LOS ANGELES – Anyone who’s been behind the wheel of a vehicle knows how dangerous texting and driving can be. It takes your eyes off the road, and it pulls your mind away from the task at hand.
This deadly combination of decreased reaction time and distraction can be linked to millions of car accidents each year. Many states, including California, have enacted laws to make texting and driving illegal, but there’s a problem.
Enforcing these laws can be challenging.
In the past, California drivers found a loophole in the law which prohibited drivers from using a handheld device to “write, send, or read a text-based communication” while behind the wheel. Since the wording was very specific, officers couldn’t cite many distracted offenders who were browsing the internet or using GPS on their phones.
This year, police have more authority after the ban was amended to prohibit drivers from “holding and operating” any handheld device while driving.
This small revision now gives police more authority, but enforcing this law is still a difficult challenge. Spotting a texting driver isn’t easy – it takes a trained eye, and police say many violators have become ‘sneaky’ about it, hiding their phones out of sight from potential law officers.
However, texting and driving is dangerous, and if a distracted driver causes a car crash, authorities can dive into your phone records and determine whether or not your smartphone was being used at the time of the accident. If it was, a driver can face hefty fines – and even jail time.
Perhaps one day, the law won’t need enforcement. Maybe someday soon, your smartphone simply won’t operate while in the driver’s seat. Yes, there’s already a patent for that.
IF YOU’VE BEEN HURT BY A DISTRACTED DRIVER
According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use has been linked to over 1.5 million crashes each year. Many of these accidents hurt or kill innocent drivers and passengers. Sadly, these injuries and fatalities could have been prevented.
If you or a loved one was involved in a car crash, and you suspect the other driver may have been distracted, the Los Angeles car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes can launch a complete investigation and request mobile records for handheld devices.
In many cases, proving a driver was distracted can help maximize the value of a personal injury claim, and our Los Angeles car accident attorneys aim to get their clients the best result possible.
When your family has been impacted by a distracted driver, the pain and heartache is bad enough. Adding insult to injury, medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses associated with accidents can be costly, but an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney can help you recover these costs, and bring distracted drivers to justice.
Contact a Los Angeles car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes today for a free case evaluation.
NEW YORK – Air travel is often considered one of the safest modes of transportation, but if you ask pilots, many of them will tell you that the airlines are not putting safety first.
At a global debate, pilots announced their growing concerns with many airlines and the lack of safety culture principles. In fact, one study found airline executives and financial decisions have greatly impacted airline safety in recent years.
The study found several trends and gaps in aviation safety. These problems included:
Hiring trends of low-wage, inexperienced staff, including pilots
Outdated aircraft equipment
Lack of proper maintenance, or adequate maintenance workers
Overworked staff, including pilots
One of the most alarming concerns involved pilot fatigue. According to polls, 76-percent of the pilots working for cut-rate companies reported they were tired at work. In general, more than half of all pilots said they were frequently flying without enough rest.
Even at this rate, researchers believe many pilots are afraid to say that they were fatigued at the helm, and the true number of sleepy pilots could be much larger.
A New York airplane injury lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says the fatigue and lack of safety culture can also trickle-down to other staffers, including maintenance crews and flight attendants.
“Each year, thousands of passengers are injured in the air – on both domestic and international flights out of New York,” airplane injury attorney Ross Cellino said. “Many of these injuries can be traced back to that lack of safety culture and training among airline crews and staff.”
Some of the most common incidents on airplanes have to do with falling luggage. It’s estimated that over 4,000 people suffer injuries every year after being struck by falling suitcases, bags, boxes, or other carry-on items.
New York airplane injury lawyers say it is the flight staff’s duty to make sure all items are properly stowed before take-off. It is also the crew’s responsibility to make sure overhead bins are functioning properly and won’t suddenly open in-flight.
