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The Accident Wasn’t My Fault

/ Car Accident /

The Accident Wasn’t My FaultNEW YORK – When you drive distracted and cause an accident, it’s no shock to see your insurance premiums spike. But even those who are not at fault could end up paying more for coverage, a consumer report found.

The Consumer Federation of America did some research on the insurance industry and obtained price quotes from a handful of the largest auto insurers in 10 cities, including Queens. The study found that drivers in New York City tend to fork over the most cash after getting into accidents they didn’t cause.

The consequences add to the costs of auto insurance, and in New York, that can be a steep penalty for doing nothing wrong.

In Queens, the average premium hike was $401 for those who were not-at-fault.

“These charges are in addition to the medical bills, lost wages and other costs associated with personal injuries that can happen as a result of a car crash in Queens,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Many of these victims suffer real injuries, and to be hit with an insurance increase can be another unexpected punishment.”

Two states have already banned such penalties – California and Oklahoma – but that leaves the majority of the nation’s drivers exposed to significant rate hikes if another driver crashes into them.

The report also found that some insurers were more unfair than others. One insurance company applied additional charges to every quote except in cities where rate hikes were prohibited by state law. These surcharges sometimes raised quoted rates by 10 percent or more.

Other insurance companies occasionally charged innocent drivers, and only one insurer never increased rates for those who had not-at-fault accidents.

Insurance groups argue that the report is overly simplistic – and it’s missing several key factors insurance companies use to generate the true cost of a driver’s auto premiums.

The report, whether it’s accurate or not, raise several questions:


According to the insurance companies, it’s often not clear to them who is at fault.

In some cases, the driver who hit you may not have insurance at all – forcing your insurance company to raise your rates. In other instances, your insurance company could incur costs while trying to get a payment from the other driver’s insurer.


Shop. Shop. Shop.

Any driver should be able to find the best rate by shopping around. If your insurer slaps you with an unexpected rate hike, chances are some other insurance company will jump at the opportunity to sign you up at with a better deal.


Car accidents are not only costly – they’re dangerous too. Even when drivers follow all the rules of the road and practice safe driving habits, one bad driver can change everything.

Although the insurance company will likely offer to pay certain medical expenses, it is a business for them – and a Queens car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says insurance companies don’t often provide crash victims with fair compensation.

Obtaining an experienced attorney is the easiest way to ensure that you and your family obtain the best result possible from an injury claim.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, contact the Queens car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes today for a free case evaluation.

Cellino & Barnes (800)888-8888

How Older Drivers Can Steer Away From Crashes

/ Car Accident, Personal Injury /

How Older Drivers Can Steer Away From CrashesBUFFALO, N.Y. – As we age, we become more susceptible to injuries. Those over the age of 75 are more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries in a car crash than any other age group. But one study has found ways to improve their chances on the road.

According to research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, educational programs targeted at older drivers have helped reduce the number of car crashes they’re involved in.

These safe driving courses honed-in on several high risk driving situations, including:

  • Driving at night
  • Driving in the rain
  • Driving in peak traffic hours
  • Driving on highways
  • Driving in school zones

Following the courses, researchers attached GPS devices in their cars to collect data on their driving behavior. The study found that the older drivers who took the safe driving program were more likely to regulate their driving patterns, and avoid the times and areas that were considered risky for their age.

Those who were subjected to the intervention also reported a strong willingness to change how they drive.

Researchers are now continuing their study to find out specifically how age impacts a person’s driving habits.


One of the key issues study authors wanted to avoid was isolating seniors from their communities. Obviously, seniors may not be able to – or want to – completely avoid driving at night, or in the rain where eye sight and reaction times are critical skills for drivers to have.

The study points out that simply knowing how risky these driving situations are can significantly change a person’s driving behavior. Unfortunately, not everyone will be putting safety first when they’re behind the wheel at night.

Almost every car accident can be prevented with safe driving practices. When a negligent driver is distracted, speeding, or drunk, they can cause serious harm to themselves or others. The Buffalo car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes know just how prevalent these drivers can be.

In Erie County alone, more than 49,000 people received speeding tickets, and another 7,000 were cited for cell phone use, or texting while driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent driver, our Buffalo car accident attorneys can help. We’ve obtained more than $2 billion for our clients, and all of our lawyers have trial experience, so you can be confident we will do whatever it takes to win your case.

When a car accident impacts your family, contact a Buffalo car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes for a free case evaluation.

Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888

The 5 Worst Distractions

/ Car Accident /

The 5 Worst DistractionsMELVILLE, N.Y. – For the second straight year, motor vehicle fatalities spiked on U.S. roads and the number is estimated to reach over 40,000, which would be the most in nearly 10 years. The accident rate is skyrocketing despite many safety improvements and campaigns that are supposed to reduce the risk to drivers and passengers.

Experts say Americans are simply driving more. We even set a new record for most miles driven in a single year: 3.2 trillion miles. But new data suggests something else may be at play, since the ratio of accidents to miles driven also rose.

Drivers have some nasty habits.

Distracted driving is considered an “epidemic” by many highway safety advocates, and what’s worse: most drivers know it’s dangerous, but many still text or browse the internet while they’re behind the wheel.

Smartphones aside, drivers have many other bad habits that fall into the category of ‘distracted driving.’ According to a new study by the National Academy of Sciences, nearly 40 percent of all crashes would have been avoided if the driver wasn’t distracted.

Aside from drinking and driving, researchers pinpointed five other extremely risky scenarios that often cause car crashes:

  1. Reaching for an object. This is usually the first mistake drivers make before they blatantly ignore the law and begin texting or surfing the web while they have their foot on the gas. But reaching for an object is a distraction itself – and many times, drivers are reaching for something other than their handheld devices. Reaching for something in your car increases the odds of a crash by up to 9 times.
  2. Using touch-screens. Many cars are now equipped with touch-screen menus and navigation. According to the study, drivers using these built-in devices increase their crash risk more than 4 times. Some drivers have become pros at using those touch-screens, but researchers warn that adds to the problem: in this case, practice doesn’t make perfect – it only creates a false sense of security.
  3. Operating the radio. This is one of the oldest distractions in the book. A driver toying with the radio dial doubles their crash risk. The odds get even greater when there’s an MP3 player present, like an iPod or the music player on your smartphone.
  4. Texting. There’s a reason most states have banned this action. We all know it’s dangerous, but around 40 percent of drivers ignore texting and driving laws, according to polls. It increases a driver’s crash risk by over 6 times, but surprisingly, it’s not the worst thing drivers have been guilty of.
  5. Dialing a number. Simply inputting numbers to make a call is the most disorienting form of distraction, researchers found. Dialing the 10 or more digits on any phone increases a driver’s crash risk by over 12 times. Many cars today have hands-free technology, but experts discovered this “safety” feature makes very little impact. Whether hand-held or hands-free, cell phone use was a factor in 26 percent of all car accidents in 2014.


A distracted driver is not only a risk to themselves – they’re also a risk to every other driver on the road. Distractions are at play in millions of car crashes every year, many of which occur on Long Island roads.

When victims are injured by a negligent driver, proving a distraction was a factor can be difficult. With a strong legal team in your corner, a legal investigation can help uncover some of these facts and potentially maximize the value of a personal injury claim.

The Long Island car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have decades of combined experience gathering the facts, and preparing cases for trial. While other law firms may be hoping for a quick settlement, an experienced Long Island car accident lawyer understands that going to court can help victims get the best result possible.

If you’ve been injured in a car crash, the Long Island car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes can help. Call one of our experienced attorneys today for a free case evaluation.

Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888

Smartphones a Distraction for Everyone

/ Car Accident /

Smartphones a Distraction for EveryoneROCHESTER, N.Y. – We all know how dangerous smartphones can be in the hands of drivers, but new research has discovered handheld devices are even hurting drivers who put them away while they’re at the wheel.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average insurance premium rose to $926 last year. That’s a 16-percent spike over the last five years.

Insurance companies argue the raised premiums are required to cover an increasing number of claims, many of which are caused by distracted drivers. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission recently conducted a new study, which found that smartphone use increases a driver’s accident risk by 23 times, and it’s already the most common form of distraction on the road.

Other polls have estimated that more than 40 percent of Americans text and drive, so it’s no surprise that accidents are on the rise. Although only a portion of fatal accidents have been attributed to distracted driving, car crashes in general have skyrocketed. These include small fender-benders, often caused by inattention at the wheel.

A Rochester car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes estimates that distractions are a factor in as many as three out of every four crashes today.

“We work with personal injuries of all types, from minor sprains to life-changing injuries, we’ve seen all types of traffic collisions in Rochester,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Unfortunately, we’ve also seen a spike in the number of distracted drivers, and it’s a huge factor that we look at in almost every case we handle.”

Insurers see the trend too.

Looking at all types of accidents, they’ve determined that distractions play a major role; and these accidents are costly. So costly, that you could see your insurance premium go up – even if you turn your smartphone off while you’re driving.

