If you are injured in an accident, whether at work, on the highway, in a public place, or even on private property, it can sometimes be easy to determine your damages. If you broke your leg, suffered a concussion, or sustained cuts and/or bruises, for example, it is easy to evaluate the medical expenses, time lost from work, and the pain you experienced during your recovery. Not all victims, however, are in perfect health before an accident. You might still be recovering from a previous accident or injury. You might have a chronic condition that causes intermittent or constant pain. You may even have a condition that makes you more susceptible to certain injuries.
It is well established in personal injury law that the prior condition cannot be used against an injured person, even if their condition makes them more susceptible to injury than the average person. For example, a person who has had prior back injuries, surgery, or other procedures may suffer aggravation from those injuries or sustain new injuries in a crash that may have caused little to no damage to someone who didn’t have a pre-existing condition. Nevertheless, the person responsible for an accident is responsible for all injuries in such a situation.
To make a successful claim for damages when an injured person has pre-existing conditions, it will be necessary to determine with as much accuracy as possible the person’s condition both before and after the new injury. This will involve obtaining detailed medical records, the person’s work history, and in many cases, testimony from the injured person, their family members or caretakers, and medical professionals.
Proving out of pocket expenses, such as medical expenses and lost wages, may be fairly straightforward. If the person was seeing his doctor, chiropractor, or receiving other medical treatment once a month prior to the new injury and then more often after the new injury, the amount of increased medical expenses can be calculated with accuracy. If he was back at work following a job injury but had to miss work following the new accident, lost wages are easy to determine. Determining damages for pain and suffering is more difficult when an injured person has a prior injury or a pre-existing condition. It will be necessary to determine what the person’s level of activity and level of pain was both before and after the new accident or injury.
New York Accident Attorneys
Insurance companies are in business to make money, and that means limiting the amounts they pay out in claims. Insurance adjusters will try to use your pre-existing conditions against you. It is vital to call an experienced accident attorney as soon as possible so the evidence needed to establish the damages you incurred from the new accident or injury can be gathered and preserved. The accident experts at O’Brien and Ford are always available for free consultations. Visit our website at http://obrienandford.com to learn more.
All drivers and vehicle owners in New York are required to carry insurance. Failing to do so may result in fines and the suspension of one’s driver’s license. The minimum insurance required is:
Property damage: $10,000 per accident.
Bodily Injury: $25,000 for injury to one person; $50,000 for injury to two or more people
Uninsured motorist coverage: $25,000 for injury to one person; $50,000 for injury to two or more people.
Death Benefits: $50,000 per person, or $100,000 per accident.
Under New York’s no-fault law, if you are involved in a minor accident, your insurance will cover your property damage and injuries up to the limits stated above. If you suffer serious or permanent injuries in an accident in which another driver was negligent, you may sue the other driver for your damages above the no-fault limits. Unfortunately, some drivers ignore the law and either let their insurance policies lapse or fail to carry insurance at all. Others carry only the minimum required coverage. What happens when the other driver has no insurance?
An Uninsured Accident Scenario
Suppose, for example, you are in an accident with a drunk driver and you suffer broken bones and other injuries. Broken bones are automatically considered serious injuries, which means the no-fault limits do not apply. You may sue a drunk driver for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, if the driver only carried the required minimum insurance or had no insurance at all, you only have two choices: try to obtain a judgment against the driver and collect directly from him/her or make a claim against your own insurance policy’s uninsured motorist coverage.
The likelihood of being able to collect damages from an uninsured driver is pretty small, so it is probable that you will have to make a claim under your uninsured motorist policy. In this scenario, it is easy to see how your damages can exceed the required minimum uninsured motorist amounts. The medical expenses alone from even one broken bone can exceed $25,000. If your entire family is injured, the $50,000 per accident minimum will be completely inadequate.
