David Blackwell Law - February 2020

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803-285-0225

NEWSLETTER

FEBRUARY 2020

How Insurance Companies Fight Dirty WHY YOU SHOULDN’T BELIEVE LAWYER STEREOTYPES

When I heard that Feb. 27 was No Brainer Day, the first thing that came to mind was the show “Two and a Half Men.” There’s an episode in which Alan, one of the two brothers, has to fix the satellite, and it’s raining. Everyone tells Alan to call “the guy” (a repairman), but he refuses. Instead, he climbs up on the roof in the rain, and of course, he falls. Afterward, everybody tells him again: He should have called “the guy” (a repairman). Everybody knows that when you are sick, you call the doctor, but not just any doctor. If you’re having heart problems, you go see the cardiologist; when you need a knee replacement, you go see an orthopedic surgeon. When your toilet stops working, you call the plumber; when you have to get your car fixed, you take it to the auto body shop. Everybody knows that. For all the problems we face in our lives, there are specialists, and calling the right specialist helps us get through life’s challenges. You always call “the guy.” So, why is it so hard to pick up the phone and call an injury lawyer when you’re injured? One reason is insurance companies. They have a vested interest in your not hiring a lawyer, and they’ll go to great lengths to

talk you out of getting a lawyer. Insurance companies will tell you injury lawyers are just out to take your money, or they’ll downplay your injury and try to make you believe you don’t have a real case. But think about it: If the person who will have to pay you tells you not to bother getting a lawyer, that’s a good indication you had better get one, and sooner rather than later. Most of the time, the first person my clients talk to after a wreck is an insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters have been trained to ask you questions in a way that discounts clear liability and the extent of the injury, and their goal as a representative of the insurance company is to minimize the payment they’ll eventually have to make. I am experienced to maximize your claim, so it’s a “no brainer” why they’ll go to such great lengths to talk you out of hiring me — “the guy.” Once, I had a client with a broken leg, but because he had destroyed his shoulder in the wreck, he didn’t realize he had also broken his leg. He was on pain meds, and his shoulder was just screaming with pain, so it took about six days for him to finally realize his leg was broken. Even though he had been in a wreck and had been laid up, the insurance company tried to suggest he could have broken his leg after the accident occurred. Sad, but true!

I had another client who broke his back. The insurance company tried to tell him that because there was no physical damage to the car, there was no way he could have been hurt in the accident. But he indeed had a broken back, and, in the end, the law required that company to pay him fairly — nearly a quarter of a million dollars. The fact is insurance companies want you to go away as cheaply and quickly as possible. They are incredibly motivated to pay you the absolute minimal amount they can get away with. Their representatives understand the law, and without representation, it’s a no brainer: They’ll get away with it. Don’t let them.

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HELPING INJURED PEOPLE IS ALL WE DO.

Meet the Team Give the Gift of Life Feb. 14 Is National Donor Day Introducing Dana Stogner

With all the cards, chocolates, and expensive dinners, it’s easy to get cynical about Valentine’s Day. However, National Donor Day also falls on Feb. 14, and it can refocus our attention back on the real meaning of the day: love. In the U.S., 20 people die each day while waiting for an organ transplant. Losing loved ones is one of the most painful aspects of the human experience, and while it is unavoidable, organ donation offers a pathway to help prevent that loss and keep more love in the world. In the spirit of that love, here are a few ways you can get involved with National Donor Day this Feb. 14. REGISTER AS AN ORGAN DONOR. Signing yourself up is easy and can be done either online or in person at your local Department of Motor Vehicles. You’ll need official identification to register. Registration is not permanent and you will always have the option to change your mind. Once registered, you will not need to carry your donor card with you, as your status exists in the registry. JOIN A DONOR DASH. Donor Dash fundraising events pop up all over the country on National Donor Day. These noncompetitive 5K running and walking events are designed to bring donors and recipients together and keep hope alive for those who are currently waiting for a donation. To learn more, or to register for an event, check out DonorAlliance.org. PARTICIPATE IN #STARTTHECONVERSATION. Donor Alliance, a nonprofit that works to promote organ donation, began the #StartTheConversation campaign as a way to help spread awareness about organ and tissue donation. Starting the conversation can be as simple as sharing that you registered with your friends and family or as personal as sharing a story about how organ donation has touched your life or the lives of your loved ones. Don’t let another Valentine’s Day come and go in a tide of cellophane, candy hearts, and cheesy cards. This year, get involved in National Donor Day. After all, what better way is there to express the value of love than to give the gift of life?

When Dana Stogner joined David Blackwell Law, it was a natural fit. Dana had worked with Judge Brooks Goldsmith until his retirement, and David needed a legal assistant to join the firm. She came on board in 2012, and today she has more than 20 years of paralegal experience. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Dana has lived in South Carolina all her life. She fell in love when she was just 15 years old, and eventually, she married her high school sweetheart. Dana is a mother of five, a grandmother of one, and a dedicated paralegal.

When asked what she likes about her job, Dana says she loves to help unburden the firm’s clients, who usually have many concerns when they first meet her. They have bills stacking up, and letters from insurance companies, and oftentimes, they’re worried about their jobs. Dana’s favorite thing is helping to ease those concerns. When a case is closed, she takes great pleasure in closing it and knowing the client is happy. Part of the reason Dana fits in so well at David Blackwell Law is her commitment to customer service. “When a client is in the room, we treat them like they’re the only one,” she says. “They’re the only thing I’m thinking about, and that means a lot to them.” Dana enjoys forming personal relationships with her clients and admits to checking her email after hours and on weekends. “That just comes with the territory,” she says. “I love my job. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here because it can be very stressful.”

