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.



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


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 for more information.


What To Do Following The Wrongful Death Of A Loved Family Member 

Wrongful death form and stethoscope on a table.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

Can And Should You Sue For Wrongful Death? 

 illustration of Wrongful Death title on Legal DocumentsWhen 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 
  • Inheritance 
  • Punitive damages in certain circumstances 

Past Cases 

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.  

Contact Us 

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. 

Call us at your earliest convenience: (716) 330-2901. 

Common Wrongful Death Questions 

Wrongful death form and stethoscope on a table.What Is A Wrongful Death Claim? 

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.

Specifically, cases surrounding wrongful deaths of children or elders may be more challenging because the factors that determine the amount of compensation are difficult to accurately put a dollar amount to. These factors include life and work expectancy, age and health, and reliability.  

How Long Do You Have To Sue? 

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. 

Contact Us 

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.