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Cyclist Struck By Truck in Manhattan Hit-and-Run

/ Bicycle Accidents /

A New York bicycle accident lawyer explains what to do if you or a friend has been struck while riding, after Robyn Hightman was hit and killed on Manhattan streetNEW YORK — A truck driver hit and killed bicyclist, Robyn Hightman, in Manhattan on Monday morning. Police say the driver never stopped, but eventually returned to the scene on Sixth Avenue near West 24th Street.

According to the New York Post, the driver claimed he didn’t stop because he didn’t realize he’d struck Robyn Hightman until a taxi driver later flagged him down.

Robyn Hightman, 20, of Richmond, Va. was working as a bike messenger when the truck struck them.  The driver, identified by CBS2 as Antonio Garcia, was not arrested, but was ticketed for having minor violations with the truck.

Dangerous Streets, Dangerous Drivers

Hightman was the 11th bicyclist to be killed in New York City in 2019. The incident sparked a protest in Manhattan, where bikers rallied to demand safer streets for bicycles.

“There’s no accountability for drivers,” a courier, Mario Sepulveda, told reporters. “How many deaths do we have to have for something to be done?”

Friends and colleagues explained it was Robyn Hightman’s second day on the job as a bike courier. However, they were no stranger to cycling. WTVR reports Hightman previously operated a bicycle courier service in her hometown of Richmond.

In a short film made recently by a friend, Hightman shared their love for cycling, and concern for her safety working as a courier.

“In a split second, something could go wrong. I’ve been hit by cars. I’ve been assaulted on shift. I’ve been harassed in a whole manner of ways, but I feel safe being out there because I know I work hard. I know that I can stand up for myself, I can defend myself, but I know that if I can’t, that the people who are out there with me have my back,” Hightman said.

Safe Biking Advocates Helping Victims

Roughly a dozen bicyclists have needlessly died on New York City streets this year, and many others have been seriously hurt. In most of these cases, the victims and their families could be entitled to significant compensation, but it’s critical to open a claim as soon as possible.

An experienced New York bicycle accident lawyer can help protect your rights, and make sure your family is getting the best result possible after a horrible accident. A thorough investigation and a successful claim could also help pave the way for meaningful changes in New York City that could force officials to design safer streets, and laws to help protect bicyclists from negligent motorists.

Cases involving bicyclists and trucks are often very complicated legal matters which require key pieces of evidence, including:

  • Vehicle maintenance records
  • Surveillance video
  • Truck driver’s record
  • History of accidents at the intersection or street
  • Review of vehicle safety requirements
  • Intersection design
  • Sign placements, bike lane location
  • Dashcam video from the vehicle or other drivers in the area
  • And more…

If a loved one has recently been injured or killed due to a driver’s negligent actions, you can contact a New York bicycle accident lawyer to help file a claim.

If you choose to get in touch with Cellino & Barnes, we’ll put our best bicycle accident lawyer in New York City on your case. We’ll fully investigate the accident and gather all pieces of evidence that can help maximize your claim. Call us any time or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

Cellino & Barnes (800) 888-8888 

Are Motorcycles Safer to Drive Than Cars?

/ Motorcycle Accidents /

Our best motorcycle accident lawyer in Rochester explains why motorcycles carry more risk than carsROCHESTER, N.Y. — People who love riding motorcycles should always put safety first. A Rochester motorcycle accident lawyer says one of the biggest myths is that motorcycles are safer to drive than a car. Like other myths, there are statistics and facts to debunk this notion.

While many communities offer different advice about how to ride, it’s critical that these recommendations are accurate. With all of the inaccurate information surrounding motorcycles and false safety comparisons to driving a regular car, our best motorcycle accident lawyers in Rochester have debunked some of the most common motorcycle myths below.

Do Motorcycle Helmets Decrease Visibility?

Another popular piece of misinformation involves the field of vision of a motorcycle helmet. Many people mistakenly believe these helmets decreases visibility. This is untrue as the Department of Transportation (DOT) has safety guidelines in place which demand that there is a minimum of a 210-degree viewable area. This exceeds the normal 180-degree peripheral view we usually need to operate a motorcycle.

Are Highways More Dangerous Than Local Roads?

