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Cycling in the bustling streets of New York is not just an environmentally friendly method of commuting but also a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, it’s not without risks—a minor lapse of attention can lead to an accident with serious consequences for the cyclist. Knowing how to handle a bicycle accident claim can be pivotal in seeking justice and compensation. 

New York’s streets come with unique hazards and thus, specific laws tailored to address them. Knowing these can influence the strength of your claim. For instance, doorings (when a car door opens into a cyclist’s path) are common and carry specific consequences under the law.

At Brown Chiari LLP, we understand the unique challenges faced by bicyclists and are committed to offering comprehensive insights into navigating through the aftermath of a bicycle accident. Here’s what every cyclist should keep in mind.

Understanding Your Rights on the Road in New York

Cyclists have the same rights on the road as any motor vehicle operator and are subject to the same duties and responsibilities. When a cyclist gets hit by a car, it often involves complex legal issues surrounding road rights. 

Eligibility for a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In the event of being struck by a car while riding your bike, you might wonder about the possibility of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. Concerns may arise regarding potential shared fault for the incident. Under New York law, cyclists are entitled to sue for damages if another party’s negligence caused the accident. These damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, and suffering caused by the incident.

Compensation for Your NYC Bike Accident

Following a bicycle accident, you have the option to file a lawsuit against the driver in NYC who collided with you. However, it’s crucial to determine the appropriate amount of compensation you should seek. Calculating your losses stemming from the accident is essential to ensure you are adequately compensated for both economic and non-economic damages.

If you have experienced any of the following damages, you may be entitled to compensation that addresses these losses:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Property damage

Compensation should encompass more than just medical bills and bike repair costs. While these are important, it’s also vital to seek recompense for emotional losses, which are intangible and do not possess a predefined monetary value.

Navigating New York’s No-Fault Insurance System

New York operates under a no-fault insurance system, which means that after an accident, your insurance company will provide coverage for certain expenses, regardless of who was at fault. However, no-fault coverage has its limitations and often does not cover the full extent of your losses, especially in the case of serious injuries.

For cyclists, it’s crucial to understand how no-fault insurance applies to bicycle accidents. If you own a car and have auto insurance, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) could provide coverage. If you don’t own a car, the driver’s PIP insurance may cover your expenses. In incidents where serious injury occurs, stepping outside of the no-fault system to file a liability claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver might be necessary.

Immediate Steps Post-Accident

In the unfortunate event of a bicycle crash, taking immediate and decisive actions can help protect your rights and strengthen any potential claims you may have. Here are essential steps to follow:

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Prioritize your health by seeking medical attention promptly after the accident. Even seemingly minor injuries could have delayed symptoms that require medical evaluation.

Report the Incident

Ensure you file a police report detailing the incident. This report serves as an official document that can be crucial in supporting your claim and documenting the circumstances of the crash.

Document Every Detail

Capture thorough documentation by taking photos of the crash scene, your injuries, and any damages sustained. Collect contact information from witnesses who can provide valuable testimony.

Preserve Evidence

Avoid repairing your bicycle immediately after the crash. The post-accident condition of your bike can serve as vital evidence in supporting your case. By preserving its state, you maintain crucial proof of the impact and severity of the accident.

Taking these proactive steps can not only help protect your legal rights but also facilitate the process of seeking compensation for the damages and injuries resulting from the bicycle crash.

Seeking Compensation for Damages

The road to securing compensation for your bicycle and associated damage involves several key considerations:

  • Damage Assessment: Bicycle damage can range from minor repairs to total replacements. Ensure you get a professional estimate to accurately assess the costs.
  • Liability Determination: Clearly establishing who’s at fault is vital. The other party’s negligence must be proven for your claim to be successful.
  • Insurance Coverage: Understand what your insurance covers. If the accident involves a motor vehicle, the driver’s insurance may be responsible for covering your damages.

Serious Injury Threshold and Compensation

In New York, to pursue a liability claim against the at-fault driver, your injuries need to meet a “serious injury” threshold according to the state’s definition. This generally includes significant injuries such as fractures, dismemberment, permanent loss of use of a body organ, function, or system, and significant limitation of a body function or system. If your injuries qualify, you can seek compensation beyond what no-fault insurance offers.

Partnering with a Skilled Bicycle Accident Attorney in New York

Navigating the intricacies of bicycle accident claims in New York is a job for experienced professionals. An adept attorney not only guides you through the legal maze but also ensures your rights are protected every step of the way. At Brown Chiari LLP, our team specializes in bicycle accident claims and understands that each case presents its own set of facts and challenges. We are here to shoulder the legal burden so you can focus on your recovery.