Rochester car accident attorneys say the premiums could be slowed down, and in many cases, you could avoid getting slapped with a personal injury claim by putting the cell phone down in the car.

Unfortunately, not everyone will follow this suggestion, and it creates many dangerous situations on the roads.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, the Rochester car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes can help investigate your claim. In many cases, a strong legal team can prove a driver was distracted, which could increase the value of your case.

Contact an experienced and local attorney at Cellino & Barnes today for a free case evaluation.

Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888

No Symptoms? A Concussion Can Still Impair Your Driving

/ Car Accident /

No Symptoms? A Concussion Can Still Impair Your DrivingNEW YORK – Roughly 4-million Americans suffer a concussion every year – and that’s just from sports. Millions more suffer concussions in car and work-related accidents, and doctors are just beginning to find out how devastating a brain injury can be.

A new study by University of Georgia researchers has found that the effects of a concussion can continue to impact a person’s driving ability, even when symptoms disappear. Researchers discovered that participants who recently suffered a concussion were likely to drive erratically at times, and in some cases their reactions mirrored those of a driver who may be under the influence of alcohol.

It’s the first study of its kind to take a deeper look into how a concussion can impact a person’s driving skills. Most concussion research has been focused on how the injury impacts athletes, and study authors noted that the issue of driving after a concussion has rarely been discussed.

The findings are concerning for safety advocates because it could put more lives at risk. A New York car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes said concussions are very common injuries, and most of the injuries don’t occur in sports.

“More than half of all concussions are caused by falls or traffic collisions, so there could be hundreds of drivers on the road right now who have recently suffered a traumatic brain injury in  New York,” car accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “What’s more concerning is that many of these drivers may not even know they’re impaired by their injury.”

The research was conducted using virtual cars which simulated real-life driving situations. The drivers, all of whom had not reported symptoms of a concussion for at least 48 hours, consistently had less vehicle control, according to the report.

In many cases drivers were swerving, or they showed a delay in their reaction time. Researchers believe the data implies that driving should at least be restricted until concussion symptoms clear, or perhaps even longer.

Researchers said the next step is to determine exactly when driving abilities start to improve. They hope their information can help health officials set guidelines that could determine when driving should be restricted.

Until then, there could be thousands of dangerous drivers on the road who are unknowingly impaired. If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, a New York car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes can investigate your case and help determine whether another driver was fit to be behind the wheel.

Concussions and other injuries should be taken seriously, and the New Yokr car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have the resources to get the best doctors on your side. For a free consultation, call our New York car accident lawyers today.

Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888

Crashes Surge in Winter

/ Car Accident /

Crashes Surge in WinterBUFFALO, N.Y. – Crashes in February and other winter months could cost over $185-million in additional repairs, and some states experience an extreme uptick in the number of accidents when temperatures dip.

According to new research from Accident Exchange, frosty streets, wet weather and a lack of daylight cause a 15 percent rise in accidents between January and March, when compared to the summertime figures taken between June and August.

The company analyzed nearly 30,000 traffic collisions and found that the most dangerous time is during the evening commute. According to their figures, winter accidents spike by 30 percent in the 5 o’clock rush hour alone, as drivers struggle with low light conditions and arctic weather.

The study also determined that Friday is the worst day for car crashes, as drivers are more fatigued from a long work week. Fridays were reported to have 19 percent more accidents than any other week day.

Car repairs during the months of January, February and March come with a hefty price tag as well; costing drivers nearly $200-million.

A Buffalo car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says that figure doesn’t include any potential medical costs associated with a car crash, which could create an even larger cost burden for drivers.

“Treating an injury is often one of the most expensive, but necessary costs associated with a crash in Buffalo,” car accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “It can also be very difficult to get fair compensation for an injury, which is why anyone who’s been injured in a collision should look for legal representation.”

According to several insurance associations, the average claim for a car accident injury totals over $15,000. Buffalo car accident lawyers say that figure may not even cover all of the injuries or treatments, and there are several ways to maximize a claim.

According to the Buffalo car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes, preparing a case for trial is one of the many ways they’re able to secure the best result possible for their clients. Some other ways they can help maximize a victim’s compensation include:

  • Detailed documentation of the accident
  • Requesting official reports and evidence
  • Investigating the accident for other pieces of evidence, including video or photographs
  • Obtaining the RIGHT experts, including doctors, and witnesses
  • Filing paperwork on-time
  • Knowing, and beating the insurance tricks that could devalue a victim’s case

If you’ve been injured in a wintertime accident, you’re not alone. You have the right to be compensated for any injuries you’ve suffered as a result of another driver’s negligence, but it can be difficult fighting the insurance company alone.

