Driving In The Snow

car driving during snowNot everyone is lucky enough to live in a sunny state where it does not snow. In fact, most states have annual snow fall each winter with some states experiencing more than others. Whenever you drive in the snow, you need to be even more cautious while driving. When it’s snowing, road conditions are more dangerous and can cause serious accidents when you’re not prudent. 

Severe Car Accidents and Pile Ups 

Whenever you turn on the news during a snowstorm, you’re bound to find news regarding a pile up on the highway. With the slipping and sliding caused by frost and snow, it’s easy to lose control of a car. Furthermore, it is difficult to stop in time when you’re driving at high speeds on the highway. Your visibility and traction are worsened, and it is always best to avoid driving in the midst of a snowfall. 

Accidents have happened due to sliding, running red lights because a driver can’t stop in time, and even not seeing a car in front. Whenever you find yourself in an unfortunate vehicle crash situation, the first thing to remember is to remain calm and stay in your vehicle. Contact the local authorities and wait for them to arrive. You never know if there will be another car driving that won’t see you and it’s best to use your car as a “temporary shelter” that will keep you safe while waiting. 

Tips For Driving In The Snow 

Many times, people cannot avoid driving in the snow. Whether it’s your job, school, or other obligation, you can’t always stay at home all winter. When you do have to go out in the snow, always remember to: 

  • Have a well-maintained car with functioning brakes 
  • Have properly inflated snow tires 
  • Avoid surfaces that could be extra slippery 
  • Drive slower when the visibility is low 
  • Wear your seatbelt 
  • Have blankets and warm clothes in case of an emergency 
  • Ensure that all your car lights are in working order so other drivers can see you 
  • Keep your phone charged and have a backup charger so you are never stranded 

Contacting An Attorney 

After the authorities are called, the first thing you need to do is contact an attorney. If you were not at fault, an insurance company will likely try to settle a case with you for less than you deserve. This is when you need an attorney in your corner to review all the details of your case and help you receive adequate compensation. A car accident is a stressful time in anyone’s life, but personal injury attorneys will make sure that you are not taken advantage of. 

Contact Us 

The holidays have begun, and snow has started falling. Many sources have named New York as one of the harshest states to live and drive in during the cold, snowy winter. If you or a family member is ever injured in a car accident, you should contact our experienced attorneys at the O’Brien law firm, so we can help you. We offer everyone free initial consultations with no obligations or charges until you win your case. Contact us today at (716) 907-7777.

Dangers Of Distracted Driving

Using of Mobile Phone While DrivingWhen you’re driving, you should always have your full attention on the road.

Car accidents are far too common and can cause property damage, bodily injuries, and death.

In our fast-paced world, we are always trying to multitask and get as much done in the shortest amount of time, but driving is one of the only tasks that always requires your exclusive attention. 

Phones 

Practically everyone owns a cell phone these days, but when you’re driving, you should always put it away. The problem of texting and driving has caused thousands of deaths. States have now passed laws banning the use of phones altogether while driving in efforts to stop this. With new cars having Bluetooth capabilities that allow hands-free talking when you really need to speak to someone, there is no reason to use your phone while driving. 

Phones can also be distracting with their multiple applications allowing people to listen to music and use maps. However, only a few seconds of looking away from the road invites the chance of an accident. Likewise, checking your email or social media is as dangerous. While you’re driving, anything can wait for you to pull over and park or reach your destination before endangering your life among other drivers on the road.  

Eating 

Surprisingly, people eating while driving has caused multiple accidents. First of all, if you decide to eat while driving, you’ll have to hold the steering wheel with one hand and partially focus on your food which limits your driving capabilities and focus. Then, if you spill, your mind will immediately focus on that. People have tried cleaning up a spill in mid-drive. Even if you wait until you are at a red light to clean up a spill, if you accidentally lift your foot off the brake pedal causing your car to go forward. 

Eating while driving has become so dangerous throughout the years that there are lists that include the most dangerous food items to eat while driving. This list includes burgers, tacos, donuts, and beverages. In fact, coffee has been listed as the number one dangerous food item inside a car. Although eating behind the wheel seems innocent enough, that is far from the truth. 

