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Study: Wheelchair Users Most at Risk

/ Car Accident /

Wheelchair Users Most at RiskNEW YORK – If you’re one of the 2.2 million Americans who use a wheelchair to get around town, you may be at higher risk of getting struck by a car, a new study claims.

The findings are troubling; pedestrian wheelchair users are 36 percent more likely to be killed in a traffic crash than anyone else. The authors, from Georgetown University, also said that 75 percent of drivers didn’t brake or steer away before running over a wheelchair user.

Brooklyn car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say the statistics are alarming but most of these crashes could be prevented with safety education and safe-driving practices.

“Many crashes involve high speeds and drivers who are not paying attention to the busy streets in Brooklyn,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Distractions are now at an all-time high for drivers and if these can be eliminated, many crashes could be avoided.”

The study gathered news articles and police reports for over 250 traffic deaths involving pedestrian wheelchair users. When they crunched the numbers, researchers estimated 1 fatality for every 50,000 wheelchair users each year.

Half of all the crashes analyzed occurred at an intersection.

Researchers suggested street layouts and city designs need to be changed to become more handicap-accessible. The study found that many crashes happened on arterial roadways. According to the Federal Highway Administration, it’s a design that “provides the highest level of service at the greatest speed for the longest uninterrupted distance.”

Attorneys say those who use a wheelchair deserve to access their communities in a safe way.

“It’s no secret that some intersections are simply more dangerous than others,” Steve Barnes said. “Many drivers live in these neighborhoods commute these dangerous intersections every day and although they know these areas are dangerous, they still fail to slow down and pay attention.”

The other shocking statistic uncovered by Georgetown researchers was that most of the drivers in these fatal crashes showed no signs of trying to avoid the accident.

“Wheelchairs are lower to the ground and some drivers may not see that person,” Barnes said. “But it’s no excuse if the pedestrian has the right of way – and if that person is injured, we will go to court to get the best results possible for them and their families.”

Researchers said if safety is a top-priority for American cities like New York, roadways and intersections must be reevaluated to boost the safety for all pedestrians – including the disabled.

The Worst Part about Cheap Gas

/ Car Accident /

The Worst Part about Cheap GasBUFFALO, N.Y. – You can consider yourself lucky if you’re an American driver. You fill up your vehicle with some of the cheapest gas in the world – and we all love cheap gas. However, there’s a downside to paying under $3.00/gallon.

According to a recent public health study, your safety can be in jeopardy when the gas prices plunge.

A Buffalo car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says in the last ten years, we’ve seen the number of deadly car crashes drop – and high gas prices played a role.

“There are fewer drivers on the road when gas is expensive in Buffalo,” car accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “Economic conditions play a huge role in the number of cars, trucks and other motorists on the road and with low gas prices, we’re also seeing a spike in accidents.”

When gas prices go up, people drive less and some shift their commuting-style to more fuel-efficient cars or public transportation. These trends usually ‘lag’ according to researchers. In Georgia, for example, bus ridership jumped 32 percent six-months following a major gas price increase.

Nationwide, gas prices have been generally falling to more affordable levels for months and now, we’re seeing it affect safety.

“For the first time since 2007, we expect to see a significant spike in the number of deadly car crashes this year,” Barnes said. “Unfortunately, this deadly trend is happening while we’re seeing some of the lowest gas prices we’ve seen in years.”

Researchers estimated that if fuel prices were at the lowest point throughout their study (at $1.81), we would have seen an additional 60,000 crashes. On the flip side, if gas remained at $4.17, we would see a 7 percent decline in the number of car accidents – that adds up to 70,000 crashes that wouldn’t have happened.

While drivers across the country can enjoy cheap gas prices, attorneys and safety advocates hope to promote sound safe-driving practices to reduce the number of accidents.

“It’s important to remember that almost every crash can be prevented if we pay attention to the road and drive at a reasonably safe speed,” Barnes said. “When drivers fail to do this, someone can get seriously injured – then it’s up to us as personal injury attorneys to get the best results possible for the victims who have been hurt.”

Good Times Behind Deadly Trend

/ Car Accident /

Good Times Behind Deadly TrendNEW YORK – You can blame the improving economy for the spike in nationwide traffic deaths this year, a government traffic study said.

