Harmonson Law Firm - March 2019

MAR 2019



Striking a Balance

T here’s no denying that having a good work-life balance is important. But it can be a challenge to find that right mixture of both, especially with the addition of our growing law practice and our youngest, Winn. My ideal work-life balance is being able to get home from work and have weeknight dinners with my wife, kids, and grandma. During those evening hours, I can put the day behind me and live in the moment with my family. Working in law, there are days when it’s hard to leave my work at the office. There’s often a lot to think about and prepare for. But when I give myself that opportunity to refocus, I can come back to work the next day with a fresh perspective.

It’s an activity that really helps you refocus. We make it a point to eat together as a family just about every night, whether it’s at home or out somewhere. On nights when we cook together, we try to keep it relatively simple. After all, we don’t want to finish our time in the kitchen with prolonged cleaning. We might have a taco, pasta, or salad night. Like with any family, the decision is made based on whatever we’re in the mood for and the ingredients we have available. Planning meals in advanced always helps. As I’ve mentioned in a past edition of the newsletter, one big part of my work-life routine happens first thing in the morning. Before anyone else gets up, I use the quiet morning hours to read, journal, and enjoy a cup of coffee as I get ready for the day. Another part of my morning routine is making breakfast for the family. It’s a great way to start the day and spend time with the kids before school. From there, I take my son to school and head out. Making breakfast is the perfect complement to cooking dinner. It’s two bookends for a productive day. Our time together extends to the weekends, too. On Sundays, we usually all go to church. And coming up, our family is getting ready to take a big ski trip. We always like to get away in March, and this time, we’ll be heading to the mountains. Luckily, I just settled a case that was set for trial during the kids spring break. In fact, the word “together” really captures my work- life-balance philosophy. As much as I love my job and helping our clients every day, my family is what keeps me grounded and balanced.

In those moments when I may bring my work to the dinner table, my wife, Sheri, reminds me that it’s family time. I’m thankful I have someone to reel me in. And since she’s our office manager, she knows when I’m still in work mode. “... THE WORD ‘TOGETHER’ REALLY CAPTURES MY WORK- LIFE-BALANCE PHILOSOPHY.”

After work, my wife, Sheri, and I share the cooking duties while our two eldest kids finish homework in the kitchen.

– Clark Harmonson

915.584.8777 • 1

Car Accident

It goes without saying that car accidents, big or small, are frustrating. They often leave you with repair and medical bills, but you may also have questions. This month kicks off a five-part series to answer a few of those queries and hopefully help point you in the right direction following an accident. Here’s the first question: THE TOP 5 QUESTIONS ANSWERED: QUESTION 1 If another person causes the auto accident and has automobile insurance, the owner of the damaged vehicle is entitled to have the vehicle repaired by the at- fault driver’s insurance company. If you choose to have your vehicle repaired by the wrongdoer’s insurance, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you have the right to choose any shop for the repairs of that vehicle. The insurance company is not allowed to dictate to you where you can take your vehicle to be repaired. Second, you have a right to choose the type of parts to be used in the repair. You are also entitled to a rental vehicle from the insurance company while your vehicle is being repaired. HowWill My Car Get Fixed?

Spring is in the air, and it’s time to celebrate with another round of spring-cleaning. Banish the clutter and make room in your life for something new! Many charities see a sharp increase in donations as spring-cleaning season starts. Donating your used books, kids’ toys, and gently worn clothing allows your old items to have a second life. However, when filling that donation box, make sure you’re donating each item because it can do good and not just because you feel bad about throwing it away. Charities have a big problem with well-meaning citizens dropping off items that are better left in the trash. There are many items charities simply cannot handle. Most charities will have lists of items they can and cannot accept on their websites. Some items that you should not donate include:

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Expired medications

Old TVs



Loose remote controls

Personal care items, like soap, shampoo, or makeup



Tangled cords or phone chargers Any broken, damaged, or dirty items

These items may be unsafe to sell, costly to ship, or impossible to refurbish effectively. When a charity regularly receives items they cannot use, they have to spend hours of manpower sorting through things that end up in the trash anyway. This process can be expensive for organizations with already-strained resources. Some local charities spend over $1,000 a year on dumpster and trash removal fees for unusable donations. While charities will have no choice but to throw unusable donations in the trash, there are services you can use to make your spring- cleaning eco-friendly, even for items you can’t donate. For example, if you have torn or stained blue jeans, reach out to Blue Jeans Go Green. This program keeps denim out of landfills by turning it into insulation. And while Goodwill can’t take your batteries or old flip phone, you can check out Call2Recycle.org to learn how to safely recycle your e-waste.

Your donations can be a big help to local charities. Just don’t “donate” your garbage.


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AMERICA’ S WORST DRIVERS Who Is Responsible for the Most Accidents on the Road?