A bicycle accident can be a distressing experience, but understanding how to pursue a claim can greatly alleviate the ordeal. At Brown Chiari LLP, we strive to provide you with the expertise and support necessary to make you whole again after an accident. Remember, you don’t have to go through this process alone. Our team of dedicated attorneys is here to help you every pedal of the way.

Should you need further assistance or legal representation, don’t hesitate to reach out. Ride safe, stay informed, and know that we are here to champion the rights of New York cyclists.

Don Chiari, of Brown Chiari LLP, has been selected to the 2017 list as a member of the Nation’s Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.  NADC is an organization dedicated to promoting the highest standards of legal excellence.  Its mission is to objectively recognize the attorneys who elevate the standards of the Bar and provide a benchmark for other lawyers to emulate.


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Local law firm represents Buffalo woman in wrongful death case

BUFFALO, NY, November 22, 2016 – The law firm of Brown Chiari obtained a $1 million verdict in New York State Supreme Court against Kaleida and MFG on behalf of the Estate of Rose Kij, who suffered injuries and death as a result of the hospital’s conduct, according to the jury.

The 81-year-old was admitted with signs of a resolving stroke to Millard Fillmore Gates on Aug 16, 2007. The hospital provided the wrong dosage of a drug (Simvastatin) by failing to confirm her dosages before her hospital admission despite having knowledge of her pharmacy and primary physician. Ms. Kij developed Rhabdomyolysis, a disease causing severe muscle breakdown with resulting kidney failure, leading to her death on October 10, 2007.

“This verdict sends a clear sign that the people deserve the same treatment regardless of age,” said attorney Michael Scinta of Brown Chiari. “The elderly are entitled to enjoy the same protections under the law. This is a tragic situation which could have been avoided.”

The jury awarded the estate of Rose Kij a $1 million verdict for her case against Kaleida and MFG.

Attorneys Michael Scinta and David Olson from the law firm of Brown Chiari represented the Kij Estate. New York Supreme Court Justice Donna Siwek presided over the trial.

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.


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The local lawyer representing the family of a man who died in the Erie County Holding Center is praising the work of the New York State Commission of Correction. The commission issued its final report in the 2012 death of 35-year-old Robert Metcalf, finding it a homicide caused by improper restraint used by Erie County deputies.

Richard Metcalf was brain dead when he arrived at Erie County Medical Center from the downtown Holding Center in November 2012. He had been arrested by Depew Police for bizarre behavior in Lancaster, which continued in the Holding Center.

Metcalf family lawyer Jim Brown says the 25-page state report saying it was a homicide is correct.

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Save Lives by Understanding OSHA RequirementsPrior to the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1970, workers had little protection to keep them safe while on the job. OSHA works to maintain regulations that aim to keep the workplace as safe as possible.

The Purpose of OSHA

OSHA strives to keep workers safe by maintaining a strict set of rules and regulations about workplace safety. While citations are issued in the event of a violation of these regulations, OSHA makes avoiding citations through the education of managers, supervisors and employees a priority.

Successfully Introducing OSHA Regulations

Employers can help keep the workplace safe by making employees aware of how to safely conduct business. Posting relevant information about health and safety in the workplace in highly-visible areas is an ideal way to convey information to anyone who may be on the job site.

Any questions about safety standards should be directed to an OSHA official. Questions may be asked by contacting OSHA directly or waiting for a safety inspection of the premises by an OSHA official.

Employers must regularly review their workplace safety standards to be sure to comply with any changes in regulation or in the operations of the business.

Educating Employees About OSHA

OSHA requirements cannot service as a means of prevention in a workplace if the employees on the job are not aware of these regulations. Even if managers and supervisors ensure that requirements are adhered to on their level, employees who are unaware of OSHA regulations may violate these standards throughout the course of a work day. While employers should educate their employees about OSHA requirements that apply to them, it is also the responsibility of the employees to be proactive about maintaining a safe work environment.

Click here and start reviewing OSHA requirements to keep the workplace safe.

Anyone injured in a workplace accident needs to consult a personal injury attorney to discuss their rights. Brown Chiari attorneys in Buffalo can help victims of workplace accidents understand how negligence on the part of another individual entitles the victim to compensation for their medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. One sign of negligence that is instrumental in many personal injury cases represented by a lawyer in Buffalo is a failure to follow OSHA standards.