The study noted traffic volume has been steadily increasing and it’s tied to significant improvements in the economy. The downside is that it’s causing more wrecks, a Manhattan car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says.

“When the economy is doing well, more people have jobs and most choose to commute in Manhatta,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “An uptick in traffic usually means longer commutes and a higher risk of getting in an accident.”

Since 1996, deadly car crashes have been steadily decreasing but researchers expect to see a significant spike in 2015, possibly reaching 40,000 deaths – a number that hasn’t been reached in nearly a decade.

From January to June, about 19,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents – a 14 percent increase over the first six months of 2014. The National Safety Council says more than 2-million “serious injuries” were recorded over the same period – a 30 percent increase over 2014.

What’s also trending in the direction: medical costs, productivity costs and property damage. The NSC expects about a 25 percent increase, costing Americans over $150 billion this year.

“Rising medical costs make it very difficult to get the treatment patients need to recovery from their injuries,” Barnes said. “It’s heartbreaking to see these numbers trending in the wrong direction and that’s why we recommend calling one of our legal professionals to make sure you’re getting every penny you deserve.”

Dangerous and deadly crashes are happening more frequently but governments and safety advocates around the country are aiming to do something about it.

The government traffic study described itself as a “framework to guide regional safety activities” and it set goals to reduce fatalities by 5 percent and serious injuries by 10 percent.

The study also set four areas of emphasis – lane mergers, pedestrians, intersections, and young drivers.

Researchers noted that 27 percent of all fatalities occurred at an intersection.

A quarter of the fatalities studied involved pedestrians.

With improvements to road infrastructure and design, the study aims to reverse the deadly trend of traffic collisions and improve safety around the nation – a plan researchers and attorneys hope can persevere in both bull and bear markets.

Falls, Fights Behind Most Eye Injuries

/ Slip and Fall /

Fights Behind Most Eye InjuriesNEW YORK – When you slip and fall, you hope you don’t land on your face. Unfortunately, thousands of Americans actually do – and it gets worse: you can injure your sense of sight.

A new study found that falls and fights are the leading causes of eye injuries. The study also discovered that the cost of treating those injuries is on the rise. According to Johns Hopkins researchers, treatment costs rose 62 percent in just 10 years.

Bronx slip and fall lawyers with Cellino & Barnes say eye injuries can be extremely expensive – costing more than $20,000 to treat.

“Your eyes are vital but sophisticated organs and too often, we see people suffer serious injuries in the Bronx,” slip and fall attorney Steve Barnes said. “Unfortunately, the treatment costs have gone up significantly – that’s why we suggest calling an attorney who can make sure you get the best recovery possible.”

In 2002, the median cost of treating eye injuries was just $12,430.

Researchers said falls were the leading cause of these eye injuries – with more than 8,400 hospitalizations. Fights were not far behind with 8,000. Car accidents, toxic substances, dog bites, and defective products were also in the mix.

According to the authors of the Johns Hopkins study, many patients deferred treatment for their eye injuries, even when they were severe, due to the high medical costs.

Bronx slip and fall attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say deferring treatment can be dangerous and calling a lawyer could save you unnecessary pain and suffering.

“When a patient refuses treatment, that injury may not heal on its own and they could develop severe complications,” Barnes said. “That’s why our attorneys fight to get clients the compensation they deserve – we want to see our clients get the treatments they need.”

Study authors wanted their research to draw attention to the high costs of these injuries and make it known that most of these accidents can be prevented. Safety glasses are “vastly” underused, one author pointed out.

When it comes to fights, attorneys suggest staying out of them. Diplomacy can settle disagreements in a much safer fashion.


Last Call

/ Car Accident /

Last CallNEW YORK – As proud New Yorkers, we have the utmost respect and admiration for the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us from fire. A firefighter’s expertise is battling flames but many firefighters who have died while on duty were killed by a much larger problem: traffic.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 20 percent of the near 850 firefighter fatalities over the last 10 years happened in traffic accidents while firefighters were responding or returning from calls.

In fact, car accidents cause more firefighter deaths than building collapses, smoke inhalation or actual flames. Only heart attacks and overexertion were more dangerous.

Manhattan car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say traffic accidents can affect anyone – even those we consider ‘heroes.’

“A car accident will happen roughly once every 20 minutes in Manhattan,” car accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “It’s important for every driver to pay attention and move out of the way when you see flashing lights and hear the sirens of an emergency responder.”

