Why Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer After an Accident

You may have seen advertisements for personal injury attorneys on television or in print, but have you wondered what an attorney can actually do for you if you are injured in an accident? After all, if you have insurance and the other party has insurance, are the services of an attorney necessary? Here are some ways in which a personal injury attorney can help:

Preserving Evidence

Proving who was responsible for an accident can be difficult. Even in a situation in which liability seems clear, such as in a rear-end collision, factors such as weather, equipment failure, and driver impairment can make it difficult to prove responsibility. To ensure the best chance of recovery for your injuries, you will need to gather evidence as soon as possible after an accident. Physical evidence like skid marks will disappear and witnesses’ memories will fade, so you need someone collecting evidence on your behalf. A good personal injury attorney will have access to investigators who will be able to gather and preserve the evidence you may need later on.

 

Dealing with insurance companies

Your insurance adjustors and those of any other parties involved in the accident will be anxious to settle claims as soon as possible to save themselves money. A quick settlement may be tempting if you are out of work and in need of money, but that may not be in your best interests. Once you accept a settlement, you give up any right to further compensation.

 

Even if you have additional problems resulting from the accident, you will not be able to receive anything more. You should not accept a settlement until you are certain that you are completely recovered or that the extent of any permanent injuries is known. A personal injury attorney can work with insurance companies to get compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses while your claim is pending, so you do not have to feel pressured to accept a premature settlement.

 

Maximizing your compensation

An experienced personal injury lawyer deals with accidents like yours every day. Attorneys know exactly what your case is worth and how to work with insurance companies to make sure that you receive the best possible outcome. Knowing that an injured person is represented by an attorney who is willing and able to take your case to court if necessary, can prompt an insurance adjustor to offer a fair settlement.

 

Peace of mind

Entrusting your case with an experienced attorney will allow you to concentrate on healing. Let the O’Brien Firm handle the details of interviewing witnesses, talking to insurance companies, and preparing your case for court if necessary, so you can take care of yourself and your family. Call us at 716-907-7777 for a free consultation or visit our website at http://www.theobrienfirm.com/ for more information.

 

 

 

Preventing Workplace Accidents

According to the National Safety Council, workplace accidents cost over $161 billion in 2017, taking into account medical expenses, loss of productivity, administrative costs, and uninsured expenses. Of that amount, employers paid over $12 billion in uninsured costs. Employees lost over 104,000,000 days of work due to on-the-job injuries, time that had to be covered by overtime, temporary workers, or extra shifts. Many of these accidents could have been prevented.

Common Causes of Workplace Accidents

Overexertion

The most common cause of injuries leading to lost workdays is overexertion, accounting for over one-third of reported workplace accidents. Overexertion can include lifting or moving heavy objects, using improper lifting techniques, and engaging in any repetitive motions over long periods of time. While it is ultimately up to the employee to know the limits of his own body, employers can help reduce overexertion injuries by:

  • Making sure all employees are trained in proper lifting techniques
  • Requiring the use of safety equipment such as back braces and wrist supports.
  • Making sure that shifts are adequately staffed, so workers do not have to lift heavy objects without assistance.
  • Allowing workers whose jobs duties require repetitive motions to take regular breaks.

 

Contact With Objects

This category of accidents includes being struck by falling objects, getting caught in machinery, and being struck or crushed by collapsing structures or materials. Employers can help avoid these injuries by:

  • Not allowing untrained employees to operate dangerous equipment
  • Enforcing a dress code that does not allow loose clothing that could get caught in machinery
  • Making sure that boxes and other materials are stacked properly
  • Frequent inspections of storerooms, warehouse space, and dangerous machinery

 

Slips and Falls

This includes falling off of ladders and scaffolding, tripping over objects, slipping on spilled liquids, and falling from high places at worksites, such as roofs, decks, and ledges. In addition to proper training of employees, employers can take the following steps to reduce slip and fall accidents:

  • Not allowing employees to work on ladders, scaffolding, roofs, or other high places alone
  • Making sure ladders and scaffoldings are properly maintained and sturdy
  • Having proper equipment available for every job so workers do not have to improvise with equipment not suited to the task
  • Keeping floors and aisles clear of debris
  • Having a janitorial crew or assigned workers on hand to clean up spills quickly

 

Workplace Diseases

Exposure to chemicals, dust, fumes, and other environmental hazards can lead to permanent disability or death. OSHA standards require all employers to provide adequate safety equipment for employees working with hazardous chemicals or materials. These include breathing equipment, eye protection, hearing protection, and protective clothing. Employers should make sure all workers use protective equipment at all times, even when it may seem inconvenient or less efficient to do so.

 

New York Workers Compensation Firm

If you or a family member is involved in an accident at work, call The O’Brien Firm at 716- 907-7777 to learn more about your rights and options. You may also visit our website at http://www.theobrienfirm.com/.

 

Highway Etiquette – Avoid Accidents by Being Considerate

When driving, as in other aspects of daily life, practicing the Golden Rule can make for a safer, more pleasant experience. Here are some practical driver etiquette tips that may help avoid an accident, a road rage incident, or an unpleasant encounter.

Knowing and Obeying Right-of-Way Rules

New York traffic laws govern rights-of-way in intersections, the most common locations for automobile accidents. New York law and common courtesy require that a driver approaching an intersection must yield to a driver already in the intersection. Even if your light is green, do not pull out in front of another vehicle. You may be legally within your rights, but that will be little comfort when your vehicle is damaged, or you are injured.

In an intersection with four-way stop signs, drivers are required to yield to the driver on their right. If there are drivers at all four intersections, highway etiquette dictates that the first driver to approach should be allowed to proceed first.

No Tailgating

It can be frustrating to be stuck behind a slow driver but failing to leave enough distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you is not only impolite, but also dangerous. If that driver makes a sudden stop, lane change, or has to swerve to avoid an obstacle, you may not have enough time to stop. If you rear-end another vehicle, you will almost always be found responsible for the accident.

Avoid Aggressive driving

Aggressive driving practices such as frequent or sudden lane changes, honking or repeatedly flashing your lights in order to get a vehicle to move out of the way, and excessive speed, increase your chances of being involved in an accident. In addition, these practices may startle an inexperienced driver, further increasing the risk of an accident.

Use Your Signals

New York law and common courtesy require the use of turn signals before turning or changing lanes. Think about yourself in a similar situation: would you appreciate another driver suddenly stopping to turn without any warning? The driver behind you may be distracted, or may be following a bit too close. He may even be distraught over some bad news or a family emergency. Give him a chance to see that you are about to slow down or move into his lane, and you may avoid a potentially deadly accident.

General Courtesy

Drivers who are considerate of other motorists and who treat others on the road as they would prefer to be treated may avoid creating situations in which other drivers feel the need to retaliate for rude behavior, either with aggressive driving of their own, or even deliberate actions.

New York Accident Attorneys

Despite your best efforts, you may fund yourself in an accident someday. If you do, call the personal injury experts at the O’Brien Firm at 716-907-7777, or visit our website at www.theobrienfirm.com for more information.

 

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.