We can help you get your vehicle repaired when you become our personal injury client. Plus, Harmonson Law Firm does not charge any fee to assist our personal injury clients with their property damage claim. If your vehicle is beyond repair, then the insurance company will declare your vehicle a “total loss.” If the vehicle is declared a total loss, then the insurance company must pay you the fair market value of the vehicle before the accident. Most people choose to let the insurance company keep the vehicle. However, you can choose to keep the totaled vehicle. If you choose this option, the insurance company will pay you the fair market value of the vehicle minus the money that the insurance company could have made if the vehicle was sold for scrap.

Which age group do you think ranks as the worst drivers in America? According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the answer is motorists from the ages of 19–24. The AAA Foundation’s recent report stated that “88 percent of young millennials engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days.” Risky behaviors are defined as speeding, running red lights, and texting while driving. The report also noted that traffic-related deaths increased by 7 percent in 2015, which marks the largest increase in more than 50 years — a number that has been steadily increasing overall. The problem, it seems, is rooted in attitude. Dr. David Yang, executive director with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said, “Some of the drivers ages 19–24 believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable.” Another troubling statistic gleaned from the report revealed that “nearly 12 percent of drivers ages 19–24 reported feeling that it is acceptable to drive 10 mph over the speed limit in a school zone.” But before you think millennials take all the blame, drivers ages 40–59 are also guilty of speeding, running red lights, and texting while driving. In fact, over 75 percent of people in this age group have done so in the last month. This group comes in third behind older millennials, who are ages 25–39, who engage in dangerous driving habits at a rate of about 79 percent.

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



Provided you plan ahead, it’s super easy to create this beloved St. Patrick’s Day staple for yourself. The results will surpass anything you’d find at all but the best delis and Irish pubs.


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2 quarts water 1 cup kosher salt

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8 whole allspice berries 12 whole juniper berries 2 bay leaves, crumbled 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons saltpeter (potassium nitrate)

2 pounds ice

1 cinnamon stick, broken into large pieces

1 5-pound beef brisket, trimmed

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 small onion, quartered

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 large carrot, coarsely chopped 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

Another AAA report, the 2017 Traffic Safety Culture Index, reported that just over half of all drivers routinely drive 15 mph over the posted speed limit on highways and 10 mph over on residential streets. On top of this, about 25 percent of drivers believe is okay to drive 15 mph over the limit. The takeaway from AAA’s report is that drivers of all ages engage in poor driving habits. The best thing any of us can do is drive defensively, keeping our eyes on the road and looking out for other drivers.

8 cloves garlic


1. In a large stockpot, combine water, garlic, and all herbs and spices to make brine. Cook over high heat until salt and sugar are fully dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in ice. 2. Once water temp reaches 45 F, place brisket in a 2-gallon zip-close bag, pour in brine to cover, lay flat in a large container, and store in fridge. 3. Brine for 10 days, checking daily to make sure brisket is fully submerged and brine is stirred. 4. After 10 days, remove brisket from brine and rinse under cool water. In a large pot, cover brisket, onion, carrot, and celery with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 2 1/2–3 hours. 5. Remove, slice across the grain, and serve.

915.584.8777 • 3

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


1 2

Striking a Balance

Why Charities Hate Spring-Cleaning

Car Accident Questions Answered


Homemade Corned Beef

Who Are America’s Worst Drivers?


Family Activities for St. Patrick’s Day

CELEBRATING ST. PATRICK’S DAY Family-Friendly Activities

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t have to mean heading to the local Irish bar and drinking a large green beverage. If you’re not interested in going out this year and would prefer to do something at home with the family, here are a few ways everyone can celebrate.

Exploring Irish Culture Another way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your family is to sit down and read about Irish culture with your kids. Learn where the legend of the leprechaun came from or read other stories from Irish folklore. You can also watch videos of Irish dance performances and encourage the kids to make their own. There’s also fascinating history on St. Patrick and why he became the patron of the holiday that your family members can research together. If you have Irish roots, tell your kids about your heritage. Watch IrishMovies For a relaxing activity, settle down in front of the TV for a movie night filled with films related to Irish culture. Try “The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns,” “Song of the Sea,” “The Luck of the Irish,” or “The Secret of Kells.” Make an Impact Teach your kids how to be “greener” this month by doing more for the environment. Discuss ways to save energy and water in the home, and talk about the importance of taking a break from electronics and enjoying the outdoors. This list is not exhaustive by any means, but it’s a good start to get your family to create new ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. You might even create family traditions that will last for years to come.

Irish-Themed Food What better way to get festive than by making some St. Patrick’s Day-themed dishes? You can make rainbow cupcakes, green cookies, St. Patrick’s Day popcorn, or — for a more traditional dish — Irish soda bread. You can also cook up an array of greens for dinner on March 17, which could include Brussels sprouts, spinach, cucumbers, green beans, peas, or asparagus. AMischievous Leprechaun To treat your kids to a fun game, leave green footprints around the house and participate in impish tricks! Empty a tissue box, hide the remote, swap out regular light bulbs with green ones, or draw rainbows on the windows. You’re only limited by your imagination.


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