Harmonson Law Firm - September 2019





My family was celebrating a birthday lunch for my son, Clayton, in Austin

supremacist kind, born and raised right here in the USA. Let’s not give this animal a pass by blaming mental illness. This monster premeditated his actions, drove 650 miles to our city to take out his rage and hatred on our Latino brothers and sisters. This man is pure evil. So, I find myself angry and sad. Angry that our country is so divided. Angry of the divisive and racially charged politics of the moment. Angry that our politicians won’t take a stand and confront the gun violence that plagues our nation, our places of worship, our schools, our festivals, and our shopping centers. I’m sad for our children’s loss of innocence as we try to explain what happened. I’m heartbroken for the senseless killing, the indescribable loss for the families of the deceased, and the physical and psychological damage inflicted upon the shooting victims and this community. In all of this sadness and anger, I am reminded of the familiar verse in the 23rd Psalm, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” El Paso is walking through the valley now, and there will always be evil in our fallible world. The psalmist King David recognizes the persistence of evil in the world yet chooses to rely on God for his comfort. My prayer for those injured and the families of those who lost their loved ones is for God’s healing and comfort to be with them in this dark hour, and for God to comfort El Paso as it grapples with this tragedy. of support both here and abroad. Although El Paso has suffered through a monumental tragedy, we will get through it and we will come out the other side better than ever. – Clark Harmonson 915.584.8777 • 1 I also know how strong our community is. The #ElPasoStrong hashtag has taken off and there has been an outpouring

on Aug. 3 when Clayton glanced at the TV monitor as we were leaving the restaurant. “Look Dad, there has been a shooting in El Paso at Walmart.” My first thought was that he must be mistaken; this simply can’t happen in our El Paso. Not our home, one of the safest cities in America. Not our El Paso, the city that has lovingly embraced us since we moved here 15 years ago. Not our El Paso, where we undoubtedly would have been back-to-school shopping just like the rest of our brothers and sisters who were so needlessly killed and injured. Just like our very own receptionist, Beverly, who was back-to-school shopping at Cielo Vista Mall with her young family when the terror attack at Walmart took place. We were able to verify that our employees and family members were safe, but many, many others were not so lucky when they checked on their loved ones. As I stared at the monitor and watched the news, I knew that the illusion that El Paso was immune from such atrocities was forever shattered in an instant. On 9/11, I knew instantly, upon watching the reports that a plane had struck the World Trade Center, that our country had been attacked by terrorists. I had the same intuition as I watched the early news coverage about the El Paso attack. We were attacked by a terrorist. Not the radical Islamic kind, but the white

More Myths and Misconceptions Ab Your Car Accident

1. ALL LAWYERS ARE THE SAME WHEN IT COMES TO INJURY CASES. Choosing the right lawyer can be difficult. There are attorney ads everywhere, promising easy cash and aggressive representation. Do your homework: Look for a lawyer who only represents injury victims, has done injury work for many years, and has significant experience handling complex cases with trial experience. 2. CAR ACCIDENT LAWS ARE THE SAME IN EVERY STATE. Texas has some of the worst laws of any state for car accident victims. For example, there is a law that limits the amount of money you can recover if your health insurance company pays your medical bills. New Mexico does not have the same restrictions on damages for people who use their own health insurance. If you are seriously injured, your lawyer better know Texas laws and how to avoid or minimize them as best as they can. 3. HIRING A LAWYER IS TOO EXPENSIVE. A good personal injury lawyer can dramatically increase the value of your case. The results of a 1999 study from the Insurance Research Council (IRC) found hiring an attorney pays substantial dividends for automobile accident victims. The IRC report, “Auto Injuries: Claiming Behavior and Its Impact on Insurance Costs,” stated that insurance payouts are, on average, 3.5 times higher for clients who hired an attorney than for those who didn’t. SUDO KU

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, thousands of New Yorkers took to the streets to clear rubble, offer supplies, and search for survivors. It was a powerful act of resilience in a deeply trying time, and while most of the individuals helping with the disaster stood on two feet, more than 300 canines also answered the call to service. Dogs of all breeds and backgrounds, including search and rescue dogs, police dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs, were brought in to help find and care for survivors in the wake of the destruction. They worked tirelessly alongside rescue crews as they searched through the debris. Search and rescue dogs and their handlers worked 12–16-hour days, searching for survivors and victims. They worked through dangerous conditions: Many dogs burned their paws as they dug through hot rubble, and both handlers and canines inhaled toxic dust. The task was both physically and mentally exhausting for the dogs during their shifts. Some dogs that found deceased victims refused to eat or interact with other animals. Search and rescue dogs became increasingly stressed and depressed the longer they searched without any results, mirroring their handlers. It wasn’t uncommon for handlers to stage mock “findings” of survivors to keep the dogs’ spirits up. Fortunately, the sacrifices these dogs and their handlers made did not go unnoticed. Many dog owners were inspired to earn their search and rescue certifications after the events of 9/11, promising to aid in future disasters and hopefully lessen the impact of such catastrophes. After 9/11, various researchers conducted many studies examining the effect this kind of work has on animals, both physically and mentally. Many of these studies wouldn’t be possible without the AKC Canine Health Foundation, so if you’re looking to give back this September, visit them at their website to see how you can help: AKCCHF.org .


