Who Can Sue For Premise Liability 

Private Property, No Trespassing SignHave you ever had children trespass on your property and felt like an unfriendly neighbor for telling them they can no longer ride their bikes or ATVs there? While you might think you’re nagging them, you are actually protecting yourself from liability because if one of them falls and gets injured on your property, you could potentially be sued. Property ownership requires some upkeep and, in some cases, even routine inspections to make sure the premises are safe. 

Invitees 

People who are considered to have invitee status in premise liability are typically people visiting business locations such as restaurants, grocery stores, or department stores. Invitees are usually on the property for the property owner’s financial gain rather than a friendly social visit. They can also be people in public places such as parks and sidewalks because of their implied invitation to lawfully be there. 

Owners that invite people onto their business premises owe people the duty of care to maintain the premises so that they are safe and additionally repair any hazardous conditions. Whether an invitee slips and falls on a food item at a grocery store or is injured by broken equipment in a park, these lawsuits entail figuring out how reasonable it would have been for the owner to foresee the harm and whether he or she knew or should have known about the dangerous condition. 

Licensees 

Licensees are people invited to visit a location for social purposes. These people include friends or family that visit someone’s home for a party or holiday gathering. Property owners owe licensees a duty of care to inform them about any known dangers on the premises that are not obvious to the licensee. For example, lawsuits involving this liability can arise when a homeowner knows about a condition on their property that could potentially be dangerous to his or her guests and does not warn about it. 

Trespassers 

Trespassers are people who are on another’s property uninvited and/or no longer welcomed. The least amount of duty of care is owed to trespassers. However, property owners are always prohibited from setting up dangerous traps that could injure or kill someone by trespassing onto their property. While it is more difficult for a trespasser to successfully sue (as opposed to someone who was lawfully on the property), there have been some successful cases.  

Traditionally, homeowners do not need to warn trespassers of dangerous conditions. However, once a homeowner discovers a trespasser and fails to ask him or her to leave, a higher duty of care will be owed. Furthermore, a property owner can likely be held liable if a child is injured by a dangerous condition on the property, whether or not the child was invited. This “attractive nuisance doctrine” protects children and could include a slippery artificially rocked pond that a reasonable adult would know is dangerous, but a child would not. 

Contact Us 

If you are injured on someone else’s property or need advice about someone injured on your own property, call The O’Brien Law Firm so we can confidentially discuss what happened. We are one call away and ready to help at (716) 907-7777. 

Contacting An Attorney After Being Personally Injured 

Personal injury claim note pinned on the bulletin boardWhether someone intentionally hurt you or you were involved in an accident caused by the negligence of another, you should receive compensation for your current and future medical expenses.

Personal injury attorneys can help you file suit for injuries including: 

  • Vehicle accidents 
  • Product liability 
  • Medical malpractice 
  • Workers’ compensation 
  • Premise liability 
  • Wrongful death 

While it is understandable to want to move on, you should not let a blameworthy person remain unaccountable for his or her actions. Additionally, you should not have to pay out of your own savings for your medical expenses. At O’Brien, we always give free initial consultations and we won’t charge you a thing unless you win. Therefore, you have absolutely nothing to lose by simply talking to us to see what we can do for you. While vehicle accidents are the most common personal injury suit, it is only among one of the many reasons to sue. 

Products Liability 

If a product you purchase is defective, you can sue the whole chain of distribution that released the product out onto the market. Assuming you used the product in the way it was intended to be used, you shouldn’t be harmed by any product that passed safety tests. If you are injured, an attorney will be able to look up exactly who to sue and help you with the process. 

Medical Malpractice 

When you go to see your doctor, you shouldn’t end up with an additional unrelated injury caused by a doctor or other medical employees. If you believe you were injured because of the negligence of medical personnel, you could have a case. Medical practitioners are there to help you get better, not worse. 

Workers’ Compensation 

You need to work every day but you should expect your safety to be a priority to your employer. When there is a hazardous condition at work resulting in injuries, you might be able to receive compensation for the medical bills that will pile up. No one should be afraid of injuries in their day-to-day work activities. 