The reason highways create greater risks of danger relates to the high rates of speed motorists travel on those byways. The reality is there are more hazardous situations on smaller city roads and streets like:

  • Blind spots
  • Intersections
  • Hidden driveways
  • Children playing nearby
  • Off-street parking

Studies show that motorcyclists get into more collisions on the smaller streets than on highways. These town roads and avenues increase one’s probability of experiencing an accident, while highways have better-controlled flows of traffic and speeds. Riders who experience a crash should contact our best motorcycle accident lawyer in Rochester right away to protect against insurance companies trying to minimize the damages.

Do Loud Pipes Save Lives?

This is a slogan that gets repeated like a sacred mantra in the motorcycle community. You see it plastered on bumper stickers and pamphlets about bike safety. The reality is that the physics behind this statement don’t ring true. When you travel forward, the sound from your bike follows behind and away from you because the exhaust pipe points backward.  Pay attention to this phenomena the next time you see a motorcycle heading toward you and then as it passes.

Do Car Drivers Hate Motorcyclists?

How often do we hear that everyday car motorists do not pay attention to bikers? Many believe this, as evidenced by the number of accidents involving both vehicle types. Our best Rochester motorcycle accident lawyer says drivers often have a difficult time seeing motorcyclists on the road. That’s why it’s important to make them aware of your presence on the road, know their blind spots, and avoid them. Accidents often happen when switching lanes because it’s too late to change course once the driver realizes there’s a motorcycle in a blind spot.

Should You Lay Your Bike Down If You’re Going To Crash?

Many motorcycle riders recommend laying down the bike if headed into a crash. This rationale seems to stem from decades-old advice that applied to older generations of bikes that couldn’t stop as quickly as newer models. The truth is there are devastating risks associated with laying down a motorbike. Some of the significant injuries one can suffer from doing this dangerous maneuver include:

  • Severe road rash
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Sprained or broken limbs
  • Death

Physics demonstrates that the bike will continue traveling at high speed all the way to impact and will put the driver in less of a position of control. One should always hit the brakes and take whatever safe evasive actions are possible to avoid the collision.

Dedicated New York Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Motorcyclists enjoy the freedom of Western and Central New York roads and highways. Unfortunately, riders may have the wrong idea if they believe that riding a bike is safer than driving an automobile. From mistaken advice about the intentions of other drivers on the road to laying down one’s bike before the impact of a collision, recommendations based on incorrect information can cost lives.

At the law firm of Cellino & Barnes, we represent motorcyclists who have suffered serious injuries in an accident. For more than 60 years, our seasoned legal team has fought tirelessly to help our injured clients and their families get the compensation they desperately need to start the recovery process. As recognized Super Lawyers, you can trust our commitment to your rights and future when trying to recover damages for your case. Contact us today to have your case evaluated by our best motorcycle accident lawyer in Rochester and learn the next best steps for your situation.

Cellino & Barnes (800) 888-8888

What Causes Slip-and-Fall Accidents?

/ Slip and Fall /

Our slip and fall lawyers in Brooklyn explain the most common causes of slips, trips and falls NEW YORK — When we slip on a smooth surface or trip on an uneven surface, our reflexes kick in to protect us from a potentially harmful situation. Unfortunately, they don’t always succeed – just ask a our slip and fall lawyers in Brooklyn. They’ve handled thousands of cases after a person is rushed to the ER for a fall-induced injury. According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and account for 95% of hip fractures.

A person can sustain a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall injury several different ways, and there are dozens of serious injuries which one can develop after such incidents. A person who suffers from a slip-and-fall accident in Brooklyn should turn to a personal injury lawyer for help in filing an accident claim.

Common Causes of Slip-and-Fall Injuries

Wet and/or Uneven Surfaces

Globally, most people who suffer an injury after a slip-and-fall do so after slipping and falling on a wet or uneven surface. In the U.S., these types of surfaces account for over half of all slip-and-fall accidents. Walking on its own can be hazardous, but can be made more dangerous by:

  • Loose floorboards
  • Cluttered floors
  • Potholes
  • Defective sidewalks
  • Torn carpeting
  • Loose mats
  • Recently waxed or mopped floors
  • Trash or debris on floors
  • Transitioning between surface types
  • Stairs

Improper Training for Hazardous Occupations

Workers in certain occupations are more prone to slipping or tripping than other types of employees. The risk for slipping or tripping and falling is often exacerbated by receiving poor training in the workplace. Those who work in the following occupations should exercise extreme caution on the job:

  • Construction workers
  • Housekeepers and custodians
  • Chefs and kitchen workers
  • Manual laborers
  • Factory workers

Negligent Supervision

A Brooklyn slip-and-fall lawyer says these kinds of accidents are especially dangerous for the elderly. In fact, the CDC states that falls are the leading cause of injury and death among older Americans. Elderly people have a reduced sense of balance, which increases their risk of falling. Seniors who live in nursing homes where staff fail to provide proper supervision suffer more falls, which often lead to hip fractures. The CDC also warns that falling once doubles a person’s chances of falling a second time.

Improper Footwear

Shoes play a large role in determining where your feet will land when you move. Although high heels certainly pose a threat, any shoe with poor traction can make it more likely a person will slip on a smooth surface. Whether you are at work or at home, it’s important to wear the right shoes for the job.

Seeking to Recover from a Slip-and-Fall? Contact Slip-and-Fall Attorneys in Brooklyn

It can take more time than you ever thought it would to fully heal from a slip-and-fall injury. While you work on your recovery, medical bills pile up, threatening your financial state. If you believe you were hurt due to the negligence of a property owner or manager, contact our slip-and-fall attorneys in Brooklyn today. Attorneys with Cellino & Barnes will look at all the evidence in your case to help you fight for compensation.

Call or email our team to schedule a free consultation in the Bronx about your case. We are available at all times.

Cellino & Barnes (800) 888-8888


Are Bicyclists Ever Liable for Traffic Accidents?

/ Bicycle Accidents /

There are many laws bicyclists must abide by, but what are they? A Manhattan bike accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes explainsNEW YORK — An increasing amount of environmental awareness coupled with a growing need to save money and stay healthy means more New Yorkers now rely on bicycles to get around. More bicyclists on local streets can also mean more accidents. A Manhattan bike accident lawyer says not all roadways are suitable or prepared for cyclists, and that leaves many wondering what liabilities riders face if they cause an accident.

Fortunately, New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Laws and Regulations (VTL) apply to both drivers and bicycle riders, and there are sections dedicated to bicycle use, condition, and behavior.

New York Bicycle Traffic Laws

While the law presumes that drivers will use reasonable care not to cause a collision with a bicyclist, riders still have the same rights and duty of care when they’re on the road. If a bicyclist has an accident with a motor vehicle, the owner’s car insurance may have to cover the biker’s medical costs, lost wages, and more. New York is a no-fault state with regulations that utilize a comparative guideline to determine if either or both parties contributed to the incident.

Bicyclist Equipment Requirements

Under the VTL, a bicycle must meet certain specifications for a rider to use it legally on designated roadways and paths. These requirements help to protect the rider and other surrounding traffic and create a safer riding experience. Necessary bicycle equipment includes features like:

  • A bicycle lamp for the front and red lamp for the rear if riding after dark
  • Reflective devices on the frame so the cyclist can be seen more easily at night
  • Reflectors on the tire spokes or using reflective tires
  • Functioning brakes
  • An audible warning device like a bell

Pedestrian crashes often happen due to the lack of installing or using a warning bell, and the cyclist may face an injury claim by the person struck by the bike. The same happens in car accidents where drivers don’t see a cyclist at night because required reflectors and lights are not present. This may result in a comparative damage claim that could reduce the driver’s liability for damages.

Cyclists Must Follow the Rules of the Road

While riding on New York’s roads, bicyclists must follow the laws set out by the VTL. From coming to a full stop before entering traffic to not interrupting traffic flow with risky maneuvering, it’s imperative that cyclists operate safely.

In New York City, it’s also illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk unless you’re under the age of 13. Bicyclists using the sidewalk not only increase the likelihood of an accident with a pedestrian, they can also be ticketed.

If you’ve experienced an accident on a New York City street and are unsure what your rights are, it’s critical to contact one of our knowledgeable Manhattan bike accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes as soon as possible.

Sharing a Lane

Bicycle operators should always use a designated lane or path if one is available. Otherwise they would need to demonstrate a solid reason for using a regular traffic lane if there’s an established zone. A Manhattan bike accident lawyer says the court may assign partial responsibility to a biker who didn’t use available bike paths without reasonable cause if a car accident occurs.