“Unfortunately, these accidents are surprisingly common,” Cellino said. “It’s also no secret that some airlines are cutting costs and giving the few staff members they have left more responsibilities; it can often be overwhelming and safety is sometimes overlooked.”
These accidents can cause serious and permanent injuries, but victims of irresponsible airlines don’t have to fight the big corporations alone. The New York airplane injury attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have helped many travelers get compensation for their injuries.
If you’ve been injured in an airport, or in-flight, contact Cellino & Barnes for a free case evaluation.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It happens every winter: as the snow piles-up on cars, negligent drivers take-off without brushing the snow off the roof. Their windshield may be clear, but these drivers are creating hazardous conditions for others using the roads.
Driving in winter weather is dangerous enough without having to dodge snow or ice falling off another person’s vehicle. According to State Police, several people suffered eye injuries last week when chunks of ice fell off one vehicle and smashed the windshield of another.
A Rochester truck accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says drivers who don’t clear off their cars can even be considered a traffic violation in some states, and if it causes an accident, negligent drivers could be held responsible for any injuries.
“Many of us have been in that situation: stuck behind a vehicle with snow and ice flying off the roof in Rochester,” truck accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “It’s downright dangerous and it has been known to cause serious accidents, but it’s really simple to avoid.”
Rochester truck accident lawyers suggest using common sense; and there are some tricks to help drivers get the snow and ice off their cars in a hurry:
Use some de-icing spray on your windows before turning on your windshield wipers
Have a broom or shovel handy to clear those hard-to-reach areas of your car’s roof
Work from the top down. Start with the roof. Sometimes, it can dislodge ice over windows
Park your car facing east. When the sun rises in the morning, it gives you a head-start
NEVER use hot water to melt ice. You’re doing more harm – not only can this damage your car, hot water can also freeze faster in cold conditions!
These tips go for truck drivers too. In a recent poll, more than half (54%) of truckers reported they ‘rarely or never’ remove snow and ice from their trucks and trailers, AAA reported.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a car or truck covered in snow and ice, you could receive significant compensation for your injuries. The Rochester truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have extensive experience handling these types of matters, and they’re focused on getting clients the best result possible.
For a free case evaluation, call Cellino & Barnes anytime – 24/7
BUFFALO, N.Y. – More than half of Americans plan to be Irish this weekend, spending an estimated $5.3 billion St. Patrick’s Day outfits, food and drinks. But the luck o’ the Irish only goes so far.
In Western New York, it’s a must-see event as thousands of people flood Delaware Avenue for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. While most of these parade-goers are responsible with their alcohol consumption, there are some who are not.
“People know the risks of driving drunk, and dozens of others pay the price every year in Buffalo,” car accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “They can get pulled over and receive a DWI, or even worse: cause a car crash that takes someone else’s life.”
In 2015, nearly three dozen people were killed in drunk-driving crashes over St. Paddy’s Day weekend, WalletHub reports. That adds up to a deadly crash every 72 minutes. Roughly three-quarters of these crashes involved a driver who consumed twice the legal limit.
During the St. Patrick’s Day week alone, New York State Police made roughly 500 alcohol-related arrests last year, according to state records. Most of those arrests occurred on the holiday itself, but since St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday this year, safety advocates fear the problem could get worse.
“Since many people don’t have to work the next day, they could be staying at the bar later into the evening, and that’s when things can get out of hand,” Barnes said. “Not only are they consuming more alcohol, they’re also losing daylight, and nighttime driving is more dangerous for everyone – even the designated driver.”
The Buffalo car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes urge everyone to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day responsibly. That means planning ahead and getting a designated driver, if you plan on enjoying a green beverage or two.
If the worst-case scenario happens to you or your family, trust the firm that has helped Western New Yorkers get the best result possible from a drunk driving crash. Contact the Buffalo car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes for a free case evaluation.
NEW YORK – Most school-aged children use the bus to get to and from their classes each day, and it’s generally thought of as one of the safest modes of transportation. But safety advocates are urging parents and drivers to rethink safety – both on and off the school bus.