Mental State 

Your mental state can also impair and distract you from driving. Clearly, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can alter your mental state while driving. Furthermore, if you are too tired, you could start dozing off. Only a few seconds of shutting your eyes could lead to a crash.  Even driving while you’re dealing with heavy emotions such as anger or sadness can cause you to be preoccupied with your feelings instead of driving. Whenever you feel as though your emotions are too strong, it is best to pull over. You always have other options such as taxis and the increasingly popular Uber and Lyft services. There is no excuse. 

Contact Us 

If you are injured in a car accident, you need a personal injury attorney, so you can receive compensation. Our attorneys have years of experience specialized in all types of vehicle accidents. Call us today: (716) 907-7777. 

Dealing With Rental Car Accidents

rented car crashed to a tree

 

Many people go on vacation and believe it’s better to rent a car rather than driving to their destination. That’s very understandable and in many cases, much more convenient.

If you decide to rent a car, what if you get into a car accident? Who has to pay the costs? What are the repercussions? Most people don’t take these questions into consideration until they’re forced to. 

 

First Steps 

First and foremost, you need to make sure that everyone involved in the accident is alright. Health and safety should always come first. Secondly, you’re going to need to exchange each parties’ contact information. If you can, take photos to document what happened so you have proof of what happened. You will then need to contact your insurance company and the rental car company. One of the most important steps, however, is to contact your attorney. 

Depending on the rental company, you’ll be able to review their rules and procedures for dealing with accidents. While it is an inconvenience for you, keep in mind that these companies have dealt with car accidents for quite some time. They can figure out what to do, but remember that their main interests involve saving as much money as possible for the companies they work for. On the other hand, an attorney that works for you will have your best interests in mind. They know how to speak to other companies for you so that you don’t have to. 

The most important precaution is to make sure that you do not publicly post anything that can be used against you. Anything you say can be misconstrued or taken the wrong way. Even a simple Facebook post about your accident could harm your case. An attorney will be well-equipped to provide you with the aid and guidance you need when you have any questions. 

Liability 

Depending on which options you chose, you may have gotten additional insurance through the rental company. This additional coverage could be a beneficial investment for you and your family. All of this depends on the cost, accident, and injuries. Each accident is different. An attorney will be able to look over your insurance and rental car policy to explain exactly what the legalese means because you may be entitled to additional compensation. Deciphering this alone could lead to long hours of confusion and a headache to top it off. 

Moving Forward 

If you are injured in a rental car accident, you still have options. Whether it was the rental car company that failed to service the car they rented to you or someone else was at fault in an unpredictable accident, an attorney can determine your best options moving forward. A car accident is never a welcomed occurrence, especially not on vacation. Attorneys understand this and can help have you move past it while receiving compensation for injuries that you have suffered. 

Contact Us 

If you are involved in a rental car accident, O’Brien can help you. We can advise you on who is at fault and how to receive deserved compensation. Call us today at (716) 907-7777 so that we can figure out what we can do for you. 

Buckle Up!  What Everyone Should Know About Seatbelts

Road safety concept young woman fastening her seat belt Seatbelts are the most important car safety device protecting passengers today.

The consequences of not wearing a seatbelt can range from a simple fine to injury or death. 

New York’s Occupant Restraint Laws 

In the state of New York, the driver and all front seat passengers must wear their own seat belt.  Both drives and passengers in the front seat can be fined $50.00 for not wearing a seatbelt. 

When a driver has only a Class – DJ Learner Permit, a Limited Class – DJ, or Class – DJ Driver License, all occupants in the car must wear a seatbelt.   

All passengers under the age of 16 must wear a seatbelt or use a child safety restraint system.   

Drivers are also responsible for making certain passengers under the age of 16 obey the law and buckle up.  Drivers can be fined between $25.00 and $100.00 for failure to do so.  Additionally, a driver receives three driver license penalty points each time they are found in violation of the law.   

While seatbelt use is not required for back seat passengers under the law, seatbelt use is still a good idea.   

Wear Your Seatbelt Every Time 

Many people buckle up only on long trips.  However, seatbelts are as important on short trips as long ones.  You can never tell when you will be in an accident – or how serious an accident may be.  Seatbelts keep people secure in their seats.  This saves lives two ways.