Don’t wait until an accident happens to find out if you are adequately covered. Make sure you have enough uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself and your family in case you are in an accident with a driver who carries only the legal minimum coverage or no insurance at all. Talk to your insurance agent about your options. As soon as possible after an accident, talk to a New York accident attorney who can help determine all possible sources of payment. The experts at O’Brien and Ford will help you receive full compensation for your injuries, including your medical expenses and pain and suffering. Call us for a free consultation at (716) 907-7777
Work-related injuries can commonly occur in dangerous occupations such as construction jobs. However, there are many ways an employee can also be injured in non-dangerous occupations. All employers are required to maintain their workplace up to safety standards set forth by their state guidelines and will be liable to you under certain circumstances when your injuries are a direct result of workplace negligence.
When you are injured, not only will you feel physical and emotional pain, but it may also take a toll on you financially. Medical costs are oftentimes very expensive. Depending on your injury, you might not be able to go to work to pay for those hospital bills. Therefore, it is important that you receive accurate advice and guidance on how to pursue your workers’ compensation claim to make sure that you are able to recover financially for your injuries.
Why You Should Retain An Attorney
In New York, you are not required to retain an attorney for a workers’ compensation claim, but it is well-advised to do so. Attorneys experienced in the field of workers’ compensation will be able to explain exactly what you need to do, as well as facilitate the process. Even if you’re not sure that you want to file suit, attorneys usually give free initial consultations without any obligations. They will also not charge you until you receive compensation. Therefore, you have nothing to lose for simply inquiring about a potential claim.
While you are protected by New York’s workers’ rights, most lawsuits take a lot of time and it can be difficult to handle this process without the expertise of an attorney that has handled these cases before. In the past, people that are inexperienced or unfamiliar with the legal system that have tried to sue without legal representation have received less compensation than they could have received with a lawyer on their side. While it is ultimately your choice whether you want to retain an attorney, your chances of receiving full compensation without much hardship on your part will be increased when you hire an attorney.
In New York, the first thing you should do following an injury is to obtain medical care. As soon as you can afterward, you should notify your employer in writing, within 30 days of the accident or else you may lose your chance of recovering compensation. There will then be forms that will need to be filled out. A New York attorney will know exactly which forms you’ll need, where to send them to, and who to contact when you need personal injury compensation.
After your claim is filed, you’ll need to follow your doctor’s instructions for recovery, as well as possibly attend court hearings that you are required to go to. You will also need to go back to work once you are capable to mitigate future expenses. Lastly, you are also able to sue for workers’ compensation on behalf of a close family member if he or she is unable to do so.
At O’Brien and Ford, we have years of experience in the legal system and continue to stay updated on any New York law developments. We strive to help injured people receive compensation that they deserve while making the process as easy as possible for our clients. An injury can be tolling on your day-to-day life, but the lawsuit doesn’t have to be. Call us today: (716) 330-2901.
When a close family member passes away due to the fault of someone else, you may be able to earn monetary compensation for your costs and reliance on the decedent. Understandably, no amount of money will ever be able to make up for the loss of your loved one, but money can still help you along the way to your recovery. You may be faced with medical bills, funeral costs, and loss of income following such a death, but with the help of legal professionals, you’ll be able to get through this difficult time.
How You Can Sue and How Damages are Distributed
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit to be economically reimbursed for expenses following the death of a close family member. This type of lawsuit can arise following a death caused by medical malpractice, vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents on the premises of another, or any other reason a death was caused by another person. Even if the person that at-fault was criminally charged for his or her wrongdoing, you can still file this civil suit for your loss.
In New York, the personal representative of the decedent can file suit. Presuming a successful outcome, the personal representative will then be able to distribute the money earned through the claim to the people who have suffered a pecuniary loss by that death. People who receive this money are typically the children, spouse, and/or parents of the decedent.
If you have suffered a pecuniary loss due to the death of a close family member, you could recover financially for the reliance the decedent gave to you, the value of the support and services rendered, loss of nurture and guidance, pain and suffering, loss of inheritance, and potentially punitive damages under aggravating circumstances. Additionally, you may be able to receive medical, funeral, and burial expenses arising from the decedent’s death.
Statute Of Limitations
Statutes of limitations in each state determine how long you have to file suit. You will not be able to file suit once the statute of limitations has run on your claim, so it is vital for you to know how long you have and make sure you file within the time limit. In New York, you have two years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death claim. There are certainly exceptions, such as when there was also a criminal proceeding against the defendant or if a minor is involved, but nevertheless, you should always contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your claim is timely filed.
