Todd Law Firm March 2019

March 2019 512-472-7799

Eminent Domain | Family Law | Personal Injury

‘To Get What’s Right, Sometimes You Gotta Fight’ Why Insurance Companies Are Today’s Schoolyard Bullies

I think I may be hard-wired to stand up to bullies. Even when I was a kid, I never could just stand back and watch as somebody strong picked on somebody weak. Youmay think bullies only exist in childhood schoolyards, but other types of bullies are alive and well in your adult life. As a personal injury attorney, I fight one particular type of bully all the time: the insurance company. Insurance companies are all too happy to take advantage of you when you’re in trouble. You pay insurance premiums for years, trusting in the promise that you, or someone you accidentally harm, will be taken care of when something goes wrong. That is how insurance is supposed to work. The problem is, that’s not how insurance companies make money. Where does the money come from to produce all those funny TV commercials and build gigantic skyscrapers for their headquarters? It comes from collecting premiums, not by paying claims. Insurers turn a profit by collectingmore in premiums than they pay out in settlements. The less they pay out, the more they get to keep. And you can bet they’ll do everything they can to not pay a claimwhen someone has been hurt in an accident. Can you imagine a school bully paying out extorted lunch money to a hungry classmate, unless somebody makes themdo it? When you are involved in an accident, you are immediately forced to deal with the “800 pound gorilla” insurance industry. And to make matters worse, you often have to fight not only the insurer for the other person who caused your injury, but you have to fight your own insurer just to get the benefits you thought you were paying for. Insurance companies have vastly more experience, money and manpower than you as an individual could ever match. Even if you are a millionaire, they have the power to make your life miserable. However you do have

something no amount of money can buy: the right to stand up to them.

Winning this battle requires choosing the right attorney. As you probably know frombeing bombarded by ads on the internet, television, and billboards, there are a lot of attorneys who claim to handle personal injury cases. But how they approach cases will make all the difference in the world to you and your case. Often, the big firms withmassive ad budgets simply do not have the time to thoroughly prepare your case (or any case) or fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.“Doing it right”requires time, patience andmeticulous preparation. These are luxuries “those guys”cannot afford. They have to churn a huge number of cases to pay for their massive marketing campaign, even if it means convincing their clients to settle for less than they should. You and your case may become just another number in a sea of faceless claims. They might get you a little more than you could on your own, but odds are you will still get a lot less than you deserve. I fieldmany calls frompeople who, when they would not accept the insurer’s low-ball offer, were “fired”by their“settlement mill”law firm. That’s not how I approach a personal injury claim. If I take on a case, it’s because I believe in the victim and their claim, I amwilling to take their case to trial, and I prepare it fromday one as if we are going to do exactly that. Insurers know which attorneys hate to go to trial, and they offer their clients a lot less for their claim as a result. The insurers also knowwhich lawyers“turn over every stone”to help their clients and have no problem going to court when necessary. Ironically, being ready, willing, and able to take your case to a jury makes it much less likely you will ever have to step into a courtroom. As the old saying goes,“If you want peace, prepare for war.”

negligence? The best way to protect your rights is to start by learning how the personal injury claims process works. Before you talk to the insurance company, sign any paperwork, or hire a lawyer, get your free copy of my book, WinYour Texas Injury Case . Learn how to protect your rights, avoid commonmistakes that might hurt your claim, and find the right attorney for your case. Then contact us to review your case and your options. Whether we end up working with you or not, it will be much harder for the insurance bully to push you around when you’re armed with the right information.

-David Todd

So knowing all this, what’s your first step if you or a loved one have been hurt by someone else’s | 1

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Theft is a serious matter, made even more grave when the victims are fallen war heroes. Such was the situation that stumped police in Hudson, New York, in 2012. The crime was first committed in July of the previous year. Flags had been placed around the graves of soldiers in Cedar Park Cemetery — only to go missing right around Independence Day. Veterans groups and locals were outraged and mystified by the crime. Some worried that a hate group was to blame, as the missing flags had adorned the graves of Jewish soldiers. Veterans worked to replace the flags, one by one, and right the wrong. No culprit was found, and the community moved on — until the following July, when the mystery repeated itself. Like the year before, flags were placed on veterans’ graves in honor of Independence Day, and again, they went missing sometime in the night, this time taken from the graves of African American Civil War soldiers. Cemetery caretaker and veteran Vincent Wallace was appalled, as was the rest of his community. “I just can’t comprehend the mindset that would allow someone to do this,”Wallace said. When retirement approaches, you may be thinking about the freedom you’ll enjoy after putting in your last nine-to-five. It’s a culmination of years of hard work and a cause for celebration! Before you get to celebrate, though, it’s important to consider what kind of support you might need down the road. With our generation living longer than our parents, there’s a possibility that we may require additional support services. You and your spouse may not know if either of you will need in-home care, but considering this possibility and the financial factors that come with it can help you better enjoy this exciting phase of your life. In most cases, neither Medicare or Medicaid covers in-home care. There are some exceptions, like home- and community-based services that are state and locally funded and cover those who qualify through Medicaid. If you or your spouse are veterans and meet the requirements, you may be eligible for aid and attendance benefits. These benefits are paid for by the VA in addition to a veteran’s monthly pension. It may cover the costs of in-home care for veterans who require the aid of another person or are housebound. Visit Benefits. to learn more. Still, you may not want to rely on qualifying for one of these services. Consider adapting your estate plan to include designated in-home care. Meet with your attorney to review your living trust and see if it addresses a caregiver.

