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.

School Bus Safety 

School Bus Safety Caution SignWithin the past recent years, parents and police have been increasingly monitoring school buses and the drivers who ignore traffic laws. Disregarding these rules have led to injuries and even deaths. These laws are necessary to protect children and drivers because school buses are large, slow, have multiple blind spots, and are difficult to maneuver.

How To Keep Your Children Safe

School buses typically pick children up in the early hours of the morning at the corner of a neighborhood street. Oftentimes, it’s still dark out. Open communication with your child is key to explain the dangers of walking outside so early in the morning without adult supervision. When you can, you should always walk with your children to the bus stop, but it has become quite common for children to walk alone. When your children walk alone, make sure you tell them to:

  • Always walk on the sidewalk and stay off the road
  • Wear reflective clothing and use flashlights in the dark
  • Keep a fully-charged phone on them at all times
  • Watch out for vehicles that might not be paying attention
  • Stay in the street lights as often as possible

Regulation

One school bus law is to stop whenever a school bus’s stop signs are out. This is an indication that children are either boarding or leaving the bus and therefore will be near the road. Drivers are required to stop behind the bus, even when the bus is pulled to the side or there is room to pass.

It might be tempting to rush and go around a school bus, but you never know when a child might jump out of nowhere into the middle of the road. Unfortunately, drivers over the years have been ignoring these laws and often pass school buses. This had led to accidents that could have easily been avoided if the drivers had simply followed the law.

Enforcement

Parents, police, news outlets, and school districts have realized that people are breaking these laws and have been making efforts to stop these offenses by monitoring school buses:

  • Parents: Parents now often walk with or drive their children to bus stops. When parents see a violation, many also video-record it to show the authorities and bring awareness to other parents.
  • Police: Police often park near school buses and school zones as a warning and to pull over drivers cutting off, driving around, and speeding near school buses when they clearly have stop signs out.
  • The Media: News outlets have also picked up on these multiple infractions and often broadcast it. Occasionally, reporters will film right at the bus stops to show proof of drivers breaking the law.
  • School Districts: Many school buses now have cameras installed to record traffic violations to show police and find ways to make school buses safer.

Contact Us

No matter how much of a hurry you might be in, you should always follow your state and county’s road regulations not only to protect yourself, but also the people around you, other drivers, and passengers. If you are ever in a vehicle accident, you need a personal injury attorney. Contact us today for a free initial consultation: (716) 907-7777.

Dealing With Car Accidents 

Accident of two cars on a highwayDriving on the road can be nerve-racking.

Even when you try to drive safely, there are always careless drivers around you that won’t take the same precautions as you do.

Not only must you make sure that you are driving well, but you must also be aware of your surroundings so that other drivers don’t cause you to have a car accident. 

 

Safety Tips 

While driving, there are certain safety precautions to keep in mind. Always make sure that you: 

  • Know where your blind spots are 
  • Adjust your mirrors so that you have the best visibility possible 
  • Secure your seatbelt as soon as you sit down and ensure that your passengers are buckled up as well 
  • Look around at your surroundings before backing your car out 
  • Do not drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol 
  • Do not drive while angry or emotional 
  • Avoid driving in poor weather 
  • Keep away from distractions such as your phone calls and text messages until you are parked 
  • Enable voice-controlled Bluetooth so that you do not have to use your mobile device

What To Do and Avoid If An Accident Occurs To You 

As soon as possible after a car accident, you should contact an attorney. The statute of limitations will begin running for you to file suit, so the sooner you call an attorney, the better the chance you will receive compensation. While this will clearly be a stressful time for you, you must make sure that you remain calm, proactive, and aware of your next choices. After calling and speaking with the police, your next step should be to contact legal help so that you do not hinder your claim. 

Things to remember for your possible suit to be successful is to be extremely careful about what you say to people, including on social media and to insurance companies.  

  1. Stay off social media: do not post anything on social media regarding your accident. This can possibly be misconstrued and/or used against you in your case. Insurance companies can easily find your profile and see what you have posted. Photos, medical concerns, and/or your injury status are all things that should be kept confidential between you and your attorney.  
  2. Do not talk about the accident: While you may want to update your friends and family about how you are doing, it is often best not to. You never know what they will repeat that could unintentionally hurt your case. Limit your updates as much as possible until your case is complete. 
  3. Do not give a recorded statement to an insurance company: After an accident, you are not obligated to talk to anyone about it. Insurance companies will likely try to contact you and ask for your statement, but you should refuse to do so without an attorney present. While it may not seem like a big deal, insurance companies will want to compensate you with the least amount of money possible to save money for their company. Additionally, you may not even know the extent of your injuries because you will not have had time to consult with a doctor or feel any symptoms.

Contact Us 

If you are involved in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact our experienced legal team at O’Brien Law Firm. We will be able to review what happened and advise you on what you should do next. Call us at (716) 907-7777 as soon as you can.  

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. 

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.