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March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
What is Brain Injury Awareness Month? It is what we, as a community, make it. During the month of March, we can make a deliberate choice to engage our community and spread awareness about brain injury. We can take the 31 days of March and celebrate the journey. We can recognize all of the obstacles people have overcome, we can recognize the losses people have experienced and we can work towards creating better support and communities for people with brain injury.
What you can do:
- Learn more about brain injury causes and effects.
- Stay informed – sign up to receive more information about brain injury and support services.
- Volunteer your time to support persons affected by brain injury.
- Become an advocate for persons affected by brain injury.
- Become a member of the Brain Injury Alliance of Minnesota and show your commitment to its mission.
- Donate to the Brain Injury Alliance of Minnesota.
Taken from the Brain Injury Alliance of Minnesota website, www.braininjurymn.org.
Kauffman Law Firm is a member of and actively involved in the Rochester Area Brain Injury Community Committee, the Brain Injury Alliance of Minnesota, and the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa.
Seat Belt Use Record High
Minnesota’s statewide seat belt use is at a record high 93.6%. This is an increase in seat belt use, which results in fewer unbelted deaths. A decade ago, seat belt use was at only 79%.
Seat belt use for Southeastern Minnesota is lower than the statewide average at only 86.7%. This is up from 84.7% in 2011.
Statewide, females are more likely to buckle up than males. SUV occupants had the highest seat belt use rate at 95.9%. Children ages 11-15 have the lowest compliance.
Department of Public Safety officials attribute the continued increase of seat belt use to awareness and enforcement of the state’s primary seat belt law that became effective June 2009.
Kauffman Law Firm is a member of the Seat Belt Coalition of the Minnesota Safety Council.
For more information, see “State Seat Belt Compliance Continues to Climb; Females, SUV Motorist Best at Belting” News Release, Minnesota Department of Public Safety (2012, October 18). Retrieved from www.dps.mn.gov.
Motorcyclist Deaths Increase
By September, this year’s 47 Minnesota motorcyclist deaths had already surpassed the total number of motorcycle deaths in 2011.
Department of Public Safety officials blame the rise on an early start to the riding season in 2012 and a record number of riders. The leading crash factors each year are: rider error, alcohol use, and motorist failure to yield. Deer-motorcycle crashes are also a hazard.
The Department of Public Safety offers these safety tips for motorists and riders to ensure a safe riding environment:
Motorists: watch for motorcycles
give riders plenty of room
check blind spots
drive at safe speeds
Riders: wear protective gear
ride at safe speeds
take safety training courses
At Kauffman Law Firm, we have been working for injured persons and their families—including victims of motorcycle crashes—for over 30 years. We bring passion, preparation, and personal service to provide legal services above and beyond expectations.
For more information, see “Motorcyclist Deaths Continue to Spike in 2012” News Release, Minnesota Department of Public Safety (2012, September 20). Retrieved from www.dps.mn.gov.
See Walsh, P., “Minnesota motorcycle fatalities mount” Star Tribune
(2012, September 20, 2012). Retrieved from www.startribune.com
Kreg Kauffman Attends the American Association for Justice Annual Convention
Kreg Kauffman attended the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Annual Convention in Chicago, Illinois July 28, 2012 through July 31, 2012. AAJ is a national organization that’s mission is to promote a fair and effective justice system—and to support the work of attorneys in their efforts to ensure that any person who is injured by the misconduct or negligence of others can obtain justice in America’s courtrooms, even when taking on the most powerful interests.
At the Annual Convention, Kreg Kauffman met attorneys from around the country and gained knowledge and resources from the nation’s top experts.
For more information on AAJ, see www.justice.org.
Kreg Kauffman is a member of and active in American Association for Justice.
Katrina Smeltzer Joins the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Greater Rochester Program
Leadership Greater Rochester (LGR) is a nationally recognized program. It is a comprehensive 10-month leadership development course created by the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce. The program’s mission is to develop emerging leaders through participation in personal, professional and community awareness activities designed to encourage individual responsibility for taking an active leadership role in the future vitality of the greater Rochester area. Participants are also actively involved in a class community impact project.
Katrina Smeltzer is excited to be a part of this great program, and hopes to gain a wealth of knowledge and skills from the program.
For more information on LGR, see www.rochestermnchamber.com.
Kauffman Law Firm is a member of and active in the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.
Kreg Kauffman and Katrina Smeltzer Attend the Minnesota Association for Justice Annual Convention
Kreg Kauffman and Katrina Smeltzer attended the Minnesota Association for Justice (MAJ) Annual Convention August 16, 2012 through August 18, 2012 in Alexandria, Minnesota. MAJ is a state-wide organization dedicated to the Constitution’s guarantee of justice for all. MAJ helps members keep current on emerging topics, issues and trends through high quality seminars, conventions and institutes, as well as invaluable monthly and quarterly publications. Recognizing the importance of protecting consumer rights, MAJ impacts critical legislative issues through its effective lobbying efforts. The original purpose of networking continues to be one of the most valuable benefits of the vastly expanded membership of MAJ.
