Happy New Year, Wisconsin Children’s Hospital!
‘Tis the season for hope, gift giving, and good tidings to be had by all. At Hausmann-McNally this year we tried to endorse these sentiments by sharing them with the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Each of our staff donated $20 to bring a little holiday cheer to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Our final sum was rounded up, with a little help from our attorneys, to a solid $1,000!
With our collected $1,000, we bought all sorts of toys for the children spending their holiday at the hospital. The toys ranged from infants to young adults including; Barbies, baby dolls, baby soothers, blankets, stuffed animals, matchbox cars, puzzles, board games, coloring books, crayons, markers, DVDs (G-PG13), trucks, gift cards and the list goes on. We were also able to provide an additional $100 to buy Racine Kringles for the nurses and staff of the hospital.
The staff at Hausmann-McNally had a great time spreading their holiday cheer with the kids at the hospital, it made our holiday that much brighter.
Beware of the Left-hand Turn
By Charles Hausmann
My father was a cautious driver. Actually he was more than cautious, he was maddeningly slow, never drove over 35 miles an hour, braked at the mere site of an oncoming vehicle and, as a result, drove his family crazy when we rode with him.
Dad had a special fear of left-hand turns and often warned me that they were the most dangerous maneuvers a human being could undertake. He insisted that I avoid left-hand turns when he was in the car with me and he certainly did so when he was driving.
Sometimes he would drive blocks out of his way in order to avoid a left-hand turn. It was almost comical to see him take tortuous routes to avoid the dreaded experience, hoping family passengers would not tease him about it. If he had to make a left-hand turn, we all had to be quiet, turn off the radio and try not to notice that he let ALL the drivers go through the two-way and four-way stops, including those that were way behind him in line. He proceeded only when the coast was completely clear. His fear of left-hand turns was superseded by only two other motoring fears–fear of freeways (which he avoided altogether) and, fear of a certain hill. (More about that at another time.)
As I became a driver, I was well aware of the left-hand turn hazard, and, of course, laughed it off. After dad passed away, our family would recall the ordeal of driving with him and his left-hand turn bugaboo. The big joke was that trips that take us an hour now used to take dad up to three hours. My mother said she would have visited relatives more often if she had realized how close they were.
But here is the thing. I finally get it. Making a left-hand turn can be dangerous. More than 40 years as a personal injury attorney has taught me that a disproportionate number of collisions happen when people are making left-hand turns. As I read through Hausmann-McNally’s most recent newsletters, it hit me that a good percentage of the cases we reported came about because of left-hand turns! I wish we had kept track over the years because I am certain that making a left-hand turn creates the opportunity for a serious accidents. Left-hand turns are more dangerous than most other driving maneuvers, with the possible exception of coming up against an intoxicated and/or texting driver.
It’s too late for my dad, but a 2011 study by North Carolina State University has a solution. The study concluded that “super streets” – streets designed to reroute left-hand turns into right turn circles – are amazingly efficient at saving time and preventing accidents. Avoiding left-hand turns–my father’s dream.
Superstreets are surface roads where the left-hand turns from side streets are re-routed, as is traffic from side streets that needs to cross the thoroughfare. In both instances, drivers are first required to make a right turn and then make a U-turn around a broad median. While this may seem time-consuming, the study shows that it actually results in a significant time saving since drivers are not stuck waiting to make left-hand turns or for traffic from cross-streets to go across the thoroughfare.
Even more stunning is that the researchers, “also found that superstreet intersections experience an average of 46 percent fewer reported automobile collisions – and 63 percent fewer collisions that result in personal injury.”
Dad has an ally in North Carolina State University Researcher Joseph Hummer — a professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering. Hummer has some straightforward advice for any drivers interested in getting to their destination quicker and safer. “It’s simple: Don’t make left turns. They’re the bane of our existence,” he said, saying that “some freight trucking companies instruct their drivers to make three rights instead of a left.
My father is gloating in heaven.
At this time of the year, we turn our thoughts to the things we are grateful for.
Thanksgiving can mean a lot of things. For some, it means shopping on Thanksgiving itself when it seems retailers are rushing the season. A lot of people think it is shameful that the stores are in such a hurry to get our shopping dollars (before someone else gets them), but there is another view. One of our friends, who works in a retail store that opens on Thanksgiving, said it is one of the most fun days of the year. “There is plenty of staff to handle the traffic, free stuff and almost all the shoppers are in a holiday mood,” she reports. So while some of us would rather have a root canal than shop on Thanksgiving, it isn’t that way for everyone. So we are grateful for the many choices offered.
