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Was That Driver Speeding?

/ Car Accident /

Was That Driver Speeding?NEW YORK – Your risk of getting seriously injured in a car crash goes up with every mile per hour. In fact, nearly every accident over 60mph is fatal to pedestrians while 90-percent could survive a car crash at 25mph.

According to a AAA study, the average risk of severe injury for a pedestrian hit by a car reaches 10% at just 16mph – and it escalates as a car slowly moves faster:

  • 25% at 23mph
  • 50% at 31mph
  • 75% at 39mph
  • 90% at 46mph

A Manhattan car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says speed is clearly dangerous and often deadly but many places in American still combine high speeds with at-risk pedestrians.

“The numbers show that a car traveling at just 30mph can cause severe injuries to a person crossing the street in Manhattan,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “The city recently dropped its speed limit from 30 to 25mph but many vehicles ignore this rule and cruise at speeds above 40mph.”

According to recent statistics, a New Yorker is seriously injured by a vehicle every two hours. Since 2014, the city has made several changes in the hopes of reducing the number of accidents and last year, New York recorded the fewest traffic deaths since 1910.

Many other cities haven’t dropped their speed limits. In fact, speed limits have increased on average and vehicles can travel as fast as 80mph in some states.

“Once cars reach a certain speed – usually above 20mph – things can get deadly very quickly,” Cellino said. “There are more speed-related pedestrian deaths in Manhattan than in any other city so speed can literally be the difference between life and death.”

If they’re not reducing speed limits, cities are finding unique ways to enforce active speed limits. The National Association of City Transportation Officials found that lane width effectively reduced a driver’s speed.

But lanes can only get so narrow.

Manhattan car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes say in the end, it’s up to the driver to travel as safely as possible and adhere to the local road laws and speed limits.

“In many cases, like if it’s raining, it may be necessary to adjust your speed well below the speed limit in order to safely pass through an area,” Cellino said. “Unfortunately some drivers push the limits and someone gets seriously injured.”

The attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have investigated thousands of car crashes and Cellino says speed is often a factor.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a speeding driver, you may be entitled to compensation. The Manhattan car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have helped recover more than $1.5 billion for their clients. Contact them today for a free consultation.

Feds Recall Sunflower Seeds Over Listeria Concerns

/ Defective Products /

Feds Recall Sunflower SeedsBUFFALO, N.Y. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered a recall of sunflower seeds sold in stores across more than 24 states, including New York.

According to a federal spokesperson, some of the seeds may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, a species of bacteria which can cause serious infections and illnesses.

The new order expands a recall already in place for kernels produced by SunOpta, a multi-national food and mineral company. Seeds bagged between February 1, 2016 and April 21, 2016 are impacted along the following product lines:

  • Planters Sunflower Kernels
  • Dakota’s Best Biggy’z Roasted and Salted Kernels

“The quality and safety of the food we produce and the ingredients we provide are the highest priority for us,” SunOpta released in a statement. “Therefore, we are voluntarily recalling a limited number of sunflower kernel products that have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. We have isolated the production window to a short timeframe and are working with the FDA and customers to control and dispose of affected product. We are aware of one customer complaint that did not involve an illness, and we are not aware of any consumer issues due to consumption of this product.”

A related recall also warns of listeria contamination in sunflower kernels sold in Wegmans and Tops grocery stores between March 11, 2016 and May 21, 2016.