According to federal statistics, most accidents happen before or after a child has stepped off the bus. A Bronx bus accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes said these moments are some of the most dangerous times for children.
“Some drivers either don’t notice the flashing lights of a school bus, or they ignore them completely,” Bronx bus accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “It’s a growing problem across the country, and it’s putting many children at risk.”
The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) recently conducted a survey of 878 bus drivers that reported being passed 727 times in one day.
When applied to the more than 50,000 school buses on the road in New York State, drivers illegally passed yellow buses over 41,000 times each day.
It’s not just a problem in New York, either. Other states are also reporting a rise in the number of accidents involving school buses and passing vehicles. In Tampa, Florida, there’s an average of 486 accidents that result in 302 injuries and two deaths every year, WFTS reported. In some areas, accident rates have gone up 65-percent over the last five years. In DeKalb County, Georgia, bus drivers now average about 1.2 accidents each day, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“School bus safety needs to be a priority for every single person that drives a vehicle,” Barnes said. “Passing a school bus with its lights on is illegal, and it’s unacceptable, because there are young lives at stake.”
Some school districts are considering attaching red-light cameras to their vehicles to catch negligent drivers in the act. In fact, North Carolina lawmakers have introduced a bill that would allow counties to adopt ordinances that would assess civil penalties to violators who pass a stopped school bus.
In many cases, these incidents result in close-calls that go unpunished, but some incidents end with heartache and frustration. If your child has been injured, the Bronx school bus accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have worked on similar cases in all 50 states, and this experience has helped many families get significant compensation after an accident.
When a negligent driver ignores the flashing lights and injures your child, the Bronx bus accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes can protect your rights and help your family get the best result possible from an injury claim.
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Every parent has a short list of ‘must-have’ items: a crib, a stroller, toys, and a baby carrier. Although these are basic items for any growing family, a new study is warning parents about how dangerous some of these products can be.
More than 66,000 children are sent to emergency rooms each year, after getting injured in an accident related to nursery products. That’s an average of 128 hospitalized infants each day.
According to a new Nationwide Children’s Hospital study, most of these accidents resulted in concussions or other head injuries. In fact, research has found that the majority of the incidents involved a child, usually an infant, falling out of a stroller, carrier or crib.
These basic nursery items are also on the recall list more than any other children’s product or toy. A Buffalo defective product attorney at Cellino & Barnes says parents and expecting parents should at least be aware of these accidents when shopping for their nursery.
“These accidents are more common than most people think, and they’ve happened right here in Buffalo,” defective product lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Parents should be doing their research to make sure they’re looking for products that meet the latest safety standards, and the items they’ve already purchased should be checked for recalls on a regular basis.”
Recalls as a result of defective cribs, strollers and carriers can be found on Recalls.gov, a resource which lists almost all federal consumer product recalls. Buffalo defective product lawyers say parents should also check with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on a regular basis to make sure the products they’ve purchased for their child meet the latest safety standards.
Doctors noted that many of the children’s’ injuries were a result of improper installation, and parents must carefully read directions for many nursery products before putting them together, or setting them up.
Unfortunately, many other injuries are caused by defects in nursery products. These defects can include broken parts, choking or strangulation risks, poor durability, or an overall lack of safety testing.
If your child has been injured as a result of a faulty nursery crib, carrier or stroller, the injuries can be very serious, often impacting a child’s learning ability or progress. Any defective product is unacceptable in today’s safety-focused society – and the products that can injure a child should be immediately pulled off the shelves to save other children and parents the heartache and pain that goes with one of these accidents.
The Buffalo defective product attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have helped many families get compensation for these injuries by holding the manufacturers responsible for negligently marketing unsafe nursery furniture, transports and toys.
