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/ Car Accident, Personal Injury /

Txt me L8rGARDEN CITY, N.Y. – You may have been in this awkward position before: you’re driving. Your phone rings from your pocket or your purse on the passenger seat. Did you answer it? Be honest.

Many drivers choose to take that call or text and too often, it causes a crash.

In fact, some studies say you’re 23-times more likely to cause a crash if you’re texting behind the wheel.

Both doctors and lawyers have seen their share of distracted drivers. Unfortunately, it’s usually after the fact. A Long Island car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says victims of distracted drivers often go through emergency rooms.

“We’ve seen how heartbreaking and devastating car crashes can be – and most of those crashes are caused by a distracted driver in Long Island,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Distractions are now the leading cause of all personal injury collisions.”

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study, about 660,000 drivers are using hand-held cellphones or another electronic device right now, at this moment.

Researchers say distracted driving is comparable to being drunk. Studies have shown that texting and driving is roughly the same as having a blood-alcohol level of 0.19, which is twice the legal limit in New York.

With all this new information coming to light, police are ramping up enforcement.

Recently, law enforcement agencies have begun a “crackdown” on distracted driving in New York and other states. The Washington State Patrol reported officers pulled over more than 18,000 drivers last year for talking on a hand-held cellular device. Another 4,000 drivers were ticketed for texting – but police believe that’s just a small fraction.

“This is huge problem,” Cellino said. “Even if you’re a safe and responsible driver, your life can be at risk because another driver isn’t paying attention.”

If you’ve been injured because of a negligent or distracted driver, the Long Island car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have experience achieving justice and they can help you and your family get the best result possible from a claim.

Contact a Long Island car accident attorney today for a free consultation.

6 Dangers of Spring Break

/ Personal Injury /

6 Dangers of Spring BreakBUFFALO, N.Y. – If you’re stressed or exhausted, a vacation might be just what the doctor ordered. Many health professionals believe some R & R can be healthy and re-energizing. However a spring break trip also poses some unfamiliar dangers for travelers.

According to real science backed by doctors and university professors, skipping the holidays can be deadly. But Dengue fever and venomous snakes can be just as dangerous. That’s why doctors and safety advocates suggest doing your homework before booking a flight.

A Buffalo personal injury attorney at Cellino & Barnes says spring break injuries are actually common: from slip and fall injuries, to car accidents and binge drinking; your vacation can be dangerous if you’re not prepared.

“When you’re on vacation, you’re likely in an unfamiliar area and that can raise your risk of having an accident,” Buffalo personal injury attorney Steve Barnes said. “We strongly urge anyone who is traveling to carefully plan their vacations and learn about the areas they’ll be visiting.”

Here are six of the most common dangers travelers encounter while on spring break:

6. Lack of Emergency Treatment/Services

If you’re on spring break, there’s no doubt you may want to try new things and explore new places. Unfortunately, as Buffalo personal injury attorneys pointed out, new places can be risky. Depending on your destination, emergency services may be few and far between.

In 2012, a man died of food poisoning because there weren’t any doctors or health services nearby that could treat his condition.

According to a recent travel risk analysis, some nations were found to have little to no modern medical facilities that could help travelers, if needed.

5. Norovirus on Cruises

Norovirus is an extremely contagious illness. A person can get infected from food, water, contaminated surfaces, or even another person. Sparing you the graphic details, norovirus can cause severe stomach pain and nausea.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, norovirus contributes to over 56,000 hospitalizations and around 600 deaths each year.

Cruises can increase your risk of being infected with norovirus because it thrives in small, confined areas. The CDC has reported several recent outbreaks on cruises and in some cases, cruise ships have been investigated by the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program.

4. Animal/Bug Bites

Snakes. Spiders. And bees, oh my! Some vacation hotspots have their shares of venomous and dangerous wildlife. Some critters can cause allergic reactions which can sometimes be fatal.

Even those at home should be on alert for dangerous species. In 2014, a British family was evacuated when they found hundreds of deadly spiders hiding out in bananas.