First Source, a bulk distributor of candy and specialty items, issued the recall for the following products due to Listeria concerns:

  • 15 LBS Alpine Valley Fitness Mix with lot code BD 161021
  • 15 LBS Alpine Valley Yogurt Fruit/Nut Mix with lot code BD 161261
  • Alpine Tub “Roasted & Salted Sunflower Kernels” 10.25oz with Best By 03-24-17
  • Alpine Tub “Roasted & Unsalted Sunflower Kernels” 10.25oz with Best By 3-23-17, 3-30-17, 5-3-17
  • Wegmans square tub “Fitness Mix” 20oz with Best By 12-24-16
  • Wegmans square tub “Sunshine Cranberry Delight” 20oz with Best By 12/15/16, 1-7-17, 2-9-17
  • Wegmans Fitness Mix, scale label UPC begins with 279301
  • Wegmans Yogurt Fruit & Nut Mix, scale label UPC begins with 279375
  • Wegmans Cranberry Sunshine, scale label UPC begins with 279022
  • Wegmans Roasted Sunflower Seeds with Salt, scale label UPC begins with 279973 (available in bulk and on Trail Mix Bar)
  • Wegmans Roasted Sunflower Seeds, no Salt, scale label UPC begins with 279629 (available in bulk and on Trail Mix Bar)
  • 15 LBS Alpine Valley Sunshine Cranberry Delight with Lot Code BD 161021 and BD 161261
  • Flave Fitness Mix 8oz with Best By 4-20-17 and 05-02-17
  • Flave Tropical Trail Mix 8oz with Best By 4-20-17
  • Flave Oriental Mix 6oz with Best By 3-10-17 and 4-21-17
  • Flave Sunflower Seeds 7.5oz with Best By 4-20-17
  • Gonzo 2 Go “Sunshine Cranberry Delight” 4.5oz with Best By 2-10-17
  • Gonzo 2 Go “Fitness Mix” 5oz with Best By 1-7-17
  • Stewarts Sunshine Cranberry Delite 5oz with Best By 1-18-17
  • Tops square tub “Roasted & Unsalted Sunflower Kernels” 10.25 with Best By 3-30-17, 5-3-17
  • Tops square tub “Roasted & Salted Sunflower Kernels” 10.25 with Best By 1-28-17

SunOpta supplies sunflower kernels for First Source products.

So far, no illnesses have officially been reported but a Buffalo listeria lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says the illness can be severe and sometimes deadly.

“Consumers who purchased any of the recalled items should immediately dispose of them or return them to the store for a refund,” Buffalo listeria lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems could suffer if they contract this foodborne illness.”

Listeria can cause serious infections and symptoms include high fever, stiffness, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and a severe headache.

If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms and believe they are related to listeria-tainted sunflower seeds, contact a Buffalo listeria lawyer at Cellino & Barnes today for a free consultation.

Help Prevent Motorcycle Accidents

/ Motorcycle Accidents /

Help Prevent Motorcycle AccidentsBUFFALO, N.Y. – For just the third year in history, the number of deadly motorcycle accidents soared over 5,000 in 2015. That’s up 10% from 2014.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 5,010 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes last year and it was the first time fatalities topped 5,000 people since 2008.

The data and trends are preliminary but a Buffalo motorcycle accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says it shows the need for better driver education and awareness.

“Motorcycling is a dangerous activity but it doesn’t have to be for riders in Buffalo,” motorcycle accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “Drivers should always look twice before turning or merging lanes – especially during the summer months when most bike riders are on the road.”

The fatality rate for motorcyclists is 26 times higher than those riding in passenger vehicles and in some states, motorcycle deaths represented 15% to 20% of all road fatalities. In most states, motorcycles represent only a small percentage of registered vehicles and miles traveled.

More than 90% of the riders killed last year were men, the study said. Older riders have historically been most at risk while on the chopper but last year, bikers aged 20-29 had the highest share of deadly accidents, representing nearly 25% of the total. Riders over the age of 50 were not far behind.

The GHSA report suggested several factors caused the spike in accidents:

  • A long stretch of warm weather in 2015 (more riding days)
  • Lower fuel prices
  • Stronger economy

The report also emphasized the need for safer legislation, including helmet laws researchers say would immediately cause riding deaths to drop.

“Only 19 states require all motorcyclists to wear helmets,” Barnes said. “Studies have shown that helmets can save lives but there are still many places in America where riders aren’t required to put one on.”

