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.

Is It Safe To Use Hands-Free Devices While Driving?

By now, the dangers of cell phone use while driving are well known. Texting while driving is prohibited in 48 states, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and the District of Colombia. Moreover, 21 states prohibit all hand-held cell phone use while driving. These laws have led to the proliferation of devices to allow drivers to use voice control to operate their phones. Although hands-free devices are commonly thought to be safer than traditional cell phones while driving, is that really the case?

Surprisingly, several studies have shown that hands-free cell phone use is just as dangerous as traditional cell phone use while driving. Several states, recognizing this, have prohibited any cell phone use by new drivers. While it seems logical to assume that keeping both hands on the wheel would be safer, the problem with talking on the phone while driving has less to do with a driver’s hands and more to do with his brain.

The National Safety Council published a white paper on the subject of hands-free devises in 2012 and concluded that any cell phone use takes a driver’s attention away from his surroundings. Researchers studying human brain functions found that we do not actually “multi-task,” or perform multiple functions simultaneously.  Instead, the brain switches back and forth between tasks. While the switching back and forth is quick, our attention focuses on one thing and then the next, in rapid succession. While driving, even a small lapse in attention can be dangerous, especially at highway speeds.

In a 2015 episode of the popular television show, “Mythbusters,” the hosts found that, on a driving course and in a simulator, subjects had as many accidents while using hands-free devices as they did using hand-held devices.

While talking to passengers inside one’s vehicle can also be distracting, studies have found that cell phone conversations are more dangerous. One possible explanation for this could be that passengers can also watch the road, alerting drivers to unseen dangers.

It may be impossible to expect all drivers to give their phones up completely, but some safety practices can minimize accident risks. All new drivers should avoid any cell phone use, for example. Furthermore, all drivers should forego talking on the phone in heavy traffic, bad weather conditions, or on unfamiliar roads.

If you or a loved one is injured by a distracted driver, the law firm of O’Brien & Ford can help. Call us today at 716-907-7777 or visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/.

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.

 

The Leading Causes of Vehicle Accidents

Over ten million automobile accidents happen in the United States every year, from small fender-benders to multiple vehicle accidents with serious of fatal injuries. Driver error, weather conditions, faulty equipment, and intentional actions can, alone or in combination, lead to an accident.

Distracted Driving
According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, distracted driving is the number one cause of accidents in the United States, accounting for as much as eighty percent of all accidents. Distracted driving can take many forms, but one of the most common is texting or using a phone while driving. In the time it takes to send one text, a car traveling at highway speeds can travel the length of a football field. All states prohibit texting while driving, and many have prohibited the use of all hand-held mobile devices while driving.

Other driving distractions include eating, putting on makeup, and talking to passengers. Passengers in a vehicle are particularly distracting to new drivers, so some states limit the number of passengers that teenage drivers may carry.

Impaired Driving
After distracted driving, impaired driving is the most common cause of highway injuries and deaths. Driving while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, and certain prescription medications is a recipe for disaster. This poses a great risk to the driver, his passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.

Often overlooked or dismissed, fatigued driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of controlled substances. Commercial truck drivers are especially vulnerable to the temptation to drive for too many hours with too little sleep in order to meet deadlines.

Weather
Snow, ice, and rain can all be hazardous, especially for drivers who are unfamiliar with driving in those conditions. Even the most experienced drivers must be particularly cautious around snow and ice, but drivers who have never lived in regions where those conditions are much more likely to be involved in accidents. Whenever rain, snow, ice or fog are present, the posted speed limits may not be safe, braking times will be greater, and visibility can be reduced.

Driver Error
Even the best drivers make mistakes. A slight miscalculation could turn a near miss into a collision. Accidents happen when drivers fail to notice motorcycles and smaller vehicles or do not signal properly before turning or changing lanes. Accidents at intersections occur when drivers fail to observe stop signs or do not look in all directions before proceeding. Never assume that other drivers will signal properly, observe speed limits, or obey stop lights or signs.

Faulty Equipment
Examples of equipment failures that lead to accidents should also be taken into consideration:

• Non-functioning brake lights or turn signals
• Brake failure
• Tire blowouts
• Improperly calibrated speedometers
• Improperly secured cargo

Call and Accident Expert
If you are injured in an accident, the top-rated attorneys at The O’Brien & Ford Firm can help. Visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/, or call 716-907-7777 for a free consultation.

Liability for Dog Bite Injuries in New York

It seems that every neighborhood has one: The dog that barks and growls at everyone who passes by; the yard that you cross the street to avoid, in case the dog is out; the neighborhood pet that you warn your children to steer clear of. If that pet does bite or attack someone, can the owner be held responsible? New York law allows injured persons to sue a pet owner under certain circumstances.

Strict Liability

When a dog has previously been declared “dangerous,” the owner is automatically responsible for any medical or veterinary expenses if the pet attacks and injures a person or another pet. The injury may come from a bite but may also occur if the dog knocks someone down or if a person is injured while running away from the dog. The dog may not be considered dangerous if it was provoked or injured a person or animal while protecting the life or property of its owner.

Animal control regulations vary by locality. In some counties, certain breeds of dog are banned. In others, some breeds are automatically considered “dangerous” for purposes of strict liability, even without any previous history of aggressive behavior. On the other hand, in some counties, a dog must have injured or killed a person or domestic animal and/or have been reported to exhibit aggressive behavior.

The strict liability statute covers medical and veterinary expenses only. In order to recover for pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages, the injured person must sue the dog owner.

Negligence

Unlike most personal injury actions, proof of negligence is not required in order to recover damages from the owner of a dog that bites or injures a person. The injured person must prove that the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous or had vicious propensities. This can be established by proving that the dog had previously attacked a person or domestic animal, causing death or serious injury, or that the dog was known to exhibit violent behavior such as growling, snapping, and baring its teeth. Previous vicious behavior cannot be established if the dog was being threatened, harassed, attacked, or was protecting a person or property.

Insurance

Many homeowner’s insurance policies will cover damages caused by pets. Some may not cover certain breeds, such as pit bulls or rottweilers, however.

New York Dog Bite Attorneys

If you or a family member has been bitten or injured by a dog, call The Law Firm of O’Brien & Ford at 716-907-7777 for a free consultation. You may also visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/.