ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Now that a fair amount of snow has fallen on Western and Central New York, the slopes are open. But skiing and snowboarding have several risks, and local emergency rooms are already reporting a plethora of injuries.
New York State has more than 40 ski areas, more than any other state in the country, according to Ski Central. All of these areas have certain standards and safety regulations that ensure that visitors can not only have fun, but avoid a serious injury as well.
There’s a fine line between safe skiing and fun skiing. With too many regulations, the ski resorts would likely lose business; but too few regulations could be dangerous, or even deadly.
That’s why safety advocates are urging skiers and snowboarders to use extreme caution on the trails this month. Many of those who will be at the resorts this weekend haven’t been on the slopes in quite some time.
“We had a mild winter last year and this winter has been relatively mild as well, so there haven’t been many opportunities to go skiing or snowboarding around Rochester,” slip and fall lawyer Ross Cellino said. “It’s really important to take it easy the few times on the slopes, and be extra careful getting on and off chairlifts.”
Not all injuries happen on the slopes. Many accidents occur on ski lifts and near lodges. In almost every case, ski areas are required to get permits to operate chairlifts, and officials regularly inspect ski areas for possible malfunctions or safety concerns.
In many cases, the injury may not be the result of a lift malfunction; operators also have a responsibility to make sure skiers safely proceed onto a lift platform and unload in an equally safe manner.
Although skiing and snowboarding has its risks, Rochester slip and fall lawyers at Cellino & Barnes say most injuries occur off the slopes, at other areas where snow and ice can build-up to dangerous levels.
THE RISKS OFF THE MOUNTAIN
One of the things skiers enjoy most about the sport is going to the lodge afterwards for a hot cocoa. Many of the injuries that occur at ski resorts, and other businesses in the winter, occur near establishments where melting snow and ice has puddled on the floor.
Businesses and property owners have a responsibility to keep heavily trafficked areas safe and clear of snow and ice. Unfortunately, this duty is often neglected, and people can get seriously injured as a result.
If you’ve fallen on slippery floor, you may be entitled to significant compensation. The Rochester slip and fall attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have helped many victims get the best result possible from an injury claim; and they can help you and your family maximize the compensation you’re entitled to.
BUFFALO, 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
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:
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.
ACCIDENTS IN NEW YORK
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.
NEW 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:
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.
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.
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.
NEW 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.
NEW YORK – The last few years have been busy for city construction workers. Timecards are being punched and paychecks are being cashed, but not everything is good on the work site.
Since the construction boom began, work-related deaths have spiked in New York City, from 17 deaths in 2011 to 25 job site fatalities in 2015. Across the state, construction injuries are up 40 percent, according to a new report from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health that was released on Wednesday.
When you factor-in the number of injuries, construction accidents in New York State have skyrocketed from 128 in 2011 to over 400 in 2015.
At the same time, the number of safety inspections has been steadily falling.
Federal investigators with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) conducted nearly 3,000 inspections in 2011 – but that number has fallen to just over 1,900 in 2015, the report found.
That’s a drop of nearly 30 percent. According to researchers, the sudden lack of safety inspections is due to staff reductions; New York State simply has fewer inspectors.
In 20112, there were more than 80 inspectors checking work zones for safety hazards. Today, there are only about 66 active inspectors.
The Most Common Accidents are Preventable
Worker falls are the most common construction accident, accounting for nearly 60 percent of all construction-related injuries or deaths in New York. The safety report says that’s far above the national average of 36 percent.
The study combed over thousands of OSHA inspections and found that around 70 percent of the inspections resulted in safety violations and citations.
The data suggests that injuries most often occur on sites with poor oversight, and in work zones with few safety measures in place.
A Manhattan construction accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says almost every injury is preventable with the proper safety equipment and procedures, but these precautions are ignored too often, causing pain to workers and their families.
“Most of the construction accidents we see occur in non-union work zones in Manhattan,” construction accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “We also see a lot of injuries happen under the supervision of the same contractors, which have often been subject to numerous safety violations.”
In fact, 93 percent of the contractors that OSHA has cited multiple times are non-union contractors.
The Need for Safety
Many construction companies and contractors have a superb record, and safety advocates say they’re doing something right: they’re often very cautious when it comes to safety policies and require workers to wear protective gear at all times.
However, not all sites abide by the same policies. Some construction companies lobbied against a package of 19 construction safety bills that were brought to City Council this week, despite overwhelming support from trade unions.
Safety advocates say the culture must change on many construction sites, and if it does, construction accidents could be a thing of the past.