Premise Liability 

Whether you were on someone else’s property for a business or social visit, each property owners owes certain duties to you for your safety. If you are injured, you shouldn’t have to pay for those injuries when the property owner or his or her employees are at fault. Oftentimes, a property owner will have insurance to cover your medical expenses, so you shouldn’t think twice about at the very least consulting an attorney about your options. 

Wrongful Death 

If a close family member passes away due to the fault of someone else, you can still do something about it. Whether you’ve lost the companionship, support, or suffer from hardship because of the death of that loved one our attorneys can help you receive compensation on behalf of him or her. While this is always a sensitive suit, you can rest assured that our attorneys can be strong for you when you’re going through this hard time.  

Contact Us 

No matter the injury, if it falls within the realm of personal injury, we can help. O’Brien Law has skilled attorneys with years of experience to help you receive compensation. Call us today at (716) 907-7777We’re here to help. 

Should You Sue For Food Poisoning?

Woman suffering from food poisoning with doctor next to herFood poisoning is a common ailment caused by contaminated, old, or poorly-stored foods. Bacteria and viruses including E. Coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and Norovirus can be found in produce, meat, fish, dairy, or prepared meals.

This year, the FDA has issued recalls for certain brands of romaine lettuce, eggs, cut melon, along with several snack foods (only to name a few) for potentially being laced with such bacteria and viruses. Without refreshing the FDA’s recall list every day, it can be easy to overlook a new food recall. 

Symptoms are usually simply an inconvenience but can also be severe leading to hospitalization and in rare cases, death. Symptoms can be more severe for younger children and the elderly due to their weak immune systems. While you should always see a doctor if you believe that you have been food poisoned, there are certain considerations to take into account before filing suit. 

Extent Of Damages 

Minor food poisoning can entail multiple trips to the restroom and discomfort. With food poisoning being so common, these minor symptoms may not merit the time and expenses of a costly lawsuit. If you only feel minor discomfort, you should probably wait for the symptoms to pass with time. 

On the other hand, severe food poisoning can require professional medical care, overnight stays at the hospital, pain, and loss of income from not being able to work. Serious symptoms can include excessive vomiting, blood, extreme cramps, fever, cold sweats, dehydration, weakness, and blurry vision.

If you experience the more serious symptoms, that’s when you should see a doctor immediately and furthermore consider suing for the damages that you endured. In the case your family member passes away due to food poisoning, you can also file a wrongful death suit on behalf of them. 

Proof 

Likely the biggest obstacle that you will have to overcome is proving where the food poisoning originated from. You may not start feeling any symptoms until several hours or a few days have passed. Within that time, you will likely have eaten something else as well as eaten food before the meal you believe poisoned you.

Therefore, the food-provider will argue that the other food could have caused you to be poisoned, rather than the food you ate from him or her. 

Even if you have the food in your possession with the possibility of it being tested at a laboratory, a defendant can contend that you were the one negligent in storing the food or contaminating it with other food.

Typically, it will be several days that have gone by since the food was sold to you, so within that time, there can be multiple opportunities for food to be contaminated at home. The best ways you can prove the food poisoning was caused by a food-provider is if there was a product recall from the FDA or multiple other people were food poisoned after consuming the same food as you. 

Contact Us 

If you have been severely food poisoned and can prove that someone else is to blame for it, you should contact our team of experienced attorneys at The O’Brien Law Firm. The more time that passes without taking action will lessen your chances of receiving compensation, so contact us at (716) 907-7777 today so we can evaluate your case immediately. 

Contacting A Personal Injury Attorney After Sexual Abuse

Scared woman with hands over her ears and mouthBeing a victim of sexual and domestic abuse can naturally be traumatizing and can result in physical injuries as well as emotional distress.

Although you may be scared, feel violated, or embarrassed following sexual abuse, you should still speak to medical and legal professionals to protect yourself and receive compensation.

Each professional will most likely be understanding and help you fight back for your rights. 

Criminal V. Civil

Many people don’t realize that there is a difference between criminal and civil cases. Criminal cases are prosecuted by the state and may include jail or prison time, fines, and probation. On the other hand, civil cases are initiated from private individuals for actions such as assault and battery, breach of contract, or defamation (to name a few) so that a plaintiff can be compensated for expenses, reliance, and/or other damages. 

