This fall your Central New York personal injury lawyer will again — for the 9th straight year — give his annual “CLE” (continuing legal education) class to fellow New York personal injury lawyers across New York State. Once again I will be lecturing on the topic of governmental liability for causing personal injuries. In other words, I’ll talk about how to hold the State and its various sub-divisions (counties, school districts, villages, towns etc.) liability for negligently causing personal injuries. Each year, the New York State Trial Lawyers Academy invites me to do so. I am invited to speak to rooms full of New York personal injury lawyers in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Manhattan, Queens, Long Island and more.
Why? Because I have been fortunate enough through my work to become seen as one of the top experts in this field of law in New York State. My articles on the subject have been published in New York’s most important law journals and magazines. New York State judges sometimes cite to my work when they decide cases.
Suing governmental entities and agencies such as New York State or its cities, counties, school district, villages and towns is very different from suing a private wrongdoer such as a car driver or a hospital or a business. The procedure is different, the time deadlines are different, the things you can sue for are different, and the defenses that can be raised are different. You name it, it’s different.
And I consider it my civic duty to teach other lawyers how to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes in bringing claims against government. This area of the law is one where many lawyers commit legal malpractice. It’s not that they don’t try hard to represent their clients, it’s just that there are so many procedural land mines a lawyer can step on in this field of the law. Essentially, I try to teach lawyers to avoid blowing themselves, and their clients cases, up!
How did I get so interested in this area of the law? Although I represent injured clients in all areas of New York personal injury law, I find cases against governmental entities particularly rewarding. For example, let’s say I have a car accident case and the victim — my client — has enormous injuries or else he’s dead and I represent his family. There were dozens of accidents in that same stretch of road in the past few years, but whoever owned the road – be it a town, county of the State of New York – did nothing to make it safer. You can sue the negligent car driver and get maybe $100,000 from his insurance, but then it’s exhausted. That’s the easy case. But it’s not enough. The only way to get your client full recovery is sue the town, county or State of New York who designed the road. That’s the tough case. That’s where you need to navigate the ins and outs of complex legal defenses such as “governmental immunity”. That’s where you need to put your thinking cap on and consult with the best roadway design experts. But once you get past all the hurdles and get your client the full recovery he or she needs and deserves, there’s nothing like it. The feeling is like having scaled Mount Everest!
Fellow New York personal injury lawyers, check out the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers website for more details of my travel schedule. As always, I’ll be talking about the new developments in this area of the law.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Syracuse NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.