Using Traffic Signals

VTL requires bikers to use hand and arm signals when turning, slowing down, or coming to a stop since the bicycle itself doesn’t usually have any signals built into them. Motorists depend on clear communication from bike riders in order to predict and avoid any hazardous situations.

Bicycle Helmets

State law does not mandate that bicyclists wear helmets unless under the age of 14. Minor children from ages 1 to 5 must also ride in a special seat attachment to prevent harm from moving bike parts. This means that negligence is possibly relevant if any injuries sustained may not have happened if the biker had worn a helmet or followed regulations properly.

Unsafe Maneuvering

Just like when you’re driving a motor vehicle, there are numerous examples of unsafe maneuvering that can cause accidents for bicyclists. A significant risk that bicyclists take involves either riding hands-free or carrying an item that prevents them from having at least one hand on the handlebars while biking. Ignoring stops signs, weaving around slow traffic, and using a sidewalk to circumvent traffic lights are just a few more examples of the many ways maneuvering in an unsafe manner puts others at risk.

Reputable Manhattan Bicycle Accident Attorneys

Cyclists must follow most of the same rules as other motorists. Now that you know what most of these rules are, it would be wise to follow them! Unfortunately, even the most knowledgeable cyclists can find themselves injured as a result of an accident. If you or a loved one have injuries or were in a bicycle-related accident, hiring an experienced lawyer with a track record of success will benefit your case immensely. Don’t try to navigate New York’s intricate liability laws on your own and risk your chances at compensation or possibly having all the blame put on your shoulders.

At Cellino & Barnes, our more than 60 years of practice and in-depth knowledge of traffic laws can help you get the best possible outcome for your case. Our Manhattan bike accident lawyers are trial-tested, having aided hundreds of accident victims and obtained over $2 billion in settlements and verdicts for our clients. As recognized Super Lawyers, you can trust that we’ll aggressively fight for your rights and help maximize your award. Contact our offices today to learn more and receive a free case evaluation.

Cellino & Barnes (800) 888-8888

Why Won’t a Personal Injury Lawyer Take My Case?

/ Personal Injury /

Why won't a lawyer take my case? Our Manhattan personal injury lawyer lays out some of the common reasons why an attorney may not accept your caseNEW YORK — After you’ve been hurt in New York through no fault of your own, you might consider asking a personal injury lawyer near you for advice. Whether you slipped and fell on city property or were injured in a severe automobile crash due to another driver’s careless actions, you deserve justice for what you have suffered. The reality is that most personal injury lawyers are highly selective about the cases they accept.

After a case evaluation with a lawyer, you might be puzzled to find that they refused your accident case. There are many possible reasons for this. Understanding them may help you find the right Manhattan personal injury attorney for you.

4 Reasons a Lawyer Might Refuse your Personal Injury Case

You didn’t suffer sufficient damages.

One of the most difficult challenges a Manhattan personal injury lawyer may face is to prove to the court that your injuries were a result of the accident in question. For example, many people develop back pain over time. Although an accident may have caused you to notice your back pain more, it didn’t necessarily cause the injury. When there’s a more severe injury, such as a bone fracture, it must’ve been caused by a specific event like a car crash or a slip and fall.

There’s no one to hold liable for your injuries.

Unfortunately, even if you weren’t at fault for the accident in which you were injured, there might not be a party to hold liable for damages. Attorneys must prove four main elements in most personal injury cases:

  1. Someone else owed you a duty of care
  2. The person who owed you that duty breached it
  3. The breach of that duty caused your accident
  4. The accident the breach of that duty caused resulted in damages

Sometimes, forces outside of anyone’s control lead to accidents that cause injuries. For example, if you’re driving in a thunderstorm and lightning strikes your vehicle causing a crash, there isn’t a party to hold responsible. An attorney who doesn’t believe he can prove all four elements might not be able to take your case.

The attorney isn’t the right fit for your case.

Thousands of lawyers throughout the state of New York practice personal injury law; however, not all are qualified to take all kinds of personal injury cases. An attorney who mainly handles worker’s compensation cases will likely refuse a medical malpractice case due to lack of familiarity with malpractice cases.

