SCHOHARIE, N.Y. – Investigators are calling it the nation’s deadliest accident in nearly a decade. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said a limousine carrying 18 people to an Upstate New York birthday party blew past a stop sign, crashing into a parked car and two pedestrians near Albany on Saturday.
In total, 20 people were killed, including:
Erin Vertucci McGowan
At the time this article was published, the NTSB had not released an official list of victims, but family members have confirmed that Erin McGowan, Shane McGowan, Amanda Halse, Patrick Cushing, Mary Dyson, Rob Dyson, Allison King, Abby Jackson, Adam Jackson, Amy Steenburg, Axel Steenburg, Rich Steenburg, Matthew Coons, Savannah Bursese, and Amanda Rivenburg were all friends or family members.
The group, including two newlyweds (Erin and Shane McGowan) had rented the limousine to celebrate Amy Steenburg’s 30th birthday. According to several media reports, the party of 17 were taking the 2001 Ford Excursion limousine to an upstate New York brewery in Cooperstown. Officials said the trip was tragically cut short when the limo missed a stop sign at a dangerous intersection in Schoharie, New York, about 40 miles west of Albany.
Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said investigators with the federal agency are working to determine what caused the crash, the worst in the U.S. since 2009.
“It’s important to figure out what happened and why it happened to prevent things like this from happening in the future,” Sumwalt said during a news conference Sunday.
Limousine Safety Called Into Question
The crash may be the deadliest accident in the U.S. this decade, but there has been a deadly limo accident every year since at least 2000. Those crashes are blamed for 68 deaths.
“This does need to be a wake-up call,” Sumwalt told CNN over the weekend. “Here we have 20 lives that have been lost tragically. We do need to learn from this.”
Stretch limos, which are chopped up vehicles then extended in length, are not subject to any regulatory agency. As a result, experts say safety is often overlooked.
Most states do not require seat belts to be worn in limousines, and many limos don’t even feature seat belts.
Sumwalt told reporters that none of the passengers in the limo were wearing seat belts, and it’s unclear at this point whether seat belts would’ve made a difference in this crash However, it is a factor investigators are looking at.
Investigating A New York Limo Accident
An extensive investigation should be able to determine what exactly caused this heartbreaking limo crash in Schoharie, New York. Investigators have already released some of the facts, but families still have many unanswered questions:
Was the driver paying attention?
How many hours did the driver work?
Was the vehicle safe to drive?
Was the stop sign clearly visible?
Was the limo traveling too fast for road conditions?
Was the driver well-trained?
Could there have been a malfunction?
These are just some of the questions a full investigation should be able to answer.
Prestige Limousine, the company which owned and operated the limo, had its fleet of vehicles inspected five times in the past five years. Over that time, four vehicles were removed from service, public records show.
It is not yet clear whether the 2001 Ford Excursion limousine had any mechanical issues that could’ve contributed to the limo accident in Schoharie. However, New York limousine accident lawyers say it’s important to gather all the facts, and as much evidence as possible.
The evidence gathered by federal investigators, local police departments and private investigations will be very important for the families of the victims when choosing to file any wrongful death claim. In many cases, limo accident victims and their families choose to file wrongful death claims to hold those responsible for the accident accountable, and get compensation for their injury or loss of a loved one. An experienced NY limo accident lawyer understands how to help the families answer their questions and recover compensation for the loss of financial support from a victim of a tragic limo accident.
A successful limo accident claim can also help make meaningful changes in our communities that can improve limousine safety in New York, and across the nation. Whether it’s adding seat belts, mandating their use, or improved training of limousine drivers, a claim can make a difference.
The goal is to make sure that accidents like the one that killed Erin McGowan, Shane McGowan, Amanda Halse, Patrick Cushing, Mary Dyson, Rob Dyson, Allison King, Abby Jackson, Adam Jackson, Amy Steenburg, Axel Steenburg, Rich Steenburg, Matthew Coons, Savannah Bursese, Amanda Rivenburg and several others can be avoided in the future.
NEW YORK – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its voluntary Valsartan recall; a medication prescribed to treat high blood pressure and heat complications. According to our personal injury lawyers, New York pharmacies are pulling a number of medications containing Valsartan off their shelves.
The FDA recently discovered traces of a chemical known to cause cancer in the drug, sparking the massive recall.