Emergency vehicles could be even more vulnerable to crashes because they’re allowed to bypass traffic lights and other rules of the road. In one case, 12 were injured including two children and a grandmother when an ambulance collided with a responding fire truck in August.

Luckily, none of the injuries were life-threatening.

“Fire trucks can weigh up to 40,000 pounds and like tractor-trailers, the weight can make them very dangerous,” Barnes said. “Not only can other drivers get seriously injured but the responding firefighters are at a higher risk of injury too – even before they arrive on the scene of a fire.”

Although intersection collisions are some of the most common crashes, firefighters and EMTs have been seriously injured or killed when their trucks swerve off the road to avoid hitting other cars or pedestrians.

Firetrucks, loaded with hundreds of gallons of water, can become top-heavy and they have a higher risk of tipping over.

“Whenever a vehicle flips or tips over, there’s the possibility that someone can get thrown from the vehicle,” Barnes said.

Although safety belts are more common in fire trucks than they were in years past, some fire departments are facing severe budget shortfalls and operate older vehicles that lack these safety features.

Even when vehicles are equipped with side airbags, high-tech software and seat belts, one study found that injury and fatality rates were “essentially unchanged” over the last 10 years.

To keep our first responders safe, Manhattan car accident lawyers are urging New Yorkers to follow the rules of the road, reduce their speeds and listen for the sirens before it’s too late.

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.

Extra Long Trailers Spark Safety Concerns

/ Truck Accident /

Extra Long Trailers Spark Safety ConcernsROCHESTER, N.Y. – A new federal mandate would force states to allow big rigs with extra-long double trailers on interstate highways. It would increase trailer length limits from 28 feet to 33 feet. Bigger trucks sound more efficient – but some senators say it could be risky too.

The Senate went on record this week by a vote of 56-31 against the mandate; saying it must be shown that the extra-long trailers don’t undermine highway safety. Officials want the Department of Transportation to complete a safety study before allowing bigger trucks on the road.

Rochester truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say bigger trucks could be concerning for drivers – as the number truck accidents have risen over the last few years.

“Since 2009, we’ve seen a slow but steady uptick in the number of truck crashes in Rochester,” truck accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “There are more trucks on the highways and safety is certainly a concern for those of us driving smaller, more vulnerable vehicles.”

According the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, most injuries and deaths in large truck crashes happen to occupants of smaller passenger vehicles. In fact, they made up 67 percent of all deadly truck crashes last year – over 2,400 people.

Attorneys say most truckers are safe drivers – but they’re operating vehicles that can be very dangerous and deadly in many circumstances.

“Trucks already outweigh passenger cars by 20 to 30 times and any collision with a big rig comes with a higher risk of injury,” Barnes said. “It takes a truck longer to stop under sunny and dry conditions and when it’s wet or snowy, trucks may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision – that’s why it’s so important for drivers to give them space.”

Truck driver fatigue is also a concern. Some drivers are on the road for up to 11 hours each day – and nearly 80 hours every week. Surveys have shown that many drivers ignore these regulations and drive longer than federal laws permit.

Currently, 12 states allow longer trailers. With a cab, the total length of a truck comes to 91 feet. String just three of these extended trucks together and it will come close to covering the length of a football field.

The final transportation bill is expected to be sent to the White House before Nov. 20.

In the Headlights

/ Car Accident /

In the HeadlightsBUFFALO, N.Y. – You’re driving home from work and it’s dark; suddenly, something jumps in front of you and you swerve to avoid it. It’s common this time of year and you’re most likely to hit a deer while driving this month than at any other time of year, according to new research from the University of Georgia.

While many people might think deer are majestic forest animals, they’re a disaster waiting to happen for drivers. The study, conducted by the UGA Deer Laboratory used crash data and breeding studies to determine that most deer-car collisions occur between mid-October and mid-December.

Buffalo car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes said drivers need to slow down this fall – especially in areas where deer and other animals are present.

“It’s important to know what to do if you encounter a deer in the road around Buffalo,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Slow down, pay attention and understand how dangerous swerving can be.”

When you see a deer in your headlights, you may want to swerve to avoid it – and the costly repairs to your vehicle but attorneys say drivers should never swerve.