Obviously, the risk is greater if you’re visiting that creature’s home territory. According to the World Health Organization, more than 400,000 people are permanently disabled or disfigured due to wild animal bites each year.

3. Food Poisoning

Plan on trying new foods in exotic places? Buffalo personal injury attorneys are urging travelers to be cautious of what they eat because food poisoning can happen to anyone, anywhere.

“Nearly every day, we hear of new cases of food poisoning or e. coli breakouts at restaurants locally and abroad,” Barnes said. “Every establishment in America has standards to adhere to and they can be found legally responsible for your illness but when you’re traveling abroad, those standards could be different.”

The CDC estimates 48 million Americans get sick from bad food each year. According to CDC statistics, another 3,000 people die from foodborne diseases.

Water is the most common source of food poisoning; followed by beef, poultry, leafy greens, eggs, and tuna.

2. Irregular sleep patterns

You’ve heard of jetlag but most Americans don’t consider how it affects your health.

According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, jetlag can cause impaired brain functions including forgetfulness and decreased alertness. Most commonly however, jetlag is known to contribute to drowsiness, which can be extremely dangerous when operating heavy machinery or a motor vehicle.

1. Binge Drinking

The most common accidents that occur on spring break involve alcohol. Each year, thousands of college students take a break from the books and open the booze. Unfortunately, binge drinking can be dangerous and deadly in several ways.

Not only does binge drinking increase your risk of car accidents and slip and fall accidents; drinkers can fall victim to alcohol poisoning.

Buffalo personal injury attorneys urge everyone on spring break to use their best judgements and know your limits.

Storming the Civil Court

/ Personal Injury /

Storming the Civil CourtNEW YORK – It’s March and for millions of Americans, that means March Madness. More than 60 of the nation’s top basketball squads will tip-off starting March 15 and if this year’s tournament is anything like the tournaments of the past, you can expect some upsets… and some hoops fans will seize that opportunity to storm the court.

It makes entertaining TV but storming the court can be dangerous and a New York personal injury attorney at Cellino & Barnes is urging schools and arenas to take action before someone gets injured.

“Putting yourself in the middle of a stampede is rarely a good idea,” New York personal injury lawyer Steve Barnes said. “It’s a terrible accident waiting to happen.”

Recently, Arizona Coach Sean Miller sounded-off about the issue after fans in Colorado stormed the court when Miller’s 9th-ranked Wildcats lost in an upset.

“Eventually what’s going to happen in the PAC-12 is this: an Arizona player is going to punch a fan,” Miller said. “When it happens, will everybody say we have to do something?”

It’s possible that someday a college athlete – taunted, attacked and jostled in a stampede – could injure a spectator. Whether it’s done on purpose or by accident, it hardly matters at this point. Miller simply foresees a lawsuit.

Although no one stormed the court, athletes have attacked spectators before. In 2004, NBA star Ron Artest and two of his teammates were suspended after an on-court brawl spilled into the stands. According to ESPN, one fan threw a Diet Coke at Artest, which sparked an all-out brawl. Several players and fans were later convicted of misdemeanor assault, including Artest.

Several fans filed lawsuits just days after the incident.

New York personal injury attorneys at Cellino & Barnes fear that a similar fight could breakout when crowds storm the courts.

“It’s a very emotional game and for many people – both players and fans – keeping those emotions in-check can be difficult,” Barnes said. “Although it’s often frowned upon to storm the court, it still happens and schools may not be doing enough to prevent it.”

Fans have stormed courts countless times throughout the history of college basketball but few of those fans ever face the threat of a fine. Barnes says some schools and athletic facilities may consider introducing fines or raising the penalties for those who storm the court.

Many of those who follow the sport agree that more actions need to be taken to prevent fans from entering the playing court in stampede-fashion. Not only could it prevent an unnecessary injury; it could also prevent a lawsuit.

