night in. Create an Outdoor Movie Theater If you’ve been craving the big-screen experience that you thought only movie theaters could offer, you’re in luck! You can make your own big screen at your backyard campout. All you need is a large white sheet, a home projector, and some speakers. Then, snuggle up in some cozy blankets and pillows under the stars while you watch the best summer blockbusters or throwback favorites. Build a Firepit No campout — backyard campouts included — is truly complete without a roaring campfire. With a gravel base and a simple stone barrier (as well as some quick and easy instructions available online), you can build the ultimate firepit for warming up on chilly nights, telling spooky ghost stories, and of course, roasting marshmallows. As a bonus, you can keep a firepit around when cooler weather rolls in too. This is far from a comprehensive list of backyard camping activities. That said, these three ideas alone can make for several nights of outdoor entertainment. Why not explore the various ways you can have the best camping experience your backyard has to offer?


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