Specifically, sexual assault is a criminal offense that can be prosecuted. However, whether or not the defendant was found guilty or not, you can still file your own civil suit for your pain, suffering, emotional trauma, and future medical expenses.

There have been civil sexual abuse cases regarding medical professionals acting beyond the scope of the reason for the visit, domestic family-related abuse, and assault from random strangers. Whichever the situation, personal injury attorneys are capable to handle your sexual abuse case and will be there for you every step of the way. 

In a criminal case, the prosecution will have to prove a high burden that the defendant was guilty (beyond a reasonable doubt). This is because criminal cases entail incarceration among heightened fines.

However, civil cases have a lessened burden and victims will be more likely to prevail. An attorney will be able to discuss the different burdens to you and provide you with the support and counseling that you need to prevail. 

Moving Forward

As difficult as it seems, if you are a victim of sexual abuse, you need to stand up for yourself and receive the help necessary to achieve your goal. It is normal to be afraid or want to move past and forget the conflict so you can try to live your life free from abuse.

However, no one should feel ashamed for something that they did not bring about. As a victim, you are not at fault. On the contrary, the person who is guilty of causing you harm needs to be held responsible for your injuries. Pursuing your lawsuit will not only compensate you but may also prevent future harm to other victims. 

An attorney that you hire will be on your side and do everything in his or her power to make sure that you don’t have to pay out of pocket for the harm that was caused to you.

Additionally, you may want to file a restraining order or need monetary help to relocate away from the person who abused you. Attorneys can provide all that help and support and advise you on how to move forward. 

Contact Us

The O’Brien Law Firm understands that this is a difficult time for you and will be compassionate to help you overcome this situation. Our team will also be strong and fight for you because we believe you need to be compensated. Call us today at (716) 907-7777 for a free consultation.

Pedestrian Safety

A pedestrian crossover sign with sky as backgroundAs we continue to enjoy the summer months, we believe it is appropriate to consider the importance of pedestrian safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to die than passenger vehicle occupants in a car crash. Below are a few simple tips and tricks to increase safety.

Keep Your Head Up!

“Distracted walking” is now an identified risk. Whether missing the curb, not noticing the fire hydrant, or failing to hear a passing car, distracted walking can lead to injury or death. Most distracted walking can be attributed to people looking at their phones.

Whether responding to a text message, playing a game, or searching for data, walking and cell phones are a dangerous, sometimes even deadly combination. Put the phone away while you are walking. If you need to use the phone, stop walking and step out of the path of traffic. Attend to your cell phone needs, then return to walking.

Be Visible

32 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur between 8 pm and midnight. Many people give little thought to what they are wearing when they go for a walk. However, particularly at night or in low light conditions, such as dawn and dusk, light colored and reflective clothing can be a life saver. Additionally, consider carrying a flashlight. Even a small light makes pedestrians easier to see.

Stay in well lit areas. When selecting a walking route, particularly when crossing the street, consider brightly lit areas. Use the cross walks, rather than crossing in the middle of the block.

Make eye contact with the driver before stepping out into the street, even if you have the right of way. Never, ever presume a driver sees you.

Choose Your Walking Path with Care

Whenever possible, stay on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk available, walk on the shoulder of the road, as close to the edge as possible. Walk against traffic, so that you can see what is coming. Particularly if you are not on a sidewalk, avoid wearing headphones, which block traffic noise.

A “walk” sign is not enough. Do not rely solely on a walk sign to step out into the intersection. With the number of distracted drivers on the roads these days, it makes sense to look left, right, and left again, even if you have the right of way.

Injured?

Injured pedestrians have rights. At The O’Brien Firm, we are happy to talk with you about your pedestrian injuries. Our attorneys will meet with you at no cost. We meet with clients in our office, or another place convenient to them. During our consultations, we discuss our approach to your case, the possible damages you may be able to collect, and about how long your case may take. We answer any questions you or your loved ones may have.

If you choose to hire the firm, your attorney, and our support staff, keep you informed every step of the way. Contact us today at (716) 907-7777.

How To Select The Right Personal Injury Lawyer 

Personal injury claim note pinned on the bulletin boardWhen you are injured and need a personal injury lawyer to advocate for you, you will likely find a long list of potential attorneys.

