Recreational Vehicle Accidents

RV AccidentsCamping and road trips with family and friends are typically fun vacations to participate in. When you’re going to be away from your home for a long time period, it is often convenient and more relaxing to rent a larger recreational vehicle (RV) rather than trying to fit the entire family into a regular car. 

While living and sleeping arrangements are much more enjoyable and spacious, maneuvering these large vehicles can be very difficult. Not only do they have many more blind spots, but they are also much heavier and take longer to accelerate or brake. RV accidents can happen in a snap of a finger to anyone inexperienced in driving such large vehicles.  

How RV Accidents Can Happen 

There are different types of RV’s including conventional, campers, and motor homes. Each come with their own dangers. An accident can be caused by: 

  • Fatigue: it is common to drive for several hours at a time while traveling in an RV. This can easily lead to reduced sleep and fatigue. Falling asleep at the wheel is dangerous as it is while driving a regular car, but even more dangerous while driving a heavy and large vehicle such as an RV. 
  • Difficult Turns: It is always more difficult to make turns while driving a larger vehicle. If you try to make a tight turn, you risk hitting something. If you try making a turn too fast, you risk rolling the RV over, causing damage and potential injuries or death. 
  • Drinking and Driving: It is understandable to want to have a few drinks while vacationing. However, drinking while controlling a large RV is not only against the law but also extremely unsafe. If you’re going to be drinking, don’t drive any vehicle. 
  • Vehicle Malfunctions: If you’re renting from a company, they are required to maintain their rental vehicles and make sure that they are working properly for renters to drive. However, there are times when a malfunction can be overlooked, and an RV can run into serious problems. 

What You Should And Shouldn’t Do 

The first thing you should do if you are ever in any sort of vehicle accident is to seek medical attention for yourself and the people involved. Furthermore, document as much as you can so everything will stay fresh in your mind. Write down notes, take photos, and capture videos. The shock of an accident can cause you to forget important information later on. You should also speak with an attorney as soon as you can so he or she can analyze what happened and help you receive compensation for injuries that you have endured. 

On the other hand, things you shouldn’t do is speak about the accident on social media. It is far too easy for any insurance company to simply look up your online profile on any social media site that you use and try to use anything you say against you. This can hinder your chances of receiving fair insurance compensation. Furthermore, you should avoid speaking with any insurance provider. Often, they will try to contact you for a statement, but you are under no obligation to speak with them. Instead, have your attorney conversate with them.  

Contact Us  

If you are involved in an RV accident, you need an experienced attorney to help you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Contact The O’Brien Law Firm at your earliest convenience so our attorneys can go over what happened and start working for you. Reach us at: (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.

Dealing With Rental Car Accidents

rented car crashed to a tree

 

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

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

 

First Steps 

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

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

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

Liability 

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

Moving Forward 

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

Contact Us 

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

Everything You Need To Know About Tractor Trailer Accidents 

tractor trailer rolls over and lands in the median A tractor trailer is a vehicle that is a semi with an attached trailer to it.

People who operate them must drive for many hours, meet deadlines, and obey all the applicable laws.

It takes a lot of patience and awareness to be capable of driving such a large vehicle because they are very difficult to properly drive, especially under the circumstances.

Driving a tractor trailer involves being even more aware of blind spots for other cars and being extra careful while turning. Tractor trailer accidents have caused not only fires and severe injuries, but also deaths and highway car pileups. 

Safety Measures 

When you are driving on the road or highway, you have safety precautions that you should take to avoid accidents with tractor trailers. Some tips are to: 

  1. Try your best to avoid tractor trailers: Although sometimes the traffic flow makes it unavoidable, keeping a safe distance from these vehicles is recommended so that you not only have better visibility, but also avoid potential accidents. It is easy for a tractor trailer to accidentally take a sedan or SUV off the road because of how massive they are, so if you must be near one, try your best to give them plenty of room on the road. 
  2. Avoid being in blind spots of tractor trailers: Because of the lengths of the trailers attached to these types of vehicles, they have more blind spots than a regular car. While driving, keep in mind that the driver may not see you and could merge into your lane thinking that he or she had space. 
  3. Give tractor trailers space when they are backing out or turning: The large length of tractor trailers requires them to make wide turns, often needing to maneuver between driving forward and backward to get onto a road. When you see that a vehicle of this length is trying to turn, give them space so that they can take those wide turns without damaging your car. 
  4. Do not cut off or abruptly break in front of a tractor trailer: Tractor trailers are typically extremely heavy. Therefore, it takes a lot more for one to reach a complete stop while braking. Avoid being rear-ended by keeping an eye of your rearview mirror and try to drive carefully when a tractor trailer is directly behind you and double check that you have room to merge into another lane. 