Officials with the FDA first issued recall notices in July when doctors discovered traces of N-nitrosodimethylamine, a known carcinogen, in over 70 different medications, all of which contained Valsartan. The recall does not affect the United States alone, as the European Medicines Agency has issued a similar recall.
Personal injury attorneys in New York say this global recall effort has also put drug manufacturers under a microscope. Generic valsartan is commonly produced by Chinese companies, which are often the subjects of controversy due to the production of defective drugs or counterfeit drugs.
If you have been taking valsartan and have experienced odd side-effects or have been diagnosed with cancer, you may be eligible for compensation, which can help pay for your medical bills, lost time at work, pain and suffering, and more. Make a FREE call to the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Cellino & Barnes to find out if a Valsartan Recall Lawsuit is right for you.
What To Do If I’ve Taken Valsartan
The expanded recall includes dozens of different prescription medications, but many drugs containing Valsartan are NOT in this recall (See The Drugs Not Included in Valsartan Recall Here). Whether it’s been recalled or not, here are some steps to follow if you’ve been prescribed valsartan.
If you’ve been prescribed any medication that contains Valsartan, contact your physician immediately.
Because valsartan is used to treat serious medical conditions, DO NOT stop taking the medicine until you’re prescribed a replacement product.
If you aren’t sure if your medicine is on the latest recall list, contact your pharmacy. They will have the most up-to-date recall list and should be able to inform you if the drug(s) you’re taking are affected.
Finally, talk to the New York medical malpractice lawyers at Cellino & Barnes for a FREE consultation.
Valsartan may be considered a dangerous drug, and those who’ve suffered damaging side-effects, as a result, may be owed compensation for any injuries or illnesses caused by the medication.
Medical malpractice law firms like Cellino & Barnes have experienced lawyers and former doctors on staff who can assess your situation and help determine a proper legal course of action for you and your family.
Since valsartan can affect the cardiovascular system, the side-effects could include cancer, brain injuries, heart complications, or even wrongful death.
Our team has years of experience battling the big drug companies in court, and our malpractice attorneys can help you get the best result possible from a case involving valsartan.
NEW YORK – Falls are a top cause of injury in the United States, impacting millions of lives every year. Many slips or falls happen in a public area, like a store or business, and you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Victims of these accidents often ask our Queens slip and fall lawyers, What To Do When You Slip And Fall In A Store.
Our legal team has assembled a list of best practices:
What To Do When You Slip And Fall In A Store
Whether you slipped on a wet floor, or fell down a poorly-lit staircase, know what to do. Our Queens slip and fall attorneys have put together five steps to keep in mind:
Get Medical Attention Immediately. Even if you feel fine, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor. Immediate medical attention lowers the risk of long-term complications. It also documents the injuries caused by a slip-and-fall in a store.
Report The Problem. Whether your accident happened in a store or outside, report it to the manager or owner. If you do not know who the manager or owner is, or they are avoiding you, call our Queens slip-and-fall lawyers. We can help track them down!
Document EVERYTHING. Take pictures. Take notes. Talk to witnesses, and get their phone numbers. Every piece of evidence could be relevant and it may help prove your case!
NEVER Admit Fault. In fact, don’t give any statements to anyone other than your attorney. Don’t post any pictures or statements to social media either – this can only hurt you in the end. If you’ve been contacted by an insurance agent, decline a statement until you’ve talked with an attorney whose job is to represent YOU.
Call A Personal Injury Lawyer. When you’ve been injured, there’s a lot at stake and you want someone you can trust to be by your side throughout the legal process. Call an experienced Queens slip and fall lawyer at Cellino & Barnes for a FREE case evaluation.
Many victims of slips and falls are unsure whether they need a lawyer or not. If you’ve been injured in any way, it may be beneficial to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer in New York.
Our team can handle all aspects of your case, and help make sure you’re going to get the best result possible. Some ways we can help include:
Experience. The law is complicated. There can be countless forms to fill out and legal documents that must be drafted. Luckily, our team has decades of experience sifting through legal jargon to help our clients get results.
Trust. To many other law firms, you’re just a case number. But at Cellino & Barnes, our legal team makes it a priority to know you and your family. We feel like that’s what you deserve – an attorney you know and trust to handle your case.
Success. Our team has helped accident victims recover over $2 billion. We didn’t become such a large firm by mistake; our team works hard to help their clients get the best results possible.
