What To Consider Before Driving On The Highway 

Car Driving on a HighwayDriving on the highway can be nerve-wracking for not only new drivers but also experienced drivers. Highways often require you to drive at faster speeds than you are accustomed to, around many vehicles, and for several hours at a time. High-speed car crashes can cause serious permanent injuries and death. Before merging onto the highway, you should always make sure that you and your loved ones are buckled in and that you know what to expect. 

Road Rules and State Statutes 

Instead of airline flying, many people now opt to drive when they go on vacation. Plane tickets can be expensive and checking yourself through TSA can be a hassle. A drive across state lines will normally take longer, but many people prefer taking that extra time to avoid using commercial airlines. 

You should always remember that different states may have different road laws when you are traveling across state lines. Additionally, some states are notoriously much stricter about certain violations. When you know that you’re going to be driving throughout different states, you should take some time to see whether different rules apply. 

Road Trips and Towing 

Highways are also filled with families and other road tripping drivers driving throughout the state or from state to state for fun activities. It is common to see recreational vehicles, boats, and off-road vehicles being towed on the highway from a regular vehicle. While one of the last things anyone going on vacation wants to deal with is an accident on the highway, it can still happen to anyone while hitching something.  

Using trailers or driving large vehicles is more difficult because people will have far more blind spots in addition to a harder time driving. On the highway, always watch out for people with larger hauls or baggage in the trunk blocking their windows and creating additional blind spots. People on vacation will also be more likely to feel relaxed and less attentive, so be aware that you may have to be extra cautious to make up for any lack of skill, experience, or awareness. 

Working Drivers 

Many people take a highway even when their destinations are within the same city. Cities oftentimes have several exits so that people can get from Point A to Point B directly without stopping at red lights or other delays that driving through town can bring about. Additionally, highways always have semi trucks driving throughout the states with truck drivers driving for much longer than most people would. 

These working drivers are typically accustomed to the highway, but this can actually be negative as this can lead to speeding and feeling overly confident. Whenever entering the highway, everyone should be cautious. Watch out for reckless or negligent drivers and try to stay away from them when you notice an unsafe driver. 

Contact Us 

When you’re involved in a car accident on the highway, you deserve to have a highly skilled attorney fighting on your side for compensation. The O’Brien Law Firm has the experience and qualifications necessary to help you receive the compensation you need for your injuries. Call us today at (716) 907-7777. 

Do You Need Additional Insurance Coverage On Your Rental Car?

opening a car doorYou might need a rental car when you’re on vacation or if your car is in the shop. It’ll surely take time to get used to a new car and figure out how everything functions.

One of the last things you need is to be involved in a car accident while driving a rental vehicle. However, do you really need to purchase additional coverage when you’re paying for your own insurance already?

 

Different Insurances 

Rental companies’ additional insurance options can differ from one another, but typically, you will be asked if you want additional coverage on your rental car. Although you should always double check with your insurer if you are covered, your insurance plan for your daily vehicle will likely extend to a rental car without purchasing any of the rental company’s insurance plans. There are four types of coverages that companies offer: 

  • Collision Damage Waiver 
  • Supplemental Liability Protection 
  • Personal Accident Insurance
  • Personal Effects Coverage 

Collision Damage Waiver 

This coverage is also called Loss Damage Waiver or Physical Damage Waiver. Paying for this will mean that the rental company will waive all or some of the cost of the rental car if it is damaged or stolen. However, most insurance policies for people’s everyday vehicles already provide this insurance. Furthermore, some credit cards also already provide this coverage. Before you purchase the Collision Damage Waiver, contact your insurance provider to see if you already have it. 

Supplemental Liability Protection 

New York requires that all rental companies have minimum liability insurance for vehicles for bodily injuries and property damage. Renters that purchase this insurance will have the rental company pay for the amount that their minimum coverage does not cover which is for a very considerable amount. However, in addition to your personal vehicle’s insurance that likely already covers this, the minimum coverage that you have with your car will likely be enough. 

Personal Accident Insurance 

This insurance covers expenses following a car accident including medical, ambulance, and death costs for drivers and their passengers. Although these expenses can be exponentially high, your current insurance policies will also likely already cover these expenses.  

Personal Effects Coverage 

Lastly, this insurance covers your personal property that can be stolen in your rental car. You may also already be covered however through your homeowner’s policy. Therefore, you could end up paying for something that you never end up using. Before choosing to add this insurance, make sure you see if you are already covered and whether your personal items in your car will even be worth the value. 

Before You Decide 

All of these additional coverages are purely optional, and companies are prohibited from forcing you to purchase any of these. While it may sometimes be prudent to purchase additional insurance, you shouldn’t have to unnecessarily pay more money for additional coverage when you are already covered by your current auto insurance.  

Additional insurance can quickly add up, as you will be charged daily for each one. Before spending your hard-earned money, make sure you understand exactly what you’re paying for and always contact your insurance provider to verify what you’re already covered for. 