The Buffalo car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have been trusted by Western New Yorkers for over 50 years, and with their no-fee promise, they won’t get paid unless they win your case, so contact an experienced trial attorney for a free case evaluation.

Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888

How Law Is Affecting Traffic Safety

/ Car Accident /

How Law Is Affecting Traffic SafetyBUFFALO, N.Y. – Traffic deaths spiked in 2016 after years of steady decline, and safety experts have been scrambling to find out why. One new study links the lack of driving safety laws to the surging number of accidents.

The new report, conducted by Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, ranked the traffic laws around the country. Some of the laws it analyzed included:

  • Seat belt laws
  • Impaired driving laws
  • Booster seat laws
  • Teen driving laws
  • Data/Messaging laws
  • Speed
  • Enforcement

Many of the states the report evaluated had low scores on their report cards, and the safety advocates who developed the study said many motorists and pedestrians are needlessly getting injured or killed on U.S. roadways even though there are certain measures that can be taken to prevent traffic accidents.

The research group identified nearly 400 state laws that could help improve traffic safety, including regulations on strict seat belt use, graduated driver licensing for teens, enforcement of distracted driving laws, and motorcycle helmet use, among others.

Traffic deaths were up by over seven percent in 2015, the largest spike in 50 years. Preliminary figures don’t bode well for 2016, either. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2016 may have experienced another record-breaking increase in traffic deaths.

Some of the states with the worst scores included:

  • Wyoming
  • Arizona
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Florida
  • Pennsylvania

Meanwhile, Rhode Island received the best scores. The state has at least a dozen laws that help protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians from potential car crashes.


In New York State, there are several laws in place to help reduce the risk of a motor vehicle crash, but the state did not make the top five, the report found. Instead, the Empire State received a “Yellow Rating,” which indicates improvement is needed, and there may be gaps in the recommended optimal safety laws.

Drivers in New York State know this all too well. Recent polls have found that at least 60 percent of New York drivers have admitted to driving distracted in the past six months. Another 40 percent have admitted to speeding.

These bad habits add up, and a Buffalo car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says the majority of car crashes now involve a driver who was either distracted or speeding, or in some cases, both.

If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, the Buffalo car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes can help you get the best result possible. Their team of trial attorneys has helped their clients recover over $2-billion in settlements and verdicts, and they’ve been trusted by Western New Yorkers for over 50 years.

A Buffalo car accident attorney can investigate your claim, and help determine what factors were at play. In some cases, this evidence can maximize your compensation. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car crash, call Cellino & Barnes today for a free case evaluation.

Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888

The Best – and Worst Streets in the City

/ Car Accident /

The Best – and Worst Streets in the CityNEW YORK – If you’re looking for diversity, the Big Apple has it. People from every corner of the globe flock to New York City, and they’re proud to call it home. We also boast a wide range of cuisines, art and architecture – and if you want to experience New York’s diverse culture, you have to use city streets. Unfortunately, the condition of our roads is just as diverse as the city itself.

A new report form the Independent Budget Office found that in many areas of the city, streets are falling apart, and some places have it worse than others.

The report used data and ratings from a recent Department of Transportation assessment, and found that the streets in Brooklyn are some of the newest and best streets in the five boroughs – roughly 75 percent of the roadways are in “Good” condition.

Manhattan and Staten Island, however, are in rougher shape. Only 66 percent and 59 percent of the streets were in good condition, respectively.

The report not only looked at the boroughs; it also analyzed the highest and lowest rated streets by neighborhood. With just 28 percent of its roads in “Good” condition, Kew Gardens in Queens has more streets in shambles than any other section of the city, the data found.

The neighborhoods with the best ratings included:

  • Fort Greene (89.3 percent good)
  • Starrett City (86.5 percent good)
  • Williamsburg (86.3 percent good)

Alongside Kew Gardens, here are some neighborhoods with the worst ratings:

  • Parkchester (30.3 percent good)
  • Seagate-Coney Island (35 percent good)
  • Upper East Side-Carnegie Hall (44.6 percent good)

Why it Matters

Streets and roads in good condition not only take less of a toll on vehicles; they can also help prevent a car crash.

A New York car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says an experienced lawyer doesn’t just look at the police report: they will also analyze the road conditions, traffic signals, signage, and other factors that may have contributed to a crash.