How One Accident Changed So Many Lives

/ Personal Injury /

How One Accident Changed So Many LivesNEW YORK – If you have ever been in a fender-bender, it can be frustrating. Hopefully, it’s minor and you walk away without any injuries but sometimes accidents can be devastating. Any time a person is injured in an accident, it can put a strain on your health, your job, your relationships, and your finances.

Just one accident can change your life.

This week, Americans honored the lives of seven people who were killed in one of the nation’s most horrific accidents. They were engineers, physicists, service members, pilots, and teachers aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger.

A New York personal injury attorney at Cellino & Barnes says this one tragic event affected so many American lives.

“This one accident took loved ones away from their families and robbed school children of their teacher,” New York personal injury attorney Ross Cellino said. “Whether it’s a space shuttle or a car crash, it’s heartbreaking to think about how many people can be impacted by just one accident.”

The space shuttle’s external fuel tank collapsed, causing the shuttle to break apart just 73 seconds into its flight. A major investigation tasked with finding the cause of the accident discovered that a fault seal on one of the rocket boosters didn’t function correctly.

Federal investigators say the accident could have been prevented: it was a design flaw.

Engineers originally recommended postponing Challenger’s launch date because the “O-ring” seals had not been tested in low temperatures. Mission managers had only slept for two hours before they rejected the engineers’ recommendation.

The official accident report was issued later in 1986 and had determined that “time pressure… increased the potential for sleep loss and judgment errors,” and working “excessive hours, while admirable, raises serious questions when it jeopardizes job performance, particularly when critical management decisions are at stake.”

Families of the Challenger crew members received settlements 11 months after the crash. More than half of the settlement payments were made by the manufacturer responsible for the space shuttle’s rocket boosters.

“Legal action can provide security for accident victims and their families,” Cellino said. “It can also promote positive changes and improve safety for future generations.”

The accident was no doubt a tragedy and it completely changed America’s space program.

After Challenger, NASA completed a total redesign of the space shuttle’s rocket boosters. The space agency also created the Office of Safety, Reliability and Quality Assurance, which continues to be responsible for safety analysis and assessments of space technology.

Beyond these changes, the Challenger had a larger impact on America: although its crew never completed its educational mission, heartbroken families and friends have continued it by establishing and supporting the Challenger Center, a non-profit educational organization that aims to teach children the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math.

One accident continues to have a profound impact on many lives.

Today, there are more than 40 Challenger education centers around the nation encouraging millions of children to reach for the stars.

Ski, Snowboard Injuries Extremely Expensive

/ Personal Injury /

Ski, Snowboard Injuries Extremely ExpensiveROCHESTER, N.Y. – Do you have plans to go skiing or snowboarding this winter? If so, sprinkle some safety on top; it could save you a lot of pain, suffering and money.

According to a study out of the Rochester Institute of Technology, up to 3 out of every 1,000 ski visits will result in an injury.

Snowboarding is even more dangerous. Researchers estimate six out of every 1,000 snowboarders will end up in the hospital.

Rochester personal injury attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say ski and snowboard injuries are often very serious and few families are prepared for such a sudden and large medical bill.

“The slopes can be dangerous and filled with unexpected hazards and if the proper safety precautions are ignored, families can be dealing with a devastating and expensive injury,” Rochester personal injury attorney Ross Cellino said. “In many cases, injuries can be very similar to the injuries people suffer in car accidents like broken bones, torn ligaments, spinal injuries, or head trauma.”

Academic studies on ski and snowboard accidents are rare – but doctors estimated the total cost of these accidents to be over $22,000 in 1996. That’s roughly equivalent $33,500 today.

Doctors say the most common skiing injuries affect the knees and they often require reconstructive surgery.

Snowboarders are more likely to suffer wrist sprains and fractures because of the manner in which they fall.

“These injuries sometimes happen because those who maintain the slopes failed to clear hazards or make the slopes safe for skiiers and snowboarders,” Cellino said. “But we also see those who are less experienced attempt to navigate a difficult slope.”

