Whether you commute for two hours to and from work each day or drive once a week or less, a good automobile insurance policy is one of the best investments you can make. Even if you are a careful driver who has never been in an accident, you cannot control the actions of the drivers around you, and you may find yourself in need of the protection that your insurance can offer.
If you own a vehicle in the State of New York, you are required by law to carry insurance. The New York No-Fault law mandates coverage so that in most small accident cases, each driver’s insurances will cover their damages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. If you are uninsured, you will not be allowed to sue the other driver for a minor accident, even if the accident was completely the other person’s fault. If you do not have your own insurance, your repairs and medical expenses will be out of pocket.
Although you are only required to carry the minimum amount of $50,000 in insurance, you should always opt for additional coverage. For any damages above the no-fault limit, an injured party may sue the person responsible for the accident, and you could be personally liable if the accident is determined to be your fault.
No matter how careful of a driver you are, you can still be prone to distractions, make an error, or experience a mechanical problem that may lead to a collision. Even if the mechanical problem was not your fault, the other driver can sue you if he is injured in an accident caused by your vehicle. If you do not carry insurance above the $50,000 limit, you could find yourself owing a significant amount of money, which could lead to liens on your property or garnishment of your wages.
Your auto insurance can also help if you are the victim of an accident that was not your fault. Uninsured motorist coverage will pay you if you are injured by an uninsured driver, or by a driver who carried only the minimum coverage. In addition, your insurance may include benefits for medical expenses and lost wages, which can reimburse you for those expenses while a claim is pending. These benefits can be crucial if you are unable to work and need help to pay your bills while you are waiting for a settlement.
Learn More About Your Benefits
Call the law firm of O’Brien and Ford at 716-907-7777 if you have been injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, or visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/ for more information.
In any accident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian, the pedestrian is far more likely to be injured than the driver or passengers in the vehicle. As a driver, knowing that you struck and injured a pedestrian can be devastating, even if the accident was not your fault. As a pedestrian, one lapse in concentration could lead to significant or permanent injury. Both drivers and pedestrians can reduce the chance of accidents by following some safety tips.
New York Law requires all vehicles to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Although pedestrians are required to observe traffic signals when crossing a street, they may not do so. Extra caution should be taken whenever approaching a crosswalk, even when no pedestrian is immediately visible.
Vehicles on both sides of any road, even a divided highway, must stop when a school bus has its flashing lights on and STOP sign deployed. Even after the bus turns its lights off and begins moving, drivers should be aware that children may be darting out into the road. Whenever a school bus is nearby, assume that children may make unexpected and sudden movements.
Drivers should also be aware of the presence of children and animals in residential neighborhoods. The 25-mph speed limit may even be too fast in some circumstances, especially when parked cars line both sides of the street in icy or wet weather and after school buses have dropped off children.
Pedestrians have the right-of-way in designated crosswalks but are required to observe traffic signals. If there is a “walk” sign, wait until it is lit to cross. If there is no “walk” signal, wait until there is ample time for you to cross the road before proceeding.
Do not assume that traffic will stop for you, even in a crosswalk. Always be on the lookout for vehicles.
Do not use your phone for texting or web browsing while walking.
Even if you have the right-of-way, do not cross in front of oncoming traffic. Drivers may be distracted and not see you; it is more important to be safe than to be right.
What to Do After an Accident
If you strike a pedestrian, DO NOT leave the scene, even if the person appears uninjured. If the person leaves the scene, try to get their name and contact information before they leave. Take down the names and contact information of any witnesses if the person leaves the scene.
If you are struck by a vehicle, even if you believe you are not injured, get the contact information of the driver.
If the driver leaves the scene, get the car’s license number if possible. If not, note as many details about the vehicle as you can.
Get checked out by a doctor, even if you do not immediately feel hurt. Some injuries do not show symptoms right away.
Whenever you are involved in an accident, the accidents experts at O’Brien and Ford are available 24/7. Call us at 716-907-7777 or visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/ for more information.
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.
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.
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.
Summer is here and it’s time to pull out the bathing suits, tanks, and shorts and put away the sweaters, gloves, and scarves.
Children and young adults are out of school for summer break, and there are many fun recreational activities to do when the sun is shining bright.
However, you should always think ahead and take precautions to avoid injuries and property damage to yourself and others.
Traveling with Trailers
Driving is dangerous because accidents can happen at the blink of an eye. Driving with multiple luggage and a trailer makes driving even more dangerous. Your visibility may be blocked, and you will be driving with more weight than you are typically used to. When you travel with a trailer attached to your car, things to always check and remember are to:
Make sure the trailer is well-attached to your vehicle.
Use the correct ball and hitch receiver.
Always use safety chains.
Whether electric or hydraulic, make sure your brakes are working properly.
Make sure your lights, blinker, and brake lights work.
Invest in extended mirrors that attach to your factory mirrors to see what is behind your trailer.
Make wider turns.
Have a person spotting you when backing out.
Traveling to and from your destination is not the only safety concern. Whether you prefer to jet ski or boat out on the open water or drive ATVS or SUV’s out on some sand dunes. All these recreational activities can be dangerous. With all activities, make sure that you keep an eye out for other people, boats/jet skis/ATVs/vehicles, animals, and objects. More specifically to each activity mentioned:
When jet skiing:
Make sure you have the bracelet attached to the emergency stop on your wrist at all times.
Be cautious of your speed and the waves, as those can easily knock you off.
Keep a watchful eye on speed limits, no wake zones, and manatee zones.
Make sure your anchor is secure before leaving your boat.
Make sure to always wear a helmet.
Make sure you know how to use your ATV (for example, know where your brakes and clutch controls are).
Make sure your vehicle is well-maintained, working properly, and can handle the terrain you plan to drive on.
Know your vehicle’s limitations.
Camping is a fun activity for kids and adults of all ages. Whether you are in a public or private campground, there are still precautions and dangers that you should be aware of:
If you start a fire for s’mores or warmth, make sure your fire does not spread or get out of hand.
Always put your fire out before heading back to your tent or camper.
When grilling, double check to make sure that the grill is off when you are finished cooking.
Be cautious of dangerous wild animals, such as bears or other potentially dangerous animals in your area.
Wear mosquito and bug repellent to avoid severe and/or painful stings and bites.
Keep your personal property secure to avoid it from getting stolen.
If you are injured or your property is damaged by an accident or someone else’s fault, do not hesitate to call our team of legal experts at O’Brien & Ford, PC. We will listen to what happened and advise you on what you should do next. Call (716) 330-2901 for a free consultation about your case.