First, it keeps each individual passenger from being knocked around the car, and possibly being ejected, causing death.  Second, an unbuckled person can become an unguided missile, causing injuries to others in the car as they are tossed about the cab of the vehicle.   

Ejection Isn’t Safer 

The idea that ejection is safer that remaining in the car is a myth.  In fact, occupants are four times more likely to be killed if they are thrown from the vehicle.  A seatbelt reduces the likelihood someone will be thrown from the vehicle.   

Good Driving Doesn’t Always Protect Good Drivers 

Many people believe they don’t need seatbelts because they are good drivers.  Unfortunately, this provides a false sense of security.  Bad drivers cause accidents – sometimes multiple car accidents which cannot be avoided.  Other circumstances beyond the control of any driver can also contribute to accidents, such as: 

  • Bad weather 
  • Mechanical failure or 
  • A tire blowout. 

These unpredictable and often unavoidable situations can happen at any time, regardless of how close to home you are.   

O’Brien & Ford: Top Rated Injury Attorneys 

At O’Brien & Ford, we care about your safety.  All too often, we see clients who are suffering due to an unanticipated car accident.  We work hard to get our clients the money they need to heal after an accident, as well as the money they are entitled to as compensation for lost wages and medical bills.  Contact O’Brien & Ford today if you have been injured in a car accident.  We look forward to discussing your case and learning more about your injuries.  We can help.  Call today at (716) 907-7777 

What Happens After Your Car Is Towed Following A Car Accident

Flat Bed Tow Truck With A Pickup Truck On ItFollowing a car accident, police may determine that you need to have your car towed.

For example, if the car will not start because of its damages or you need medical attention, police will use their neutral towing rotation for a company to use.

Before relying on their rotation, police will ask you if you have a special preference for a towing company.

If you know someone with a towing company, it can be more beneficial for you to ask for the police to contact that person and/or company so that you can possibly avoid additional charges. 

Fees 

Following a tow, your car will be parked and locked up at the tow company’s location. Each day, you will be charged a fee for having your car there. Typically, the daily fee will be around $40-$80, depending on the company. This does not include the initial towing fee that will be even more expensive. Once you are ready to reclaim your car, you will need your identification and proof that you own the car.

Additionally, you will need to pay the towing fee in addition to any daily charges for storing your vehicle. If you cannot afford it, you will not be able to retrieve your car, but you should be able to retrieve any personal items within the vehicle, typically without charge, unless police have given other instructions. 

Communication 

When you go to a tow company to pick your car or personal property up, keep in mind that the owners and employees are simply doing their job. While it may be an inconvenience for you, in the long run, it’s safer to have your vehicle towed in a locked and camera surveillance protected area rather than out by the side of the road.

Usually, if you are kind and respectful to the person working at the tow company, he or she will likewise treat you with the same friendliness. In the event that the tow company does not allow you to remove your personal property in your vehicle or acts unreasonably for you to get your car back, you can then contact the non-emergency police hotline to have things settled out. 

If You Think The Towing Company Acted Negligently 

When you go to retrieve your personal property or car and see that something was stolen, or your car was damaged, you will possibly be able to be compensated. If you can, try to take photos of the inside and outside of your vehicle right before it is towed so that you have photo evidenced proof of the outside and interior of your car. Time stamp the photo and show that this is when it was being towed to help assert your claim that the towing company did not keep your car or property safe.

If you cannot take your personal property with you or if you were unable to take photos, make sure to write a list of what should be in your car and make sure that it is accounted for once you go to retrieve your cars and property. 

Contact Us 

If you are involved in a car accident, you should contact The O’Brien Law Firm. We can inform you on what you should expect within the following period of time and we can help you with anything else related to your accident. Call us today at (716) 907-7777. 

Preventing A Car Accident

Traffic Accident Resulting in a Crushed CarWhether you are living in a big city or a small town, if you drive a car, there is a chance that you might be involved in a car accident.

While car accidents are certain to occur every day, there are preventative measures to lower the chances of one happening to you.

Here are some tips that you should try to implement in your everyday life.  