Contacting An Attorney
When you’re not sure what to do, you should always contact an attorney to further advise you of the specific wrongful death statutes in your state and help guide you with what you should do. When you’re looking for a compassionate attorney that cares about the people they work with, you don’t need to look any further than the team of attorneys at O’Brien and Ford in New York. Contact us today so we can help you and your family receive fair compensation to get you back on your feet. Call us at: (716) 330-2901
It’s easy to get frustrated when others drive too close to your car, cut you off, or don’t follow the rules of the roads. However, acting out on your emotions can lead to road rage that causes serious car accidents and violations with law enforcement.
People that drive aggressively are not only dangers to themselves but also others on the road and the repercussions can be severe.
What Is Road Rage?
In the highly-populated and busy state of New York, it is common for the roads to have a lot of traffic. In fact, the Big Apple is well known for bumper-to-bumper traffic in its crowded cities.
This can easily cause aggravation when you’re trying to be on time to an appointment or simply want to arrive after a long day of work. Any driver is susceptible to road rage from minor to serious cases such as:
Giving rude gestures to other drivers
Walking out of your car and to another driver’s car
Using weapons such as firearms or your own vehicle to injure another driver
Road Rage Consequences
Injuries, property damage, and death are not the only consequences of road rage. Aggressive driving is against the law and whenever you get behind the wheel, you’re expected to follow the law. Disregarding the law can bring about fines, imprisonment, tickets, loss or suspension of your license, and other court and attorney costs. No matter how much another driver angers you while driving, the consequences of reacting hostilely are never worth it.
New York officers are consistently on the lookout to pull over reckless drivers. To obtain a New York license, you even have to pass an examination that includes questions on road rage to prove you are aware of the dangers in addition to the legal and financial consequences that you can face if you fail to drive responsibly. Road rage awareness is a mandatory prerequisite in order to obtain a New York license as this ensures that drivers understand why road rage is never okay and what the ramifications can be.
How To Prevent Road Rage
It may be difficult to impossible to avoid road rage from other drivers around you. However, you can always control your own emotions and take the steps necessary to avoid unfortunate accidents caused by road rage. To reduce your chances of being in a car accident:
Always remain calm and reasonable
Respect others on the road and follow the law
Play soothing music or intriguing podcasts or audiobooks
Mouth you’re sorry and wave if you make a mistake
If you start feeling upset, take a deep breath to calm yourself down
If you’re too emotional, pull over to a safe location and wait until you calm down
Contact the police if you see another person driving aggressively
Expect and plan ahead for the possibility of traffic and reckless drivers
Please always remember to drive responsibly. If you are the victim of a car accident, you deserve to receive compensation and need a skilled attorney on your side. Our attorneys have years of experience and offer free initial consultations to review personal injury cases. Call us today: 716-330-2901.
Winter is many people’s favorite season: colder weather, the holidays, family visits, delicious meals. . . However, winter certainly has its downsides, especially for the northern states that have snowfall each year.
While snow can certainly be fun and beautiful to look at, there have been many personal injuries that could have been avoided completely if it weren’t for snow.
Driving in the snow is much more difficult and dangerous than driving on a clear road. Snow and ice cause cars to slip and collide with each other. Pile-ups are more common over the winter more than other seasons because it is much harder to break in the snow. Snowfall can also often decrease visibility which is never a good thing while driving.
If you have to drive in the snow, make sure you have snow tires and that your car is well-maintained. Make sure you know the dangers, what to avoid, and exactly how to control your vehicle in the snow in case it slides.
Slip and Falls
Snow and ice are always very slippery. If you don’t have the right snowshoes, it is very likely that you can glide on the snow and then fall. Eventually, the snow will melt and form ice, then it can be covered again with more snow. You may think it is safe to walk on, but it is actually not. Business owners are required to maintain their premises and keep ice off their pathways. As people get older, a fall on gravel or the pavement can cause serious bone injuries.
Make sure you always have the proper snow footwear, walk slowly, and hold on to railings when they’re available to avoid accidents.