You might not know where to start or which one to choose, but if you are picky and strategic with your options, you will be able to find the right one for you.

Here are some factors to look for when choosing an attorney: 

Initial Consultation 

Most attorneys offer free initial consultations to review how your injury happened and determine if you have a successful case on your hands. During the initial consultation, you can feel free to ask the attorney questions and make sure that you feel comfortable with him or her. Professionally, attorneys are not allowed to pester you or disclose anything if you decide not to choose them, so you have nothing to lose while contacting an attorney. 

Location 

The laws of states often vary from state to state. States all have different statutes of limitations and rules for causes of actions, so it is recommended that you hire an attorney that is located in your area so that you can ensure that he or she knows the rules applicable to your location. Furthermore, you will want an attorney that will be able to come see you and the other parties, experts, and witnesses involved with your case.

If a personal injury attorney is located too far away, the chances of meeting up or having an important party to your lawsuit connected with is lowered, so make sure that your attorney will be readily available to you. 

Experience 

The more years of experience a law firm has, the more well-equipped an attorney will be to represent you. Not much can beat actual experience. Additionally, make sure that your attorney specifically has experience in personal injury law, as opposed to different types of law.  

Time 

You need an attorney that will have the time to fight for your case in addition to the other clients that he or she may currently have. You should look for an attorney that will be available for you to contact whenever you have a question or concern pertaining to your case. Make sure that you can easily contact your attorney with a swift response throughout your case. 

Reviews 

A good way to see if an attorney is competent and will bring the results that you require is reading reviews from current and past clients. There are several websites (such as Avvo.com) that clients can go on and review attorneys for free. Simply Google search the attorney’s name and location, and you will likely see client reviews.

Keep in mind that these reviews are not a tell-all, but it may give you a better understanding of who the attorney and law firm is so that you can make a more informed decision. 

Contact Us 

If you need to sue someone for a personal injury, feel free to contact our experienced attorneys at The O’Brien Law Firm to ask us any questions you may have about how we will be ready and fit to represent you. We offer free consultations and look forward to getting to know you. Contact us at: (716) 907-7777 

 

Most Common Personal Injury Claims

Injured man and his wife meet with a personal injury lawyer.There are many claims that fall under personal injury law.

Vehicle accidents, slip and falls, workers compensation, products liability, and wrongful death are all possible claims that you can recover compensation for within the field of personal injury law.

Hiring an attorney to review the facts behind your injury will give you the possibility to recover monetarily.

Vehicle Accidents

Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents are one of the most common reasons why people need personal injury attorneys. Accidents not only happen every day but can also happen to any driver or passenger on the road. In addition to dealing with the grief of potential vehicle damage and insurance companies, you may also need medical attention for your injuries. The entire situation can oftentimes be very costly, but you deserve to be compensated for the costs that you incur due to the negligence of other people.

Workers Compensation

Employers may be liable for injuries that happen to you while you are working. Whether you now have a medical condition obtained during your course of business or your employer was negligent in maintaining the work area, you may be able to receive compensation through insurance. Furthermore, if you were driving while working, a workers compensation claim can allow you to recover financially. Many jurisdictions require all employers to have workers compensation insurance, so you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills, injuries, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Slip and Falls

Slip and falls happen in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, it is not your fault, but rather the fault of the owner of the premises. Whether you slipped from a puddle that should have been cleared or because of a condition that an owner should have properly maintained, you may have the possibility to sue for your injuries caused by such conditions in another’s owned property. Successful slip and fall accident cases have included puddles, poorly maintained areas, and artificial conditions that owners should have been aware of the dangers.

Products Liability

If you are injured because of a defect in a product, you can also sue the business that you purchased the product from along with the manufacturer. Product design defects, manufacturing defects, and lack of sufficient warnings or instructions are all examples of reasons to sue for product liability after you are injured by using such a product. Everyone in the chain of distribution can be liable following an injury involving a problem with a product, so an attorney will be able to determine who should be sued and advise you on which decisions to make.

Wrongful Death

If your close family member passes away due to the negligence of someone else, you still have the ability to sue in his or her place. If you were relying on this family member or have lost the close companionship of that loved family member, you have remedies available to you. The grief of a family member’s passing can be a difficult time to go through, but attorneys will be understanding and take away most of that stress involved in a wrongful death claim.