For Dana, it’s the clients who make it all worthwhile.

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803-285-0225

DON’T GET STUCK PAYING SOMEONE ELSE’S BILLS Uninsured Motorist Coverage Explained

Driving drunk, speeding, and getting into wrecks all drive insurance premiums up for a reason. Insurance companies understand the same people with driving records who show past risky behavior on the road are the same people who are likely to do it again. They don’t want anything to do with these drivers, so they charge higher rates to insure them, which creates another, bigger, problem: uninsured and underinsured drivers. In South Carolina, 20% of drivers have no insurance at all. If you didn’t cause a wreck, you shouldn’t have to pay for it! Uninsured motorist coverage covers medical expenses you or your passengers suffer. Depending on the policy, you may also be reimbursed for lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. This is insurance that you pay for to protect yourself from drivers who have no insurance at all. Even when people are following the law, though, the coverage of their insurance policies is often not very meaningful. In South Carolina, drivers are only required to carry $25,000 of liability insurance per person. That means if you got into a wreck and needed to go to the hospital, regardless of your damages, you’d have to pay for everything beyond the $25,000, unless you have underinsured coverage. This is insurance coverage that you pay for to protect yourself when the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage. In a hospital, it doesn’t take much to exceed the $25,000 of liability insurance coverage South Carolina requires drivers to carry. We recommend purchasing the maximum amount of uninsured and

underinsured motorist insurance you can reasonably afford. The last thing you want to be thinking about in the event of a car wreck is how you’re going to pay for it, but statistics suggest that’s exactly what you’ll be doing without these types of insurance coverage. Don’t get stuck paying bills you don’t deserve to pay!

Pagan’s Puzzle

In The Kitchen With Dana

Inspired by The Minimalist Baker

DATE TRUFFLES

Valentine’s Day is all about love … and chocolate. Enjoy these chocolate peanut butter date truffles with your date this Valentine’s Day.

INGREDIENTS

• 1 lb medjool dates, pitted (about 1 1/2 cups) • 1/2 tsp sea salt • Warm water

• 1/4 cup peanut butter • 1 cup bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

DIRECTIONS

1. Using a food processor, blend dates and sea salt until dough can be formed into a ball. Slowly add enough warm water to mixture to thicken dough. 2. Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Freeze for 20–30 minutes. 3. In microwave, warm 1/4 cup peanut butter for 30 seconds, then drizzle peanut butter on top of balls. Freeze balls for another 20 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, in microwave, warm chocolate with coconut oil until melted. Stir well. 5. Coat balls in chocolate and place on a parchment- lined baking sheet. 6. Top with additional salt and freeze for 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

AQUARIUS ASH CHOCOLATE CUPID DONOR GROUNDHOG LOVE PISCES

PRESIDENTS ROMANCE ROSES SKIING SNOWBANK SUGAR VALENTINE

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Donahoe Kearney A T T O R N E Y S A T L A W 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 900 Washington, DC 20006 202.393.3320 DonahoeKearney.com

118 SHILOH UNITY RD., LANCASTER, SC 29720 803-285-0225 | DAVIDBLACKWELLLAW.COM

INSIDE THIS ISSUE 1

How Insurance Companies Fight Dirty

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Celebrate Love by Giving the Gift of Life Introducing Dana Stogner Don’t Get Stuck Paying Someone Else’s Bills Date Truffles

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Stop and Smell the Roses

FRANK’S COLUMN Science Wants You to Stop and Smell the Roses

In a 2008 survey conducted by the National Trust in Britain, children were more likely to correctly identify a Dalek from “Doctor Who” than a barn owl. Likewise, a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study of 8–18-year-olds in the U.S. found that the average youth spends more than 53

disorder symptoms were reduced after spending time in a green setting versus a more urban one. This may be due to the fact that natural environments call upon our “soft fascination,” a less exhausting type of focus than what is required by urban environments. Emotional benefits were discovered too, including reduced aggression, increased happiness, and improved self-esteem. Beyond just getting outside, the type of contact we have with nature also matters. Visits to nature centers and watching “Planet Earth” are two ways to experience the outdoors. But research points specifically to the importance of free play in the natural world: unstructured outdoor time when children can explore and engage with their natural surroundings with no curriculum, lesson, or activity to complete. Ever notice how kids are fascinated by the simplest things? A child visits a rose garden, but before they even get to the flowers, they become captivated by a leaf on the ground or an ant crawling on their shoe. Children are born naturalists. These are the moments we need to recapture. Take a page out of that kid’s book, and as the saying goes, stop and smell the roses — or leaves or ants — with no checklist and no plan, just time spent playing outside.

hours a week engaged with entertainment media. These statistics, coupled with growing concerns that children are spending less time outdoors, are leading to terms like “nature deficit disorder” and global initiatives to get kids outside. Why is contact with the outdoors so important? Researchers are answering this question by studying the benefits of time spent in nature. One benefit is that outdoor time helps kids understand boundaries and learn how to assess risk. As naturalist, author, and broadcaster Stephen Moss puts it, “Falling out of a tree is a very good lesson in risk-reward.” Not to mention, time in nature may help improve focus for hyperactive kids. In one national study of youths by the University of Illinois, participants’ attention deficit hyperactivity

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