Rush Hour Accident Prevention

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most automobile accidents occur during the hours of 3-6pm, the traditional “rush hour” commute. With more cars on the road and drivers hurrying to get home after working all day, conditions are ripe for accidents. You can lessen your chances of becoming a rush hour statistic by following a few tips:

  1. Adjust your work times. If you can avoid traveling during these peak times, your chances for being involved in an accident decrease significantly. Many companies offer flexible schedules; even a thirty minute to one-hour change in your commuting time can help avoid the worst of the rush hour traffic. Full or part time telecommuting is also becoming more popular. Telecommuting one or two days per week, especially if one of those days is a Friday, will also keep you off the road during the most dangerous hours.
  2. Slow and steady wins the race. Many rush hour commuters like to step on the gas when an opening appears ahead, just to brake suddenly a few seconds later. Maintaining a slow and steady pace may allow some vehicles to get ahead of you in traffic, but it will help avoid a rear-end collision. Remember, if you hit a vehicle in front of you, the responsibility for the accident will fall on you, in most cases.
  3. Be on the lookout for slow or stopped vehicles. Many rush hour accidents are rear end collisions, caused by drivers who did not anticipate the actions of other drivers. When traffic is heavy, assume that the vehicle in front of you will be stopping or slowing suddenly.
  4. Don’t tailgate! Following too close can cause accidents even in the best conditions and is especially dangerous in stop-and-go traffic.
  5. Take extra care at intersections. Rush hour commuters are anxious to get to their destinations and may not take time to stop completely at a stop sign. They may also enter an intersection just as a light turns from yellow to red. You can reduce your chances of being involved in an accident by looking before proceeding into an intersection, even when your light is green, and then proceeding with caution. Don’t assume that other drivers will always adhere to the rules of the road.
  6. Minimize lane changes. In heavy traffic, drivers will often rush to occupy an open spot, usually without signaling or giving other drivers around them time to react. The more often you change lanes, the more chances there are for one of these careless drivers to hit you. Don’t be one of those drivers but be on the lookout for them.

New York Accident Attorneys

Even the best and most cautious drivers may find themselves a victim of someone else’s poor driving habits. If you are injured in an accident, call the experts at The O’Brien Firm at 716-907-7777 for a free consultation http://www.theobrienfirm.com/.

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Why You Should Take Photos After an Accident

Capturing Evidence After an Accident

In a popular exercise for students of criminal justice law, the professor will arrange for an interruption in the middle of a lecture. While the students have their attention focused on the lesson, the door will open suddenly. One or two people will enter the classroom, engage in a short activity, such as an argument or even a proposal, and then leave. Afterward, the professor will ask the students to describe what happened. Most students are surprised at what few details they recall, even minutes after the incident. Descriptions of the actors’ height, weight, hair color, clothing, and even race will vary significantly. If the professor waits until the class is over to interview the witnesses, their recollection is even worse. In a stressful situation like an automobile accident, witnesses’ ability to correctly observe and report important details can be compromised further. After an accident, any details that are captured in a photo can help prove important facts that you cannot remember or that varies from another witness’s memory.

 

Imperfect recollection is not the only reason why photos are important, however. In many cases, police officers seek to clear roadways as soon as possible and ask the drivers involved to move their vehicles to the side of the road. The placement of vehicles after an accident may provide clues as to the cause of the collision, so, if possible, take some photos of the vehicles before they are moved. Photographic evidence may also be used to show the extent of damage on a vehicle in case the driver tries to attribute additional damage from the accident afterwards.

 

Professional accident examiners will often take pictures of an accident scene to show skid marks that might indicate speed, damage to surrounding objects that might indicate the force and direction of a collision, and the positions of intersections, traffic signs, and/or barriers. These photos can be important in establishing the cause of the accident and the fault of the drivers. Photos taken at the scene, however, can capture evidence that later photos cannot. For example, photos taken at the scene provide evidence of weather and traffic conditions. It may even be possible to capture an image of a traffic light immediately after an accident to prove whether it was red or green.