In 2013, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimated that 715 motorcycle deaths could have been prevented if the rider had been wearing a helmet.

Cellino & Barnes recently expanded its Grider Street office in Buffalo to accommodate victims across Western New York. If you’ve been injured in a crash, our Buffalo motorcycle accident lawyers have a track record of helping riders get the best result possible. Contact a lawyer today for a free consultation.

Introducing: The Robot 18-wheeler

/ Truck Accident /

Introducing: The Robot 18-wheelerMELVILLE, N.Y. – Big rigs today are loaded with up to 80,000 pounds of cargo barreling down the highway at speeds over 55mph. Now image that same truck without a driver.

A group of engineers wants to make the self-driving truck a reality.

The group, made of 40 former employees of self-driving giants like Google, Apple, Tesla, and others formed a new company called Otto with the goal of transforming the commercial trucking industry.

Before the fear (or gratitude) sets in, a Long Island truck accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says initially, all self-driving vehicles should still have a driver at the wheel.

“Self-driving technology is so new, we don’t really know what would happen if we set a truck in motion with just the computer at the wheel,” Long Island truck accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Autonomous 18-wheelers could make the roads safer but tech companies won’t know until they try it with a veteran driver behind the wheel.”

Otto plans to attach sensors, cameras and lasers to big rigs that will eventually navigate more than 220,000 miles of US highways with little assistance from a driver. Currently, the plan will only put the machines in control on the highways. A driver would still need to be present when entering city streets.

Long Island truck accident lawyers say the most dangerous truck accidents occur in heavily populated areas or on small country roads.

“Trucks have very large blind spots, making them extremely dangerous,” Cellino said. “Truck drivers must be trained to spot smaller vehicles or people and avoid accidents with them, which can take months of driving lessons.”

Attorneys say trucks equipped with sensors and blind spot cameras are already on the roads – but the technologies attached to these big rigs are tools to help the driver avoid a crash. Leaving the truck in the hands of the machine could have catastrophic consequences.

“Without a trained driver at the wheel, there’s no knowing what would happen if any component fails or malfunctions on an 18-wheeler,” Cellino said. “Although the intention is to make roads safer, millions of drivers may feel better knowing there’s a trained human at the helm.”

Otto is currently eyeing the market for 1,000 truckers to volunteer their vehicles which would have self-driving kits installed in the cabs. Otto said the volunteers would still be expected to take the wheel in emergencies and monitor the truck to make sure it is following local driving laws.

If the company gets to see its ultimate goal, more than 5 million trucks could be equipped with driverless technology in the coming decades.

On one end, it would solve a truck driver shortage the nation is currently facing but on the other hand, are drivers willing to trust the machine?

Long Island truck accident attorneys say there are currently 3,500 deadly big rig crashes every year and many of the crashes are linked to driver fatigue. If you’ve been injured in a big truck accident, the Long Island truck accident lawyers can help you obtain the best result possible.

Contact a lawyer today or visit the Cellino & Barnes LinkedIn page to learn more about how Cellino & Barnes has helped thousands of clients get the compensation they needed.

Safe Journeys for Motorcyclists as Summer Arrives

/ Motorcycle Accidents /

Safe Journeys for MotorcyclistsROCHESTER, N.Y. – The mercury is finally rising and the curbsides are looking green. For thousands of New Yorkers, it’s motorcycle season.

This time of year also makes the ride more dangerous. A Rochester motorcycle accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says many motorists – usually driving heavier vehicles – are not fully aware of the sudden surge of bikers on the road.

“Motorcycles are much smaller than your standard car so it’s important to look twice before changing lanes or making turns in Rochester,” motorcycle accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “These simple steps can help save a life but every year, drivers ignore road safety and bikers can get seriously injured.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported a total of 4,295 motorcyclists were killed in crashes last year – a continuation of a deadly trend that started in 1998. According to the institute’s statistics, motorcycle deaths accounted for 13-percent of all traffic deaths and it has more than doubled since 1997.