“Swerving into another lane can be even more dangerous,” Cellino said. “There’s a high risk of losing control of your vehicle and an even higher risk of injury.”

Collisions with deer are some of the most common types of car accidents in Western New York but the deadliest accidents blamed on deer occur when a driver swerves. Swerving can place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle or it could send you off the road – possible striking a tree.

According to deer researchers, the spike in accidents is due to “rutting season,” when deer move around in a search for mates. This type of migration is also associated with unpredictable behavior, making it difficult for drivers to determine where a deer is moving.

Buffalo car accident attorneys recommend slowing down – particularly at dawn and dusk when deer are most likely to be found crossing roadways. Scan both sides of the road too – as deer can suddenly dart into the roadway from either direction.

If you are ever injured in an accident, call 9-1-1 immediately. If your injuries are due to someone’s negligence, contact an attorney Cellino & Barnes for a free evaluation.

DOH! Smartphone Injuries Spike

/ Car Accident /

Smartphone Injuries SpikeBUFFALO, N.Y. – Have you ever walked into something when your eyes were glued to your smartphone? You’re not alone if you have – and new research shows more people are putting themselves at a high risk of injury because they can’t let go of their gadgets.

According to the figures put together by the National Accident Helpline in the UK, around 41-percent of people have had a technological accident – and it’s even more dangerous for teenagers and those in their early 20s.

A Buffalo car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says smartphones are causing a spike in the number of motor vehicle collisions too.

“Distractions are factors in nearly every car crash in Buffalo,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Smartphones are some of the most dangerous devices to have around a driver because they not only distract the driver’s mind – it can pull their eyes off the road completely.”

Researchers polled dozens of smartphone users between the ages of 16 and 24. Their findings were shocking: 84-percent of young adults have hurt themselves in some way while a smartphone.

  • 43% of young adults have walked into something while browsing their handheld device
  • 60% of young adults have dropped the phone on their face while reading
  • Some have even reported injuries while using a selfie stick

“Young drivers already face a higher risk of getting in an accident simply because they’re inexperienced – add smartphone distractions to the car and it can be extremely dangerous,” Barnes said. “That’s why it’s important for everyone to set an example and pay attention while driving.”

Attorneys say smartphone accidents aren’t limited to just cars either: nearly 30-percent of smartphone users have reported falling off a curb while texting and at least 15-percent have tripped over on object while they weren’t looking at what was ahead of them.

Although most of these accidents can be considered minor, many people suffer serious injuries which can have devastating effects on their lifestyle.

If you have a smartphone, be smart – pay attention, wherever you’re going and however you’re getting there.

Recognizing the Effects of Alcohol

/ Car Accident /

Recognizing the Effects of AlcoholROCHESTER, N.Y. – You’re at dinner and you have a glass of wine or a beer with your food. Maybe it was just a few glasses – or maybe it’s a little more of an indulgence. Either way, the decisions that follow can affect your life. It’s a common situation adults across America face every week when it’s time to go home.

Here’s the worst part: nearly 8,000 people are killed in alcohol-fueled crashes every year. Most of these crashes occur at obvious times: between 2 am and 3 am, just after closing time. However, researchers have found that DWI crashes spike around 7 pm as well. Why then?

A Rochester car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes explained.

“Accidents involving alcohol impairment typically spike in the hours following lunch and dinner times around Rochester,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Many bars and restaurants have reduced prices on drinks for ‘happy hour’ and when those specials end, we could see an increase of impaired drivers on the roads.”

The effects of alcohol dramatically increase a person’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) rises. The legal limit is 0.08% and doctors say a person will experience impaired vision, hearing and reaction time.

At 0.14%, a person’s balance is affected and physical control is seriously impaired.

At 0.17%, alcohol can negatively change a person’s emotional and mental state; causing depression, anxiety and agitation.

At 0.22%, you may not be able to walk without assistance and there’s a good chance of blacking out.

Unfortunately, police officers frequently arrest drivers whose BAC tested well above 0.20%. Many others aren’t so fortunate – causing dangerous and sometimes deadly crashes.

“If you plan on drinking, plan ahead to make sure you and your family can get home safely,” Cellino said. “Drivers too often fail to do this and the end results are heartbreaking.”

Lawyers at Cellino & Barnes hope this data can help drivers recognize the signs of impairment and motivate them to make better decisions before getting behind the wheel.

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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