Doctors and attorneys off the following recommendations to avoid a ski or snowboard accident:

  • Warm-up. Properly stretching and exercising every day can improve posture and endurance, preventing falls.
  • Don’t overdo it. If you start to feel fatigued, take a rest. When your muscles are worn out, they’re more susceptible to injury.
  • Take the bunny hill. Especially for those who are new to skiing, the more difficult terrains can pose a number of dangers. If you’re not an expert, avoid the expert slope – they sometimes have unmarked obstacles.
  • Wear the right safety equipment. Properly selecting a ski size and getting fitted for a helmet is extremely important. Make sure you’re always wearing protective equipment – even when you’re stopped. Another skier could run into you at any time.

Also, know the statistics. Most injuries are caused by falls and collisions. Be aware of your surroundings on the slopes and become familiar with the terrain.

If you have any doubts about your skill level, don’t try the downhill slalom course. Rochester personal injury attorneys say it’s better to enjoy a day on the slopes than a day in the hospital.

A Helmet? While Sledding? Docs Say ‘Use Your Head’

/ Personal Injury /

A Helmet? While Sledding?ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Now that you have fresh snow, you’ll want to take the kids out the hill for a fun day of sledding but doctors are urging both parents and children to do something relatively unheard of in the sledding community: Wear a helmet.

Doctors with St. Luke’s University Health Network in Pennsylvania say it’s common sense to wear a helmet while you’re on a bike or a motorcycle and the same practice should be applied to sledding.

The medical pros have the statistics to back-up their suggestion too: more than 229,000 sledding injuries sent children to the hospital over ten years. Additionally, a 2007 study found that children can reach an average speed of 19 miles per hour on a downhill sled – and many times, sleds can go much faster.

A Rochester personal injury attorney at Cellino & Barnes says a helmet could avoid a potentially deadly injury and children should always be supervised.

“Sledding is a fun outdoor activity for thousands of children but every year, there’s an accident,” Rochester personal injury lawyer Ross Cellino said. “It is our hope that these accidents can be minimized and families can help reduce the number of sledding injuries with adult supervision and safety equipment like helmets.”

According to doctors at St. Luke’s, 34 percent of all sledding accidents resulted in a head injury. Up to 10 percent of the children who suffered a head injury became permanently disabled.

Recently, a 15 year-old Michigan boy was killed after his sled, being pulled by an SUV, crashed into a tree. Prosecutors said those involved in the stunt could face charges.

“Some communities have banned sledding because, in the end, the cities, counties and towns can be held responsible,” Cellino said. “However, most accidents can be minimized or prevented with good property maintenance, signage and supervision.”

Doctors and attorneys recommend several tips parents can follow to reduce the number of sledding injuries:

  1. Use a safe sled. Tubes and toboggans can be very risky because they accelerate to high speed with going downhill.
  2. Sit Feet-Forward. Avoid going downhill head-first – it increases the chance of serious head injury.
  3. Clear a Path. Avoid hills with obstructions or obstacles such as trees, jumps or ramps. Also find a hill with soft snow and avoid ice at all costs – since it is harder, the risk of injury is greater.
  4. Supervise. Most importantly, pay attention and make sure your kids are sledding sensibly.

Doctors say helmets are also an important tool for children under 12.

Boredom May Be a Symptom of a Brain Injury

/ Personal Injury /

Symptom of a Brain InjuryNEW YORK – Boredom can be a lonely state of mind and when you’re bored, you may think of it as a solvable problem but some researchers believe it’s a symptom of something much more severe.

According to Nature, an international weekly science journal, a Canadian researcher discovered that young men who suffered a traumatic brain injury get bored easier than they did before their head trauma. The findings have launched new cognitive research and doctors are now looking deeper into the state of boredom.

A Long Island personal injury attorney at Cellino & Barnes says in any type of accident, traumatic brain injuries are extremely common and thousands of Americans may have suffered a head injury without ever noticing.

