Safe Driving During Hunting Season

Fall in New York means cooler temperatures, beautiful colors, and the anticipation of winter holidays. Outdoorsmen know that fall also brings hunting season – with bow hunting season beginning on October 1 and regular hunting season beginning on November 21, New York’s rural areas will be full of hunters and dogs looking to bring home some game. New Yorkers and visitors driving in rural areas should be aware of the season and take precautions before a drive in the country.

 

Hunting Regulations

 New York law prohibits firing a gun within 500 feet of a school, church, dwelling (unless the dwelling is owned by the hunter), occupied factory, or playground. A bow or crossbow may not be fired within 250 feet of the above locations. It is also illegal to fire a gun or arrow across a public highway. Despite these regulations, however, infractions may occur intentionally or accidentally by hunters. Drivers should exercise caution when driving during hunting season, and treat a rural road as they would a neighborhood with small children – always expecting the unexpected.

 

Shooting Accidents

 On rare occasions, a stray bullet or arrow may hit a vehicle, driver, or occupant. When driving in areas where hunting is allowed, or in any rural area during hunting season, motorists should listen for the sound of hunting dogs, gunfire, or hunters’ voices. If it appears that hunters are too close to the road, a warning blast of the horn can alert them to the presence of a vehicle. Hunters who disobey regulations regarding proximity to roadways, even accidentally, may be liable for injuries caused if an arrow or bullet strikes a vehicle or occupant and possibly causes a crash.

 

Animals in the Road

 During hunting season, deer and other animals may be found beside roads or crossing highways as they try to escape hunters. Generally, it would be difficult to hold a hunter responsible if you hit a deer, since it would be extremely difficult to prove that a particular hunter drove the animal into traffic. If you hit a deer or other wild animal, your only recourse for compensation would be your auto insurance. If you do not maintain collision coverage on your vehicle, you will be responsible for any repairs yourself. On the other hand, if a hunting dog causes an accident, it may be possible to sue the owner of the dog for any damages or injuries from the accident.

 

What to Do After a Hunting Accident

 If you are involved in an accident caused by a hunting dog or a hunter’s weapon, the first priority, of course, is to take care of anyone who is injured. If possible, try to locate the person whose animal or weapon caused the accident. Normally it is the hunters themselves, not the owner of the property on which the hunting takes place, that are responsible for any injuries. In the case of a hunt club, it is possible that the owner of the club could be found liable for injuries if they are found to be negligent.

Talk to a New York personal injury lawyer about your rights as soon as possible after an accident. The personal injury experts at O’Brien & Ford are available at your convenience for a free consultation. Call us at 716-907-7777 or visit our website for more information.

 

Multiple Vehicle Accidents: Who is Responsible?

It can be difficult to determine who is responsible for an accident even when only two vehicles are involved. In multiple vehicle accidents, things can be even more complicated.

Accidents at Stop Lights and Intersections

One of the most common situations of a multiple vehicle accident occurs when one driver stops suddenly at a stop light or stop sign and another driver hits the car from behind. This can lead to a chain reaction, which may involve three or more cars. A similar type of accident occurs when cars are stopped at a light and the first vehicle does not move immediately or moves too slowly through the intersection. A driver who is paying attention to the light, but not to the car in front of him, can end up running into the back of another car.

 

Although most people assume that a driver who hits another car from behind is at fault, this is not always the case. Malfunctioning brake lights, for example, may make it impossible for a driver to know when the vehicle in front of him is stopping.  A sudden and unwarranted stop may also make it possible for a driver who hits a car from behind to avoid responsibility.

 

Sometimes, the driver who caused the accident is not actually involved in the accident itself. If a driver runs a red light, other drivers may have to stop suddenly at a green light or after they have entered an intersection. This could cause drivers behind them to stop suddenly, leading to one or more rear-end collisions.

 

Accidents on Highways

Multiple vehicle accidents on highways often occur when roads are wet or slick and/or when visibility is limited. With highway speeds and limited visibility, drivers can come upon the scene of an accident with no time to stop or get out of the way. Pileups involving dozens of cars are possible, making it difficult to determine who is responsible.