A deep pot hole could alter the path of a car, and faded striping can make important street markers difficult for the average driver to see.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, count on a team you know will be thorough with your claim. A New York car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes will gather every possible piece of evidence that can help maximize the value of your case. For a free consultation, call one of their New York car accident attorneys today:

Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888

Can Your Phone Prevent Distracted Driving?

/ Car Accident /

Can Your Phone Prevent Distracted Driving?ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The technology in the palm of your hands can do almost anything. We’re talking about smartphones. Whatever you want to do, whatever tool you need, there’s probably an app for that – unless you want your phone to prevent a car crash. One lawsuit now accuses a major phone maker of having the technology to prevent drivers from texting and driving, but the smartphone company hasn’t used it.

The idea is simple: take the phone away from the driver. Unfortunately, some drivers just can’t put the phone down. It’s these drivers that cause an estimated 1.6 million car wrecks every year, injuring nearly 330,000 people. But, if they’re locked-out of their phones, they can’t text, and they’re likely to be a safer driver.

It’s now estimated that roughly 16 people are killed on U.S. roads every day as a result of texting and driving, but many safety advocates believe those deaths could be prevented using technology the phone companies already have.

The Technology

Some drivers are now calling for a “lockout” feature that would shut-down a smartphone while its owner is in the driver’s seat. The feature already exists, one person alleges. As evidence, his lawsuit points to a patent that Apple filed in 2008, and received in 2014.

The patent, titled “Driver Handheld Computer Lockout Device,” describes, in detail, a way to disable handheld devices by using sensors to determine when a person is at the wheel. The problem? It hasn’t been installed in consumer electronics.

The Law

Text messaging is now banned for all drivers in 46 states, and many municipalities have enacted their own bans, which are often more stringent than state laws.

Unfortunately, making texting and driving illegal hasn’t improved safety. Distracted driving is now a bigger problem than impaired driving – it causes more crashes and claims more lives each year. A Rochester car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says the relationship people have a strong relationship with their phones, and it’s too easy to keep the phone hidden from law enforcement officers.

Implanting a lockout system could be a viable solution to the problem, but it would have to be mandatory.

When Drivers Put Technology Above the Law

Each day, drivers are ticketed for texting behind the wheel of a car. That’s a good scenario in comparison to others who aren’t caught texting and driving and, instead, cause a car wreck. In these situations, the texting driver can get seriously injured or killed. Making matters worse, these distractions can also hurt innocent people who are good drivers, struck by an irresponsible party.

If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, there are several ways a Rochester car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes can help. Our lawyers have years of experience gathering evidence against irresponsible drivers. This evidence could include driving records, phone records, eye-witness statements, or video evidence that could be available.

An injury can be devastating, but you don’t have to fight the insurance companies alone. The Rochester car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have helped many clients get the best results possible from their claims. If you’ve been in a car crash, call the firm that has been trusted in New York for over 50 years.

Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888

How Work Stress Is Causing Car Wrecks

/ Car Accident /

How Work Stress Is Causing Car WrecksNEW YORK – Stress is a dangerous reaction. It can make you gain weight, it can keep you up at night, and it can even increase your risk of heart disease. Now, researchers say you can add another risk to that list: stress can cause car crashes.

According to a new study, people who have more work stress than others are more likely to have something bad happen on their way home from the office.

Although commute times differ on location, the average working American is in their car an average of 26 minutes, each way, per day. That’s a lot of time behind the wheel!

Researchers found that those either going to work or coming home from work were also more likely to be thinking about work – distracting them from the task at hand: driving. The more work stresses you out, the more you think about it, and according to researchers, those distractions could make you a dangerous driver.

However, stress comes in many forms. Some stresses cause drivers to take more risks.

The top cause of stress-related crashes was caused by difficulty balancing work and family life, the study found.

Those struggling to find a work-life balance were more likely to be on the phone or take risks like speeding, tailgating, or other dangerous maneuvers.

Having a bad boss was also found to be a bad trigger. Those who said they hated their boss were found to be risky on the road.

If You’re Injured By a Dangerous Driver

Stress can certainly make people do some crazy things – especially on the road. Unfortunately, a stressed-out driver can also be responsible for a person’s injuries if they aren’t careful on the road.

Each year, millions of Americans are injured by drivers who aren’t focusing on the road. If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of a distracted driver or road rage, the Queens car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes can help.

A Queens car accident attorney can obtain records and evidence that can be useful in court. This ensures that victims and their families get the best result possible from a claim.

If you’ve recently been in a car crash, trust the firm that has stood-up for New Yorkers for over 50 years. Call a Queens car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes today for a free case evaluation.

Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888

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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