Contact Us

If you have been personally injured, you may have a successful claim against the party that is liable. The first thing to do is contact our experienced attorneys to review your case and see what we can do. Please contact us at (716) 907-7777 at your earliest convenience.

What Falls Under Personal Injury Law?

Injured man consulting an attorney about a lawsuit.

Personal injury law consists of various types of injuries and harms. Many of these injuries can happen to you or your family member on any given day.

  • Personal injury attorneys handle cases involving: 
  • Vehicle accidents (including cars, trucks, and motorcycles)
  • Work-related accidents
  • Premise liability (such as slip and falls)
  • Negligence
  • Medical malpractice
  • Wrongful death

Whether you were injured personally, or your family member has passed away due to someone else’s fault, personal injury attorneys will take the steps necessary for you to receive the compensation that you require. 

Car Accidents 

Car accidents are one of the top reasons why people reach out to personal injury attorneys because they are unfortunately very common. In fact, car accidents happen every day. Most people drive every day and with that necessity, always comes the chance that an accident can occur. 

Car accidents are always stressful, and many people simply want to have the situation over with as soon as possible. However, that is not always the best option. Firstly, you may not realize that you are injured because you may not feel your injuries until days after the accident. Additionally, insurance companies will likely try to contact you to receive your statement so that they end up paying the least amount possible. In the future, your insurance payments may increase as well. Do not fall into the trap of moving on as quickly as possible following a car accident. Instead, contact a personal injury attorney so that he or she can advise you on what you should do for you. 

Premise Liability 

If you are injured at a place of business, the owner of that business may be liable to you. When you visit a place of business, you are considered an invitee. Having invitee status means that the owner of the business has a duty not only to maintain the premises so that they are safe to his or her patrons, but to also make reasonable inspections of the area and repair any dangerous conditions.  

As an example, there has been a series of cases involving banana peels: In one case, the owner was held liable because the banana peel that a patron slipped and fell on was dark, gritty, and dirty (presuming that it had been there for a long period of time and should have been noticed and removed); in another case, an owner was not held liable because the banana peel that a patron slipped and fell on was bright yellow and fresh (presuming that it had just been dropped and it would have been unreasonable for the owner to have immediately inspected and fixed the condition). 

Medical Malpractice 

Another common personal injury is medical malpractice. When you go to a hospital or other healthcare facility, you want to feel better and be healed. However, there have been several cases involving medical misconduct or negligence that have left patients unjustly worse off than when they first arrived. Doctors are professionals that deal with the health and well-being of their patients. You should rightfully presume that you will feel better after seeing a doctor rather than worse or with a new condition. Depending on the facts, you may have a claim if you are furtherly injured following a doctor visit. 

Contact Us 

The O’Brien Law Firm is ready and ample to take on your case if you believe that you have been involved in an accident that requires compensation. Call us today at (716) 907-7777 so that we go over your case and see what we can do for you. 

New York Firework Safety And Laws

Fireworks laws in NYIndependence Day is here. You know it’s that time of year again with the sounds of small neighborhood-lit fireworks, firework pop-up shops, along with the red, white, and blue themed decorations everywhere. While fireworks are surely pretty to look at, there have been many accidents, injuries, and damage caused by them. Before buying and setting off any fireworks, make sure that you know the laws in your area, how to light them cautiously, and safely dispose of them. 

Safety Precautions

Fireworks have caused burns, eye damage, fires, property damage, and even death in the past. Without careful use, people are hurt with either minor or permanent damage each year across the country. Some safety precautions to take include: 

  • Purchase any devices from a registered retailer that has complied with the state’s established requirements 
  • Read the packaging information, directions, and warnings 
  • Use any device outdoors, out in the open away from people’s property 
  • Protect your eyes 
  • Keep any device away from small children and people who do not know how to handle fireworks 
  • Do not use any device after you have been drinking 
  • Keep a method of extinguishing a possible fire near you 
  • Read the directions on how to extinguish a fire 
  • Do not leave a lit device while it is still burning 
  • Follow the directions on how to extinguish a firework after use 

Regulations

New York has banned certain types of fireworks and limits their type, size, and sound. Certain fireworks are illegal in New York such as roman candles, bottle rockets, and firecrackers. Additionally, fireworks that mimic a percussion sound such as a bang or siren are also illegal. Lastly, fireworks that shoot up into the air are banned. On the other hand, what is allowed are “sparkling devices.” Sparkling devices include devices that can be held in your hand or lit on the ground without going up into the air or exploding. You can have them create sparks and colored flame, however.  