 

Comparative Negligence

In New York, an injured person may still be able to recover damages for their injuries even when he is partially responsible for an accident. Under the comparative negligence rule, a driver who is less than 50% responsible for an accident can still recover damages, limited by the amount of his responsibility. For example, if a court finds a person 40% responsible for an accident, he can recover 60% of his damages. In multiple vehicle accidents, it is common for more than one person to bear responsibility, so the comparative negligence rule is particularly important.

 

What to Do After a Multiple Vehicle Accident

In multiple vehicle accidents, determining the cause and assigning responsibility for the accident can be complex and time-consuming. All the information may not be readily apparent to drivers, passengers, and witnesses, so it is important not to admit fault at the scene, or afterward. If possible, take pictures of the vehicles before they are moved. Furthermore, take note of the surroundings, including stop signs, traffic lights, or debris in the road.

New York Accident Attorney

Talk to a New York accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident. The attorneys at O’Brien & Ford are dedicated to helping injured persons get the compensation they need, and have decades of experience representing accident victims in New York. Call us  any time at 716-907-7777, or visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/

Compensation for Uber or Lyft Accidents

Uber car ride

One of the most profound changes to the American economy in the twenty-first century is the evolution of the gig economy. More and more workers are leaving traditional jobs and working for themselves, a trend that will probably increase even more in the wake of COVID-19. One of the largest sectors in the new economy is ridesharing, where independent drivers using their own vehicles are supplementing and even replacing traditional taxicabs.  Ridesharing is a convenient and affordable way to travel, especially in areas which have unreliable taxi service.

However, what happens in the event of an accident involving a rideshare vehicle? Unlike taxis, rideshare vehicles are not owned by the companies, such as Uber and Lyft, that provide the service. Each driver is an independent contractor. Both most prominent rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft, are very careful to characterize their drivers as independent contractors, to avoid potential liability for the drivers’ actions.

Driver Liability

Since Uber and Lyft drivers use their own vehicles, their automobile insurance policies should cover any accidents that they cause while carrying passengers. The rideshare companies, in fact, require their drivers to carry insurance and some insurers require a separate insurance policy for drivers who use their vehicles professionally. In any case, if an uber or Lyft driver is responsible for an accident, he or she is responsible for that accident just as if it had happened while using the vehicle for personal errands.

Legislation has recently been introduced in California that would change the relationship between Uber and Lyft and their drivers, making it more of an employer/employee relationship. If this legislation passes, that could mean increased liability for the companies in case of an accident. Both companies have threatened to cease operations in California if the legislation goes into effect.

If an accident is caused by the driver of another vehicle, of course, the driver of that vehicle is responsible for any damages, regardless of whether the injured person was a passenger in a rideshare vehicle.

Rideshare Company Liability

Even though their drivers are considered independent contractors, both Uber and Lyft carry insurance to cover accidents when the driver’s insurance is insufficient. Injured persons may be able to make a claim against that insurance if the driver’s insurer refuses to pay for some reason.

 

Injured persons have also made successful claims against rideshare companies when their own negligence contributes to the injury. Some examples include:

  • Failing to conduct proper background checks on drivers
  • Hiring drivers with a history of criminal behavior, or with bad driving records
  • Failing to ensure that drivers’ vehicles have passed required safety inspections
  • Ignoring customer complaints about drivers

 

If an injured person can prove that the rideshare company knew or should have known that a driver had a criminal history, for example, the company may be found responsible for criminal actions of the driver, such as assaults on passengers and theft of passengers’ belongings.

 

New York Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident with a rideshare vehicle, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. At O’Brien & Ford, we dedicate ourselves to helping injured people, and we will discover all possible sources of liability, to make sure you are able to get the compensation you need. Call us at 716-907-7777, or visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/. We offer in-person and virtual appointments, and follow social distancing and all COVID precautions.

Receiving Compensation for RV Accidents and Injuries

Every year, millions of families travel to vacation destinations in recreational vehicles, both owned and rented. While this is generally a safe and comfortable means of travel, RVs come with their own unique risks, sometimes leading to accidents and injuries.

Common Causes of RV Accidents

Inexperienced drivers: For most new owners, their RV is much larger than the car they are used to driving. Even for motor homes that are 45 feet long and up, no special training or licensing is required for operation, so the person behind the wheel may not be used to the increased braking required for a large vehicle or the difficulty in maneuvering in traffic. Visibility may also be limited, especially if a car is being towed behind the RV. RV renters may have even less experience.

