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Buffalo New York Law Q & A

In this of section our website, we’ve answered hundreds of questions we’ve been asked over the years. So if you have a question, we might have the answer right here.

There are four ways to get an answer to your question.

One, type your question in the search box to the right and click “Search” – every page we have related to that question will then be shown.

Two, below and to the right, you’ll see a section called “Categories”. Just click the section related to your question and every page we have that is applicable to your question will be presented for your review.

Three, the links at the bottom of this page will take you to a web page that can answer many of the questions you might have.

And four, if we don’t have your answer here, or if you’d like to speak with us, feel free to call and arrange a free consultation – either on the phone or in-person.

We can be reached at 716-542-5444, or if the call is long distance, please call 1-800-729-4571.

Buffalo’s bicyclists are vulnerable to very serious injury if struck by a motor vehicle.

They often have little safety equipment aside from a helmet, and it is not unusual for a bike rider’s injuries to cause them to miss time from work after being hit by a car.

Fortunately, there are multiple ways in which a bicyclist injured by a negligent motor vehicle driver may be able to recover at least part of his or her lost wages.

First, New York State requires that the initial lost wages of any bicyclist injured as a result of a collision involving a motor vehicle be paid by the No Fault insurance coverage available under the automobile insurance policy of the driver who struck the bicyclist.

While the exact amount available may vary depending on the coverage purchased by the driver, the mandatory minimum amount available is $2,000 per month.

This means that if the bike rider earned more than this, he or she may not receive full payment of lost wages from the No Fault insurer.

Bicyclists should also be aware that drivers are only required to have a total of $50,000 in No Fault insurance coverage, which is used to pay both lost wages and medical expenses.

Once this is exhausted, there may be no additional funds available from this insurance to pay lost wages.

If the bike rider was injured as a result of the driver’s negligence, however, he or she may also pursue a claim for lost wages as a part of any personal injury claim.

While the funds recovered through a personal injury lawsuit cannot duplicate funds already paid by the No Fault insurance, it may be possible to recover any lost wages not compensated through No Fault by means of a personal injury claim.

If you or a family member has been hit by a car while out biking, we are experienced personal injury lawyers who can help you.

Call us at 716-631-9999 with any questions.

When a child is injured in the City of Buffalo, it is not always clear cut who is responsible and to what degree.

Sometimes, for example, a child will be injured because one person did something dangerous that led to the injury, but another person had been given responsibility for supervising the child and failed to do so.

As experienced personal injury lawyers, we believe that any case involving injury to a child should be carefully scrutinized to determine whether one or more parties were negligent in causing the injury.

When more than one party was negligent and it led to a child’s injury, there is usually no bar to bringing a claim for personal injury against all of the parties responsible.

To successfully pursue a personal injury lawsuit, it is not necessary to establish that any one party was wholly responsible for the child’s injury.

Instead, a jury may assign a percentage of responsibility to any party whose negligence ultimately gave rise to the circumstances that led to the child’s injury.

Even if the injuries to the child are, in part, attributable to the child’s own negligence, a jury can assign a percentage of negligence to the child along with the defendants.

The overall amount in damages that the child recovers would then be reduced by his or her percentage of liability.

While multiple parties may be held responsible for a child’s personal injury, exactly what each party may be required to pay in damages depends on the nature of the case.

For some types of cases, each party may only be responsible for paying the percentage of damages for which they were found liable.

In other types of cases – most notably car accidents where more than one driver caused the accident – any defendant found to be responsible to any degree may be required to pay up to the full amount of damages if the other defendants do not have the assets to pay their full share.

If your child was injured due to another person’s negligence, we can help you. Call us at 716-631-9999.

Not all Buffalo area residents who suffer personal injury as a result of being struck while walking are near home when this happens.

Whether out sightseeing in another part of the state or on a business trip that requires walking around another city in New York State, it is actually more common for many people to be out walking when traveling than during their normal daily routine.

Being injured while away from home can be extremely difficult.

Fortunately, when a pedestrian from the Buffalo area who is struck and injured while traveling chooses to pursue a personal injury claim, he or she may be able to proceed locally.

