Lawyers Against Hunger

Inserra & Kelley will again be hosting the Lawyers Against Hunger turkey giveaway to support our community.  This year’s event will take place on November 26, 2013 between 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the No Frills Supermarket parking lot located at 50th & G Streets in Omaha, NE.  You must have a ticket from the Omaha Food Bank distribution in order to pick up a turkey.  If you have a ticket, be sure to complete the back side with your name, address, phone number and email address as we will be drawing for a $100.00 No Frills grocery giveaway at 5:30 p.m.  You do not need to be present to win.

Iowa Department of Transportation Proposes Regulation of Traffic Cameras

If you are operating a motor vehicle in the State of Iowa, you know speeds are carefully monitored.  Last week, the Iowa Department of Transportation published new rules requiring cities and counties to provide proof there’s a critical safety concern at a specific location before traffic monitoring cameras would be allowed at that location.  The proposed rules will be presented at a public hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the Iowa Capital in front of a committee of five Republicans and five Democrats who provide legislative oversight on state agency rule making.

If you would like to comment on the proposed rules, please send your suggestions to the Department of Transportation prior to October 29, 2013.  The rules could go into effect as early as February 12, 2014.

At the current time, nine Iowa cities and Polk County use automated cameras to ticket motorists for minor traffic infractions, such as running a red light or violating posted speed limits.  The cities included are:  Cedar Rapids, Clive, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Muscatine, Sioux City and Windsor Heights.  Some of these cities use permanent cameras on highways or Interstates, while others use mobile cameras mounted in vehicles parked alongside state roads.

Although opinions vary on how cost effective and efficient this process is, law enforcement contends roads are safer when drivers know their actions are being monitored.  Although the rules would provide some oversight and regulation to the use of the cameras, some politicians and citizens would like to see a permanent ban on the traffic monitoring cameras.

Hunting Safety Prevents Tragic Accidents

The fall season brings many fun activities including football games, Halloween and, of course, hunting season.  In Nebraska, big game hunting seasons begin in late August and continue through the end of January.   Whether you prefer to hunt with a bow and arrow or with a hunting firearm, following standard safety rules can prevent serious injury and even death.   In 2012, there were nine hunting incidents in Nebraska, including eight resulting in personal injury and one fatality.  One of the incidents resulted from illegal hunting activity.

Nebraska law  requires all persons age twelve through twenty-nine years of age who hunt with a firearm or crossbow to complete a firearm hunter education program.  An approved hunter education course includes a minimum of ten hours of classroom instruction, or independent study sufficient to pass an examination given by the commission followed by the student’s participation in a minimum of four hours of practical instruction in the areas of safe firearms use, shooting and sighting techniques, hunter ethics, game identification and conservation management.

Some basic hunter safety tips can keep you and your entire hunting party safe.

  • Assume your weapon is always loaded and avoid pointing a weapon in any direction you do not wish it to be fired;
  • Keep your safety on and point the barrel of your firearm down when walking with or transporting a firearm;
  • Make sure you can identify your target before discharging your weapon, avoiding any area where humans are present;
  • Wear safety orange and a brightly colored hat when hunting to avoid blending in with your surroundings and accidentally being mistaken for wildlife;
  • Ensure your target is deceased prior to putting them into or strapping them onto your vehicle;
  • Never hunt with small children;
  • Do not climb up or down a tree or over a fence with a loaded gun.  Pass your gun to a hunting partner with the safety on and allow them to hand it to you when you are in shooting position;
  • Stay sober and avoid mind-altering drugs before or during your hunting session;
  • Look beyond your target to avoid striking something other than your target should you miss the primary target;
  • Whenever possible, hunt with a buddy or ensure someone knows your hunting path and schedule of when you expect to return;
  • When using a tree stand, wear a safety belt;
  • Test all your hunting equipment to ensure it is working properly and you know the correct way to operate all equipment;
  • Store and transport your ammunition separately from your firearm;
  • When not in use, keep both ammunition and firearms under lock and key;
  • Never shoot at a sound or movement;
  • Store both firearms and bows in cool, dry places;
  • Carry a safety kit and first aid kit, including a waterproof fire-starting kit to avoid hypothermia if you get wet or stranded in an area you are not familiar with;
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order and stocked with safety gear, including survival rations, rope, a flare gun, space blanket, hand axe, whistle and small compass; and
  • Carry your cell phone in a waterproof plastic bag when hunting so if an emergency arises, you can call for help.

With proper preparation and observation of safety procedures, you and your hunting party can enjoy the sport and avoid a preventable tragedy.