 

Safety First

The safety of yourself and the other parties, of course, is more important than gathering evidence. If you or anyone else needs immediate medical attention, the photos can wait. Take photos only when you are safely capable of doing so.

 

Accident Attorney

One of the most important steps you can take to protect your rights after an accident is to talk to an experienced accident attorney as soon as possible. Learn more at http://www.theobrienfirm.com/ or call (706) 907-7777 for a free consultation.

Bicycle Injuries Frequently Demand Litigation

Whether you are on your own bicycle or on one of the many bicycle rentals that are popping up in cities all over the country, accidents are always a possibility. In an accident between a bicycle and a car, the bicyclist is much more likely to be seriously injured or killed. Injuries to bicyclists are often above the no-fault insurance limit, and therefore, bicycle accidents may result in litigation.

Keeping Safe While Riding in New York

Safety precautions such as helmets, lights, reflectors, and bells are essential when riding, especially on public roads. Remember to obey traffic laws as if you are driving a car and to ride in designated bicycle lanes whenever possible. The most important safety tip for bicycle riders is to be aware that drivers of other vehicles are often not trained to watch out for smaller vehicles or bicyclists. Never assume that another driver can see you.

 

The doctrine of comparative negligence in New York limits recovery for injuries when the injured party has been found partially responsible for the accident. Therefore, failure to observe traffic laws or follow accepted safety procedures could make it more difficult to recover the full amount of your damages.

 

Bicycle Accident Litigation

There are many possible causes of bicycle accidents. Some of them are unavoidable or caused by errors and/or inattention on the part of the cyclist. In many cases, the accident could have been avoided. Cyclists can be struck by other vehicles when those vehicles are driving in a bicycle lane or when a driver does not look before changing lanes and making a turn. Drivers can also misjudge distances, thinking there is plenty of space to pass, and hitting the cyclist as they drive by. Poorly maintained roads, debris on the road, and other hazards are also responsible for accidents.

 

On the other hand, a cyclist may be injured when his own equipment fails. Deflated tires, faulty brakes, and other equipment problems can cause a cyclist to lose control, fall, and/or swerve into traffic. Moreover, a lack of lights or reflectors can lead to an accident if the driver of a vehicle can’t see the cyclist. Lastly, improperly designed or manufactured helmets may lead to serious injuries following an accident or fall.

 

Bicycle Accident Attorney in New York

The unique circumstances involved in bicycle accidents demand an attorney who has experience, not only in personal injury law, but in handling bicycle injury cases. The O’Brien Firm, with offices in Buffalo and many other New York locations, can help if you are injured in a bicycle accident. Visit our website at http://www.theobrienfirm.com/ or call 716-907-7777 for more information.

How To Have Fun While Staying Safe On St. Patrick’s Day 

Saint Patrick's Day PartySt. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and most cities have annual parades to celebrate with traditional Irish food, events, and specialty drinks. In fact, Buffalo has its own St. Patrick’s Day parade with bands, dancers, and entertainment for everyone to enjoy. While this is always a fun time to celebrate with friends and family, this is also a day that invites the potential of excess drinking. The last thing you’ll want on a fun day of celebrating is to be involved in an accident that could have been prevented, so from our team at The O’Brien Law Firm, we hope you have a safe holiday weekend by following these tips. 

Plan Ahead 

If you know you’re going to be partaking in drinking a traditional green beer or Irish whiskey, you should do so responsibly. Moreover, keep in mind that police officers will be on the lookout for drivers under the influence and people that may have had too much to drink. Knowing what to expect and planning ahead will allow you to have a good time while still being safe. 

When you know you’re going to drink: 

  • Have a designated driver that will refrain from drinking to take you home  
  • Call a taxi 
  • Stay at a hotel close by to walk back to
  • Limit and pace yourself 
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water 

Crowds 

Events usually bring in large crowds ready to celebrate and those people can be rambunctious. Crowds of people bring in the potential that you may trip, slip, and/or fall due to the negligence of another or business establishment. Furthermore, crowds of rowdy people can lead to being shoved or pushed causing injuries.  