For any pedestrian who suffers a personal injury in New York State, he or she may file a personal injury lawsuit in the county where any of the parties involved lives.

This means that even if the pedestrian was struck while crossing a street on the other side of the state, any personal injury lawsuit filed may be brought in the supreme court of the county in which the injured person lives.

For Buffalo residents, for example, they may pursue a lawsuit in Erie County.

This allows the injured pedestrian to avoid extensive travel for any court proceedings he or she may need to attend and also may be helpful if the pedestrian is home treating with local doctors who are needed to testify at any trial.

Unfortunately, if the pedestrian was traveling outside of New York State, where the personal injury case may be filed will be governed by the laws of the state where the accident occurred.

This means that the injured person may have to return to the other state if the claim cannot be resolved between the parties and a trial is necessary.

In some cases, however, an experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to successfully negotiate a settlement without having to file a lawsuit.

Prior to a lawsuit being filed, it is not necessary to have an attorney practicing in the state where the collision occurred, and the matter can still be handled by a local personal injury attorney.

If you were struck by a car and injured, we can help you. Please call us at 716-631-9999.

Unfortunately, it is not unusual for a driver who causes personal injury in a Buffalo drunk driving accident to attempt to flee the area.

If the drunk driver is successful in doing so and not apprehended until later, it may have some impact on any personal injury case brought by an injured party.

How it impacts the case will depend on the specific circumstances of the case.

Most drunk drivers flee with the idea that even if they do not escape entirely, at least they will have time to sober up before the police find them.

In cases where the police are able to track down the driver shortly after the collision, the police still may be able to conduct a full investigation into the driver’s intoxication, and the only impact on the evidence in the personal injury case will be that the drunk driver will appear in an even more negative light for having left the scene of accident.

Where enough time has passed before the driver is caught that the police are unable to meaningfully investigate the condition of the driver at the time of the collision, proving he or she was intoxicated at the time of the accident may be more difficult.

Fortunately, in a personal injury case, it is not necessary to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt as is the case for criminal charges.

Because the legal standard of proof is lower, a jury may still conclude that a driver was intoxicated based on eyewitness accounts of the driver’s actions and appearance prior to the collision or at the accident scene, evidence of having consumed alcohol prior to driving, and the fact that the driver chose to flee rather than wait for law enforcement.

Juries tend not to give the benefit of the doubt to drivers who leave the scene of an accident, which also may be helpful when bringing a personal injury claim.

If you have been injured by a drunk driver, we are experienced personal injury lawyers who can help you.

Call us at 716-631-9999 for a free consultation.

Damage Done: Charges A Hurdle Even When Dismissed

A Troy, NY teenager who headed off to his freshman year at Buffalo State College saw his future changed forever when police arrested him on a bogus sexual abuse charge.

Though Elijah Bethel had a verifiable alibi and witnesses to attest to his whereabouts following another student’s being groped in her dorm room, police arrested Bethel, then 18, within hours of the incident. According to police, a female student was asleep in her bed around 3:20 a.m. when a short black man in black shorts entered her room and groped her.

He then fled, dropping cigarettes and a lighter as he went.

Around 3:40 a.m., police spotted a group of four students outside on the other side of campus, including Bethel, who was wearing black shorts.

The group was interviewed, telling officers that they had been at a nearby restaurant together. Most had bags with leftovers, while Bethel had a receipt from his meal, which he showed to the officers.

Minutes later, Bethel had returned to his dorm room and police knocked on his door, putting him in handcuffs and escorting him from the building to the police station downtown.

From there, authorities asked the victim to identify him without any kind of line-up. The victim, who had been asleep in the dark and hadn’t seen her attacker well, immediately told police that Bethel had broken into her room and groped her. He was immediately arrested on felony sexual abuse charges without further investigation.

Fortunately, Bethel had help from an attorney, who held the police’s feet to the fire on behalf of his client.

Through his lawyer, Bethel was able to force the police to examine DNA evidence from the fallen cigarettes and lighter.

