Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

We are dedicated almost exclusively to personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice and legal malpractice cases in all of Upstate New York, with most of our cases being in Central New York, the Finger Lakes Region and Western New York. We also accept general civil litigation cases, and we do take some select cases from all areas of New York State.

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The author in “virtual court” arguing an appeal As I write this blog post, I just got an appointment for my first COVID vaccine shot for February 6.  I am 65, just barely, which qualifies me for this early round of vaccines.  Lucky me! With the vaccine soon to be widely available, the pandemic lockdowns and distancing may (we hope!) soon end. This got me thinking about the post-COVID world.  In my little corner of…
So, your New York personal injury lawyer is on the verge of settling your case.  Finally, many months or even years after your accident, you are going to get some compensation for your injuries, your lost income, your permanent disabilities, etc., etc., etc.  You know what I mean.  This has been the worst thing to ever happen to you. Now you see the light at the end of the tunnel. But wait.  Your personal injury…
Even though I write all the appellate briefs and argue all the appeals for my office, and even though I have been blogging about New York personal injury issues for almost a decade, and even though I spent two years clerking for an appellate court (Fourth Department in Rochester) before I began representing personal injury victims, I just realized I have never blogged about the process of arguing an appeal. It’s time! I’m not going…
Most folks know that when you are hurt on the job you can’t sue your employer.  Instead, you get worker’s compensation, which means the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance (“comp”) pays your medical bills and some of your lost income (the most they pay is about 2/3 of your lost income, but that’s only if you are 100% disabled). You can’t sue your employer, or your co-workers employed by the same employer, but you can sue…
Last week I gave a lecture to more than 800 fellow New York personal injury lawyers by Zoom.  The hour-long lecture (followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer period) was titled, “How to Defeat the Governmental Immunity Defense”.  You can watch a short clip from my lecture here, or you can, if you are a lawyer interested in this area of the law, watch the entire presentation here. I used power point to guide my…
I have not looked back to see how many years in a row our firm has made this top ranking, but it’s been quite a few.  Sometimes I wonder whether the folks at “Best Lawyers” even bother checking on us.  Maybe they just assume we have not declined in skill, talent or experience and therefore just “rubberstamp” our “Tier 1” ranking year after year? But that’s not the way it works, at least according to…
As anyone who has not been living under a rock knows, it’s election season.  Boy, is it!  The Trump/Biden contention is one of the most – well – contentious in modern history.  It’s a battle of two completely opposite and irreconcilable narratives: Trump says he has performed brilliantly in fighting the coronavirus.  Biden says he has failed miserably. Trump says Biden is senile and incapable of governing.  Biden says Trump is a narcissistic egoist whose…
A few weeks ago, Breonna Taylor’s family received $12 million in settlement for their wrongful death case against the City of Louisville, Kentucky and its police department for their botched “no-knock” warrant raid in which Ms. Taylor was killed. When news broke about that settlement, I asked myself, “would she have gotten such a settlement in New York State”?  My answer was “no”.  That’s because New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, has, in…
Hello there blog readers!  I’m back after my partner Dave Kalabanka hi-hacked this site last week to write about that “Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year” award.  What Dave did not mention is that ALL four lawyers at Michaels & Smolak were again listed for their representation of personal injury victims in the Best Lawyers in America publication this year.  In addition, Dave Kalabanka and I were listed in the categories of representing injured plaintiffs…
Hello there blog readers!  This is Dave Kalabanka, Mike Bersani’s partner. I’ve hijacked his blog for today to interview him about an important award he just got: Mike has been selected as the “Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year” for the Syracuse metropolitan area. A publication called “Best Lawyers in America” bestows this honor on the lawyer with the highest overall positive peer-feedback (judges and other lawyers rate him higher than any other…