Thanksgiving means a good meal for most of us. People reach out to make sure that even homeless people get their fill of turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
In addition to an economy that just won’t stop trying, there are other many more substantial things to be thankful for…
- Thankful for living in a country that cares about the welfare of its citizens
- Thankful for the freedoms we enjoy
- Thankful for the people who risk life and limb for us in the military
- Thankful for friends who know us best and like us anyway
- Thankful for family, spouses, parents, children, grandchildren who fill our lives with love and challenges
- Thankful for the wonderful people who work at Hausmann-McNally who go the extra mile time after time because they are real pros
- Thankful for clients who give us the opportunity to do what we love—practice personal-injury law
- Thankful for favors we do not even know we have received
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.
The lawyers and staff of Hausmann-McNally, S.C.
Holiday Tips from the American Red Cross
As a personal-injury law firm, Hausmann-McNally knows the burden that injuries and accidents can place on people and their families. We wish all our clients, friends and family could avoid personal injuries during the upcoming holiday season. While there are many safety warnings during the holidays, we have found that the American Red Cross offers a sensible list. Here are their recommendations of things to consider:
- Beware of Holiday Candles ~ Be sure candles are kept away from decorations or other combustible materials. Don’t leave children unattended in a room with lit candles, and always keep candles, as well as matches and lighters, out of the reach of children. Never use candles to decorate Christmas trees. Avoid using candles during parties. Never display lighted candles in windows or near exits.
- Test Tree Trimmings ~ When decorating with lights, be sure to purchase only those labeled by a testing laboratory. Never use candles to decorate Christmas trees. For outside decorations, use only those lights labeled for outdoor use. Don’t overload electrical outlets, and always unplug all lights before leaving home or going to bed. Never put electrical lights on a metal Christmas tree.
- Keep Christmas Trees Fresh ~ Choose a fresh Christmas tree and secure it in a sturdy stand. Place the tree away from heat sources and exits. Water it daily. If you purchase an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant.
- Prepare for Holiday Parties ~ Decorate only with flame-retardant or noncombustible materials. Avoid using candles during parties. If guests will be smoking, provide them with large, deep ashtrays and check them frequently. After the party, check inside and under upholstery and in trash cans for cigarette butts that may be smoldering.
- Designate a Driver ~ When attending a party, always designate a non-drinking driver. If you are the host of a holiday gathering, be sure there are non-alcoholic beverages available for guests who are driving.
- Inspect Fireplaces ~ Have your chimney inspected by a professional prior to the start of every heating season and cleaned if necessary. Creosote, a chemical substance that forms when wood burns, builds up in chimneys and can cause a chimney fire if not properly cleaned. Always protect your family and home by using a sturdy screen when burning fires.Remember to burn only wood – never burn paper or pine boughs, which can float out of the chimney and ignite a neighboring home. Never use flammable liquids in a fireplace. If you are purchasing a factory-built fireplace, select one listed by a testing laboratory, and have it installed according to local codes. If you plan to hang stockings on your fireplace, do not use the fireplace for fires.
- Be Cautious With Portable and Space Heaters ~ Place space heaters at least three feet (one meter) away from anything combustible, including wallpaper, bedding, clothing, pets, and people. Never leave space heaters operating when you are not in the room or when you go to bed. Don’t leave children or pets unattended with space heaters and be sure everyone knows that drying wet mittens or other clothing over space heaters is a fire hazard.
- Watch Your Wood Stoves ~ Be sure your wood or coal stove bears the label of a recognized testing laboratory and meets local fire codes. Follow manufacturers’ recommendations for proper use and maintenance. Chimney connections and chimney flues should be inspected at the beginning of each heating season and cleaned if necessary.Follow the same safety rules for wood stoves as you would for space heaters. Burn only wood, and be sure the wood stove is placed on an approved stove board to protect the floor from heat and hot coals. Be sure to check with your local fire department and check local codes before having your wood stove installed.
- Cook with Care ~ When cooking, do not wear loose fitting clothing. It can be ignited by hot burners. Always turn pot handles in. Don’t store items on the stove top; they could catch fire. Keep kitchen appliances clean and in good condition, and turn them off after use. Don’t overload electrical outlets, and don’t use appliances with frayed or cracked wires.
- Buckle Up ~ During the holiday months, people travel more than ever. Wearing a seat belt may prevent injury in a motor vehicle collision. Ensure that all passengers are also wearing safety belts. Please remember to seat children in the back seat of the car and in approved safety seats if younger than six years old, or according to local law.