When the results came back six weeks later, all charges against Bethel were dropped. While he has since been accepted to another school and is working to get a fresh start, Bethel has struggled with the fact that any internet search of his name now goes directly to news reports about the assault, rather than his long history as a star athlete and student.

This type of case reveals a conundrum of the internet era. How do you clear your name when search engines will direct queries to what they consider most authoritative and relevant – like a news article in the person’s hometown paper?

While Bethel and many others who are falsely accused of crimes will be addressing this issue for years to come, at least Bethel had access to an attorney who could secure the best outcome possible.

If you’ve been accused of a crime in Buffalo, you need to get help right away.

The attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer have been defending clients since 1955, and we can help you.

Call 716-542-5444 today for a free consultation with an experienced Buffalo criminal defense attorney.

Memphis NY Man Charged After Domestic Incident

Sometimes alcohol can cause problems far beyond a drunk driving arrest.

In the case of James D. Power of Memphis, New York, a very bad night began with a phone call to police, in which a woman reported that Power had prevented her from leaving the home and physically harassed her.

By the time police arrived, Power had fled, but was pulled over a short time later, where a breathalyzer revealed a blood alcohol content of .10%. He was arraigned on charges of second degree unlawful imprisonment, second degree harassment, and DWI.

While his charges are misdemeanors and violations, he can still face significant jail time.

Even worse for someone in this situation, the charges stem from a domestic incident, which gives prosecutors broad latitude to pursue the case even if the woman who originally made the report decides she wants to drop the charges against him.

He may also be subject to an order of protection which can be limited in scope or very broad, and can even force him out of his home.

Domestic violence incidents, even when they are fueled by alcohol, have incredibly serious implications for all parties involved.

If you’ve been charged with crimes related to a fight that broke out at home, you need experienced representation right away.

In Buffalo, the attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer have defended clients in our area for decades.

When you need help resolving charges from a domestic matter, call 716-542-5444 and talk to an experienced Buffalo criminal defense attorney for free.

Rochester City Court Judge Arrested for DWI with .19% BAC

A Rochester City Court Judge has been arrested after New York State troopers spotted her car, heavily damaged and with flat tires, pulled off to the side of 490 West near Mt. Read Boulevard.

Judge Leticia Astacio was behind the wheel of the vehicle when troopers stopped to investigate around 8:00 a.m. on February 13.

Astacio had glassy, bloodshot eyes, according to the police report, and smelled of alcohol.

When asked where she was going, Astacio told them she was headed to City Court for arraignments at 9:30.

At this point, police asked her whether she had been drinking, and she asserted that she didn’t have to talk to them.

When asked to perform field sobriety tests, Astacio claimed that a previous brain injury made that impossible for her.

She refused to consent to a breathalyzer test, though pre-screening indicated that her blood alcohol content was .19%, or more than twice the legal limit.

Astacio pleaded not guilty to the DWI charge in March, and through her attorney, claims that there were numerous irregularities during the stop and her subsequent arrest.

To ensure fairness in the process, an out-of-town prosecutor and judge have been brought in for her case, which is set to resume in April.

In the meantime, Astacio’s cases have been reassigned, and she may face disciplinary action from New York’s Judicial Conduct Commission.

In any DWI case, there are a variety of factors that can play into how, or whether, a prosecution ultimately takes place.

Your best chance at avoiding conviction comes when you work with experienced DWI defense attorneys.

In Buffalo, the team at Friedman & Ranzenhofer has decades of experience protecting your rights, and limiting your exposure to the worst consequences of conviction.

Call us today at 716-542-5444 for a free consultation with an experienced Buffalo DWI defense lawyer.

When a bike rider in the Buffalo area is struck by a car, it is not unusual for the bicyclist to suffer serious personal injury.

If the bicyclist had been in a car instead of riding a bike, the initial medical bills would be paid by the auto insurance for the car in which he or she was riding.

This is a requirement of all auto insurance policies because New York State believes that injured people should receive needed medical treatment without having to prove who caused the accident or sue the other driver.

Obviously, injured bicyclists have the same concerns regarding medical treatment.