Counties are also allowed to locally ban them altogether, which three counties decided to do so in 2017. Each year, counties can decide whether sparkling devices will be allowed or not. This year, sparkling devices are allowed in each county, but if you are unsure or have questions, always call your local municipality to see whether they are legal and whether the ones you have purchased are allowed. 

Even though this year sparkling devices are allowed, it does not mean that they are completely safe. Whether dealing with fireworks or sparkling devices, you are dealing with fire and sparks that can spread and cause bodily harm. These sparkling devices can nevertheless cause third-degree burns and eye damage. The New York police department has stated that whatever you do, to use common sense and stay safe. Furthermore, if you come across a retailer that is unregistered, notify the authorities so that they can take the necessary steps to stop the use and sale of banned sparkling devices and fireworks. 

Legal Help

If you are injured or endure property damage due to fireworks this holiday weekend, contact the O’Brien Law Firm so that we can begin looking over what happened and start helping you receive compensation. Contact us at: (716) 907-7777. 

BBQ Safety – What Every Griller Needs to Know 

Grilling BarbecueNothing says summertime like firing up the grill for a barbecue with family and friends.  However, grilling can be dangerous.  Fire departments put out almost 10,000 fires a year that were started by a grill, hibachi, or barbecue.   Between 2012 and 2016, an average of 16,000 people went to the emergency room due to injuries involving grills.  Often, these injuries involve a child bumping up against a hot grill and sustaining serious burns. 

At The O’Brien Firm, we wish you a safe and happy summer.  Following these grilling safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) can help keep you safe while you enjoy your summer barbeques.   

Before You Grill 

Whether you are using a charcoal grill or a propane grill, there are steps you should take before you fire up the grill.  First, the NFPA recommends grills, whether charcoal or propane, should only be used outdoors.  (Note: “outdoors” does not mean “in the garage.”)  Your grill should be positioned a safe distance from the home and deck railings.  You should not use a grill under the eaves of the home or garage, or below overhanging tree branches.  

Inspect your grill for cleanliness.  Make sure no birds or bees used your grill as their home for the winter months. 

Do not leave a lit grill unattended for any length of time.  Keep children and pets well away from hot grills, both during cooking and afterwards, as it cools.  Before using, make certain the grill is clean, removing fat and grease from the actual grill itself as well as the trays below the grill.   

Check for Gas Leaks 

If you are using a propane grill it is a good idea to check for leaks before using the grill.  The NFPA has created a video to illustrate the process.  First, check the connection points between the gas tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, as well as where the hose connects to the burners.  If these connections are loose, tighten them.  Next, check the gas hose for leaks.  Using children’s bubbles or a dish washing liquid mixed with water, apply the solution to the length of the hose with a brush or spray bottle.  Turn on the cylinder and watch for bubbles.  If you see bubbles, this is evidence of a leak.  Turn the gas off and recheck the connections.  If you turn the gas on again and see no bubbles, proceed to grilling!  If the bubbles remain, have your grill serviced by a professional before using it.   

When Grilling with Propane

If you smell gas during grilling, turn off the gas tank and the burners.  If the leak stops immediately, have the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.  However, if the smell of gas remains, make certain everyone moves away from the grill.  Do not move the grill.  Call the fire department immediately and explain what is going on. 

When Grilling with Charcoal 

If you use starter fluid, only use charcoal starter fluid.  Do not use charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquid, such as gasoline, to add to an active fire.  Make certain when not in use the charcoal fluid is away from heat sources.  If using an electric charcoal starter, make certain any extension cord used is designed for outdoor use.   

Stay Safe and Enjoy Your Summer 

At The O’Brien Firm, we wish you a safe and happy summer, filled with time spent with family and friends.