Trusted with personal injury matters for over 50 years, Cellino & Barnes has taken many of the nation’s biggest manufacturers to court to make sure safety is the industry’s number-one priority. To find out how our team can help with your situation, contact a Buffalo defective product attorney for a free case evaluation.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – One of the victims of a 2015 work site accident will receive a $5 million settlement that will help cover the costs of medical treatments, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other daily expenses.
The victim was working on a flatbed truck delivering steel I-beams to a Western New York construction site in April, 2015. Operators were using a boom crane to unload the cargo when the tall crane came into contact with high-power wires above.
The contact with the power lines caused the victims’ truck to energize, and it sent more than 7,000 volts of electricity through the workers’ bodies.
In comparison, the electric chair only carried 2,000 volts.
The accident killed one worker, and injured two others. One of the survivors of that accident, an Ontario County man represented by Cellino & Barnes, has accepted the settlement after nearly two years of negotiations.
A Rochester construction accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says no sum of money will ever restore this man’s life to the way it was before the incident, but the settlement will allow the victim and his family to afford the care and treatment he will likely need for the remainder of his life.
“It’s heartbreaking when accidents like this happen, and it can be overwhelming to an entire family,” Rochester construction accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “This man will have to live with devastating injuries and burns the rest of his life, and these frustrations are amplified because incidents like these can be prevented.”
According to public records, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation revealed that many provisions were not in place before this accident. Investigators later issued citations and penalties to the victims’ employer.
Rochester construction accident attorneys say these citations are far too common on work sites – and the solutions are often simple, like training programs or oversight to ensure workers are taking the proper safety precautions.
“This incident reemphasizes the need for safe work site practices across the nation,” Rochester personal injury attorney Kerby Wright said. “When safety procedures are in place, it ensures that other workers will be able to return home to their families every evening without harm.”
The National Safety Council reports that nearly 5 million people are injured on the job every year – and almost 4,000 workers are killed, as the result of a preventable accident.
Construction sites or jobs involving transportation or warehousing are the most accident-prone industries, but safety advocates said injuries have been reported in every type of career – even those that are not labor intensive.
If you or a loved one has been injured on a work site, the law offices of Cellino & Barnes can help. Their Rochester construction accident lawyers have helped many people across the nation get compensation for their injuries, and their clients have received more than $2 billion in settlements and verdicts.
When a job-related accident puts you in the hospital, trust the firm that has helped other hard-working families get the compensation they deserved. Contact Cellino & Barnes for a free case evaluation.
SAN FRANCISCO – When searching for flights for the entire family, price is a major factor – but a new study warns that it shouldn’t be the ONLY factor.
After analyzing the 10 leading domestic airlines for price, convenience, headaches, and extras, researchers found that when shopping for flights, you get what you pay for. According to the study, the cheapest airlines often had late arrivals, bad cabin comfort, more instances of lost luggage, and an overall poor customer satisfaction rating.
For the most part, when flyers cut costs they’re also cutting precious leg room and adding more stress to their travels.
Study authors were quick to point-out that no airline does everything well, and there are always risks with flying – even when you’re paying top dollar.
Airplane crashes are relatively rare – and transportation experts agree that flying is one of the safest modes of transportation, but a Bay Area airplane injury lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says many accidents occur in-flight, and they’re often not accounted for.
“Burns from hot drinks are actually the most common cause of injury on flights out of the Bay Area,” airplane injury attorney Landon Vivian said. “In many cases, airlines can be held responsible for these accidents because their flight staff is supposed to be well-trained, and the airplane itself should be safe for every passenger.”
According to doctors at MedAire, a company that provides medical services to airplane passengers, they can respond to more than 23,000 in-flight emergencies each year, 10-percent of which involve children under the age of 18.
Bay Area airplane injury lawyers say these emergency incidents can include injuries as a result of turbulence. Rough air can sometimes cause overhead bins to malfunction. This can be dangerous because falling luggage injures thousands of passengers every year, and service carts can slide around the cabin.