- Prepare a Winter Storm Plan ~ Have extra blankets on hand and ensure that each member of your household has a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, and water-resistant boots. Stay tuned for storm warnings by listening to NOAA Weather Radio and your local radio and television stations for updated storm information. It’s also important to have your car winterized before winter storm season.
- Enroll in a First Aid & CPR course ~ Although these tips can help prevent an emergency, it is also important to be prepared should an emergency situation arise. To enroll in a first aid or CPR course, contact your local American Red Cross (in the white pages).
Have a safe and blessed holiday season!
Holiday Safety Tips from Hausmann-McNally, S.C.
Halloween is almost here and so are countless warnings for child and adult holiday safety.
Hausmann-McNally urges our readers to take all sensible precautions, but hopefully have some fun too. The fun of Halloween is to step into the scary unknown. We test our bravery against strange noises and sights, creatures and characters we would never see any other time of the year. Facing down a warty witch or creepy clown for the first time is a right of passage in many places. Let’s admit…it is fun to be scared (if you know you are safe). Warnings for Halloween safety generally fall into three categories:
- Dangerous treats, razor blades in apples, poison candy
- The hazards posed by costumes which make seeing difficult and the excitement, which causes kids to forget about traffic and safety rules
- Anyone who might use Halloween as an opportunity to hurt kids
It is impossible to predict where a danger might come from, but generally parents who talk to their kids about safety and keep an eye on the action will have a better outcome. If you just turn the kids loose in a neighborhood, you are likely to receive back a frazzled, overexcited kid on a sugar high. Some parents let their younger kids trick or treat, but stand back at a discreet distance so they can observe where they go and who they interact with. Older kids would rather not go with their parents, so set strict limits on where and how long the evening goes on. Parents might have to insist that only wrapped treats are consumed, but that will depend on the safety of the neighborhood and the individuals who give out the treats. Traffic can be problematic. Adults may be driving home from parties where they drank too much alcohol. Trick or treaters need to be warned. And drivers need to remember that kids may be snaking through the streets in costumes that impair their side vision. The warnings of not talking to strangers or going with anyone you don’t know is hard to enforce on Halloween, so parents are urged to be aware of neighborhood conditions, news reports and to network with other parents to ensure their children don’t fall into the wrong hands. It’s all about caution. And then, it’s all about being dressed up as something else, scaring and being scared, lots of treats and excitement. Take the precautions necessary and then have a great scary fun night.
H-M President Objects to Indiana Supreme Court Action
NEW RULE TIPS SCALES AWAY FROM JUSTICE.
Hausmann-McNally, S.C. strongly opposes Indiana’s 30-day rule that prohibits attorneys from contacting accident victims to advertise their services. We see a dangerous trend towards this in other states. This new provision in Indiana’s rules of professional conduct prohibits attorneys from making in-person, written or electronic solicitations in cases involving personal injury or wrongful death within 30 days of an accident or disaster. This is totally wrong thinking, in the view of Hausmann-McNally President Charles Hausmann. As most of our clients know, we send informational advertising to victims after they have been in an accident. “The rule takes away victims’ rights and gives a clear advantage to insurance companies. This is detrimental to the victims’ best interests. ” “This rule prevents people who need attorneys to learn about services available to them. More than that, Hausmann argues that the 30-day rule helps insurance companies, the lawyers’ traditional adversary in personal injury lawsuits. A 2007 study by the Insurance Research Council showed that people who retained attorneys to represent them received two and a half to three times the amount of money than those who did not have attorneys. “If insurance companies can keep people from receiving written information about their rights for 30 days, they can do whatever they want and no one can stop them,” says Hausmann. Within that critical 30 days, victims may succumb to less-than-fair insurance company offers or hire an off-the-TV law firm with little substance to its claims. Hausmann-McNally’s 28-page brochure, for example, sets out information about victims’ rights, how the legal process works, how to select an appropriate lawyer and law firm, pitfalls to avoid when dealing with insurance companies and more. “This new rule prohibits us from giving this information to accident victims for 30 days at the most crucial point in their decision process. This level of useful information could never be presented in a TV commercial, or print ad. “Insurance companies profit immensely if people do not hire attorneys to represent their side of a case.” A recent Bloomberg online article showed that if Allstate Insurance could prevent 25 percent of accident victims from hiring attorneys, their stock would go up $1.60 a share–for an estimated sum of $847,680,000. Money that should go to accident victims is shifted to the insurance company’s bottom line. It is no secret that insurance companies like this new rule. “What this new rule means is that the victims do not have access to the information that will help them achieve a better settlement from insurance companies.” It doesn’t help that some law firms create outrageously misleading TV and radio ads. People need to be able to see print material so they can review and carefully judge what the “offer” is from the attorney. Although the Indiana law went into force in January 1, 2011, Hausmann says he intends to continue fighting it. Hausmann is particularly incensed at the rationale for the new rule, an alleged concern about the “sensitized state” of victims who were either injured or grieving. “These same ‘sensitized individuals’ are prey to insurance companies who are free to contact, deny, delay and make lowball offers.”
