Harmonson Law Firm - April 2019

APR 2019




“Ambulance chaser!” People sometimes snicker when I tell them I am a personal injury lawyer. Somewhere along the line, the idea of the lawyer being a trusted advisor has gone the way of the dodo bird. Instead of Atticus Finch, the stereotypical lawyer is short on scruples and long on bull. Why is that? This wild perception of lawyers has to do with the blitz of misleading advertising that inundates our

know that answer, you need to go back many years to my childhood. My family did not grow up rich. My dad was a serial entrepreneur. He owned several businesses, including a skating rink (as cool as you think) and a used car lot. He was always hustling, and his kids weren’t dropped off to play golf at the country club on the weekend. To make ends meet, Dad worked nights at a bingo hall. I started selling bingo markers at the hall at 16 and paid my way through college until I got my first “real job.” You meet a lot of different people at the bingo hall, and boy do I have some stories. We got to meet a lot of interesting people growing up, from pretty college girls at the skating rink to gruff but loveable grease monkeys at the used car lot to little old ladies at the bingo hall. I learned so much from the people I interacted with growing up. My early experiences gave me a deep appreciation and affection for people from all walks of life. When I went to law school, my goal was to make it big, become a corporate lawyer, and live the good life. I pursued that dream and succeeded. I was hired by one of the largest and most prestigious firms in Texas. I joined the country club. I bought an Audi, for God’s sake. But deep down, I knew my heart was meant to help real people with real problems. Personal injury law is the perfect vehicle for me to help the same kinds of people that populated my youth. Every week, I meet new people who need a hand after they have been injured through no fault of their own. These people — my people — aren’t greedy or out for a quick buck. My people need help dealing with real injuries, pain, suffering, and all of the legal confusion they are going through after an accident. I have dedicated my career honing my skills so that I can help my people get through this tough time in their lives.

lives through television ads, billboards, and internet marketing. The competition for personal injury clients is fierce. Today, lawyers spend $900 million or more in television advertising each year. Since 2008, there has been a 70 percent increase in lawyer television advertising, a figure that far outpaces other industries and professions. The undisputed heavyweight champion of lawyer advertising is the personal injury lawyer. In the hysteria to get injury clients, some personal injury lawyers simply yell louder and more obnoxiously than the competition in their quest for new clients. Trust of lawyers is at an all-time low. Lawyers are one of the least trusted professions, ranking just above car salespeople. A recent Forbes poll found that only 18 percent of U.S. adults feel that lawyers have high honest, ethical standards.

Why, then, would a nice young man like myself choose to become a personal injury lawyer about 15 years ago? To


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915.584.8777 • 1

Car Accident


Car accidents can leave you and loved ones with questions. Last month, we kicked off our five-part series answer a few of those questions. Here is question number two:

How am I going to pay for mymedical bills?

If you are in a car accident, the person who caused the accident is legally required to pay for your reasonable medical expenses resulting from the accident. The problem that you and our clients often face is how to get immediate medical care during the claim. Most insurance companies will not pay for your bills up front. Instead, they pay a lump sum at the end of the case to reimburse you for the medical bills you have (plus pain and suffering). If an insurance company offers to pay medical bills up front and give you, for instance, $500 for pain and suffering, you should be skeptical. This is a trick by the insurance company to give you as little money for medical bills and pain and suffering as possible in the hopes that you won’t hire an attorney. The insurance company is not looking out for your well-being. They try to limit the medical care you receive, regardless of your injuries.

Baseball’s opening day has been an American holiday of sorts since the Cincinnati Red Stockings threw out the first major league pitch in 1869. To celebrate the start of the 150th season of professional baseball, here are three of the best opening days in baseball history.

A New Beginning

On April 15, 1947, an opening-day game changed the course of Major League Baseball. On this day, Jackie Robinson started for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African- American player to start for a major league baseball team. Robinson’s historic showing was lackluster, going 0-for-3 at the plate and making a solid showing on the infield at first base, but his mere presence in a Dodgers uniform had already broken history. Despite his nationally-recognized skills — Robinson was named MVP of the MLB farm team league in 1946 — the backlash that followed his rise to the pros, both from fans and teammates, was palpable. Still, as well-known sportscaster Howard Cosell said, “Suddenly, it was a new beginning.” Considered one of the best teams in baseball history, the 1927 New York Yankees started their historic run and 25th season by dismantling the Philadelphia Athletics with a score of 8-3. The slugfest was true to form for the 1927 Yankees, whose players would go on to make up baseball’s famous “Murderers’ Row.” With sluggers like Lou Gehrig, Earle Combs, Babe Ruth, Mark Koenig, Bob Meusel, and Tony Lazzeri, it’s no wonder this team went on to win its fifth championship that year. For decades, no one could match George Herman Ruth. The Great Bambino’s all-time home run record seemed like an impossible feat of strength — that is, until Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron came along. On opening day, April 4, 1974, Aaron smashed his 714th homer, tying Babe Ruth for the most home runs ever hit and extending the Atlanta Braves’ shutout lead over the Cincinnati Reds. A few weeks later, Aaron surpassed Ruth’s record, prompting a standing ovation from the crowd. Lou, Combs, and Babe — Oh My! The Hammer Ties Bambino

Insurance companies know that once your attorney is involved, they are going to have to pay a fair amount of compensation for all of your injuries and damages.



2 • www.ClarkHarmonsonAttorney.com

6 FACTORS That Inf luence Your Insurance Premiums

So, how does Harmonson Law Firm get you the best medical care available to address your injuries?