“Many times, a person walks away from a car accident and doesn’t notice anything wrong with their behaviors,” Long Island personal injury attorney Ross Cellino said. “But over the next year or two, their attitudes may change, their personality can change and it can be devastating to their family.”

Brain injuries do not heal like other injuries and symptoms could appear at any time after the injury occurs – even weeks later.

The changes are rarely sudden. Instead, they occur slowly over time and it can make diagnosing a brain injury difficult for doctors.

However, if research determines boredom is a consistent symptom of a brain injury, doctors may be able to diagnose the patient sooner.

“Although traumatic brain injuries are extremely complex and radically different than most other types of injuries, it’s important to get treated quickly,” Cellino said. “As with any injury, a complete recovery starts with seeing a doctor.”

Some physicians believe that boredom can lead to other serious and unhealthy complications.

Binge-eating, for example, is often triggered by boredom, according to a study of eating disorders.

Other studies took boredom to the road and found that bored drivers often drive at higher speeds and don’t react as quickly as other drivers – and they frequently drifted into oncoming lanes. And a survey found that teens were more likely to pick up smoking, drinking, or drugs if they said they were bored.

However, research is only beginning to understand the link between boredom and traumatic brain injuries, if there is a link.

Currently, research on boredom and traumatic brain injuries are sparse but many medical experts are fascinated by the discussion and are planning to investigate boredom on more than just college students – that suggests new studies on boredom in teens, the elderly, and people with various ethnic backgrounds.

When Injuries Were “All in Our Heads”

/ Personal Injury /

When Injuries Were “All in Our Heads”BUFFALO, N.Y. – A Former Chicago Bears quarterback and Super Bowl champion says he, and thousands of other players, were misled about the effects of injuries – specifically head injuries.

McMahon, 56, joined thousands of former football players in a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, which was settled for around $1 billion in April. However, the ‘concussion’ battle is not over yet – and many families opted out of the class-action lawsuit.

“There are still many unknowns when it comes to head injuries,” Buffalo personal injury attorney Ross Cellino said. “Doctors are just now beginning to understand how repeated blows to the head – even if they don’t cause a concussion – can be linked to long-term illnesses.”

Among those who opted out of the lawsuit were relatives of former linebacker Junior Seau, whose suicide in 2012 put a spotlight on head injuries.

Seau, who was 43, shot himself in the chest so that his brain could be analyzed by doctors.

Just one year prior to Seau’s death, former Bears, Giants and Cardinals safety Dave Duerson also died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. A text message sent to his family indicated that he wanted his brain to be used for research at the Boston University School of Medicine, which conducts studies on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenative disease that can lead to the onset of Lou Gehrig’s Disease and dementia, among others.

Researchers determined both Seau and Duerson had developed the trauma-induced disease.

One recent study discovered evidence of CTE in 76 of the 79 former players tested for the disease.

In 1994, an NFL team doctor told Newsday:

“We think of the issue of knees, of drugs and steroids and drinking is a far greater problem (than concussions).”

In 1999, former Steelers Hall of Famer Mike Webster claimed football gave him dementia – and he was spending his final days broke, living in his truck until he died at the age of 50.

Since then, the NFL and other sports organizations have changed their tune.

“Concussions were considered part of the profession, a type of occupational risk – and according to some players, they were told that the pain was ‘all in their head’ so they were given massive doses of painkillers,” Cellino said. “But doctors have found that these injuries slowly destroy a person’s brain.”

Buffalo personal injury attorneys say several sports have made sweeping changes in order to protect students and professionals but many doctors, parents and safety advocates remain concerned.

The $1 billion settlement that was approved in April only covers the benefits for retired football players. And the league did not admit to any wrongdoing. The NFL continues to avoid any acknowledgement of a link between football and degenerative brain diseases.

Experts say the settlement may simply be a ‘starting point’ and as long as athletes suffer from concussions, the risk of long-term illnesses will remain high.

Key to Success: Getting Help, Fast!