Determined to find out who was to blame, police put up surveillance cameras and recorded the goings-on in the cemetery. As they watched the tapes, sure enough, they saw one of the culprits sitting atop a gravestone with an empty flagpole in front of him. It was a groundhog.

Apparently, the wooden flagpoles attract groundhogs, something other groundskeepers have experienced as well.

“I’m glad we don’t have someone who has taken it upon themselves to desecrate the stones and the flags in front of them,” said Hudson mayor Bill Hallenbeck. “We can all rest a little easier knowing that it was a critter and not a human defacing our flags, especially those of the veterans,” added Hudson’s police commissioner.

Turns out Punxsutawney Phil has some very naughty cousins — ones who aren’t subject to the law.

Creating a Home Care Plan


Talk to your family members and loved ones about the possibility that you or your spouse may need this service. While a family member may offer to step into that role, consider how easily they will be able to carry it out. Even a part-time caregiver could provide you with support and make your family members feel like they are not doing it alone. Planning for the possibility that you may need in-home care services can help make your retirement even more enjoyable. Knowing you’ll have a close helping hand can ease your family’s worries and even strengthen your bond.

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3 Ways to Honor International Women’s Day

On March 8, people around the world will honor International Women’s Day. Adopted by the United Nations in 1975, the holiday is meant to highlight the immeasurable accomplishments of women throughout history and draw attention to the ongoing struggle for global gender equality. International Women’s Day is celebrated differently around the world. Some nations, like Nepal, give all their citizens the day off. Most countries, however, including the United States, treat it as a normal day, at least officially. Even though we don’t have the day off, there are many ways for everyone to honor International Women’s Day this year. Here are a few of them. From major innovators, like Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, to megalithic literary icons, like Maya Angelou, women throughout history have shaped how we live our lives. Whether you’re inspired by famous historical figures or the women in your own life, take the time to talk about that influence. Which women helped get you where you are today? What female leaders do you look up to? What are some lessons you’ve learned from them? Many of the challenges women face globally happen in the workplace. If you think your company has room for improvement in its treatment of women, now is a great time to do something about it. Even if you believe your company treats women and men equally, there’s no harm in empowering your colleagues to talk to give their opinions. If you’re an employer, this could mean giving women in your workplace an avenue to discuss issues, air grievances, and make suggestions. If you’re an employee, consider asking for such a forum. In either case, providing both public and anonymous avenues for women to express themselves is a great way for your company to take a step forward in fostering gender equality. TALK ABOUT THE WOMENWHO INSPIRE YOU MAKE ROOM FOR CONVERSATION IN THE WORKPLACE Regardless of your gender, March 8 is the perfect time to tune in to the larger conversation surrounding gender inequality, if you haven’t already. This could mean attending meetings or demonstrations in your town, reading works that capture the female struggle for equality, such as Roxane Gay’s“Difficult Women,”or seeking out blogs and social media accounts from gender equality activists online. International Women’s Day is about appreciating the contributions of women to society and envisioning a more equal world for the future. However, you decide to celebrate women this March, keep in mind that no matter who you are or where you come from, we all have the power to change our world for the better. JOIN THE CONVERSATION


This hearty soup is the perfect meal for those late winter days when you think spring will never come. It can be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken stock.


• 12 ounces asparagus • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped • 2 cups chicken stock

• 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed • Juice of 1/2 lemon • 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil • Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Heat oven to 425 F. 2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss asparagus and garlic with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes. 3. Transfer asparagus to blender. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. 4. Season to taste and serve.

Inspired by | 3

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Eminent Domain | Family Law | Personal Injury

3800 N. Lamar Blvd STE 200 Austin, TX 78756

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Standing Up to Insurance Bullies

The Curious Case of the Disappearing Flags Considering the Costs of Home Care Asparagus and Avocado Soup 3 Ways to Honor International Women’s Day


Getting the Most out of Your Digital Home Assistant

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

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