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Winter roads can be a disaster. Quite often, they can be slushy, slippery and just plain messy. So what should you do if you find yourself in an unsafe situation?

winter driving tips

To help keep you safe on the road this season, AARP identified these key winter driving safety tips:

  • Check your car battery. Your car batteries weaken in the cold. Learn how to tell if yours are on their way out.
  • Stock up on winter gear. Keep jumper cables, a snow brush, a small shovel and these other necessities in your car in case you get stuck.
  • Defrost and deice before leaving. It’s crucial that you clean the inside and outside of your car’s windshield and rear window.
  • Use your headlights. Turn your headlights on (even in the daytime) so you can stand out from the drab winter background.

Read the full article here.

A jury has decided the City of Buffalo should pay $3 million to a woman who suffered serious spinal  injuries when a police department tow truck ran a traffic light and triggered a crash downtown.

Brigette Brzezniak, of Cheektowaga, was 24 at the time and a passenger in a Ford Escape when it collided with the tow truck at Seneca Street and Michigan Avenue in 2013, according to her lawyer, Michael Scinta of the Brown Chiari law firm.


Read More…

A car wreck is an occurrence that can have long-lasting psychological effects. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have immediate side effects, but some damage might not become apparent for weeks, months or years.

A TBI is caused by impact to the head or a penetrating injury to the head, but an injury caused by impact is the most likely culprit after a car wreck. The injury typically results from the head meeting the dashboard, windshield, steering wheel or a window. The severity of a TBI varies, but most of them are relatively mild concussions. In some cases, though, a TBI can result in long-lasting problems and life-threatening damage, such as blood clots.

Unfortunately, some TBIs can result in permanent psychological effects. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recognizes deficits in communication abilities and cognitive functioning. Communication issues include an inability to comprehend written or spoken language, difficulty expressing coherent thought, trouble responding to nonverbal cues and problems maintaining the normal flow of conversation. Cognitive problems include trouble maintaining attention, an inability to process new information, deficient memory, disorganization and an inability to plan new tasks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists other psychological effects, including mood changes, anxiety, aggression and loss of sensation.

The long-term side effects of a TBI can be difficult to identify because the injured person often demonstrates a lack of awareness. Additionally, friends and family members are not always educated about the significance of major mood changes, speech deficits and other TBI side effects. After a car wreck, it is important to obtain quality information about the potential side effects that are associated with a TBI.

If you’re suffering from a TBI that was caused by a car wreck, contact us at Brown Chiari for more information. We are a regional personal injury law firm with several New York offices. Let our expert attorneys help you receive your due compensation.

A Cheektowaga man injured three years ago when a police cruiser crashed into his vehicle has settled a lawsuit against the Town of Amherst for $1.2 million.

The Amherst Town Board on Monday consented to the $1.2 million for Michael Paoletta, after attorneys on both sides came to a settlement last week prior to a jury verdict.

“We thought that was a fair compensation for what he had gone through and taking into account his potential wage claim,” said Donald P. Chiari, who tried the case… Read more here on Buffalo News

safety tips for winter highway driving avoiding winter accidentsWhen you open your drapes in the morning, you’re greeted by a fresh coat of snow on the lawn. While you might rejoice at the opportunity to spend more time with your family and celebrate important holidays during the winter, you’re likely not excited to head out on the road in your vehicle. Thankfully, familiarizing yourself with a few winter driving safety tips can ease your anxiety and help to ensure that you arrive at your destination safe and sound.

Clear Ice and Snow from Your Car

Before you head out in your car, make sure that the windshield and all windows are completely free of ice. Maintaining the highest level of visibility possible will help you stay safe while on the road. You should also be sure to remove snow from the top of your car, as it can slide down from the roof when you stop, blocking your vision or those of drivers behind you.

Increase Your Following Distance

When driving on snowy or icy roads, it’s essential that you leave at least three times more space than usual between yourself and the car in front of you. It takes a lot longer to stop on an icy road, so you run the risk of rear-ending another vehicle if you follow too closely. Remember that you should also break gently to avoid losing traction and spinning out.

Stay Away from Big Rigs, Plows and Other Vehicles

It’s always a good idea to give semi trucks, plows and other large vehicles plenty of space on the road. During the winter, it’s especially important that you stay away from them. You don’t want to be in the way if a large truck spins out or if a semi stalls on an icy hill.

Use Low Gears and Avoid Cruise Control

For those who drive manual transmissions, staying in low gears is a great way to increase your traction on the road. Opt for low gears when climbing or descending hills. In addition to increasing your traction, you’ll also have better control over your movement on the road and will be able to stop more efficiently. Avoid using cruise control on icy roads; it’s better to control your speed yourself, so that you can respond quickly to changes in conditions.