“There’s a clear need for better road safety,” Cellino said. “Drivers must pay attention to their surroundings – especially during the summer when most motorcycle collisions occur.”

IIHS also reported a recent spike in the number of accidents involving older drivers. In 1996, drivers over the age of 50 only accounted for 9-percent of the nation’s fatal motorcycle accidents.

By 2014, that number had risen to 36-percent.

For years, motorcyclists have been promoting safe driver education but the numbers continue to rise. That’s why the Rochester motorcycle accident attorneys are urging drivers to be aware of the increase of motorcycles on the road and be cautious on the roads.

Rochester motorcycle accident lawyers say many of the men and women killed are experienced riders who know the roadways across Western New York. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, Cellino & Barnes has offices across New York State and represents injured victims from all 50 states and Canada.

Contact a Rochester motorcycle accident attorney today for a free consultation.

What’s a Traumatic Brain Injury?

/ Car Accident /

What’s a Traumatic Brain Injury?BUFFALO, N.Y. – More the 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury every year in the United States. The results can be life changing and more than 5.3 million people have long-term disabilities as a result of the injury.

A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can happen any time a person bumps their head and comes in several forms:

  • Mild TBI – accompanied with a short loss of consciousness or amnesia
  • Concussion – a type of TBI that may or may not involve a loss of consciousness; a person can recover in a relatively short period of time but may suffer long-lasting effects.
  • Post Concussion Syndrome – persistent concussive symptoms that can last beyond three weeks.

A Buffalo car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says although brain injuries have been notoriously associated with sports, they are actually more common in car crashes.

“More than 275-thousand people are hospitalized with this injury every year,” Buffalo car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Many more people ignore the symptoms after an accident and it can be dangerous because these injuries can often have serious side effects.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates more than a million Americans are treated and released from emergency rooms after suffering a TBI and the injury is so dangerous that it claims 52,000 lives each year.

  • Nearly 500,000 children are admitted into ERs for TBI each year
  • Adults over the age of 75 have the highest rates of hospitalization for TBI
  • Men are two to three times more likely to suffer a TBI than women
  • 85% of TBIs are classified as “minor”
  • 10% are classified as “moderate”
  • 5% are “severe”

According to CDC statistics, car accidents are the leading cause of TBI-related death and rates are highest among men between 20 and 24 years old but Buffalo car accident lawyers say anyone can suffer this debilitating injury.

“Between the medical costs and the lost wages, it’s estimated that Americans lost more than $60 billion because of traumatic brain injuries,” Barnes said. “It’s our job to help our clients recover as much of that lost income as they can.”

The Buffalo car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes represent clients across Western New York, including Buffalo and Rochester. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, your injuries may have long-term effects. That’s why Cellino & Barnes offers free consulations.

Call a Buffalo car accident lawyer today to learn more about how Cellino & Barnes can help.

Bike Boom

/ Bicycle Accidents /

Bike BoomNEW YORK – Over the last quarter-century, we’ve seen Big Macs, colas, and prescription medications with a spate of unwholesome side effects. Through it all though, one healthy trend has caught-on: bicycling.

A New York City Department of Transportation report found the Big Apple has experienced a 320% daily increase in cycling since 1990. Their statistics show there are now more than 420,000 riders on city streets today – up from just around 100,000 in the 90’s.

A Brooklyn bicycle accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes said this is good news for the health-conscious people in New York but safety remains an issue.

“The city is constantly building new bike lanes and infrastructure for cyclists in Brooklyn,” bicycle accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Unfortunately, many drivers don’t give cyclists the right of way and it can create some dangerous situations in the city.”

The DOT says the new data shows a cultural shift in bike riding; and city planning needs to keep up.