As a result, New York State law provides the same protection to bike riders who are struck by a car.

Because the bicyclist was not in a motor vehicle, however, his or her own car insurance usually will not be responsible for making medical payments.

Instead, the insurance for the car that injured the bicyclist is required to pay for all initial medical payments and, if necessary, lost wages.

These initial payments may total up to $50,000. This requirement is often helpful to a bike rider pursuing a personal injury claim because outstanding medical bills or a lack of income is less likely to influence the injured bicyclist’s decisions when pursuing a claim for damages.

It is important that any bicyclist struck by a car understand that while these payments are being made by the driver’s car insurance, their payment is a separate issue from any claim for personal injury that the bicyclist may pursue against the driver.

While the insurer may pay for initial medical treatment, to successfully pursue a personal injury claim the bicyclist still must establish that as a result of the driver’s negligence, he or she suffered an injury severe enough to qualify as a serious injury under New York State law.

Any bicyclist injured by a negligent driver needs an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands their rights.

If you were injured by a car, call us at 716-631-9999 for legal help.

Children can suffer personal injury while involved in a variety of different activities, and it helps to have an experienced Buffalo personal injury lawyer evaluate the circumstances surrounding injury to a child to determine whether a claim for damages may be brought.

In cases where a child was voluntarily participating in an activity and was injured, it is not unusual for insurance companies and defense lawyers to argue that the child is not entitled to any compensation because the child “assumed the risk” of his or her own actions.

In New York State, there is no hard and fast rule regarding how old a child must be to have the mental capacity to understand the risks involved in a given action or activity.

Clearly, very young children are incapable of assuming the risks of most activities because they have no understanding of the dangers involved.

Older children may be able to understand that there are risks involved in certain activities, such as playing sports, but not have the experience to understand the risks involved in other activities.

As a result, each situation must be evaluated on its own merits based both on the action that led to the injury and the individual child’s ability to grasp any potential dangers.

Also, while an older child may have the capacity to understand certain risks associated with an activity that could lead to personal injury, this does not mean that a child injured while involved in that activity is automatically barred from pursuing a personal injury claim.

For example, a child playing organized soccer may be old enough to understand the risk of colliding with another child and assume that risk when choosing to play.

The child probably has not, however, assumed the risk of falling because the playing field he or she was required to play on was poorly maintained and had ruts in the surface.

Colliding with another player is a risk normally associated with playing organized soccer, while a negligently maintained playing area is not.

If your child has been injured due to negligence, we are experienced personal injury lawyers who can help you determine if you should pursue compensation. Please call us at 716-631-9999.

Buffalo drivers are required to yield to pedestrians when the pedestrian has the right of way. A driver who fails to do so and strikes a pedestrian as a result may be ticketed for failing to obey the rules of the road.

While the fact that the driver received a traffic ticket may be helpful in any lawsuit filed by the pedestrian, its value as evidence that the driver was negligent in his or her operation of the motor vehicle largely depends on how the ticket was handled in traffic court.

In cases where a driver has pleaded guilty to a traffic infraction related to having struck the pedestrian, that plea is admissible as evidence against that driver in the personal injury case.

It is treated as an admission to having committed the charged offense.

In many cases, this admission alone may be enough to establish the driver’s negligence in having struck the pedestrian.

When a driver does not plead guilty to a traffic infraction but instead is convicted of the infraction after a trial in traffic court, the conviction is not considered an admission.

As a result, this fact usually is not admissible in the personal injury case.

The reason for this is that because a traffic ticket is considered a relatively minor, non-criminal matter, the driver may not have contested it as strongly as he or she would have contested a more serious charge – such as a misdemeanor or felony.

If the driver is acquitted in traffic court of any traffic infraction related to having struck the pedestrian and the charge is dismissed, this also is not admissible as evidence in the personal injury case.

The driver cannot use the acquittal in traffic court as evidence that he or she did not drive in the manner set forth on the traffic ticket.

If you were injured by a negligent driver while out walking, we can help you.

Call us at 716-631-9999 for a free consultation.