Hausmann-McNally Urges Drivers to Watch Out for Motorcycles
With summer comes the joy of getting the cycle out of storage, bringing out the leathers and hitting the road for another motorcycling season. Hausmann-McNally lawyers and staff have been riding for decades and want to urge all of our clients and their families to keep an extra eye out for motorcyclists and safely share the roads with them. Hausmann-McNally, over its 40 + years in practice, has seen the tragedy of many a serious motorcycle accident and would like to offer some sobering statistics and suggestions for a safe motorcycling season.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- Motorcyclists are 25 times more likely to experience a deadly accident on the road than those in passenger cars
- 11 percent of all roadway accidents that occur in the United States involve motorcycles
- Head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes
- A motorcyclist not wearing a helmet is 40 percent more likely to die of a head injury than one who wears a helmet
- A motorcyclist not wearing a helmet is 15 percent more likely to suffer a nonfatal injury than one who wears a helmet
- It is estimated that helmets reduce the likelihood of a crash fatality by 37 percent
A 2009 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute report found that:
- More than half of motorcyclist deaths involved at least one other vehicle
- 42 percent of two-vehicle fatal motorcycle crashes involved a vehicle turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking the vehicle
These statistics make it crucial for all drivers to properly yield to cyclists who have the right-of-way before making left turns and to keep a watchful eye out for motorcyclists, which are often less conspicuous and visible than larger passenger vehicles. The potential effects of a motorcycle accident are far reaching. Here at Hausmann-McNally, we have seen far too many clients severely debilitated due to motorcycle accidents. In an effort to reduce motorcycle accidents and the injuries resulting from them, Hausmann-McNally urges motorcyclists to follow these five steps to avoid and minimize motorcycle accidents.
5 Tips to Avoid and Minimize Motorcycle Accidents suggested by Charles Hausmann, President of Hausmann-McNally and long time motorcycle rider.
1. Take a motorcycle safety course. A safety course can benefit even the most skilled motorcyclist. The Motorcyclist Safety Foundation offers 2 courses (one for new motorcyclists and one for experienced motorcyclists) in close to 1,500 locations throughout the United States. Motorcyclists should know how to safely ride and how to react in an accident situation. 2. Constantly observe your surroundings. Motorcycles are simply harder to see than passenger cars. Therefore, you should consistently scan your surroundings for possible dangers-protect yourself-watchout for unsafe automobile drivers who may put you in danger.
- Rid yourself of distractions; e.g. cell phones, mp3 players, etc.
- Keep a good distance between you and other motorists
- Do not stare straight ahead of you; constantly check your mirrors
3. Hand positions matter. Intersections are where the most accidents happen. Be fully prepared for a stop, place your hands over both your front and rear brakes when you are approaching a stop; this will allow you to brake as quickly as possible if necessary. 4. Your position on the road matters Position yourself closer to the side of the road you are on. If you are in the right lane position yourself closer to the right shoulder; if you are in the left lane position yourself closer to the left shoulder. This will allow you more room to avoid an accident or debris in the roadway without potentially hitting another motorist. 5. Wear the proper gear. According to the NHTSA, wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of head related injuries by 69 percent and your risk of death due to head injury by 42 percent. Your helmet should be a full-coverage helmet with a visor; this means it should cover your chin, eyes, and nose. Put simply, your face and head should be completely covered by protective materials. Additionally, you should wear protective boots with gripping soles, gloves, and either protective pants and a jacket or a protective full bodysuit. As a personal injury law firm with offices in 7 states, Hausmann-McNally has worked with many victims of violent motorcycle crashes. We have had to fight for clients who can’t go to work anymore because of serious bodily and brain injuries. The staff at Hausmann-McNally understands that bikers do not want to give up their life’s passion so we urge all motorists to “Watch out for Motorcyclists” and for all motorcyclists to ride safely and follow the five steps outlined in this article for a safe riding season. Go out and ride safely and enjoy the freedom of the road!
Hausmann-McNally Skips Holiday Party to Feed Homeless
To get into the “real” holiday spirit, our law firm is forewent its annual holiday party and fed the hungry instead.