We have relationships with many providers in all types of medical specialties in El Paso and Las Cruces who work with us to get you the best medical care available. Many of these health care providers will work on what is called a “letter of protection.” A letter of protection is an agreement to a health care provider to pay for medical care out of the proceeds of a settlement. Our firm also has relationships with several health care funding groups in Texas and New Mexico. We often use funding groups when a client needs an expensive surgery due to an injury caused by an auto accident. Funding companies work by paying the provider directly and then collecting for payment out of the settlement or judgment funds. We will also work with your health insurance company and with Medicaid and Medicare. Our priority is to get you back to 100 percent or as close to 100 percent as possible after the accident. We will work with the right medical providers to achieve this goal for you and to help ensure the negligent driver and their insurance company pays those bills.

No one actually likes paying their auto insurance premiums. We do it because it offers us protection when we venture out on the open road. There is no way to predict what will happen when we commute from home to work and back again, so having insurance is necessary. How do those insurance premiums break down? What factors affect what the insurance company can charge each customer? DRIVING RECORD It goes without saying that if you’ve been involved in a crash, you can expect to pay more. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, that may also factor in. Over time, you can lower your premiums by keeping your driving record clean. Those who have never been involved in a crash won’t pay as much. VEHICLE OF CHOICE The make and model of your vehicle can have a big impact on what you pay every year. Newer, sportier, or higher-horsepower vehicles tend to come with hefty premiums, while cars that emphasize safety and security are paired with lower premiums. Additionally, vehicles that are more susceptible to theft and have lower safety ratings are more costly to insure. LOCATION Insurers charge more for areas where crashes are more common and theft rates are higher. Typically, this is the case in major cities. People who live in more densely populated areas will have higher insurance premiums. Those who live in more rural areas usually spend less. MILEAGE How much and how far you drive is another factor in what you pay. Basically, if you drive more, you can expect to pay more. It comes down to the fact that the more time you spend on the road commuting, the more likely it is you’ll experience a crash. CREDIT HISTORY Insurers can reference your credit history when determining your premium. They cite studies that suggest your credit history can determine your likelihood of submitting an insurance claim, so people with lower credit scores are a greater liability in the insurance company’s eyes.

This answer comes directly from the blog at clarkharmonsonattorney.com/blog. To read more, be sure to visit the website!


Even though the overall perception of personal injury lawyers is negative, I strive to shatter the myth of the greedy lawyer. Instead of misleading advertising, my focus is to educate people about the personal injury process. My firm strives to be the source of information on personal injury claims in the Borderland. That is why you will see lengthy blog posts with educational information on the topic of personal injury law on our website. That is why I have written (humble brag alert) what I consider to be the best book available anywhere to help consumers through the car accident process in Texas. The ink is still drying on “The Insider’s Guide to Texas Auto Accident Claims.” I am very excited to share it with my people and the public. Give me a call, and I will put you on the advance list to get a copy of the book. If you have made it this far in reading this newsletter, I consider you part of my tribe. As part of this community, my promise to you is to be a trusted source for all of your legal questions and needs. My practice area is dedicated exclusively to personal injury law, and by all means give me a call, God forbid, if you or a loved one are injured in an accident. Also, please consider me to be your go-to source for all things legal. I am happy to give general guidance on legal issues to you free of charge. I know a lot about the law, and I know the good lawyers in this community who can help you with your specific problem. I owe whatever success I’ve achieved to the experiences and people of my youth, and my goal is to give back to the real people that make up this community. That is why I am proud to say I am a personal injury lawyer.

AGE The numbers don’t lie. Data shows that drivers under the age of 25 are more likely to get into a crash than any other group — males under 25 in particular. As a result, their premiums are higher. In almost every case, the younger you are, the more you can expect to pay, and the number goes down as you age. Those over 65 traditionally pay the least.

– Clark Harmonson

915.584.8777 • 3

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


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My Mission as a Personal Injury Lawyer

3 Great Opening Days in Baseball

Another Car Accident Question Answered

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How Insurers Figure Out What to Charge

Adventure Awaits (At Home)

NO PLACE LIKE HOME Be a Tourist in Your Hometown

Find Local Events Now’s the time to check out the farmers market you’ve been meaning to go to for ages! Then you can swing by that free concert in the park before going to a play at your community theater. Attending local events is a great way to visit places in town you’ve never been before. You might even find a historical tour that can teach you all about the wonders of your town. Download an app like Eventbrite, or go old-school and check for fun local events in the paper. Appreciate the Arts There are countless tiny museums and cultural attractions all over the place that most people overlook — especially those who have lived in an area for a while. Does your hometown have interesting art installations on Main Street? What about museums dedicated to strange and supernatural phenomena, parks, historical landmarks, or giant robotic farm animals? Check Yelp.com for lists of popular attractions near you, or ask your friends for suggestions. You might be surprised by what your hometown has to offer. You might be thinking, “This is would be great if I lived somewhere fun!” If you’ve ever thought your town was boring, that’s all the more reason to try being a tourist! Adventures can happen anywhere if you just take that first step out the door.

Do you dream of adventure? Do you want to see something new, discover someplace interesting, and make memories you’ll cherish forever? Do you still have to be at work on Monday? Finding adventure doesn’t have to mean packing up and trekking across the globe for six months. Being adventurous is all about changing your mindset and looking for the unexpected in the familiar.

As you start planning summer vacations, instead of spending a lot of money to be a tourist somewhere else, why not try finding a little adventure at home? Get a Room If you really want to experience your hometown through the eyes of a tourist, try waking up somewhere new. One night in a hotel room or bed-and-breakfast can really put you in the adventuring mindset.


4 • www.ClarkHarmonsonAttorney.com

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