Suing the Company 

If you become involved in a tractor trailer accident, you may be able to receive money for your damages and/or loss. You can sue the company that the driver was working for because under vicarious liability, the company will be held responsible for the driver’s actions while he or she was within the scope of his or her employment. The company has a duty to drivers on the road to hire authorized, responsible, and competent drivers. Whether you decide to sue the driver, company, or both, our team of attorneys can advise you on the best actions you should take under your set of unique facts. 

Contact Us 

If you have been injured in a tractor trailer accident or if your close family member has passed away from an accident involving a tractor trailer, contact our team of experienced attorneys at the O’Brien Law Firm to see what we can do for you. Call us at (716) 907-7777 today. 

June Is National Safety Month 

Safety SignThe National Safety Council has declared June as National Safety Month.  Each week has a different focus, with the intent of eliminating preventable deaths and injuries at work, at home, in communities, and on the road.  This year, the “No 1 Gets Hurt” campaign covers: 

  • Emergency Preparedness 
  • Wellness 
  • Falls 
  • Driving 

Here are some of the highlights. 

Week 1: Emergency Preparedness 

Emergencies can happen at any time.  Planning for possible emergencies can make surviving and thriving in an emergency more likely.  Planning should include: 

  • Prepare for natural disasters common to your living area, including tornadoes, floods, and wildfires 
  • Create an emergency kit for home and car 
  • Create an emergency plan with your family, including designated meeting spots 
  • Keep important phone numbers and important documents in a fire proof safe 
  • Learn first aid and CPR 

Week 2: Wellness 

The National Safety Council encourages everyone to take some time to focus on wellness.  Easy daily wellness goals can include: 

  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator 
  • Parking your car further from the entrance to increase daily steps 
  • Taking advantage of workplace wellness programs 
  • Eating healthy snacks 
  • Taking breaks to stretch and move throughout the day 
  • Seeing your doctor regularly 
  • Watching for signs of fatigue 

Week 3: Falls 

Falls are the third leading cause of unintentional injury related deaths.  They are the number one cause of death in those age 65 and older.  Preventing slips, trips, and falls at home and in the community can be achieved by following these steps: 

  • Make sure walkways, stairs, and doorways are free of clutter, cords, and other tripping hazards 
  • Spills should be cleaned up immediately 
  • Stairs should have non-slip adhesive strips 
  • Rugs should have appropriate backing to prevent movement 
  • Avoid distracted walking! 
  • Limit cell phone use when walking 
  • Be mindful of busy areas, such as airports or shopping malls 
  • Avoid listening to headphones when walking near traffic  

Week 4: Driving 

94 % of all vehicle crashes involve human error.  Consequently, drivers should avoid unsafe driving conduct to reduce the chance of a car crash.   

  • Do not drink and drive 
  • Recognize other factors can impair driving, such as lack of sleep 
  • Avoid driving after using drugs that may impair judgment, even with a valid prescription 
  • Don’t use a cell phone while driving 
  • Wear a seatbelt – always 
  • Make certain children are in age appropriate restraints 
  • Lock the car when not in use 
  • Never leave a child in a vehicle alone 
  • Pay attention to vehicle recalls 
  • Do not rely on safety features to replace judgment 
  • Be mindful of vehicle alerts and warnings 

Safe driving requires attention before driving as well as while driving.   

Stay Safe This Summer! 

At The O’Brien Firm, we want you and your loved ones to be safe this summer.  Injuries can happen in an instant.  Being prepared can help lessen the injury in some circumstances.  In other cases, implementing safety plans can prevent injury all together.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a fall or a driving accident, please contact our office. Our lawyers practice exclusively in the area of personal injury.  We are dedicated to helping the injured get their lives back. Call us today to talk about your case at no charge at (716) 907-7777.