Plan Ahead 

You should always plan ahead when you decide to drive. Planning includes: 

  • Looking at a map to determine your route  
  • Determining what time is best to drive to avoid traffic 
  • If you know you are going to be driving, do not drink or take drugs 
  • Know how long it will take you to arrive at your destination without speeding 
  • Answer any important text or call before driving so you can put your phone away  
  • Give yourself extra time and leave early because you never know when you may come across unplanned traffic 
  • Be mindful of the weather conditions and possible setbacks 

Purchasing Safe Cars 

Today, vehicle technology has greatly advanced. Several cars have blind spot monitors that will alert you when another car is in your blind spot. Furthermore, newer cars can also alert you when you start driving over the road line. Lastly, most cars now have back-up mirrors that project exactly what is behind you as you are reversing. If you decide to purchase a new car, you should certainly do your homework about what the safest cars are out there and ensure that the airbags, safety belts, and quality of the car are up to par.  

Control Road Rage 

A common way for a car accident to happen is road rage. Whether you are cut off on the road or run into someone having a bad day, you should always take a deep breath and not react. At the end of the day, retaliation will not be worth the injuries, stress, and time required following a car accident. Maintain your anger and keep in mind that some people will not be able to maintain theirs’. Sometimes, it may seem as though someone has completely forgotten how to drive, but you must remember that you should be the bigger person and remain calm. 

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings 

While you should do your best to drive safely, you have to always keep in mind that some people won’t do the same. People speed, have blind spots, and some are simply careless and even reckless. You can only do so much when you are near these kinds of people, but if you consistently check your mirrors and are aware that those people are on the road, you can greatly reduce your chances of becoming involved in an accident. 

Call An Attorney 

Even if you take all the safety precautions possible for you to avoid a car accident, it can still happen any time you enter a vehicle. If an accident happens to you, the first thing you should do is contact an attorney. Sometimes, it takes time for injuries to develop and you may not be able to foresee the extent of your injuries at first. An attorney will be able to guide you and see how you can receive compensation.

Call our helpful attorneys at The O’Brien Law Firm if you are involved in a car accident so we can begin the initial process for your compensation at (716) 907-7777. 

Moving Truck Accidents 

Logging Truck Accident On Highway Hiring a professional moving company can sometimes cost thousands of dollars depending on the distance, number of belongings, and company prices.

Renting a box truck to move everything yourself is not only more convenient than using a regular car but is also usually much less expensive.

However, most companies only have valid license and age requirements, so inexperienced people can rent moving trucks without realizing the potential dangers. 

Safety Concerns 

Moving trucks are much larger and heavier, making them harder to maneuver and guide than a regular car. Furthermore, because of the large box-size without windows, there are many more blind spots, so you can’t see behind yourself while driving in addition to lowered visibility. An inexperienced driver may not realize whether anything is wrong as well. For example, there have been cases where the back latch was not securely fastened, and items spilled out. This can cause severe accidents for other drivers on the road and could cause immense traffic jams. 

Driving a moving truck requires: 

  • Using additional caution 
  • Making wider turns 
  • Taking note where your blind spots are 
  • Guidance when backing out, as you will not be able to see behind your rental 
  • Driving slowly and patiently 
  • Carefully maneuvering the large size of the truck when driving through narrow streets 
  • Securing the back latch securely to avoid belongings spilling out 
  • Paying close attention to your surroundings 
  • Adhering to the rules of the road 

Who Is Liable? 

If a company allows someone without a valid license to rent one of their trucks, they could be held liable for injuries following an accident. Likewise, if a company rents to someone who has clearly been drinking or under the influence of drugs, they will not escape liability. Furthermore, they are required to complete a safety check prior to renting to make sure that the latch, lights, and brakes are in proper working condition. Companies are required to upkeep and maintain their trucks. Proving that a company was negligent in the rental process or inspection could allow you to sue them following a wreck. 

On the other hand, the driver of the moving truck can also be liable. Just like driving a regular car, drivers must abide by the laws and drive safely. Inexperience and the fact that the rental company properly rented a truck to the driver, does not mean that the driver won’t be held liable for his own negligence or mishandling of driving a rental truck. Because moving trucks are much harder to drive than a regular car, you must be confident in your ability to drive one and take all the precautions listed above. Otherwise, you should thoroughly consider spending the extra money on professional movers to avoid an accident, injuries, and possible liability. 