Officials believe the boom was sparked, in part, by recent redesigns of city streets. This includes more than 1,000 miles of bike lanes and the introduction of Citi Bike, the nation’s largest bike-sharing network.

Brooklyn bicycle accident lawyers say with the biking boom, New York Police officers are also recording more traffic accidents. According to city statistics, more than 4,000 cyclists were injured in the five boroughs in 2014.

“Despite infrastructure improvements, accidents are occurring more often,” Barnes said. “Bikes don’t have airbags or seat belts so collisions can be very dangerous and motor vehicle operators need to be more aware than ever.”

Unfortunately, Barnes says drivers are more distracted than ever.

A recent highway study found that more than 80% of crashes involved a distracted driver and more than half of near-crashes had a distracted driver behind the wheel.

Brooklyn bicycle accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes are now urging drivers to pay attention and watch for both cyclists and pedestrians on city streets.

If you’ve been injured while riding a bike, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact a lawyer at Cellino & Barnes today for a free consultation or visit the Cellino & Barnes LinkedIn page for more information.

Report: Safety Stinks at Some Garbage Companies

/ Workers Compensation /

Safety StinksNEW YORK – They take out the trash and in some cases, workers are risking their lives to handle your garbage. It’s a dirty and dangerous job and safety advocates are calling for immediate changes.

According to the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health (NYCOSH), commercial trash companies routinely break safety rules and have historically forced workers to man faulty equipment with little to no training.

The new report claims 71-percent of the sanitation workers surveyed said they’d been injured on the job.

A New York workers compensation attorney at Cellino & Barnes said some of the safety and health violations reported in the last year could be considered criminal.

“There are companies that have no regard for safety but many of them still operate in New York,” workers compensation attorney Ross Cellino said. “Many workers have been injured and some have even been killed because safety wasn’t a priority.”

According to NYCOSH, commercial waste workers face six types of workplace hazards:

  • Biological and chemical hazards, which include bacteria and noxious fumes
  • Ergonomic and physical hazards, like fatigue and loud noises
  • Safety hazards that often occur when using heavy machinery
  • And additional stressors like wage theft and the lack of access to sterile facilities

Some of the dirty and dangerous accidents were reported in the full NYCOSH report, including four deaths at one company in less than four years.

In 2005, a Queens recycling worker was struck and killed by a heavy construction loader. The same company reported three more deaths just a few years later when workers were asphyxiated by hydrogen sulfide gas.

“In almost every working environment, injuries can be prevented,” Cellino said. “There are rules and best practices that help keep employees safe on the job and when we’re investigating a case, we often find that a company did not comply with these standards.”

NYCOSH said that the commercial waste companies are often non-union and they routinely violate legal requirements with impunity.

Charlene Obernauer, NYCOSH Executive Director stated, “Too many workers are getting injured or killed in the commercial waste industry as egregious violators disregard workplace safety. New York City needs to ensure that employers are held accountable to the law and get creative about solutions to keeping these workers—who are primarily people of color—safe.”

If you or someone you know has been hurt on the job, a New York workers compensation lawyer at Cellino & Barnes can help you obtain the best result possible.

Cellino & Barnes has helped hard-working New Yorkers obtain over $1.5 billion and the firm has office locations across New York. If you’ve been injured, contact a New York workers comp attorney today for a free consultation.

The Key to a Better Nursing Home

/ Nursing Home /

The Key to a Better Nursing HomeNEW YORK – In today’s corporate world, businesses and brands are like trading cards: they’re bought and sold at a rapid pace. Even nursing homes are switching hands between corporate owners – with some of the transactions occurring just months apart. In many cases, it’s raising questions about the quality of care residents are receiving in New York nursing homes.

According to a Harvard study published this week, several corporations are targeting nursing homes with histories of health and safety violations – and the difficulties tend to persist far after the purchase is complete.

A nursing home negligence attorney at Cellino & Barnes says the report’s findings highlight the need for transparency in an industry notoriously plagued by health and safety concerns.