If the Worst Occurs
Unfortunately, accidents are still occurring at high rates. If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, there are people who can stand-up for your rights and fight the companies who may have been able to prevent an incident.
The Manhattan construction accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have been fighting for hard-working New Yorkers for over 50 years, and they have a track record of winning cases for their clients.
If you’ve been hurt, call a Manhattan construction accident attorney today for a free consultation.
BUFFALO, N.Y. – On February 12, 2009, an airplane carrying 45 passengers and four crewmembers took off from Newark, New Jersey – destined for Western New York.
This flight alone sparked a movement over the next eight years, and it pushed Congress to enact strict regulations for pilots and regional airlines that would improve safe operating procedures across the country.
However, those rules could expire in September.
Many of the passengers on Flight 3407 had families in Buffalo, Rochester and in the Greater Niagara region. They were fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters. Many of them were heading home, but something went wrong.
As the aircraft approached the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, it entered an aerodynamic stall – and it never recovered, crashing into a home. All 49 passengers and crew were killed in that accident nearly eight years ago. Investigators linked the cause of the crash to pilot error.
Since then, many things have changed.
Several family members didn’t rest until Congress acted to make airlines safer for everyone: bumping-up every pilot’s training requirements from 250 hours of air-time to 1,500 hours, among other policies.
Many of those families are now at it again – lobbying U.S. leaders to keep the strong flight safety legislation – or enact even more stringent regulations.
A Buffalo airplane accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says many regional airlines are also in Washington, pushing lawmakers to reduce the number of training hours, and many believe that could put passenger safety at risk.
“Between 2001 and 2009, there were six deadly plane crashes involving small airlines like the one that managed Flight 3407 while it was en route to Buffalo,” airplane accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Since the new rules and regulations have been adopted, not one regional airplane has crashed.”
The airlines are small, often hiring less-experienced pilots at lower salaries in comparison to the larger international carriers. Since the strict standards were implemented in 2013, regional airlines have complained about a pilot shortage – one that has put some carriers out of business, and threatens others.
However, families say this is not a business decision – this is a safety matter.
In addition to renewing the safety standards, many advocates are calling for a pilot record database and more funding for the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA reauthorization package expires Sept. 30.
What to do if it Happens Again
Although stronger safety standards have made flying safer, accidents can still happen. If you and your family have lost a loved one in an airplane crash, you’ll want to make sure you have the best legal representation you can find.
Not all airplane accidents are deadly – the vast majority of incidents are injuries that occur on a commercial airline, but these injuries can also be devastating.
If you or a loved one has been injured on an airplane – or your family has lost a loved one in an airplane accident, there are people who can help.
The airplane accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have handled many cases against airlines, and that experience has helped clients get the best result possible from a claim.
The big airline companies have a team of lawyers in their corner – you’ll want to make sure you have an experienced team of trial attorneys in your corner; ready to fight for your rights. Call Cellino & Barnes today for a free consultation.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Federal Aviation Administration issued a new rule this week that mandates additional training for many pilots.
Previously, recreational, private and student pilots were required to:
If under 40-years-old; renew medical certification every 5 years
If over 40-years-old; renew medical certificate every 2 years
If the FAA identified any medical flags, authorities would step-in. This sometimes resulted in ordering more tests or grounding the pilot completely.
Starting this May, small aircraft pilots will be required to have:
Medical exams every 4 years
Completed online education course every 2 years
The new rule also states that physical exams can now be completed by a family doctor.
An airplane injury attorney at Cellino & Barnes says the new regulations could improve safety in the air for over 300,000 recreational pilots.
“We know how dangerous medical conditions can be while operating a car or a truck in the U.S.,” airplane injury lawyer Steve Barnes said. “If a pilot were to have a medical condition while operating an airplane, the result can be devastating for both the operator and the passengers, and medical exams aim to prevent these disasters.”
The FAA said the changes will make the process “more efficient” for private pilots and keep “aviation flying affordable.” Advocates of the new rule have said the medical requirements were too expensive and tedious before. In fact, medical exams had cost pilots an estimated $20 million each year.
In a 2014 study, the National Transportation Safety Board noted that many pilots were “flying without a medical certificate” because of the costs associated with the previous medical requirements. Some pilots were found to be using prescription medication while flying, and determining their fitness to fly on their own.
Commercial airline unions have gone on record saying the newest regulations give pilots and passengers an adequate level of safety.
However, some research has discovered that prescription medications are an increasing problem, although they rarely correlate to the cause of airplane accident.
In any case, if you or a loved one has been injured on an airplane, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Cellino & Barnes has experienced airplane injury lawyers who can help you and your family get the best result possible from an injury or wrongful death claim.
