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We are pleased to announce that Michaels Bersani Kalabanka P.C. has been recognized as a “Tier 1” law firm (top category) in three areas of litigation in the 2024 edition of Best Law Firms Rankings®: Personal Injury, product liability and professional malpractice.

We have lost track of how many years in a row we have been ranked in Best Law Firms, but it’s quite a few!

In addition, our attorney Mike Bersani has once again been recognized this year as the “the Lawyer of the Year” for representing victims of professional malpractice in the Syracuse metropolitan area. This is the third time in four years that he has been named “the best lawyer” in the category of personal injury or professional malpractice by Best Lawyers in America®

Michaels Bersani Kalabanka proudly announces that all three of its lawyers – Lee Michaels, David Kalabanka, and Michael Bersani – have once again been recognized as “Best Lawyers” in this year’s Best Lawyers in America publication. The Best Lawyers awards are based entirely on peer review. That means that other lawyers, and judges, rate the skill and ability of the lawyers who appear in the publication.

Michaels Bersani Kalabanka is a boutique personal injury and professional malpractice law firm based in Auburn, just outside of Syracuse. Other lawyers, and judges, have for many years given us the high ratings that allow us to appear in Best Lawyers in America in recognition of our excellence in representing personal injury and professional malpractice victims.

In addition, Michael Bersani was selected this year as “Lawyer of the Year” for representing professional malpractice victims. This is the third time in four years that Michael Bersani has received a “Lawyer of the Year” award either for representing personal injury or professional malpractice victims.


Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney breaches their duty of care, resulting in harm to their client’s interests. Proving legal malpractice in New York State requires establishing four essential elements, each of which must be meticulously supported by evidence and legal expertise. This article will outline the steps and considerations necessary to navigate the complex process of proving legal malpractice in the Empire State.

  1. Establishing the Attorney-Client Relationship

Several years ago, Lee Michaels, our senior member, was asked and agreed to endow a significant scholarship and award at Syracuse University College of Law recognizing a second-year top trial or appellate advocacy student.  The primary goal in initiating this scholarship/award was to help a worthy student, but it was also aimed at attracting fresh applicants interested in advocacy to the law school.

This year we are pleased to introduce to our readers the fifth winner of the Lee Michaels Award and Scholarship:  Mahogani Counts.

The photo, from left to right, shows Lee Michaels, Mahogani and Professor Tod Berger, who heads the Advocacy Program at SU Law. (Photo attribution: Chuck Wainwright Photography).

If you are injured, or if your loved one is killed, in a trucking accident, you need to make sure the attorney you hire to bring a personal injury or wrongful death case is familiar with federal trucking law safety regulations and laws.  Proving that one or more safety rules were violated and contributed to causing the accident is crucial.  In this blog post, I am providing my readers with some (but not all!) of the important safety regulations we trucking accident lawyers regularly rely on in setting up a trucking accident personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Before I get into the rules, though, just a short overview of why trucking safety rules are so important.  Obviously, transportation plays a vital role in facilitating trade and commerce across the country. Heavy commercial trucks are a critical component of this industry, responsible for the efficient movement of goods. But given their size and weight, heavy trucks can cause massive damage, and thus ensuring the safety of these vehicles and their drivers is of paramount importance. The United States federal government has thus implemented a comprehensive set of safety requirements to regulate heavy commercial trucks. These requirements aim to mitigate risks, reduce accidents, and safeguard the well-being of all road users.

Without further ado, here are some of the major rules:

As my regular blog readers know, this Central New York personal injury lawyer is also a huge bicycle devotee.  I have been cycling for pleasure and exercise for decades.  I have also been representing injured cyclists for decades.  But since I’d rather save my fellow cyclists from the heartbreak of a bike injury than help them recover from one afterwards, I am once again posting some reminders regarding New York’s bicycling safety laws.  If you’re planning to ride a bicycle in New York, it’s important to be aware of these laws to avoid any legal troubles and ensure your own safety.

First, as in all States, cyclists here are required to ride in the same direction as traffic. Bicyclists are not permitted to ride against traffic. Doing so is especially dangerous when you approach an intersection as the vehicles turning toward you will not be expecting you there.

In addition, bicyclists in New York are required to ride as close as “reasonably” possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, unless they are preparing to make a left turn, passing another vehicle, or avoiding hazards on the road, in which case they are allowed to “take the lane”.

Here is a rough summary of your New York slip-or-trip-and-fall lawyer’s tasks:

  1. Gathering Evidence

The first step in presenting a trip or slip and fall case starts long before trial.  It is to gather evidence, including photographs and videos of the accident scene and the specific hazard that caused the fall, witness statements, medical records, and other relevant documents.  Measurements of the hazard and the area should also be taken. In slip cases, the weather reports for the area may be crucial.

Hello blog readers!  Today I’m blogging about car insurance. As a Syracuse and Central New York personal injury lawyer, this is something I know a lot about, and which I think many people need to learn more about.

Let’s start with the obvious:  Car insurance provides financial protection against accidents that might arise while driving your vehicle.  Less obvious:  It also protects you and your family when you are pedestrians or in other people’s vehicles, but I’ll get to that later.

In New York, auto liability insurance is legally required. Specifically, you must have at least $25,000 to cover a victim of your negligent driving, and $50,000 coverage total if there is more than one victim. Further, New York auto insurance polices feature a minimum of $50,000 in “no-fault” coverage, which pays medical bills and lost income for those occupants of your vehicle who were injured (including yourself), and for any pedestrian you injured.

Photo above: Me putting a  farmworker injury case into storage.

I am one of the only personal injury lawyers in Upstate New York (Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo) who speaks fluent Spanish. I’m also married to a Guatemalan and move comfortably in the Latino community here. It’s no wonder, then, that over my 30 years or so of representing personal injury victims in Upstate, many of my clients have been “undocumented” Mexicans and Central Americans.

If you are a personal injury lawyer seeking to represent an undocumented Spanish speaking immigrant, here is what you need to know:

At midnight on January 30 a clock ran out. That was the deadline by which our Governor had to sign the Grieving Families Act bill – S74A into law.  Her failure to sign the bill into law is what is known as a “pocket veto”. The Governor’s deliberate failure to put pen to paper by that date and time was the death knell to the bill, which both the New York Senate and Assembly had overwhelmingly supported.

This was a tragedy for those in New York who care about civil justice. Why?

Let’s start by explaining what the now-expired “Grieving Families Act” was:  A proposed law to allow recovery for “emotional loss” (grief) for families who loved ones die because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. The law would have rewritten one of the most unfair laws New York has ever known.  Most other States in the Union allow families of those who are killed through wrongdoing seek compensation for their emotional loss. New York’s law’s antiquated Wrongful Death law (N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law § 5-4.1), which was written way back in 1847, does not.  The Grieving Families Act was meant to right this wrong. Instead, the Governor let the bill die.

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