Carry Chains, A Shovel and Warm Clothing

No matter how far you have to drive during the winter, it’s always a good idea to carry chains. If you’re headed out for a long trip, call the highway patrol or roads department in your area to find out about road conditions and chain requirements. If chains are required, put them on before you leave. Keep a shovel, gloves and warm clothing in your car in case you need to chain up on the side of the road.

Of course, if you’ve been involved in a winter accident, it’s a good idea to contact a licensed attorney. Here at Brown Chiari, we can guide you through the insurance claims process and will help you seek compensation if you are injured during an accident.

more big rigs could mean more fatal auto Road Accidents Trucking is one of the deadliest occupations. Although fatal auto accidents have decreased due to improvements in highway safety, these statistics are likely to rebound as more trucks take to the roads in New York and across the country. Today, trucks claim more than 80 percent market share in the commercial transportation industry, which includes air, sea and rail transport methods. All of this business earns trucking companies over $650 billion each year and earnings are projected to grow 20 percent in the next decade.

For drivers, this surge means that more trucks will be on the road, which increases the likelihood of truck and auto accidents. Recently, the North American Free Trade Agreement opened roads to trucks from Canada and Mexico. After these truckers pass the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration inspection, they will be able to drive in the United States. New York’s proximity to Canada means that many motorists will be driving alongside foreign truckers who can be especially hard to sue if they’ve caused injuries or fatalities. If this is the case, you’ll need to find a law firm capable of handling a NAFTA trucking case. You must also consider that new truckers are replacing an aging workforce, putting less experienced drivers on the road. All of these factors increase the relative risk of fatal truck accidents.

The Facts Don’t Lie

Nationally, tractor-trailers are involved in approximately 12 percent of all fatal accidents on the road. With 3 million 18-wheelers registered in the United States, crashes involving cars and trucks are extremely likely to occur. Statistically, trucks are 20 to 50 percent more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than passenger vehicles and because of the size of these trucks, any accidents are much more likely to be deadly.

Annually, more than 4,300 fatal driving accidents involve big trucks. This averages out to 2.4 fatal accidents for every 100 million miles driven. However, the number of non-fatal, but dangerous, accidents is significantly higher.

At highway speeds, it takes trucks a long time to stop. In these conditions, rollovers and jackknife crashes are imminent. Heavy loads are more likely to shift, which increases the probability of a rollover, while lighter loads are more susceptible to jackknife crashes. However, fatal truck accidents don’t only happen on New York’s highways and interstates. 50 percent of all fatal truck accidents occur on secondary, two-lane roads. Poor vehicle maintenance and inclement weather are common causes of these accidents.

Stay Safe and Take Action

Trucks that transport everything from produce to furniture can change your life in an instant. If you’ve been injured by a big truck in New York, you need an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in such accidents. Call the experts at Brown Chiari to request a free case evaluation today.

Improperly-loaded trucks are a major cause of highway accidents. Strict regulations have been laid out by the state of New York as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to protect citizens from the dangers of unsecured loads or overloaded trucks. At the very least, a truck driver can be fined for improperly loading a truck; at worst, a cargo shift or flying debris can cause serious accidents and result in fatalities. Injuries resulting from a truck driver’s failure to comply with state and federal standards require the services of experienced Buffalo personal injury attorneys at Brown Chiari.

Proper Cargo Handling

To prevent load shifts, chemical spills or objects falling off a truck, drivers are required to take the following safety precautions before getting on the road and periodically throughout their run:

  • Working Loads. Tiedowns used to secure loads, including chains and straps, have working load limits. Truckers are only allowed to secure a load that is half the aggregate working load limit of the tiedown for optimal safety.
  • Securement. General requirements for securement of loads include making sure the load is evenly distributed and tied down to avoid load shifts or falling objects. Detailed safety requirements are in place for specific types of loads, including pipes, logs and automobiles.
  • Load Checks. A driver must check the load within the first 50 miles of the trip and every three hours or 150 miles driven thereafter, making necessary adjustments to the load to comply with safety standards.

Personal Injury Attorney in Buffalo

If you’ve been injured because a truck driver failed to properly load and secure his or her cargo, you need a lawyer in Buffalo, NY with the experience and skills to get you the compensation you deserve. At Brown Chiari, our legal team will thoroughly investigate the accident to determine exactly who is at fault, as you can potentially receive damages from several companies depending on who the driver’s employer is, who owns the truck and who loaded the cargo.

