The Must-Read, Change-Your-Life Newsletter helping seriously injured people for over 30 years
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KINGS OF APRIL FOOLS’ DAY THE DIRTY TRICKS OF THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY
Nobody likes getting tricked, unpleasantly surprised, or taken advantage of. Thankfully, most folks only have to put up with pranksters one day a year. From crude practical jokes to major inconveniences, most of these shenanigans are mercifully confined to April 1. Unfortunately, insurance companies are allowed to pull their tricks year-round. You see a lot of shady tactics employed by adjusters in our line of work. Unlike an air horn duct taped under an office chair, these tricks do lasting harm after the initial shock of falling victim to them. As we recover from a day of (relatively) innocent pranks, we should bear in mind the misleading predatory business practices that can reduce or even deny your insurance claim. Insurance is supposed to be there to help protect us and our loved ones, but it rarely feels that way. The truth is, it’s a business, so insurance companies are interested in maximizing profits with as little risk as possible. Insurance adjusters are just doing their jobs by attempting to poke holes in your claim. But sometimes, these efforts go well over the line of what is appropriate. For example, adjusters may keep tabs on you and your social media profile without your knowledge. They’re hunting for photographs of you doing physical activities like yardwork or post-accident tweets about “everybody being okay.” The adjusters will say they’re looking for “evidence” of your injury, but this sounds less like an investigation and more like spying.
As if this isn’t disgraceful enough, some agents have the nerve to look you in the eyes while they pull the wool over them. When a smiling, well-dressed person from the insurance company shows up at your door, they may seem harmless enough. But many of the seemingly benign questions they ask can have hidden barbs. Even answering a simple “How are you?” can negatively impact your case. These conversational tactics are one of the many “gotcha” moves used by the industry. These adjusters may as well wear a joy buzzer when they go in to shake your hand. Over the course of talking with you, they may ask things like, “It sure must have been hard to see in all that rain. Do you think that maybe that played a factor?” That’s them laying the trap. A simple polite nod in agreement, regardless of what you actually think on the matter, can be used against your claim. But the shenanigans don’t stop there. From purposely dragging their feet on processing your case to tricking folks into giving them access to years’ worth of medical history, the adjuster has many tools in their arsenal. If the whole idea of a prank is to mislead, shock, and disappoint people, then these “professionals” are the kings and queens of April Fools’ Day. We’re not against good-natured fun here at Jones & Hill. Heck, if a prank’s clever enough, it’ll get a laugh out of us. But after years of representing hardworking folks who have been taken advantage of by insurance adjusters, you get tired of mean-spirited deception. –Cra ig Jon e s & Cra ig Hill
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DO YOU NEED A MEDIA DETOX? THE DANGERS OF OVERSTIMULATION
With the current trend of getting TV, social media, and news alerts sent to our phones, we have access to more media than we could ever consume. While constant connectivity is a boon for many aspects of our lives, researchers are discovering that too much stimulation is cause for concern. One study in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that too much social comparison, spurred by the likes of Facebook and cable news, can lead to an increased risk of depression. If you find yourself pressured to live up to the public lives of friends and family, or if you feel like you’re being bombarded with too much news and entertainment, consider a media detox. A detox doesn’t require you to unsubscribe from social media services or unplug your TV forever. Instead, think of it as a vacation from the overstimulation so many of us experience. Ask yourself which aspects of your media diet are causing more stress than they’re worth, and take a break from them for a little while. “In the same way we think about what we eat, we should think about what we read, what we’re seeing, what we’re engaging in, and what we’re interacting with every day,” Emma Watson told CNN in an interview about her selective
social media use. If you’re not mindful of your media consumption and participation, it tends to pile up. When you detox, it’s a lot easier to identify which parts of your media diet are essential and which are only a burden. Another benefit of a media detox is that you’ll have more time to pursue new and dormant hobbies. Because most of us consume media in small chunks throughout the day, it’s easy to overlook how much that time adds up. All those hours you spend on Facebook could be used to start a garden, knit a quilt, or join a soccer league. Unless you have an unlimited supply of leisure time (and who does?), you need to be selective in the way you spend it. Remember, media isn’t the cause of all your ills. Used mindfully, it can actually increase happiness and satisfaction. The problem is that we are so mired in the media muck that we can’t get a perspective on how much is too much. A detox will allow you to reassess the media you’re consuming and build a better plan for the future. You can still keep up with your grandkids on Facebook, but it shouldn’t be the only way you interact with the world.