The consultation is free, and you won’t owe a fee unless Cellino & Barnes wins your case.
NEW YORK – You’ve probably seen it before: cars whizzing by, dangerously close to pedestrians, bicyclists and other motorists.
It’s a problem that plagues cities across America, and in New York, it’s a serious issue.
New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, recently ruled that the Big Apple and other towns and cities can be found liable for a person’s injuries if an accident occurred on a street with a history of reckless driving and traffic accidents.
The judgment was made in response to a 2004 accident on Gerritsen Avenue in Brooklyn, where a driver was determined to be traveling at over 50 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone. According to court documents, that driver struck a 12-year-old boy who was riding his bicycle.
At a trial, a jury found the city was, in part, responsible for the crash. The city appealed the ruling, which brought the case in front of the seven judges who determined the city does bear responsibility for certain accidents.
A Brooklyn car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says poor road design can be a key piece of evidence that can help victims maximize their claim compensation.
“There are some streets that are like racetracks for some drivers and these areas are often studied by transportation officials in Brooklyn,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Even though traffic studies recognize some streets as problematic areas, very little is done to change them and make them safer.”
Traffic-calming measures are being installed on many streets in America to reduce instances of speeding drivers, but not all roads have these measures implemented.
In the accident on Gerritsen Avenue, the Department of Transportation studied several intersections. According to court documents, the DOT told police that there was a “speeding problem” after each study, but there was little-to-no follow-up.
Potential traffic-calming measures like narrow lanes or raised sidewalks were not even considered, the justices noted:
“It was known among traffic engineers that straight, wide roads with little interference from pedestrians and other vehicles, such as Gerritsen Avenue, encourage speeding because drivers feel more comfortable on roadways with those characteristics. He testified that traffic calming measures deter speeding because they cause drivers to be more cautious, and that such measures are known to reduce the overall speed on roadways.”
The decision puts more pressure on transportation officials to construct safer infrastructure. Brooklyn car accident lawyers say the ruling could also spark more traffic studies around the city and across the state that can determine whether traffic-calming infrastructure should be implemented.
Following the Gerritsen Ave. crash, the DOT converted the high-speed avenue from four lanes to three lanes and installed a painted median in 2005. There were more plans to improve Gerritsen Avenue safety in 2009, but the plans were scrapped after public opposition.
Since 2007, four people have been killed in car crashes on Gerritsen and many more have been injured.
If you or a loved one has been injured, and you suspect poor street design may have played a role, contact the Brooklyn car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes today for a free consultation.
NEW YORK – City Council is expected to introduce a new package of bills that would address a recent spike in the number of construction accidents in the Big Apple.
If all the bills get passed, New York could see more apprenticeship programs and construction sites would be required to provide additional safety training. The bills also aim to change how the Department of Buildings reports accidents in construction zones, and develop a task force to improve and safeguard the city’s minority workforce.
Although the bills are receiving high praises from some safety advocates, critics are taking aim at the apprenticeship programs. According to Politico, contractors would be required to hire workers who have participated in such a program.
Many development companies aren’t on-board with that, and they’ve blasted apprenticeship programs as a way to give non-unionized workers a foothold in the construction industry, which is currently booming. Developers say the bills could make costs spike, or even shut down some construction sites, resulting in lost jobs.
However, supporters of the safety package believe this is a matter of life and death.
A New York construction accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says over the past two years, more than two-dozen workers have died on construction sites in New York City, and many more have been seriously injured.
In early December, another worker fell four stories to his death while installing a façade in Williamsburg.
In another case, a construction foreman was sentenced one to three years behind bars in December after a 22-year-old worker was crushed to death when the trench he was working in collapsed. A Manhattan judge said the foreman’s negligence killed the worker.
A New York construction accident attorney says almost every construction injury can be prevented by following sound safety practices but many times, safety is not the strongest emphasis: timeliness and profit come first too often.
Workers, unions, contractors, and construction companies have been lobbying City Council for months; each making their recommendations about what regulations they’d like to see in place.
The bills are expected to be introduced to the New York City Council next week.
If A Construction Accident Impacts Your Family
If you or a loved one has been injured in work zone, the New York construction accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes can help you get the best result possible from a claim.
Don’t fight the construction and insurance companies alone: many accident victims have relied on our experienced New York construction accident attorneys to hire expert witnesses and doctors to make sure our clients maximize their compensation.
With offices across New York State, Cellino & Barnes have the resources you need – and their attorneys don’t get paid unless they win your case. Call one of our legal advocates today for a free case evaluation.
Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888
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