Auburn, New York
Three of the four Auburn personal injury lawyers at Michaels & Smolak were born and raised in Auburn. And we all love our hometown! Auburn is a small city (population of approximately 28,000) in the heart of the Finger Lakes. It is the county seat of Cayuga County.
We chose historic Auburn as the location of our primary office location in part due to its centralized location. Auburn is situated between Syracuse to the East and Rochester to the west making it an ideal location to handle injuries cases at all locations in between Syracuse and Rochester.
For a small city, it has a big and important history. It was founded in 1793 by John Hardenbergh (it was originally called Hardenbergh’s corners). The City of Auburn was incorporated in 1848.
Auburn was home to Willard Seward who served as NY Senator, United States Senator, Governor of NY, and Secretary of State under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Seward was himself a candidate for the Presidency of the United States but lost the Republican primary to Abraham Lincoln. Today he is best remembered for his 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia during his tenure as Secretary of State for Abraham Lincoln. Back then he was mocked for the purchase (“Seward’s Folly”) but history has given Seward the last laugh. Gold and later oil were discovered there, and it today serves as a strategic buffer against Russia. Seward is buried in Auburn’s Fort Hill Cemetery.
Auburn was also home to Harriet Tubman, the famous ex-slave abolitionist who ran the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses, to rescue slaves. Tubman’s home on South Street is a national historic site as is the home of William Seward (the two were great friends) which is also located on South Street. Many people make pilgrimages to their homes and graves in historic Fort Hill Cemetery.
Auburn was also once home to Abner Doubleday, the alleged inventor of baseball, who once represented Auburn in the US Congress. Another famous Auburnian was Theodore Case, the inventor of talking films. Thomas Mott Osborne, who is considered the father of modern prison reform, also made his home in Auburn.
As you can see, Auburn has historically been the home of many great people. And we believe Auburn is today the home of great personal injury lawyers; the team of Michaels & Smolak.
Auburn is frequently referred to as “Prison City” because the Auburn Correctional Facility (maximum security) is located in the heart of the City and is one of its largest employers. It is one of the oldest functional prisons in the United States and is the site of the first execution by the electric chair in 1890.
The personal injury attorneys at Michaels & Smolak have represented many of Auburn Corrections officers in personal injury cases. Likewise, on occasion, Michaels & Smolak has represented inmates who have been severely injured while housed at the prison. In one such case, the lawyers at Michaels and Smolak represented an inmate who was paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury in prison. With our help, he recovered over 5 million dollars from the State of New York. It was thought at the time to be a record verdict on behalf of an inmate.
Auburn was once a booming industrial and manufacturing center. General Electric, Colombian Rope Company, International Harvester, ALCO (American Locomotive Company), Nye Wait Carpet Company, Bombardier, Dunn & McCarthy, E.D. Clapp, D.M. Osborne & Company, Wegman Piano Factory, Birdsall Company and many more had significant presence in Auburn and employed thousands of people. However, over time, many of these major factories closed or relocated to lower cost places and correspondingly the “blue collar” population of Auburn declined as well. Much of the industrial giants have been replaced with small to medium higher tech manufacturers such as Bo-Mer Plastics, Currier Plastics and 4-M Precision Industries to name a few.
Sometimes, with industry and manufacturing, come large and complex injury cases. The team at Michaels & Smolak is one of the only personal injury law firms in the Auburn region equipped to handle such large scale cases. We have handled such cases on behalf of victims of industrial explosions, electrocutions, and construction related injury cases, to name only a few.
While under New York law, workers compensation is a bar to suing one’s own employer, in such cases there are often “at fault” parties such as contractors who caused or contributed to the accident to whom the workers compensation bar does not apply and from whom an injured party may seek compensation beyond workers compensation. For example, we have represented a victim of an Auburn workplace explosion against an electrical contractor who failed to follow proper safety rules in installing industrial/manufacturing equipment in his place of work. The victim was allowed to take his workers’ compensation benefits and pursue a personal injury claim against the electrical contractor. It is in complex and difficult cases such as this where the team at Michaels & Smolak shines thanks to the depth of their experience and significant resources.
If you or a loved one is injured because of someone else’s carelessness, don’t hesitate to contact the Auburn personal injury attorneys ad Michaels & Smolak.