 

TORNADO SAFETY IN THE MIDWEST

 

It was March 23, 1913.  Five twisters across Nebraska and Iowa killed 115 people in total.  At this time, there was no such thing as a tornado warning .  In fact, the first tornado warning system was made by United States Air Force Captain Robert C. Miller and Major Ernest Fawbush on March 25, 1948.  Time and technology brought sophistication to the tornado warning systems and today, Doppler weather radar can detect rotational funnel cloud formations earlier than is typically possible by trained spotters.  On May 29, 2013, the National Weather Service reported nearly a dozen tornadoes in south-central and southeastern Nebraska, however reported no injuries, which speaks volumes to the advances in warning systems.

Growing up in rural Nebraska, I learned at a very young age the dangers of the devastating winds and tornadoes.  I remember being ordered to the cellar when the warnings would come on our small television, where we could find blankets, a radio, flashlights and yes, even an old camping lantern and some matches and would wait out the storm.  Today we receive our warnings much more efficiently with the invention of computers and the internet, but how many of us actually know how to prepare for a tornado or stay safe once one is forecast?  The American Red Cross not only responds to these disasters, they offer safety tips and a free lifesaving tornado application available for download on the iPhone and Android.  Just search for “Tornado by American Red Cross” in your applications store.

You can prepare for a tornado by gathering important emergency supplies, such as food, water, medications, batteries, flashlights, and a portable radio.  If you are in a tornado watch, you will want to keep a close monitor on the television, internet or radio for updates that may warn you when your tornado watch is upgraded to a tornado warning.  A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for a tornado, while a tornado warning means a tornado or funnel cloud has actually been sighted.  It is important to know the signs of a tornado.  Look and listen for a strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base, whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base (as some tornadoes have no funnel), hail or heavy rain followed by either a dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift, or a loud continuous roar or rumble which doesn’t fade in a few seconds like thunder.

When a tornado is approaching, you should immediately take shelter in a basement or first-floor room or hallway.  Avoid windows and large, open rooms (such as a gym or an auditorium).  Seek protection by getting underneath large, solid pieces of furniture, such as a mattress or a solid oak table.  Avoid automobiles and mobile homes and if you do happen to get caught outside, lie flat on the lowest ground you can find while you wait for the storm to pass.  Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, as there can be deadly traffic hazards while the bridge actually provides very little protection against flying debris.  Stay away from trees, as they can be picked up by the tornado and tossed.  Most importantly, do not panic.  Crouch down and cover your head when you have found your safe place.  Tornadoes are a frightening reality of living in the Midwest, however if you stay alert, prepared and calm, you have a better chance of surviving the storm.

NEBRASKA EXPLORES RAISING MINIMIM INSURANCE RATES

If you have ever been involved in an automobile accident, you understand the importance of properly insuring your vehicle. Vehicle insurance is designed to cover your risk of financial liability or loss if you are involved in an automobile accident causing property damages or personal injuries. Most states require vehicle owners to carry a certain amount of “minimal limits” of liability insurance to cover a driver’s potential negligence in operating a motor vehicle. In Nebraska, the minimal limits currently are $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident (when two or more persons are injured in the same accident). Is $25,000.00 a sufficient amount of insurance when you consider the rising costs of medical care?

In January of 2013, Nebraska State Senator Paul Schumacher introduced LB 80, a bill proposing increases to the minimal liability insurance limits required in Nebraska. The bill proposes the minimal liability limits in Nebraska be raised from $25,000.00 to $50,000.00 per person and from $50,000.00 per accident to $100,000.00 per accident (in cases where two or more people are injured in the same accident). This change would pay up to $50,000.00 per injured person in an accident up to $100,000.00 for two or more persons injured in one accident. Consumers would still be able to purchase larger limits, however the mandatory minimum liability limits would be raised.

As a personal injury law firm, we see cases all the time where the minimal limits of $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident does not even cover the medical bills incurred in an accident. Inserra & Kelley encourages our clients to carry insurance limits sufficient to protect themselves not only for their own liability, but in cases where you must protect yourself from the negligence of persons who are operating an uninsured motor vehicle. According to the Insurance Research Council, California Department of Insurance, 8% of all Nebraska drivers are operating motor vehicles uninsured. This makes it even more important for drivers to carry sufficient limits. If you are struck by an uninsured driver who has no non-exempt assets, your only option for covering your medical bills is to make a claim under your own underinsured/uninsured coverage. If you have any questions regarding how much coverage you should carry, please contact your insurance agent or give our law firm, Inserra & Kelley a call for a free analysis of your current coverage.

KIDSANDCARS.ORG

INSERRA & KELLEY SUPPORTS KIDSANDCARS.ORG

Inserra & Kelley has joined KidsAndCars.org in their campaign against the dangers cars present to children.  KidsAndCars.org was established after Janette Fennell,    Read more

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