In some cases, service carts can weigh hundreds of pounds, and it’s the flight attendant’s duty to make sure passengers are out of harm’s way when these carts are being wheeled through the aisles.
“There are many things that can go awry on an airplane,” Vivian said. “Many of these accidents can be very similar to accidents that happen at home or work.”
Tripping and falling in airplane aisles is another common accident. This can happen in-flight or while boarding, or leaving the plane.
The airline’s duty to ensure passenger safety doesn’t end when you step on the jetway, either. Airports have been held responsible for accidents involving terminal escalators and baggage carousel malfunctions.
Safety advocates say most injuries that occur on an airplane are preventable, and in many cases, the airline can be held responsible for an accident.
If you or a loved one has recently been injured on a flight, contact the Bay Area airplane injury attorneys at Cellino & Barnes today for a free case evaluation.
NEW 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:
WHY ARE SOME SAFE DRIVERS FACING HIGHER PREMIUMS?
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.
HOW CAN A SAFE DRIVER KEEP THEIR PREMIUM LOW?
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.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I’M INJURED?
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.
LOS ANGELES – Over the last decade, there have been a number of disastrous and heartbreaking train accidents across the nation. Some of these incidents happened in Southern California, where train safety hits home for many families.
Nine years ago, a Metrolink commuter train struck a freight train head-on outside a tunnel in Los Angeles, just east of Stoney Point. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the Metrolink train ran through a red light before entering the dangerous section of track where the collision occurred.
Investigators determined the train’s engineer was distracted by text messages he was sending while on duty, causing him to zoom past the red light.
A month later, Congress passed a law that would prevent accidents like this. The law called for major railroads to install a computer and GPS-based crash avoidance system. In the event of an emergency, the computers would take control of trains and stop them, if the engineer makes an error that could cause a crash or derailment.
Fast-forward nearly a decade…
These mandates still haven’t been met by many major railroads. In fact, Congress had to extend a 2015 deadline by three years – to 2018. And the deadline may soon be extended again.
The technology has been dubbed Positive Train Control, or PTC. Since the mandates went into effect in 2008, the Association of American Railroads states PTC has only been installed on 38 percent of more than 60,000 route miles – and only half of the 125,000 railroad employees who need to be trained have received training on the system.
Critics have been loud, claiming the railroads are stalling and taking too long – and Congress is letting them get away with it, as preventable crashes occur each year. Railroads, on the other hand, argue the system is very complex and expensive; costing the industry nearly $8 billion to date.
Despite the industry’s complaints, the Federal Railroad Administration has warned railroads that they need to step-up the pace and meet the next deadline in 2018.
That’s next year.
Some railroads are on track to complete these upgrades, but many still lag behind, with only a portion of their trains and tracks compatible with the GPS-based system.
Cellino & Barnes has represented victims in the Hoboken train crash as well as others. One of the firm’s Los Angeles train accident lawyers feels another delay would put more lives on the line.
“Safety advocates have been calling for this system for nearly 50 years, so it’s not like PTC is something that was just suddenly thrown at railroad companies who run tracks through Los Angeles,” train accident attorney John Sheehan said. “Every day this system isn’t being implemented and used is another day that an accident could occur.”
The NTSB is also on board with sticking the 2018 deadline. According to the board’s website, “safety delayed is safety denied, and every day without these lifesaving advances holds the possibility of another accident like the ones in Philadelphia and Chatsworth.”
Los Angeles train accident attorneys say the system won’t prevent every serious accident, but it should be viewed as an additional safety measure that can save lives – like seat belts or air bags in cars. And until the system is properly installed on all track lines, train passengers run a higher risk of getting injured.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or a loss in a train crash, Cellino & Barnes has years of experience handling these types of cases. Contact a Los Angeles train accident lawyer for a free case evaluation.
Cellino & Barnes (800) 888-8888
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.