But Don’t Get Short Changed ACT FAST AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT
From our sprawling farmland to our oil-rich coastline, trucking drives the Louisiana economy. Unfortunately, the increased presence of heavy vehicles makes major accidents far more likely. Nearly 100 fatal crashes involved a large truck or bus in 2016 alone, according to the LSU Highway Safety Research Group. These accidents often cause devastating injuries that can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, you don’t have nearly that long to file a claim. StatuteofLimitations The immediate aftermath of a truck accident can be a blur. Emergency personnel race to the scene, you’re rushed to the hospital, and you may undergo days or weeks of intensive care — far longer if your injuries are severe. Your mind should be wholly focused on recovering. Unfortunately, there is a statute of limitations on truck accidents in Louisiana. Regardless of the trauma you sustained, you only have one year to file a claim. Given the types of injuries a truck can inflict, it’s likely
you’ll need expensive ongoing medical care. Insurance claims can help you and your family in these difficult circumstances, but you have to file them correctly and on time. BewaretheSettlement A predatory tactic we’ve seen insurance adjusters use in truck accident cases involves a very misleading number. You see, the state requires truck drivers to be insured up to $20,000 to cover extreme injuries. This sounds like a lot, but when you factor in lost wages, medication, ongoing care, and psychological damages, this amount often falls short of the real cost of your injuries. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of Jones & Hill. Our attorneys have years of experience in handling truck accident cases and will work closely with you to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Everybody Loves Crawfish
There’s nothing like the spicy smell of boiling crawfish to let you know that spring has finally sprung in Louisiana. Most everyone, adults and children alike, enjoy eating fresh crawfish, but only in Louisiana would a group of college-age kids cut classes at Louisiana State University to harvest crawfish in a drainage ditch. In 2013, four LSU students piled into a truck one afternoon to take advantage of crawfish season. The weekend before, one of the boys had gone harvesting with his father. Together, they caught around 20 pounds of crawfish. He told his friends about their success, and they all agreed that fishing for crawfish sounded much better than their impending philosophy class. The boys spent the afternoon getting wet and caked with mud while sweating in knee boots and blue jeans. They used nets to scoop the crawfish from the drainage ditch, and they left with plenty for each boy to take home.
Although it’s easier to buy a sack of crawfish from the market, it can be a fun experience to catch your own. However, it’s important to know state regulations for recreational crawfishing. If you are harvesting crawfish recreationally with a net, dip net, hand line, or bait seine, the state of Louisiana does not require you to obtain a license. However, if you plan on using traps in public waters, make sure to apply for a fishing license and a recreational crawfish trap gear license. Nets and lines are simple, but traps can be more complicated. A crawfish trap is defined by the state of Louisiana as “any device constructed of coated wire with an opening of the throats or flues not exceeding 2 inches.” Also, traps “must have a minimum mesh size of a hexagon of 3/4 inch by 11/16 inch from wire to wire, not including any coating.” Make sure to mark your trap with a waterproof tag including your name and recreational gear license number. Happy harvesting!
TAKE A BREAK
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. Roasted Asparagus With Lemon Breadcrumbs
2 pounds asparagus
• • • •
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons lemon zest
• • •
Juice of one lemon (not packaged lemon juice)
Freshly ground pepper 2 garlic cloves, minced
1. 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.
Recipe inspired by Food and Wine Magazine
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FOOLED AGAIN THE HISTORY OF APRIL FOOLS’ DAY
Although April Fools’ Day has been celebrated for centuries by cultures around the world, the holiday’s origin is unclear. Historians point to a variety of possible beginnings, but the only solid conclusion is that the April Fools’ Day we know today is a blend of traditions. The Gregorian Calendar In 1582, France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. Some people were slow to get the news, and others failed to recognize that the start of the year had moved from April 1 to Jan. 1. Those who celebrated during the last week of March became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. People placed paper fish on the backs of March celebrators to symbolize young, easily caught fish and referred to them as “poisson d’avril,” or “April fools.” Hilaria Other historians have linked April Fools’ Day to the ancient Roman festival Hilaria, which was celebrated at the end of March. The festival honored Cybele, a mother of gods, and celebrations included
parades, masquerades, and jokes to honor the vernal equinox, the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
‘Canterbury Tales’ Another origin story comes from Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1392 book, “The Canterbury Tales.” There are still questions about whether Chaucer really wrote the stories and whether they have any direct link to April Fools’ Day. In the book, Chaucer describes the date “32 March.” Some believe this was a joke, because March 32 doesn’t exist, but some medievalists insist it was a misprint. April Fools’ Day certainly has murky origins. Whether our traditions come from the Gregorian calendar switch, Hilaria, or even “The Canterbury Tales,” we can all enjoy our chance to let loose and play pranks on our friends and family at least one day each year.
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