You can try your best to keep to yourself with the people you’re with, but it is practically inevitable that you will find yourself side by side with strangers. When you find yourself in a predicament, make sure you remain aware of your surroundings and even more cautious of people, things, and potential dangers around you. 

Helping Others And New York’s Good Samaritan Law 

When you’re going to be around a lot of people with alcohol free-flowing, you will likely see someone that has had too much to drink. If you ever fear that someone else is in danger or see an intoxicated party-goer getting behind the wheel, New York has enacted a 911 Good Samaritan Law that will allow you to contact police without fear of retribution. This can help prevent accidents, injuries, and death. 

Under most circumstances, this law provides that even if you are in possession of alcohol, you will not be charged for notifying police of someone that may be in peril. This law came into effect to encourage people to help others without fear of being charged with alcohol possession when they are trying to help someone. 

Contact Us 

If you are injured due to the negligence of another person, The O’Brien Law Firm offers free, no obligation consultations. Personal injuries can be stressful, but you can count on us to help you receive the compensation required for your expenses endured following an injury. Call us today: (716) 907-7777. 

How To Prevent Bicycling Accidents

Cyclist on the roadEach year, thousands of people are injured and/or killed due to accidents involving vehicles and bicycles. This is often either the driver’s or bicyclist’s fault but oftentimes, an accident could have been prevented if either party took additional precautions.

Whether you are a bicyclist trying to avoid vehicles or vice versa (a driver trying to get from point A to point B without any problems), you should consider all these tips to avoid injuries and lawsuits.

Bicyclist Prevention

When you are bicycling, you need to always be aware of your surroundings. There will likely be other drivers, pedestrians, and fellow bicyclists around you that can cause you to crash your bike. When you want to go on a bicycling stroll, take these following precautions:

  • Stay within the parameters of any bike lanes on the roads
  • When you have to cross a roadway, check for any vehicles
  • Always wear a helmet
  • Install lights and reflective devices on your bike so that other drivers can see you while biking
  • Wear reflective clothing while bicycling at dawn or dusk
  • Keep your phone on you in case of an emergency
  • Consider purchasing a smartwatch with emergency services that will contact your close family when you signal it
  • Listen to your music at a low volume so you can hear cars coming up behind you

Driver Prevention

Whenever you get behind the wheel, there is a chance of being in a car accident not only with another vehicle, but also bicyclists. You can always reduce your chances of being involved in one when you are cautious and know the various dangers on the road. When you drive:

  • Check the sidewalks to make sure no bicyclists are around before turning onto a road
  • Always look both ways when you are merging onto a road
  • Drive within the speed limit at all times, especially in residential zones – residential zones often have many bicyclists and runners exercising
  • Be aware that many bicyclists may be listening to music on earphones and can’t hear cars driving by
  • Give bicyclists plenty of room when you are passing them in case they lose their balance and fall over

What To Do

Similar to a car accident, you should always write down the information of anyone you are in an accident with. When possible, write down the license plate, vehicle make and model, and name of the driver who crashed into you. You will need this information to inform authorities of what happened.

Additionally, be cautious of what you tell the driver that is at-fault or the police. If you say you’re not in pain and feeling alright and only later feel pain once the shock has settled, this can be used against you if you decide to file a claim. Anything you say can be misconstrued, so it is best to stay neutral and simply write down the information that you need.

Contact Us

If you are injured in a car accident while you were riding your bike, you may be able to receive compensation. We always offer free initial consultations to determine whether you may have a successful case. Call us today at (716) 907-7777 so that our experienced team of attorneys can help you.

