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Montezuma, New York

The Town of Montezuma was established in 1859 at the western border of Cayuga County, northwest of Auburn, New York. It is home of the National Montezuma Wildlife Refuge operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The entrance to the Wildlife Refuge is on NYS Routes 5 and 20. The straight, flat stretch of New York State Routes 5 & 20 between the Wild Life Refuge entrance and Route 89 has been the location of many serious motor vehicle collisions.

Our Montezuma personal injury attorneys have provided legal services to several people seriously injured or killed in motor vehicle crashes along this stretch of highway. Michaels and Smolak attorneys have been selected to represent these families because of their skill and expertise in handling seriously injured individuals in motor vehicle collisions.

Recent clients include the family of a young man who was killed when a pickup truck that crossed into his lane of travel and struck his pick-up truck head on. The pick-up truck in the crash flipped over. The young driver was conscious after impact sustained serious personal injuries was seat belted and trapped in the overturned wreck. The truck caught fire and despite the heroic efforts of good Samaritans to extricate him, the trapped driver burned to death.

Our personal injury attorneys serving Montezuma were particularly well suited as we have vast experience sorting out the complex legal issues involved in this Montezuma collision case. There were claims of personal injuries, conscious pain and suffering, fear of impending death and wrongful death to be established. It took experienced attorneys to collect and gather the testimony and evidence to support these different claims as each claim has different elements and aspects of proof to establish. For example, by-standers, Emergency First Responders and law enforcement officials had to be interviewed and statements analyzed to properly establish our client’s state of awareness and consciousness at the scene to fully develop the proof for a fear of impending death claim. The offending driver’s insurance carrier took the position that the victim was unconscious and thus, had no viable conscious pain and suffering and no fear of impending death claims as he was unconscious and unaware of the events as they were unfolding at the scene of the collision.

Likewise, as seasoned litigation lawyers, our lawyers have significant experience advancing wrongful death claims. In New York a wrongful death case, as opposed to the claims of personal injury and conscious pain and suffering, is governed by the provisions of Estates Powers and Trust Law (EPTL) sections 5-4.1 and 5-4.3. These statutes drastically limit the potential avenues of recovery in such claims. Unlike the vast majority of other states, New York permits recovery in wrongful death cases only for what is calls “pecuniary loss”. For the most part, this means loss of income that the decedent was earning and using to support his family (but there are other “pecuniary” losses that can be proved as well). Unlike most states, New York does NOT allow family members to recover for their grief and emotional loss. That is particularly problematic in cases involving young children or elderly individuals who are not currently employed and not results earning wages. These families have very little “pecuniary loss” to show for the loss of their child or elderly family member. But these family members can still recover medical expenses, lost wage or income, pension benefit losses, inheritance losses, funeral expenses, and the medical insurance that had been provided by the deceased family member. It takes a skilled and experienced legal practitioner, like the attorneys at Michaels and Smolak, to fully recognize and identify all of these recoverable losses in a wrongful death claim.

Also, under NY law, surviving children have a potential claim for loss of parental care and guidance. These non-financial losses can often be substantial in the case of very young children, potentially more substantial than the actual financial losses experienced when a loved one suffers a wrongful death.

Most clients of the firm who are injured while traveling though Montezuma and residents in the area find their way to the personal injury lawyers at Michaels & Smolak through client referral or from other Cayuga, Seneca, Ontario and Onondaga County lawyers who refer them here. Those other attorneys understand that Michaels & Smolak has developed an outstanding and well-deserved regional reputation for representing victims of serious collisions and other accidents and many years of experience doing so with outstanding results. While every case is factually unique, for a good indication of the firm’s past successes, please look at our published results.

If you are a Montezuma resident or have been seriously injured in your travels just passing through , don’t’ hesitate to contact our Montezuma personal injury lawyers in our Auburn, NY office which is only a few miles down the road. We offer free consultations and unparalleled client service tailored to meet your needs.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
He is one of the top lawyers in central New York & has the accolades to show for this, but in my book he's the top lawyer in the country. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with Mr. Bersani & to have had him on my team! Matthew
★★★★★
I admire the amount of background work he did which was instrumental in getting me a very good settlement. Also, having never been involved in a personal injury lawsuit, Michael was very patient explaining the legal issues. You're in good hands with Michael Bersani and the firm of Michaels & Smolak. Richard
★★★★★
Dave took over my wrongful death case after it was badly messed up by another lawyer. He was dogged in his pursuit of all the information needed to make a solid case, and he succeeded in bringing it to a very satisfactory settlement. He was honest and straightforward, kind and compassionate through meetings, depositions, court appearances. I highly recommend him. Christine
★★★★★
Dave has handled our legal matters for over 20 years. Always there when we needed him. We were so happy with his professionalism and results that we referred him to several friends. If we ever need this type of service again, Dave will be the first and only call we make. Jackie