Contact Our Attorneys 

If you or a close family member has been involved in a moving truck accident, you should contact our skilled attorneys as soon as possible to see what we can do for you. We will be able to review and evaluate the unique facts of your case and let you know what your options are to pursue a suit. Call us at (716) 907-7777 today for a free consultation.

Dealing With Car Accidents 

Accident of two cars on a highwayDriving on the road can be nerve-racking.

Even when you try to drive safely, there are always careless drivers around you that won’t take the same precautions as you do.

Not only must you make sure that you are driving well, but you must also be aware of your surroundings so that other drivers don’t cause you to have a car accident. 

 

Safety Tips 

While driving, there are certain safety precautions to keep in mind. Always make sure that you: 

  • Know where your blind spots are 
  • Adjust your mirrors so that you have the best visibility possible 
  • Secure your seatbelt as soon as you sit down and ensure that your passengers are buckled up as well 
  • Look around at your surroundings before backing your car out 
  • Do not drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol 
  • Do not drive while angry or emotional 
  • Avoid driving in poor weather 
  • Keep away from distractions such as your phone calls and text messages until you are parked 
  • Enable voice-controlled Bluetooth so that you do not have to use your mobile device

What To Do and Avoid If An Accident Occurs To You 

As soon as possible after a car accident, you should contact an attorney. The statute of limitations will begin running for you to file suit, so the sooner you call an attorney, the better the chance you will receive compensation. While this will clearly be a stressful time for you, you must make sure that you remain calm, proactive, and aware of your next choices. After calling and speaking with the police, your next step should be to contact legal help so that you do not hinder your claim. 

Things to remember for your possible suit to be successful is to be extremely careful about what you say to people, including on social media and to insurance companies.  

  1. Stay off social media: do not post anything on social media regarding your accident. This can possibly be misconstrued and/or used against you in your case. Insurance companies can easily find your profile and see what you have posted. Photos, medical concerns, and/or your injury status are all things that should be kept confidential between you and your attorney.  
  2. Do not talk about the accident: While you may want to update your friends and family about how you are doing, it is often best not to. You never know what they will repeat that could unintentionally hurt your case. Limit your updates as much as possible until your case is complete. 
  3. Do not give a recorded statement to an insurance company: After an accident, you are not obligated to talk to anyone about it. Insurance companies will likely try to contact you and ask for your statement, but you should refuse to do so without an attorney present. While it may not seem like a big deal, insurance companies will want to compensate you with the least amount of money possible to save money for their company. Additionally, you may not even know the extent of your injuries because you will not have had time to consult with a doctor or feel any symptoms.

Contact Us 

If you are involved in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact our experienced legal team at O’Brien Law Firm. We will be able to review what happened and advise you on what you should do next. Call us at (716) 907-7777 as soon as you can.  

What You Need to Know About Drug Impaired Driving 

Drug Impaired Driving

Everyone knows the dangers of drunk driving. Drug impaired driving, however, is on the rise.

In a 2013 -2014 survey done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly one in four drivers tested positive for one or more drugs.

These drugs could have an impact on safe driving skills. 

 

 

Marijuana and Its Impact on Driving 

Marijuana is second only to alcohol as the drug most often found in a driver’s system after a car crash.  Studies show marijuana can impact driving skills in the many ways, such as: 

  • Impaired psychomotor skills 
  • Difficulty with lane tracking 
  • Impaired cognitive functions 
  • Slowed response times as well as 
  • An inability to correctly judge time and distance. 

Research has shown drivers high on marijuana have an increase in unsafe driving conduct, such as: 

  • in lane weaving  
  • altered attention as well as 
  • poor reaction times.  

Coupled with alcohol use, unsafe driving conduct increased.  While more research is needed, several studies show that drivers with THC (the mind-altering ingredient in marijuana) in their systems are almost twice as likely to be at fault for fatal crashes than drivers who hadn’t used drugs or alcohol prior to the crash. 