/ Personal Injury /

Key to SuccessNEW YORK – If you’re ever injured in an accident – or if someone else is injured, Queens personal injury attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say the first call you make shouldn’t be to an attorney at all. Lawyers say calling 911 should be the first phone call anyone makes after accidents involving injuries.

“When it comes to traumatic injuries, getting medical help within the first hour is crucial for any accident victim in Queens,” personal injury attorney Steve Barnes said. “Whether you’re hurt on the job or in a car crash, dial 911 immediately.”

A recent study by the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research analyzed data for thousands of injuries that happened on the battlefield in Afghanistan. They found that getting immediate medical assistance reduced fatality rates by up to 7 percent.

The study looked at what’s dubbed “the golden hour.” In 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates issued a mandate forcing military personnel to get wounded soldiers to a treatment facility within 60 minutes.

After analyzing more than 21,000 battlefield injuries, Army researchers found fatality rates dropped from 13.7 percent to 7.6 percent after the mandate was in place.

Researchers say “the golden hour” is one of the most important directives to increase survival rates.

In World War II for example, soldiers were given a 50/50 chance of survival. After the 2009 mandate, wounded warriors in Afghanistan had a 98 percent chance of surviving.

“When those injured in car accidents or slip and falls get treated within the hour, it gives them better chances of avoiding serious complications or death,” Barnes said.

Queens personal injury attorneys say after calling 911, the next person you should call is an experienced personal injury attorney at Cellino & Barnes.

“Injuries can be costly and it’s our job to get you the best results you can get,” Barnes said.

50 Ways to Say Goodbye

/ Personal Injury /

50 Ways to Say GoodbyeNEW YORK – You’ve probably heard about bizarre deaths in a song or something: she dried up in the desert, drowned in a hot tub or danced to death at an east side night club (yeah, that’s a song by Train). While 50 Ways to Say Goodbye seems fantastical, some of these bizarre deaths actually happen.

With publicity in media today, we’re concerned with things like shark attacks, flesh eating bacteria and plane crashes. While these accidents do happen, there are many other strange mishaps that claim more lives; like coconuts.

Yes – coconuts can be deadlier than shark attacks. In fact, about 150 people are killed each year from falling coconuts. On average, a deadly shark attack only happens once every two years in the United States.

A New York personal injury attorney at Cellino & Barnes said no matter how bizarre the circumstances around an injury are, there could be ways to legally obtain financial recovery.

“If your safety is ever compromised because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to significant compensation in New York,” personal injury attorney Steve Barnes said. “It’s always worth calling one of our lawyers for a free evaluation – a claim could pay off your medical bills and recover any lost wages you had as a result of your injury.”

Coconuts aren’t the only risk hanging above head – icicles kill about 15 people each year and another 24,000 people die from lightning.

Wind, ladders, horses, bees, and champagne corks are each responsible for more than 20 deaths each year. So, on New Year’s Eve, don’t be a show off – put safety first when you’re opening that bottle of champagne because it’s difficult to predict where that cork is going.

Here are a few more:

  • Mosquitoes – About 800,000 people are killed by disease-carrying mosquitoes
  • Raw meat – Not just an upset stomach: more than 5,000 Americans die from uncooked food
  • Cooked meat – Even the cooked food can be a choking hazard, resulting in 3,000 deaths each year
  • Ants – Responsible for killing about 50 people each year. Avoid the fire ants.
  • Hippos – You might have heard they’re the deadliest animal on Earth; claiming nearly 3,000 lives each year.
  • Being Left-Handed – Yes, we left-handers are often neglected. Many products are designed for right-handed people and trying to use these items can sometimes be a challenge. Electricity can be fatal as the current could run closer to vital organs if you’re lefty.

Recently, one many filed a lawsuit after a 16-pound pine cone fell on his head in San Francisco. Ouch.

New York personal injury attorneys suggest speaking with an experience lawyer if you’ve been injured. It’s a free call and many times a claim can spark changes – helping to prevent your accident from happening to someone else.


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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