Contact Us 

Whether it’s your personal vehicle or a rental, being in a car accident can be stressful and costly. Although they are often unavoidable, the more information you know, the more prepared you can be if you find yourself in a compromising situation. If you are ever in a car accident, call us as soon as possible: (716) 907-7777. 

Tips For Safe Driving While On Vacation

Car on a mapDuring the cold and snowy winter months, many people travel to vacation homes or rentals down in the warmer southern states. Southern locals call them “snowbirds” because they flock down south during the northern cold and are quick to go back home when the south starts heating up. The increase of drivers on the roads leads to more traffic, aggressive driving, and inevitable car accidents.

To avoid conflicts when you simply want to relax and stay warm, you should take these tips into consideration:

Know Where You’re Going

It is understandable that you don’t know where all your destinations are while you’re on vacation. However, that’s why you should always plan ahead. It is easy to be caught off guard and realize you have to make a right turn when you are in the far-left lane on the road. Instead of cutting across three lanes of traffic and risking an accident, search where you’re going before leaving. Apps are available on your phone as well as resources readily available on your computer. A simple Google search will show you exactly where you need to go so you have a clear understanding of where you are headed.

State Rules

Different states and cities have different road rules. For example, some states require you to drive on the right lane of a highway to leave the left lane for drivers that are passing only. Other states don’t have such a rule. To avoid car accidents and being pulled over by the police, you should always make sure you know the law of the state you are driving in. You can Google search the state’s driving laws or call the non-emergency local police number for answers and explanations when you’re unsure of a specific law.

Aggressive Driving

You will likely drive slower when you are in an unfamiliar place. However, there are many locals that will not be so understanding. Locals need to go to work, appointments, and school. They know where they are going because they have likely lived there for quite some time. They may be quick to drive aggressively and be frustrated when a non-local doesn’t drive like the other locals. Be aware of your surroundings and prepared for this possibility.

Distracted Driving

In addition to aggressive driving, it is easy for locals who are comfortable with the local roads to check their social media or text while driving. No matter how much phone usage is prohibited while driving, you can still be the unfortunate person that runs into a cell phone user while driving (literally). In fact, many car accidents have occurred within a few miles of people’s homes that are involved. This is because of the false notion that because you are close to home, it’s safe to start unwinding and using your phone. As with aggressive drivers, be conscious that there are people that will not follow the law.

Contact Us

At O’Brien, we care about our clients and want them to have safe vacations. If you are ever in a car accident, contact our skilled attorneys that can help you receive compensation. Call us today: (716) 907-7777.

Why You Should Never Drink and Drive

Keys and alcohol on a tableDrunk driving has been a serious issue around the world as it has been the direct cause of fatal car accidents. Driving can be dangerous as it is without any impairment, so driving after drinking will clearly be an even bigger risk.

In fact, car accidents caused by drunk drivers have killed thousands of people annually. With the injury and mortality rates being so high, police officers and citizens have been even more vigilant than ever to spot drunk drivers and find ways to stop them.

Regulations

Most people of legal drinking age know that they cannot legally drive when their blood alcohol content (BAC) is above .08%. However, as little as one drink can cause impairments including slow reactions, sleepiness, distractions, and difficulty steering or braking. Your age, weight, and recent food intake will all affect your reaction and tolerance levels to alcohol. For example, it’ll take a lot more alcohol for a heavier person to feel the same impairments alcohol can cause a thin person.

For most people, only one drink will likely make their BAC at .01% and cause it to continually increase drink after drink. “One drink” also has multiple meanings, however: one drink means one glass of beer/wine or one shot of liquor. Therefore, when you order a cocktail prepared by a bartender, there will likely be more than one shot. In that case, even if you are technically having “one drink,” you have to consider that not all drinks are created equally.

Nevertheless, you can still be pulled over and in violation of drunk driving laws even when you’re under the .08% mark. If your driving falls substantially below what is reasonably expected of you after having even one drink, you can still be fined and charged. Even when you think you know your alcohol levels and what you can handle, you may not realize how impaired your diving can be due to intoxication.

Repercussions

Repercussions to driving under the influence are severe. Not only do you risk injuring yourself and others on the road, but a “drinking while intoxicated” (DWI) violation will stay on your record, cost you fines, make you go to court, have your license suspended, and possibly serve jail time. In New York, you can also receive an aggravated DWI or increased penalties under certain circumstances such as having a BAC over .18%, being a repeat offender, having illicit drugs on you, or if a minor was in the car.

There is never a good excuse to drive after drinking, and you can always find a better and safer alternative. When you go out to a bar, restaurant, or party, you’ll be able to steer clear of any drunk driving repercussions by:

  • Having a designated driver that won’t be drinking to take you home;
  • Calling a taxi, friend, or family member to pick you up;
  • Limiting yourself to one drink only; or
  • Simply not drinking at all. When you know you’re going to drive, drinking is never worth it.

Contact Us

If you were involved in a car accident involving a drunk driver, you may be able to recover compensation. We offer free initial consultations to discuss what happened and see if we can help. Call us today: (716) 907-7777.

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.