Sports that require snow include sledding, skiing, snowboarding, tubing, etc. Although they are very fun, they can also be very dangerous and cause severe injuries. Before going out to partake in a winter sport, make sure you know what you’re doing. Avoiding obstacles such as trees or other people can be difficult due to a lack of experience.
Avoid injuries by wearing the safety gear required and having trained people around you that know what to do in case of an emergency.
Wintertime is often the only time of the year that people use their fireplaces. Fires can be dangerous because they can quickly spread if you’re not careful. Not only can fires cause indoor home damage, but it can also injure people inside with burns and breathing issues.
To avoid injury, make sure your fireplace and chimney are clean and well-maintained. Also, make sure you keep your fire under control by keeping fires small and have a nonflammable guard panel around them. If you have young children, make sure you warn them of the dangers as well so that they do not play near it.
If you are involved in a snow-related accident, you might be able to be compensated when someone else was at fault. No matter the season, O’Brien and Ford will be available for advice, guidance, and to fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us today at: (716) 330-2901.
When a family member passes away because of the fault, negligence, or recklessness of another person, the decedent’s named personal representative can sue on behalf of the decedent in a civil wrongful death lawsuit. It is understandable to want a defendant to be held responsible for the loss of your family member and damages that you have suffered. Spouses, children, and parents of deceased family members can ultimately receive monetary compensation including:
Funeral and burial costs
Healthcare and pain and suffering costs related to the cause of death
Lost wages and income
Reasonable value for the support and care that the decedent gave to close family members
Punitive damages in certain circumstances
In New York, The Estate Powers and Trust Law in the State Constitution lays out the rules for wrongful death. Courts have given verdicts in favor of plaintiffs for deaths that have occurred in fatal car accidents, poorly maintained premises, medical malpractice, and deaths at work, for example. Each case is unique but depending on the facts of your case, a New York licensed attorney will be able to tell you what you might be able to recover. Additionally, experienced attorneys will know exactly how to pursue your case and answer any pressing questions that you may have.
Courts may also award more or less money depending on what happened. If the deceased was partially at fault, courts will typically award less but if the defendant acted maliciously, you could be awarded more. Even though an attorney will not be able to give you an exact dollar amount of what you will receive, attorneys can still tell you whether you likely have a successful case on your hands, what you can potentially recover, and guide you along the way.
Statute Of Limitations
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in New York is two years. This means that a decedent’s personal representative will only have two years following the death to pursue a lawsuit. Waiting past the statute of limitations will result in a court not hearing the wrongful death claim unless there is a rare exception. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible will ensure that your case a filed in time.
Even when you are still deciding whether you should sue or not, an attorney will be able to explain what the likely outcome is. After all, it is never too early to get the ball rolling, but it can get to be too late. Even if you think it might be too late, an attorney will also be able to let you know if you fall under any few exceptions that could allow suit.
We always give free initial consultations so if you’re thinking about filing a lawsuit, we can discuss what happened and let you know what we can do for you. We will not charge you anything until you win your lawsuit, so there are no obligations. Our attorneys at O’Brien and Ford know that you are going through a difficult time after the death of a loved one, but we will do anything possible to make this an easier time for you.
No one leaves the house planning on getting in a car accident. Even dealing with a minor car accident with minimal damage requires time and effort.
A hit and run accident, where the driver of one car leaves the scene without stopping, can feel even more overwhelming.
Whether you are in a car, on a bicycle, or a pedestrian, here are five steps to take if you are the victim of a hit and run.
Assess Yourself and Others for Injuries
Being hit by a car or truck can be alarming. With the extra adrenaline in your system, you may not immediately feel pain. This is not necessarily a true indication of whether or not you have been injured. Take a few moments to check for bleeding, bones at odd angles, strained muscles, and the like. Once you have assessed your own self for injuries, check on those around you who may also have been affected.
If you or someone else has sustained injuries, seek medical help immediately. The rest of this checklist, while important, is not nearly as important as your own health and safety.
Clear the Roadway
Once assured you do not need immediate medical attention, clear the roadway if you are able to do so. Pull over to the side of the road. Retrieve your bicycle from the intersection. Gather your things. Clearing the roadway helps reduce the potential for subsequent accidents caused by unsuspecting motorists.