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4. I MUST HIRE A LAWYER FOR MY CAR ACCIDENT CASE. If your accident is minor and your injuries are minor, you can probably handle the case on your own. Our website, ClarkHarmonsonAttorney.com, has a ton of free information to help you with your claim if you choose to go it alone. With that said, it’s beneficial to hire a qualified personal injury lawyer in cases involving significant personal injuries. 5. A JURY WILL ALWAYS BE FAIR TO ME. The insurance industry has paid millions of dollars in spreading the myth that car accident victims are only out for money. As a result, and because of tort- reform efforts, juries in Texas are not always generous in car accident cases. We always prepare every case as if it will go to trial, yet many times, discretion is the better part of valor and a settlement before trial is in our client’s best interest. I had a good trial lawyer tell me once, “It’s not all candy canes and rainbows at the courthouse.”

Back-to-School Road-Safety Tips

As kids head back to school, it’s not uncommon for traffic to increase, especially in the mornings and afternoons. This is not only peak commute time for buses and parents but for just about everyone. We all want to get to our destination on our terms. But with all of this traffic, the number of car accidents also increases. Here are a few traffic safety tips to keep in mind throughout the school year. Pay extra attention to school zones. Car and pedestrian traffic around school zones can be hectic in the morning and afternoon. You have to watch out for buses and parents picking up or dropping off their kids — all mixed in with the rest of traffic. The National Safety Council reports that the single-most dangerous spot for kids is directly in front of their school. The reason? This is where they have a sense of security. Obey the speed limit, and be patient. Never block traffic. If you’re a parent dropping off or picking up your kids, remember to drive out of the flow of traffic. We’ve all been stuck behind that one person who decides to make the middle of the street their personal pick-up zone. Don’t be this person. Park in designated areas only. When you don’t use the marked drop-off/pick-up zones, you add to the chaos and it can be confusing for kids and other drivers. Keep clear of pedestrian crosswalks. Whether you’re at a normal intersection or near a school, never block pedestrian paths across the road. In higher-traffic areas, younger kids can be spooked by cars and hesitate to cross even when they have right of way. When you’re at a stop sign, red light, or designated crosswalk, always yield to pedestrians and make your intention to let them cross as obvious as possible. Nonverbal communication between drivers and pedestrians is key to ensuring the safest road conditions!

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



What do you do when apples are in season but you don’t have time to make a pie? You opt for a crisp, of course.


Filling: •

Topping: •

5 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/3 cup brown sugar 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

• • • • •

• • • •

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp maple syrup 1 tbsp lemon juice

6 tbsp chilled butter, cut into pieces 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped


1. Heat oven to 350 F. 2. In a mixing bowl, mix all filling ingredients together. Transfer to individual serving ramekins. 3. In a different mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt for the topping. Mix in butter until it forms lumps roughly the size of a pea, then stir in pecans. Sprinkle topping over filling. 4. Bake for 35–40 minutes, let stand for 10 minutes, and serve.

Mind the bus! If you’re driving behind or toward a bus and the yellow (then red) lights start flashing, you must stop. Texas law states you must stop for a signaling bus on two-way streets and roads with a left-turn divider. You are not required to stop if you are driving toward the bus on a divided road or highway — you still have to stop if you are behind, even on multilane roads.

915.584.8777 • 3

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


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Honoring the Canines of 9/11

5 More Myths About Car Accident Claims


Classic Apple Crisp

4 Important Back-to-School Road-Safety Tips


The Vibrant Colors of America’s National Parks


Have you ever wanted to experience the colors of a Boston fall while enjoying the peace and tranquility of the great outdoors? Autumn leaves are a universally appreciated sign of the changing seasons, and there’s no better place to see those vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds on display than in one of America’s national parks. So, if you’ve got some free time this autumn, here are some parks worth seeing. Acadia National Park, Maine While the maple, birch, and poplar trees of Acadia begin to change color in September, mid-October is the best time to witness autumn in full swing. The park is crisscrossed with unpaved trails that date back to a time of horse-drawn carriages, preserving an idyllic setting. If you want to see the colors in full effect, take a drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard, and watch the sun crest over the vibrant leaves. To fully experience fall in the Northeastern U.S., Acadia National Park is a must-see. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina Further south, the autumn colors of the Smoky Mountains are no less breathtaking than those in the Northeast. This park offers many scenic

lookout points accessible by car, so don’t worry about hoofing it into the forest if that’s not your thing. Park wherever you like and watch the warm colors of ancient maples, oaks, and cedars change before your eyes.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming While the West might typically be associated with evergreen pines, the deciduous trees of the relatively small Grand Teton National Park pack a colorful punch starting around the third week of September. It’s also breeding season for elk in the area, and their high, eerie whistles can be heard in the evenings. Popular destinations in the park include the Christian Pond Loop and String Lake.

Just because the weather is cooling down doesn’t mean you have to abandon your favorite national parks until next summer. The natural beauty of America can be experienced at any time of the year, so start planning your next autumn outdoor excursion!


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