“If a corporation buys a troubled long-term care facility, one would expect the new owner to improve the quality of life there,” nursing home negligence lawyer Ross Cellino said. “That’s not always happening; and in many cases, families don’t even know the facility was sold.”

The Harvard study analyzed data from thousands of nursing home transactions between 1993 and 2010. According to the research, around 1,500 nursing homes changed hands every year. That’s about 26-thousand transactions.

The sales typically involved corporate chains.

Researchers said their study found a direct link between the number of times a facility was sold to the number of deficiencies.

Nursing homes with steady ownership had fewer problems.

Facilities that changed hands several times were found to have a long list of issues.

Study authors noted that the transactions themselves did not necessarily bring the quality of life down. Instead, they concluded the transactions were a tell-tale sign of a problematic nursing home.

“Nursing home sales are often accompanied by leadership and staff changes,” Cellino said. “Such changes can be hard on nursing home residents and their routines can sometimes have drastic changes.”

The Harvard study did not say why there was such a high-rate of turnover in the nursing home industry but previous research has often linked this to frequent changes in government policies.

One analysis claims safety problems arise in facilities with higher profit margins. Authors of that study claim for-profit facilities spend less on resident care, resulting in a lower quality of care.

In many states, a nursing home sale may require a public hearing if residents and families petition their state health department but health officials say these transactions are rarely contested.

The nursing home attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have studied the issue themselves and developed the Parent Care app to provide families with more information about area nursing homes and their violation histories.

You can learn more about the Parent Care app or download it here.

Playgrounds: Not Just a Splinter Anymore

/ Personal Injury /

PlaygroundsGARDEN CITY, N.Y. – The word “concussion” is commonly associated with sports and in many cases, parents are taking their children off the playing field out of concern for their safety. According to a new report, concussions are occurring more often – not just on the gridiron or on the skating rink but in your own backyard.

A new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that traumatic brain injuries are steadily rising in frequency among children and most of the concussions resulted from playground injuries.

Researchers poured over data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 2001 to 2013 and found that roughly 21,000 children under the age of 14 suffered brain injuries each year.

A Long Island personal injury attorney with Cellino & Barnes says the new information shows the importance of parental supervision.

“Splinters on those old wooden playgrounds used to be a parent’s biggest concern but we’re learning more about concussions every day in Long Island,” personal injury attorney Ross Cellino said. “Many parents believe their child has a high risk of getting a concussion by playing contact sports but playgrounds can be just as dangerous, if not more dangerous and children often require active supervision.”

The study’s authors said playground developers and municipalities need to rethink strategies and redesign play areas to reduce the number of injuries and the severity of those injuries at playgrounds.

“These may include improved adult supervision, methods to reduce child risk behavior, regular equipment maintenance, and improvements in playground surfaces and environments,” researchers wrote.

The statistics found that only 3 percent of the children injured were hospitalized or taken somewhere for additional treatment. Most of the children were simply sent home after treatment in the ER and safety advocates suspect that many more injuries go unreported.

“Playgrounds have a lot of solid, low-hanging objects and it can be easy for a child to take a heavy blow to the head,” Cellino said. “Although they may seem fine after a few minutes, concussions can have long-term negative side effects and it’s important to get children checked-out by a doctor if you even suspect they may have suffered a concussion.”

Long Island personal injury lawyers say traumatic brain injuries can happen almost anywhere and children are often more susceptible to such an injury. In some cases, your family may be entitled to compensation for your child’s injury.

Cellino & Barnes has been recognized by Best Lawyers, you can easily find a Long Island personal injury lawyer near you for a free consultation.

Client Thanks

I would like to thank your firm for representing our family on behalf of my late husband. This whole process was, at times, difficult for us and sometimes painful. But, we were always in good hands as Brian and Maria are two of the hardest working and sincerest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They did a tremendous job.

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