You may think that a drunk driver is the biggest danger you could encounter when you take your family for a drive, but studies show that sleep-deprived drivers may as well be drunk. Fatigued truck drivers in particular are one of the greatest menaces on the road. Federal safety regulations are in place to ensure that truckers do not become fatigued. If you’ve been in an accident because a truck driver failed to comply with these safety standards, you need personal injury attorneys in Buffalo at Brown Chiari to aggressively pursue damages.

Hours-of-Service Regulations

Property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers can only be on duty for 14 hours in a single day, and only 11 of those hours can be spent behind the wheel. The remainder of that on-duty time can be spent on administrative tasks, loading and unloading. After a 14-hour shift is completed, the driver must be off duty for the next 10 consecutive hours, at least eight of which must be spent in the sleeper berth.

Sleep Deprivation Among Truckers

Some drivers can’t or won’t sleep for eight hours in the sleeping berth. This becomes a problem if another shift follows the 10-hour break. A 24-hour period of little to no sleep will impair a driver’s reaction time and level of alertness the same as if he or she were drunk. Sleeping five hours or less every night for a week produces the same effects, which are comparable to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.1%, which far exceeds the legal limits.

Attorneys in Buffalo, NY

If your life or that of a loved one has been devastated by the recklessness of a fatigued driver, you need an experienced team of lawyers in Buffalo, NY on your side to help you navigate the complex legal process. Contact Brown Chiari today to help you get the compensation you need to put your life back together.

Though many people can continue driving safely well into their golden years, seniors face several factors that put them at greater risk for collisions. Hearing loss, visual impairment, dementia and other conditions can all greatly affect an elderly driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.

Taking the Keys Away

When an elderly driver’s reflexes have declined, family members need to take the keys away. Seniors over the age of 70 are more likely than young drivers to be injured or hospitalized in the event of a car crash. If a senior driver is startled by other cars, changing lanes erratically or getting lost on familiar roads, it’s time to talk with him or her about alternative means of transportation. Before approaching your loved one, be sure to prepare an action plan and show empathy toward his or her situation.

Understanding Possible Liabilities

The safety of your loved one and other drivers should always be your first concern, but it’s also important to keep possible liabilities in mind. Generally, adult children aren’t legally responsible for accidents caused by elderly parents. However, you could face liability for your mother or father if you have a conservatorship. Laws differ from state to state, and a lawyer in Buffalo, NY can help you determine your responsibility.

Seniors could also face lawsuits that aren’t covered by their insurance policies if someone can prove that the driver knew he or she shouldn’t be on the road. If your loved one is reluctant to give up the keys, consult with a Brown Chiari attorney in Buffalo, NY for legal advice that could persuade them.

Helping Seniors Stay Active

For many elderly motorists, driving provides an important measure of freedom and a sense of independence. Driving is also convenient and gives seniors the flexibility to set their own schedules. It’s essential for loved ones to come up with new ways for elderly drivers to stay active. Spread out driving shifts among family members or arrange for a personal taxi service. By helping loved ones continue to reach their favorite places, you can ensure that their senior years are spent actively.

Personal injury lawyers in New York know the statistics. During 2009, eight teenagers between 16 and 19 years old died every day from injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents.

There are a few obvious reasons why teen drivers are four times more likely to have a collision than older drivers. Inexperienced drivers have more crashes in their first year of driving than at any other time. When teens ride together, the risk increases. Teen drivers are far less likely to wear seatbelts. Teens are also more likely to drive while they’re distracted. Eating, adjusting the radio, talking to friends or texting can all cause teen drivers to lose their focus on the road. If your son or daughter has been injured in a car crash, it’s important to call an injury attorney in New York at Brown Chiari.

Parents can have a profound influence on their children’s driving habits. Talk to your children about how important it is to drive safely. Emphasize that they are responsible for their own safety, their passengers’ safety and the safety of other drivers. Explain that distractions increase the risk of an accident.

Talking is not enough, however. Parents have to set a good example for their children to follow. Make it a point to refrain from using your cell phone while you’re driving. New York injury lawyers would advise you to tell your children about the most dangerous driving situations for young drivers. You should also be sure to drive carefully at all times. Lead your children by your example.

Parents can also take advantage of the new “Parents Are the Key” tools and resources at Have your children sign a safe driving agreement. You can also join their Facebook page for safe teen driving.

As a parent, you influence your children more than anyone else. Take advantage of your position as a trusted family member, and teach your children to drive safely by talking with them and setting a safe example.

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