Still have questions? Give us a call. Our consultations are always FREE.
NEW YORK – If you’ve recently been in a car accident, it’s a pretty good idea to hire an experienced Brooklyn car accident lawyer. The general assumption is that ‘lawyers are expensive,’ but many clients are pleasantly surprised when they ask the question, How Much Do Accident Attorneys Charge?
The car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes do not charge hourly fees, unlike many other law firms. Instead, they have a ‘No Fee Promise,’ which means the personal injury firm will not accept any payments unless they win your case.
This type of arrangement is considered beneficial for both the client and the attorney.
Many attorneys work with similar contingency fees, which is a percentage of the recovery they’ve helped a client obtain. This percentage typically ranges from 30-40 percent, depending on the case. If your lawyer recovers $10,000, they will receive about $3,300 for their services with the standard 33% contingency fee. On the other side, if they don’t win your case, they don’t receive anything.
What To Do If You Need An Attorney
If you or a family member has been injured in an accident, contacting an experienced New York car accident attorney is a crucial step that could help you save time, money and a lot of headaches.
At Cellino & Barnes, the firm’s No Fee Promise guarantees clients they won’t owe a dime unless their NY accident lawyer wins their case. If you have any questions about the firm, its legal team, or the No Fee Promise, give us a call and we’d be happy to help answer your questions with a FREE case evaluation.
NEW YORK – The National Transportation Safety Board conducted their initial examination of the faulty engine that exploded at 32,000 feet this week, but investigators walked away with more questions than answers.
New York airplane accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes say these kinds of accidents are extremely rare, and a full investigation will determine the cause, and hopefully result in meaningful changes that will help prevent future accidents from happening.
The incident claimed one life and injured several others, but aviation experts say the accident could have been much worse.
The aircraft, en route from New York City to Dallas, was flying at 32,000 feet when the explosion happened. Not only did pilot Tammie Jo Shults lose an engine traveling 500 mph, but the aircraft also sustained damage as shrapnel struck the fuselage and the cabin began to depressurize.
Amazingly, Tammie Jo Shults calmly guided the aircraft to a safe landing at a Philadelphia airport.
Shults and her co-pilot, Darren Ellisor, released a statement on Wednesday.
“On behalf of the entire Crew, we appreciate the outpouring of support from the public and our coworkers as we all reflect on one family’s profound loss,” the two pilots said, adding that their “hearts are heavy.”
At the same time, several passengers also deserve credit for their heroic actions on flight 1380.
Passengers Andrew Needum, Tim McGinty and Peggy Phillips helped pull a woman’s body back into the cabin after a passenger was partially sucked out of a depressurized window.
Firefighter Andrew Needum was trained for emergency situations, and he put his life on the line in a heroic attempt to save others.
“I felt moved to act, as well as others on the plane,” he told reporters at his firehouse in Celina, Texas.
Peggy Phillips, a retired nurse, instinctively began CPR on the injured passenger. Sadly, the passenger had already died.
Jennifer Riordan, a bank executive and mother of two from Albuquerque, New Mexico was sitting in the window seat closest to the engine as it exploded. The malfunction caused the window to break, creating a sudden loss of pressure in the cabin. As a result, Jennifer Riordan was partially pulled out of the window as other passengers rushed to her aid.
Tragically, Jennifer Riordan died from blunt impact trauma to her head, neck, and torso, a Department of Public Health spokesman said.
Her family later released a statement to reporters, writing, “Jennifer Riordan has passed away as a result of previously reported events on Southwest Airlines flight #1380.”
“Jennifer’s vibrancy, passion, and love infused our community and reached across our country. Her impact on everything and everyone she touched can never be fully measured,” the statement continued. “But foremost, she is the bedrock of our family. She and Mike wrote a love story unlike any other. Her beauty and love is evident through her children.”
Investigators with the NTSB still can’t explain with certainty why the Boeing 737 engine exploded in mid-air.
“I know people would want answers right away. We would do a very methodical investigation,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt told reporters Wednesday. “Right now, we just want to document everything that we can.”
What they DID find was a previously undetectable crack on a fan blade that could have led to the engine failure. According to investigators, the blade broke twice. One of the cracks found was consistent with metal fatigue.