Attorneys also tend to avoid taking cases they don’t think they can win. If an attorney denied your particular case, they might be acting with your best interests in mind. After all, you only get one shot to file a personal injury claim. If you lose, you may not be entitled to receive any compensation for that accident… ever.

Before your next consultation, be sure to ask questions about the attorney’s experience resolving cases like yours.

The lawyer or law firm can’t handle the size of your case.

Personal injury firms come in all sizes. If an attorney turned you down and you believe you have considerable damages, it’s possible that your case was simply too big to handle. Some boutique law firms limit the amount of cases they take and might not have the proper resources to bring your case to trial, if necessary. Other firms might refuse claims beneath a certain value.

As one of the largest personal injury firms in America, Cellino & Barnes has prosecuted cases of all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions about what type of case you might have, or what challenges your case may face, contact a Manhattan personal injury lawyer at Cellino & Barnes for a FREE case evaluation.

Do You Have a Personal Injury Claim in New York?

At Cellino & Barnes, we have a robust team of attorneys who have experience in all areas of personal injury law. Don’t hesitate to contact our firm to understand what you can expect from pursuing a lawsuit for damages. We’re happy to review your case at any time of day to help you take the right steps to get back on your feet. Contact a Manhattan personal injury lawyer for a free consultation.

Cellino & Barnes (800) 888-8888


Proving Negligence in a Slip-and-Fall Case

/ Slip and Fall /

A Bronx slip and fall lawyer can offer a FREE consultation where they'll explain how strong of a case you haveNEW YORK — One of the most challenging aspects of a successful slip-and-fall case is proving who was responsible for the conditions that led to the victim’s injuries. To win this type of case, the victim or plaintiff must show that the property owner or defendant played a role in facilitating the injuries.

Not every instance of a slip-and-fall can be litigated. Successful cases stem from situations in which property owners should have been more careful to reduce hazards. If you hurt yourself in spite of the fact that safeguards were in place to reduce the risk of injury, you may not have a case. If your suffering could have been avoided had the property owner taken more precautions, your Bronx slip and fall lawyer must show that the property owner was liable for the accident. Your attorney must show that the property owner owed you a duty of care and neglected this duty.

What is the “duty of care” in New York?

A person who controls a property, whether a property owner, manager, or operator, has a duty of care under New York law to ensure reasonably safe conditions on the premises to protect visitors. This doesn’t automatically make all property owners responsible for every incident on their premises. In addition to their duty of care, visitors on their property have a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and make reasonable efforts to avoid hazards.

When a property owner discovers an unsafe condition, they have to take steps to address the hazard. If they don’t, they could be liable for the resulting injury accident.

Who is liable for my slip-and-fall in the Bronx?

To win a slip-and-fall case, your attorney must prove the property owner failed to abide by the duty of care. A few scenarios can accomplish this:

  1. The property owner should have known of the dangerous condition because another “reasonable” person in his position would have known about it and fixed it.
  2. The property owner actually did know about the dangerous condition but failed to repair it.
  3. The property owner caused the dangerous condition.

The first scenario is the most common one as property owners are generally attentive to keeping their premises free from hazards. Your attorney will have to show that the property owner did not act as a reasonable person would have in a similar situation, because a reasonable person would have known about the dangerous condition. Establishing that the property owner “should have known” is the most difficult part of the case.

If your case goes to trial, it will be up to the judge or jury to determine whether the property owner should have known about the condition that prompted your fall.

Can I get compensation if I’m partially to blame for my accident?

In many slip-and-fall cases, it is not obvious how the accident could have been avoided. New York is a Comparative Fault state, meaning that if you were found to have contributed to your accident in some way, you can still recover damages; however, your damages will be reduced by the amount that you were considered comparatively at fault. A judge or jury must determine your percentage of fault.

Slip-and-fall cases can quickly become very complicated. If you’ve been hurt in a slip-and-fall in the Bronx, you may want to consult with an attorney about your legal options for compensation quickly. Your case is likely subject to the New York statute of limitations which provides a short period of time in which you may bring forth an injury lawsuit. Call our Bronx personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.

Cellino & Barnes (800) 888-8888

Client Thanks

I would like to thank your firm for representing our family on behalf of my late husband. This whole process was, at times, difficult for us and sometimes painful. But, we were always in good hands as Brian and Maria are two of the hardest working and sincerest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They did a tremendous job.

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