5 Common Misconceptions About Personal Injury Lawsuits

Personal Injury Law Hammer and SignPersonal injury cases are quite common, but there are many misconceptions out there.Movies and TV shows have all aired attorneys litigating in court, but the reality is that Hollywood embellishes a lot, and it is all pure entertainment without much truth.Here are five common misconceptions:

Insurance Companies Will Always Give You The Compensation You Need

Insurance companies often do not give adequate compensation because they try to save themselves as much money as possible. Insurance companies have their own attorneys and experts available to try to settle claims as fast as possible for the least amount of money. If you are injured, you need your own attorney to negotiate and fight for the compensation that you need.

All Lawsuits Go To Court

Many people think that most lawsuits are litigated in court. However, on the contrary, most lawsuits are settled out of court. This minimizes the time it takes for you to receive monetary relief and lowers attorney costs.

When you settle out of court, you won’t have to deal with the stress and frustration of litigation, and you’ll be able to have the process sped up to receive payment faster. Although you never have to accept a settlement offer, it can often be more advantageous to do so.

You’ll Receive More Money If You Go To Court

If you decide to reject an insurance company’s settlement offer and believe you deserve more money for your damages, you can take your case to court. However, before rejecting a settlement offer, you should take into consideration that you may end up with less money and you might not receive anything until much later.

You should calculate the attorney costs, the possibility of receiving a lower relief amount, and the amount of time litigation can take before you receive any money. Your attorney will be able to realistically tell you whether a settlement offer is fair or if you should take your case to court.

You Can File Suit At Any Date

Following the stress, pain, and shock of an injury, you will likely need some time to recuperate before your life returns back to normal. It is easy to procrastinate from contacting an attorney and dealing head-on with a personal injury case.

Additionally, you might not realize you are seriously injured until later on. This is a problem because you only have a limited time to file suit following an injury. Each state has a statute of limitations for how long you have to sue.

All Lawyers Get Paid For Pursuing A Lawsuit

Some people won’t pursue a lawsuit because they assume attorneys will charge them for far too much money. However, that is often not the case. In fact, most attorneys offer free initial consultations to review the facts of someone’s case.

Furthermore, most attorneys work on a contingency basis and won’t even charge until a client wins his or her case. Attorneys sometimes don’t get paid for all their hard work.

Contact Us

When you are personally injured, we believe that you should be compensated. We offer free no-obligation consultations and are ready to speak with you at your earliest convenience. Call us at (716) 907-7777.

Restaurant Owner Liability

Grilling ChickenGoing out to a restaurant means you’re going to pay a little more than you normally would if you were dining at home, but that you’ll be treated with great service and possibly be introduced to a new dish. While you should rightfully expect the best, sometimes that’s not the case. Under certain circumstances, a restaurant owner may be liable to you for injuries you endure while dining out.

Improperly Cooked Food

Food can be cooked improperly if it is undercooked, scalding hot, or previously contaminated. Undercooked food can cause severe illnesses, especially to young children and the elderly. Food and beverages that are too hot can cause burns that lead to hospitalization. Contaminated foods can risk potentially deadly illnesses such as E. coli or Salmonella.

It is normal to expect chefs to know what they are doing and put your trust in them when you’re at a restaurant. Unfortunately, sometimes food is not handled properly. Restaurant inspections are not taken lightly and nevertheless, inspectors consistently find food violations at even the top-rated restaurants. Food violations have included:

  • Poor employee and/or kitchen sanitation
  • Food contamination
  • Improperly storing foods that are meant to be cooked at different temperatures together
  • Not cleaning built up grease, dust, and dirt on walls and countertops
  • Water not heating up to the required temperatures
  • Improperly storing silverware and drinking glasses
  • Not throwing out expired food
  • Storing food items at the wrong temperatures

Premise Liability

Restaurant owners are held responsible if they fail to maintain their restaurants’ premises. If you are injured because of a spill that should have been cleaned up or another hazard that shouldn’t have been there, you might be able to receive compensation. In tort liability, if you are lawfully at an owner’s place of business, you are considered to be benefiting the property owner and therefore will be considered an “invitee.” Invitee status means that property owners owe you a duty to reasonably inspect and maintain their premises to make sure that you are not harmed.