What It Means
Metal fatigue is a weakening of a metal due to incredible stress, which can cause a number of small and sometimes microscopic cracks. New York airplane accident lawyers say the preliminary investigation named metal fatigue as a ‘contributing factor,’ but as the investigation continues, the NTSB may find more factors at play.
The NTSB will likely collect every piece of debris they can find, and attempt to reconstruct the engine, New York airplane accident lawyers said. The investigation may also focus on the window, and what may have prevented it from breaking in such an event.
According to CNN, Southwest Airlines issued $5,000 checks and vouchers to the passengers of Flight 1380. However, that does not cover the physical and emotional tolls many passengers and their families have endured this month, and several families may soon decide it is time to file a lawsuit.
New York airplane accident attorneys say there are several ways that could play out, based on previous accidents:
The airline could be responsible for lack of maintenance
The manufacturer of the engine could be held responsible for the engine failure
If there were other mechanical issues that played a role in the accident, the manufacturer of the aircraft and/or the airline could be liable
If the crew did not follow the proper safety procedures, the airline could be held responsible
These are just a few scenarios, and all are based on previous incidents. A full accident investigation of flight 1380 will determine exactly what went wrong and why.
If you or your family have any questions about aviation safety or injury law, the New York airplane accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes consist of experienced attorneys, doctors, and pilots with the resources and technical experience that can help you get the answers you need.
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Big truck accidents are on the rise. Since 2009, deadly truck crashes have increased nearly 30-percent, and thousands of innocent drivers and passengers are injured or killed by these large trucks each year.
No one ever wants to think about what to do if you’re hit by a tractor-trailer, but many heartbroken families have asked us this question after a loved one was hurt, often seriously, in a truck crash.
If you or a family member has been in an accident with an 18-wheeler, the New York truck accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes recommend taking the following four actions:
What To Do If You’re Hit By A Tractor Trailer
Get Medical Attention. In any type of crash, your health and well-being are paramount. If anyone else was injured, get them medical attention as soon as possible. Studies have found that immediate medical attention can save lives and reduce the long-term severity of an injury.
Take Pictures & Find Witnesses. If you did not require medical attention, immediately start taking pictures and getting information from witnesses and other drivers/passengers involved in the wreck. If you’re physically unable to gather this information, call a family member or friend to do this for you. It will also be helpful to take photos of your original injuries.
Gather Information. Aside from obtaining the other drivers’ insurance information and a police report from the responding law enforcement agency, there are several other questions you’ll want to be answered after a truck accident that could be useful later on:
What company does the truck driver work for?
What cargo was the truck carrying (if any)?
Where was the truck going?
How many hours has the truck driver been on the road today? How many total hours this week?
Call A Truck Accident Attorney. Even before calling your insurance company, contact an experienced New York truck accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes. The insurance companies may try to settle with you, even before a claim is filed – and it’s usually much less than what your claim will be worth. Our legal team is in your corner, and we’ll make sure you get the best result possible from an injury claim.
Insurance companies know that they can save money by offering you less compensation. They also know that when a victim is represented by an experienced truck accident lawyer, the value of the case goes up, 4x on average.
Getting into a truck accident is stressful enough – don’t let the insurance companies add to your stress. Call an experienced New York truck accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes, and let us fight the insurance company for you.
Wow. That’s an understatement. Many of the questions our clients ask us to involve the web of truths, half-truths and lies about insurance and how it works. One of the most common questions we’re asked is:
Will Health Insurance Cover Car Accidents?
Yes, after your car insurance coverage has been used up, your medical bills will be covered by your co-pay and health insurance.
That’s the simple answer. But when you’re working with insurance, things get real complicated real fast. That’s why we always recommend calling a car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes immediately after you’ve been in a car crash.
The Complicated Aspects of Insurance
We don’t want you to get confused. Yes, some insurance companies may offer you a small cash settlement if you’ve been injured and were not at fault for the crash. But this amount is often far less than what you deserve, and in the end, you may end up paying A LOT more.
Keep in mind, your health insurance company (or Medicare/Medicaid) will likely demand reimbursement with some of the funds from your personal injury settlement. This is known as a lien.
A Rochester car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes knows how the insurance industry uses complicated tricks to confuse innocent victims of car crashes – just so they can save a little corporate cash. We don’t fall for their tricks, and our team can help accident victims get the best results possible from an injury claim.
If you have ANY questions, call us for a FREE consultation.
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.