Other motorists: As with large trucks, other drivers may not be aware of a large vehicle’s blind spots, reduced maneuverability, or increased braking time. Oftentimes, other drivers follow too closely, change lanes quickly in front of an RV, or follow beside the RV in areas not visible in that vehicle’s mirrors. All of these behaviors can lead to accidents.

Mechanical Failure: RVs are subject to the same mechanical failures as other vehicles. This includes brake, tire, and other potential mechanical failures.

Other causes: Improper loading or overloading can cause RVs to be unstable and can cause tire failure. Propane tanks, if not properly maintained and secured, can cause serious injuries.

Take the Proper Precautions

New owners and renters should always take plenty of time to familiarize themselves with their vehicle before taking it on the road. Ideally, a new owner or renter should drive the vehicle in a safe area for several hours to learn its balance, turning radius, stopping distance, and the locations of controls, such as lights, turn signals, and mirror adjustments.

Plan your route before you get on the road, to avoid distractions.

Check the interior of the RV to make sure all items are safely stowed away. Check propane tanks to make sure they are properly secured and turned off while traveling.

New York RV Accident Attorneys

If you are injured in an RV accident as a passenger, pedestrian, or driver of the vehicle involved in a crash with an RV, talk to an experienced RV accident attorney. The attorneys at O’Brien and Ford focus their attention on representing accident victims. You can arrange a free consultation by calling us at 716-907-7777. Learn more about our firm and our practice here.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Although we are working from alternate locations, we remain fully functional and look forward to helping you.

 

COVID-19: Decline in Car Accidents; Increase in Car Problems?

As we deal with COVID-19, we have been staying home to stop the spread and abiding by our states’ regulations. Something that most people may have overlooked or not even considered is the fact that vehicles need to be run from time to time, otherwise risking long-term problems. Although there are inevitably fewer car accidents on the road, there has been an increase in car issues because of the lack of driving.

How to Prevent & Deal with Common Car Problems

  • Dead Battery: If you don’t run your car and simply let it sit out for too long, your battery can drain, die, and possibly even be permanently damaged. To avoid this issue, keep running your car every so often to keep it charged and going.

  • Sun Damage: Interior damage caused by the sun can be prevented if you park your vehicle inside an indoor garage or covered shelter. If you don’t have access to one, you can use a sun shield that will cover the front exposure of your vehicle. You can purchase these affordably

  • Brakes: Brakes can stick and stop working when your car sits idle. Making sure that you move your car around and use your brakes will get your brakes working and prevent them from freezing up.

  • Tires: To prevent having to replace your car tires, make sure you check on them from time to time. If you start seeing them deflate, have them aired up. This quick fix will save you the time and money of having to replace them altogether when they could have lasted longer.

  • Gas: Gas can go bad if it sits in a car for too long. To prevent this, make sure that you continue to refill your gas timely, even if you think you might not need to right away. This will help your car’s longevity and during this time, gas prices are lower, so you may also save money in the long run.

  • Critters: If you have already let your vehicle sit for too long, make sure to check for any critters and animals that may have made it their new home. Proper car maintenance is key to making sure your car will run for a long time.

Contact Us

O’Brien & Ford have continued to remain available to our clients for help in their personal injury case. We have made efforts to remain updated with the latest technology to ensure that our clients will receive the best representation possible, even during this time. Contact us today: 716-907-7777.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Although we are working from alternate locations, we remain fully functional and look forward to helping you.

 

Do You Need A Personal Injury Attorney?

Personal Injury Text with StethoscopeAfter an accident or injury, one of the first questions you may ask yourself is whether you need the services of a personal injury attorney. Perhaps you were in a car accident and the other driver was obviously at fault or admitted fault at the scene. Maybe you suffered a minor injury that did not require any treatment. Maybe you tripped and fell in a public place and blamed your own clumsiness. You may think it is unnecessary or overly expensive to seek advice from an attorney or believe that you have no recourse. However, read below to understand how a personal injury attorney may help, even when you don’t believe you need it.

Make Sure You Know All the Facts

When it comes to any accident, things are not always what they seem to be. You may believe you were being careless when you failed to see the other vehicle before a collision, but there may have been other factors that you don’t know about.