You could have a successful claim if an owner and/or his or her employees failed to clean up a spill on the floor causing you to slip, fall, and injure yourself. Owners and their employees need to keep an eye out for foreseeable accidents. It does not only stop there, as owners may be liable for poorly maintained parking lots, lighted areas, and furniture.

For Restaurant Owners

As a restaurant owner, you are responsible for your guests dining at your establishment. To avoid any potential lawsuits, you should not only check for potential violations, but also require your employees to inspect the premises while they are working. Furthermore, it will pay off to have someone at your restaurant dedicated to cleaning and inspections so that your kitchen, eating area, and restrooms are spotless. Not only will this reduce your chances of a lawsuit or violation, but you will also keep your guests happy, coming back, and you’ll receive great reviews in return.

Contact Us

If you were injured at a restaurant and you believe the restaurant owner was at fault, you may be able to receive compensation. The first step is to contact an attorney to discuss what happened as every case is different. Contact The O’Brien Law Firm today at (716) 907-7777 for a free initial consultation.

What Is Medical Malpractice? 

Medical Malpractice LogoPersonal injury law is not limited to only vehicle accidents. On the contrary, personal injury includes premise liability (slip and falls), products liability, wrongful death, workers’ compensation, and more. Each topic could be its own specialization area with their differing and unique laws, but nevertheless, personal injury attorneys take on all of this.  

Medical malpractice occurs when doctors, nurses, hospitals, or other medical professional personnel or facilities act negligently or carelessly while treating patients. Repercussions can include worsening of an illness/injury, a new illness/injury forming, and even death. Medical malpractice includes many subtopics: 

Doctor Negligence 

Doctors can be negligent in treating their patients when their conduct falls below the standards of a medical professional. Doctors can be negligent by: 

  • Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose an illness or condition 
  • Improperly treating an injury 
  • Prescribing the wrong medication 
  • Using the wrong procedure or causing damage during surgery 
  • Failing to receive a patient’s consent to conduct a medical procedure 
  • Failing to tell a patient about the risks involved in a treatment or surgery procedure 

Elder Home Abuse And Neglect 

As a person ages, it sometimes makes more sense to have them live in an elder medical facility with professional care available all day and night. It can be a tough decision for families to make and also costly. However, sometimes it’s the best thing for an elderly family member. Even if you select the top-reviewed facility and expect the best, you still run the risk of staff abusing and neglecting its live-in patients while you are not around. Signs of abuse or neglect include: 

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, or injuries 
  • New illnesses or malnutrition 
  • A patient’s missing or stolen property and money 
  • Poorly maintained premises and rooms 
  • Deadly interactions with prescription medication  
  • Ignoring the patient’s preferences and requests 

Wrongful Death 

A personal representative of someone who passed away may sue for wrongful death when the decedent passes away due to the fault of another person. Doctors and physicians are among the people who may be sued when they were administering the treatment that caused the death. Successful wrongful death lawsuits have been a result of: 

  • Emergency room, surgical, and hospital errors 
  • Misdiagnosing a serious illness, such as cancer 
  • Prescribing medication that a patient cannot handle 
  • Administering fatal amounts of anesthesia 

Compensation 

Medical professionals are held to a higher standard because the lives of people are in their hands. You go see doctors expecting to feel better, not worse. Therefore, you deserve to be compensated when you or a family member is further injured, neglected, or taken advantage of while in the care of doctors and nurses.  

You may be able to receive compensation for expenses that you have to endure such as additional medical bills, loss of income, and the pain endured. Note, however, that each claim has a statute of limitations that allows you to pursue a lawsuit. In New York, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within 2 ½ years. 

Contact Us 

If you believe that you or a family member was harmed because of medical malpractice, you should contact our law firm to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. Keep all relevant notes and documents for proof and references in the future. Call us at your earliest convenience at (716) 907-7777.

 

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.