Other Drugs and Their Impact on Driving 

Studies show both cocaine and methamphetamine can result in aggressive and reckless driving.  Ecstasy and amphetamines have also been shown to lead to erratic driving, reduced vision, and an increase in risk taking.  Certain sedatives, called benzodiazepines, or “Benzos” in street parlance, can cause dizziness and drowsiness.  Both over the counter and prescription pain relievers can slow response times.  They also affect a driver’s ability to do more than one thing at a time.   

In a 2010 study, 47 percent of drug impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes had a prescription drug in their system.  37 percent had used marijuana.  10 percent had cocaine in their system.  The study did not distinguish between those who had a valid prescription and those who were using prescription drugs illegally.  Even if one has a valid prescription, however, this does not give them a license to drive if they are impaired while taking the drug.   

As with marijuana, combining drugs with alcohol can lead to even greater impairment. This may lead to even more unsafe driving conduct.   

Drug Impaired Driving Hurts Families 

Drug impaired driving can result in injury or death to innocent people. At O’Brien & Ford, we have seen many people suffer the consequences of someone else’s choice to use drugs and get behind the wheel.  We work hard on our clients’ behalf.  In a drug impaired driving suit, we seek to recover lost wages and the costs of medical bills.  We also pursue claims for pain and suffering as a result of drug impaired driving crashes.  Call us to schedule your free consultation at (716) 907-7777..  We are happy to meet with you at a time that works for you.  If it is easier for you, we can come to your home to meet.  We pride ourselves in excellent customer service, as well as superior legal representation.  Contact us today.

The Special Dangers of Head-on Collisions

Two Car Head-on Collisions

Head-on collisions are one type of car crash.  The term “head-on collision” refers to crashes where the point of impact is in the front of the car.  For two car head-on collisions, this refers to both cars’ impact point in the front of the vehicle.  Head-on collisions are more likely to occur on roads with narrow lanes, where there is high traffic volume, where there is no separation of lanes between the different directions of traffic, and on sharp curves.   Head-on collisions also commonly occur when one driver passes without providing enough room to get back into their own lane before completing the pass.

As one might imagine, the risk of death and severe injury, as well as property damage, increases as the speed of the vehicles increases.  People who don’t wear seat belts tend to sustain more injuries and more serious injuries than people who do wear seat belts.  Without a seat belt, the risk of ejection from the vehicle at the time of impact increases substantially.  Ejection can lead to greater injuries.  In 2015, head-on crashes were responsible for 10 % of all fatal crashes.

Single Car Head-on Collisions

Head-on collisions can also occur in single car crashes, such as when a car veers off the roadway and hits a stop sign, traffic light, street light, guardrail, or a building.  As with two car head-on collisions, a single car head-on collision increases in severity as speed increases.  Single car head-on collisions frequently occur when a driver is distracted.  Additionally, falling asleep behind the wheel can lead to single car head-on collisions.

Reducing the Likelihood of Head-on Collisions

Studies show medians can reduce head-on collisions by up to 70 percent.  Obviously, drivers have no control over how roads are constructed.  However, if you happen to be on a road with more than one lane of traffic in a single direction, traveling in the right-hand lane reduces the likelihood of a head-on crash.  Additionally, if faced with the choice of hitting another car head on, or hitting a barrier on the side of the road, such as a guard rail or light pole, the stationary object is the safer choice.  This is because the stationary object does not have their own momentum contributing to the accident and subsequent injuries.  Finally, drivers are encouraged to scan the road ahead for hazards.

Common Accident Injuries in Head-on Collisions

Of course, there are any number of types of injuries one might sustain in a head-on crash.  However, due to the nature of the crash, some of the more common injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury;
  • Concussion;
  • Whiplash;
  • Neck and back trauma;
  • Lacerations;
  • Contusions;
  • Broken bones; as well as
  • Injuries to internal organs.

If You Have Been Injured in a Head-on Collision

If you have been injured in a head-on collision, you need an advocate on your side, fighting for your rights.  At the O’Brien Firm, our team is with you every step of the way.  From the first time you call, through settlement or verdict, we work with you and your family, making sure we understand your situation, your loss, and the best ways to compensate you for your injuries.  This way, you can focus on healing.  Contact us today for a free consultation at (716) 907.7777.