 

For example:

  • The other driver may have been speeding or under the influence of alcohol or other substances. There may even have been mechanical problems with your vehicle.
  • The driver who tearfully admitted running a red light at the scene may have an entirely different story later on.
  • You might have thought you were just clumsy when you fell in the grocery store, but you may not have seen the water or debris that made you fall.
  • Perhaps, you thought you startled the dog that bit you. When in fact, the dog may have bitten or injured others in the past.

One of the jobs of a personal injury attorney is to help determine exactly what caused an accident, and who was at fault.

 

A Fast Settlement May Not Be Best

When an insurance company acknowledges that their client was at fault for an accident, it is in their best interests to offer a quick cash settlement. This may not be best for you, however. If you accept a settlement and find out later that you have lingering or even permanent injuries, you are not entitled to additional compensation. You must be sure that the extent of any injuries is completely known before reaching any final settlement. Your attorney will be able to accurately determine the amount of compensation that you should receive, even if the insurance company offers much less. Your attorney will also be able to work with insurers to get payment for medical expenses and possibly lost wages while your case is still pending, so you are not forced to accept a quick, inadequate settlement.

 

Cost

You may be worried about how you will pay for an attorney or if attorney’s fees will reduce the amount of your settlement. Since personal injury attorneys do not get paid unless they win or settle your case, you do not have to worry about paying any fees.

 

If you do not win, you do not owe any attorney’s fees. Personal injury attorneys handle cases like yours every day and know how to negotiate for the maximum compensation. Their experience can mean more compensation for you, even after fees are subtracted.

 

Consultations are Free

Your first consultation with one of the personal injury attorneys at O’Brien & Ford is always free. We are available whenever you need us, at 716-907-7777, or you may visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/COVID-19 UPDATE: Although we are working from alternate locations, we remain fully functional and look forward to helping you.

 

How Will the Coronavirus Affect My Personal Injury Case?

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has disrupted personal lives and businesses all over the world. People are continuing to go to work, study, and live their lives, however, which means that accidents will continue to happen, despite quarantines and travel restrictions. If you are involved in an accident or have a pending personal injury case, here is some information how the coronavirus may affect you.

 

If You Are in An Accident

Anyone who is involved in an accident and suspects that they may be injured should seek medical attention right away. Untreated injuries can become worse and symptoms do not always appear immediately. The stress of an accident can also mask or dull pain, leading you to believe that you are not seriously injured. Failure to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident or injury can hurt your chances of recovering for your damages in the future, as it may be difficult to prove that your injures were actually sustained in the accident, and not at a later time. Naturally, during this current situation, people may be reluctant to go to a hospital or doctor’s office. Your safety and that of your family is very important. Nevertheless, it is also important to receive the medical care you need while still keeping yourself safe.

 

If You Have A Pending Personal Injury Case

The coronavirus outbreak has caused most pending court cases to be postponed. If your case is postponed, it will be rescheduled at a later date. If there is a possibility that witnesses may not be available for a later court date, arrangements can be made to take depositions from those witnesses. Let your attorney know right away if you believe a delay in your case may cause a witness to become unavailable.

 

It is also important to make sure you obtain a note from your treating physician or therapist if you have to miss scheduled doctor or therapy appointments due the coronavirus outbreak. Failing to follow through with scheduled treatments without a valid reason could have a negative impact on your case. Let your attorney know if you have to miss any scheduled appointments.

 

Attorney Consultations

As always, the attorneys at O’Brien & Ford are available for you 24/7. If you have been in an accident, or have questions about your case, you can still call us at 716-907-7777. Our attorneys are available for phone and video consultations if necessary. You may also visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/ for more information.

The Importance of Having Car Insurance

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.

Legal Requirements

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.

 

Additional Liability

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.

 

Additional Benefits

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 & 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.

 

Avoiding Pedestrian Accidents

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.

For Drivers:

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.

For Pedestrians:

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

For drivers:

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.

For Pedestrians:

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.

For everyone:

Whenever you are involved in an accident, the accidents experts at O’Brien & Ford are available 24/7. Call us at 716-907-7777 or visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/ for more information.

 

Moving Forward Following A Work-Related Injury

Personal Injury Text with StethoscopeWork-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. 

The Process 

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. 

Contact Us 

At O’Brien & 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: 716-907-7777.