The MAJ Annual Convention was a great opportunity for Kreg Kauffman and Katrina Smeltzer to meet with attorneys from all across Minnesota to collaborate on new issues and share information.
For more information on MAJ, see www.mnaj.org.
Kreg Kauffman and Katrina Smeltzer are members of and active in Minnesota Association for Justice.
Deadly Drunk Drivers Off the Road
Minnesota law enforcement officers instituted a statewide DWI enforcement campaign: The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign running from late August through Labor Day Weekend. In the first two weekends, 605 drunk drivers were arrested.
651 people were killed in Minnesota between 2007 and 2011 by drunk driving crashes—accounting for one third of the state’s total road deaths. In 2011, 39,257 motorists in Minnesota were arrested for DWI, with an average alcohol-concentration of 0.16. The legal limit to drive is under 0.08.
A DWI offense can result in the loss of one’s license for up to one year, thousands in costs and possible jail time.
Always designate a sober driver.
For more information, see “605 Drunk Driving Arrests To-Date During Statewide Campaign” News Release, Minnesota Department of Public Safety (2012, August 28). Retrieved from www.dps.mn.gov.
At Kauffman Law Firm, we have been working for injured persons and their families—including victims of drunk driving crashes—for over 30 years. We bring passion, preparation, and personal service to provide legal services above and beyond expectations.
Kreg Kauffman Attends Seminar: Clinical Update on Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Kreg Kauffman attended “Clinical Update on Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)”—a seminar presented by Dr. George Adam on August 23, 2012. During this seminar, Dr. Adam explored the scientific and clinical aspects of TBI. Dr. Andrew Klein also presented TBI cases from his own practice.
Dr. Adam is a board certified adult neurologist. He founded Neurology Specialists, LLC and has a clinic location in Rochester.
Kauffman Law Firm is a member of and actively involved in the Rochester Area Brain Injury Community Committee, the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, and the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa.
Pedestrians in the Danger Zone: Pedestrians v. Drivers
While some traffic-death causes—such as drunken driving and not wearing seat belts—continue to decrease, pedestrian deaths in Minnesota have risen since 2008. In 2011, 40 pedestrians in Minnesota were killed. Pedestrian deaths account for 10% of all traffic deaths in Minnesota.
The U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released a study showing traffic safety facts relating to pedestrians from 2010.
In 2010, 4,280 pedestrians nation-wide were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured. This is a 4% national increase from 2009. These numbers account for 13% of all traffic fatalities and 3% of all people injured in traffic crashes.
The study also released the following national findings:
73% of pedestrian fatalities occurred in an urban setting.
79% of pedestrian fatalities occurred at non-intersections.
88% of pedestrian fatalities occurred during normal weather conditions.
68% of pedestrian fatalities occurred during the nighttime.
69% of pedestrian fatalities were males.
61% of pedestrian fatalities were children under the age of 15.
48% of pedestrian fatalities occurred on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
47% of pedestrian fatalities involved alcohol—either by the driver or the
In Minnesota, by law, motorists are required to stop and yield to pedestrians who are in a marked crosswalk or at an intersection lacking a marked crosswalk. Failure to do so could result in a misdemeanor.
Important Safety Reminders:
Drivers should always yield to pedestrians and watch their surroundings for pedestrians and bicyclists. Be especially careful at intersections, especially when turning onto another street and a pedestrian is in the path.
Pedestrians should always cross the street in a designated crosswalk or at an intersection with traffic control devices.
Pedestrians should walk on a sidewalk when available, but if a pedestrian must walk in the street, walk facing traffic.
Pedestrians should wear retro-reflective clothing at night or carry a flashlight.
See Smith, K., “To step up pedestrian safety, police get cross about crosswalks.” Star Tribune (2012, August 17). Retrieved from www.startribune.com. “Traffic Safety Facts 2010 Data: Pedestrians.” Released from the NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis (2012 August).
At Kauffman Law Firm, we have been working for injured persons and their families—including pedestrians—for over 30 years. We bring passion, preparation, and personal service to provide legal services above and beyond expectations.
Kauffman Law Firm Presented with Professional Excellence Award
Kreg Kauffman and the Kauffman Law Firm in Rochester were recently presented with the “Professional Excellence Award” by the Minnesota State Bar Association for their pro bono legal services provided to victims of the I-35W bridge collapse. Kauffman shared this award with the other members of the I-35 W Pro Bono Bridge Consortium and the Special Masters who administered the Special Compensation Fund.