Call the Police
Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. If you are the victim of a hit and run, this should be reported to the police as soon as possible. Law enforcement will likely come to the scene to interview you and file a report. This may seem like a waste of time, particularly if you don’t think you sustained injuries. However, some injuries take longer than others to present themselves. Calling the police is an important step in documenting the accident took place.
Document the Scene
The police will likely document some of the accident scene, but this does not prevent you from taking a few pictures of your own. Consider taking both close ups and distance photos with your phone. Obviously, if there are any skid marks or other evidence of the crash, such as paint transferred to the guardrail, this should be documented. Photos documenting the intersection, the parked cars on the side of the street, and other information which informs a fact finder may prove helpful later on.
Contact an Attorney
At O’Brien & Ford, we offer free consultations in every case. You are never under any obligation. Whether or not you have a personal injury claim is based on a number of factors. There is no need to guess whether or not you may have a claim. Our attorneys are happy to speak with anyone after a hit and run accident about the facts of their case. Call us today at (716) 330-2901. We look forward to answering any questions you may have.
Sometimes, people are injured through no fault of their own.
When this happens, they may have a claim for compensation.
In other words, they may be entitled to collect money for things related to the accident, such as:
Lost wages for missed time at work
Lost overtime wages
Transportation to and from medical treatments
Durable medical equipment and
Other costs related to the injury.
Out of pocket costs can be recovered in a personal injury suit. However, one can only receive money for proven expenses. In addition, one can recover for pain and suffering. When lawyers ask a jury to determine the proper amount for pain and suffering, each case is judged on the individual facts and circumstances. As such, it is a good idea to maintain a personal injury journal after an injury.
Understanding What a Personal Injury Journal Is
A personal injury journal is a place for recording all information related to an injury. Ideally, this includes, but is not limited to:
each day of work missed
each overtime opportunity missed
all medical visits and treatments, as well as
how one feels each day.
With all the information related to the injury in one place, a fact-finder can easily review the information. This allows for a reasonable calculation of the consequences of the injury. A personal injury journal helps a fact finder understand the injured person’s experience. This puts the fact-finder in a better position to consider what dollar amount might be appropriate for compensation. In most personal injury cases, the damage cannot be completely undone. How much, for example, is the pain of a torn muscle or a broken bone worth? However, when fully informed a fact finder can decide on a fair and reasonable dollar amount.
What a Personal Injury Journal Looks Like
The are several areas where a personal injury journal is useful. One can monitor ongoing medical treatment. One can also document the body’s response to treatment. Finally, a personal injury journal can track healing. What the personal injury journal looks like is up to the individual. Ideally, a personal injury journal works for the user. A notebook works just fine. However, if someone is on crutches, a regular sized notebook may not be easy to transport back and forth to the doctor. A smaller notebook may be more appropriate. Some people prefer to keep their personal injury journal in a book designed to be a journal or journal. Still others prefer to record the doctor visits and other data on their phone. The key is to find a system that works for the person hurt. An empty personal injury journal doesn’t help anyone.
What a Personal Injury Journal Should Contain
Medical Visits and Lost Work
A personal injury journal should include all information relating to the injury. Obviously, a personal injury journal should include all doctor visits. If the Doctor recommends a certain treatment, such as exercises, or seeing a specialist, the personal injury journal should document these recommendations. The journal should also document following those recommendations to the letter. For example, if the doctor recommends doing a certain set of exercises three times a day, each time the person performs the exercises, they should record this in the personal injury journal.
Each day of work missed should also be documented in the journal. In fact, the journal should include any time taken off work, even if only 30 minutes, to go to a doctor’s appointment, physical therapy visit, or other visit relating to the injury.
The journal should include costs of prescriptions. In addition, one should document any costs for durable medical equipment. This might include a back brace, crutches, or items to assist in the shower.
Pain and Suffering
Make certain the personal injury journal documents pain experienced. First, figure out a scale, such as a scale from 1 to 10. In this example, 1 means feeling fine, while 10 means experiencing extreme pain. 5 represents an ability to do daily tasks, but not without significant pain. An entry may look like this:
Woke up at 6:00 am with leg throbbing. Pain level is a 7.