If your loved one lives in a nursing home, do not ignore signs of abuse or neglect. Older Americans with limited physical, emotional and mental abilities are most likely to suffer at the hands of a nursing home worker. If you see any of the following signs of abuse or neglect, contact an attorney in Buffalo immediately.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse:

  • Bruises, welts, abrasions or injuries that neither the loved one nor the nursing home staff can explain.
  • Unusual behavior, loss of appetite and excessive crying.
  • Fear of being left behind at the end of the visit.
  • Physical restraints.
  • Medication inconsistent with what has been prescribed.
  • Stories about mistreatment from loved one.

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect:

  • Dirty linens and unkempt room.
  • Excessive bed sores or sores that continue to worsen.
  • Weight loss that might indicate food or water deprivation.
  • Worsening of common ailments.
  • Dazed or confused state that might indicate mediation is not being properly dispensed.
  • Poor personal hygiene or soiled clothing.
  • Obvious safety hazards in the room or throughout the nursing home.
  • Understaffed nursing stations or lack of medical services.

Personal injury attorneys in Buffalo specialize in nursing home abuse and neglect cases to get compensation for mistreatment of your loved one. Law firms work with doctors and law enforcement to shut down nursing facilities with excessive complaints of abuse or neglect. Call lawyers in Buffalo, NY at Brown Chiari to help your loved one 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.

Medical malpractice can be devastating to victims and family members and can leave patients with a significant, permanent decrease in quality of life. Many victims and their loved ones fail to report malpractice because they believe that there is nothing that can be done about the damage that has been suffered. Not only does failing to report medical malpractice prevent a victim from receiving the compensation they need to pay for added medical expenses, loss of income and pain and suffering, but letting malpractice go unreported allows negligent medical practitioners to continue working with patients.

The list below provides an overview of the signs of malpractice so that individuals know when it is appropriate to seek the assistance of a lawyer in Buffalo.

  • Medical professionals who are negligent typically ignore questions that patients ask about their health. One of the most important roles of a medical professional is to provide information to patients so that patients are able to feel comfortable and involved in the care they receive.
  • If the treatment options that have been provided by a medical professional are not working for a patient, the doctor may not be providing adequate care. While it is possible that treatment will not work because of a serious medical condition, doctors should keep patients informed and suggest other options if there is no apparent improvement in the health of a patient.
  • Patients have the right to request a second opinion or ask for diagnostic tests to verify the conclusion of a medical professional. The denial of a patient’s request for certain treatment options or tests may indicate medical negligence. Although a doctor has the ability to advise a patient against certain treatment options or diagnostic tests that they may deem unnecessary, opinions about treatment and care should be discussed thoroughly with patients.

Consult attorneys in Buffalo, NY at Brown Chiari to discuss your rights if you or a loved one is a victim of malpractice. Ignoring the issue means suffering the consequences of loss of income, overwhelming medical bills and an overall decrease in quality of life. Attorneys in Buffalo are able to inform victims of their rights and provide advice regarding the best course of action to take.

Construction-related injuries occur frequently, and the effects can be devastating. Every day, more than 6.5 million individuals work at construction sites across the nation. Most injuries allow workers to return to their jobs within a month, but many injuries cause permanent damage. In fact, more than 1,000 workers die due to construction-related injuries annually. Due to the complexity of workers’ compensation laws, third-party liability standards and statutes that prevent workers from suing their employers, anyone who is injured on the job should contact personal injury attorneys in Buffalo. Here are a few of the most common injuries that occur on construction site:

Falls are the most common occupational injuries in the construction field. Falls due to defective scaffolding, ladders and dangerous structures can cause broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord damage, paralysis and a variety of severe injuries.

Hazardous conditions and dangerous products are found throughout construction sites. Defective wiring, chemicals, welding equipment and general construction products can cause life-threatening injuries and permanent disabilities.

Excavation is hazardous if it is not done correctly or if trenches are not properly marked. Trench collapses cause one dozen deaths and hundreds of injuries each year.

Due to the wide variety of parties involved in construction projects, it’s difficult to determine who is liable. That’s why it’s important for injured workers to contact an attorney in Buffalo. A qualified attorney with experience in the construction industry can help individuals file workers’ compensation claims and third-party lawsuits against equipment manufacturers and other companies. If you’ve been injured at a local construction site, contact the law firm of Brown Chiari today to talk to experienced lawyers in Buffalo, N.Y.

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.

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