Our attorneys and staff served a free holiday meal to the homeless and poor on Saturday, December 12 at Izzy’s Restaurant. Hausmann stated: “When I opened Izzy’s, I wanted to bring some good home cooking and pleasant surroundings to my old neighborhood. I envisioned we could use Izzy’s for community service down the line. This is the first chance we have had to open it up to people who are disenfranchised, poor or homeless.” Izzy’s is owned by Attorney Charles Hausmann, the law firm’s president. Among those who attended the holiday lunch are people who regularly come to the St. Benedict the Moor Ministries at 1015 N. Ninth St., Milwaukee. St. Benedict’s serves an average of 340 people at its evening community meals. Although they offer a meal Sunday through Friday, they do not serve on Saturdays. Our attorneys and staff members volunteered to help Izzy’s Partner/Chef Brandon Roethel coordinate the event and serve. Hausmann-McNally paid for all the food and costs associated with the event. Not to be outdone, Izzy’s employees donated their time and also gave a cash donation. Our Milwaukee employees agreed to skip the annual holiday party which is traditionally held at an upscale club or restaurant and paid for by the firm. The decision was to channel the money to feed the hungry. Many employees said they wanted to be involved. We fed around 340 people. The restaurant seats 55, but we offered takeouts when it got too crowded. The menu included turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, corn, bread and butter, beverages and cookies. Happy holidays!
Victory Over Violence Park
The law firm of Hausmann-McNally has contributed time and money to many community activities in a broad range of areas. One particular project close to the firm’s heart is the Victory Over Violence Park in Milwaukee’s central city. The site was once a nameless abandoned lot where the remnants of burned down buildings from the riots that occurred after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. had sat vacant for thirty years and had become one of the most dangerous and violent areas of the central city where numerous shootings, muggings and assaults were reported. Despite its unsavory history, the site at 2601 N. Martin Luther King Drive is now more of an oasis offering a pleasant respite and contemplative garden for neighbors, shoppers, people walking and biking by. The transformation shows that people and organizations can change things, if they are determined and if the community joins in.
Charles Hausmann, President of Hausmann-McNally, was particularly bothered that the site had sat vacant and unattended for three decades and that the owner, the City of Milwaukee, took no action to develop or rehabilitate the site in the mist of a major thoroughfare running north and south through Milwaukee’s central city. Over the years the site had become a gathering place for drug dealers and criminal activity. As an attorney with many central city clients, Hausmann had known several young men who had lost their lives in acts of senseless violence. He wanted to create a memorial to those young people and create a symbol of hope and beauty to the concept that a community could have- Victory Over Violence. The park was to be a line in the sand, a statement that violence had to stop and that positive trumped negative.
Joined by Jeanetta Robinson, head of Career Youth Development (CYD) who herself had lost a daughter and granddaughter to a violent murder and whose offices are adjacent to the park, Hausmann began to assemble the resources needed to clear and then transform the area. Many people and organizations stepped up to help. Hundreds of volunteers showed up to clean, clear, cut trees, haul trash, weed and eventually to lay bricks and plant flowers and shrubs. Hausmann’s drive combined with Robinson’s connections and community involvement helped move things along.
Key to the initial project was renowned landscape Architect Robert Greaves, who had done site planning for a dozen golf courses and Northridge, Southridge and Brookfield Square shopping malls among hundreds of projects throughout the United States. He agreed to be site architect for the park late in his career, believing it could be a lasting monument and a legacy to his career. He also said he took it on because Hausmann guaranteed “… he would go to heaven if he did.” Greaves passed away collecting on his guarantee of eternity in heaven. People from the neighborhood, from CYD, from Marquette University, from the Milwaukee Community Service Corps, union brick layers and iron workers, hundreds of volunteers got their hands dirty on the project over the many years that the project took to build. Women prisoners from the Wisconsin State Prison were allowed to work on weekends to work on the project. Private businesses like Stein Gardens & Gifts gave plants and many others donated time, effort and plants. And of course, members of the Hausmann-McNally law firm joined in during the entire project. Who says a personal injury attorney can’t handle a pruning saw?
It took over four years of work, much of it volunteer, much paid for by the firm and Hausmann himself. Even though the basic work was completed in the 1990s, things remain to be done. Almost every spring and summer weekend, you can find Hausmann and a team of workers weeding, cleaning or planting some area of the park. It is an ongoing battle against the forces of violence, reminders that nature and people need care and attention. Due to the tenacity of people who had the vision, there is now recognition that even the most knotty problems can be attacked and solved. The spirits of the youngsters who died violent deaths in the area can hover in a place that is immensely better than anyone thought it could ever be.