Took pain meds before getting out of bed. Pain level at 7:00 am is a 4.
Could not drive children to school due to pain meds.
leg pain increased to an 8 at 3:30 pm.
Took more pain meds. Pain reduced to 5.
Iced leg as Doctor ordered for 20 minutes. Pain reduced to 3.
A personal injury journal should reflect the pain experienced at least daily during the healing process. However, often people note their pain levels more than once a day in the beginning. This is because, when taking pain meds, the level of pain can vary quite a bit over the course of a day.
Quality of life issues often present themselves while one is recovering from an injury. For example, one might miss out on coaching their daughter’s soccer team due to an injury. Or a parent may not be able to physically pick up their child. Memory issues may make it impossible to work the way someone used to work. All of these events have a place in a personal injury journal.
Mistakes People Make
Two frequent mistakes people make when dealing with a personal injury are overstating their pain,and understating their pain. This is understandable. However, for the purposes of obtaining compensation for actual pain and suffering, an accurate record of one’s experience is critical.
When recording pain, take some time to consider the scale in place. Not every day is going to be “horrible pain,” but some might be. Remember, healing isn’t always linear. Even if you feel fine for a few days, continue scoring your pain in your journal until you are certain you have healed. If your injury is limiting your ability to live a full life, document this in great detail. These details provide the fact finder with the information they need.
The other most common mistake is not keeping up on recording ongoing hassles related to the injury. If a family member or friend enters the information for you, this is perfectly okay, as long as they are writing down your thoughts and experiences. The important part is recording the information in real time.
If you are a loved one is hurt, contact O’Brien & Ford. We are happy to meet with you and your family for free to discuss whether you might have a case. We maintain regular office hours. However, we can also meet you at a place convenient for you. Call us today at 716.330.2901.
When a person passes away because of the negligence of another person, the appointed personal representative can sue on behalf of the decedent. The personal representative is often a family member, but a neutral third party may also be appointed.
If the claim is successful, the personal representative will hold the money in trust to distribute to the heirs of the decedent. The heirs of the decedent will typically be the decedent’s spouse (if married), children (if a parent), parents (if no spouse or children), or siblings (if there are no surviving spouses, children, or parents).
How Much Can You Receive?
In New York, while you cannot receive monetary awards for your own personal pain and suffering, you can recover for any pain and suffering that the decedent suffered. Additionally, you will be able to recover funeral and burial costs, medical costs contributed to treating the decedent up to his or her death, lost income, and the loss of value for the services, support, and parenting to close family members due to the death.
Punitive damages (to punish the defendant) are only imposed in rare cases, typically where the facts show that the defendant acted with extreme recklessness or malice.
While you may be able to receive monetary relief for your loss, an experienced personal injury attorney will need to review the relevant facts surrounding your case to let you know whether it is worth it to sue and how much you could earn. Dollar amounts are based on the facts surrounding the death. An attorney experienced in wrongful death suits will be able to determine an estimate, as each case is different.
Each state has enacted a statute of limitations for when a plaintiff can file suit for different causes of actions. The reasoning behind these is to ensure that defendants are able to defend themselves without the risk of lost evidence or memory.
When too much time has surpassed, the claim is considered “stale.” Presumably, if a plaintiff has a case, he or she needs to file suit within a reasonable amount of time, which is why states have enacted these limitations to depict when a claim becomes stale.
In New York, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death action is two years from the day of the decedent’s death. Therefore, if you think you may have a successful wrongful death claim, you should not delay reaching out to an attorney so that your case is timely and properly filed within the time limitation.
New York has allowed for narrow exceptions to the two-year rule, so even if you have surpassed the two-year limitation, you should contact an attorney to see if you fall within one of these few exceptions, as you have nothing to lose. However, it will always be beneficial for you to timely file rather than try to fall under an exception.
The attorneys at O’Brien & Ford are skilled and experienced in the realm of personal injury law including wrongful death claims. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, but we will be there to help you every step of the way. Do not wait or hesitate to call us at (716) 330-2901 today.