High-Stakes Motor Vehicle Accidents

When the stakes are high, defense counsel hired by an insurance may not be the best choice to defend your interests.

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An Aggressive, Innovative and Disciplined Approach

For more than four decades, Phillips Lytle has represented a major vehicle leasing corporation and many other self-insured companies faced with potential liability arising out of serious vehicle and car accidents involving the use or operation of motor vehicles that they own. Defending a high-stakes motor vehicle accident case requires more than merely following a playbook developed to handle claims arising out of “fender benders”. Formulating the defense of a high-stakes vehicle or car accident claim requires an aggressive, innovative and disciplined approach. Our attorneys who practice in this area are not only well versed in New York State’s Vehicle and Traffic Law, they know their way around federal highway and vehicle safety standards, commercial driving regulations, and principles of accident reconstruction, vehicle dynamics and biomechanics. They know how to preserve and work with evidence from vehicle data recorders, dash cams, GPS navigation systems, 3D scans of vehicles and accident scenes, and accident reconstruction software applications. And they know how to evaluate, value and defend against the most serious injury claims—up to and including wrongful death claims.

Our attorneys also know how to try these cases when necessary, and have obtained favorable jury verdicts in courts throughout New York State. When appeals result, they know how to defend those verdicts on appeal, and have done so in every appellate court in New York.


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Phillips Lytle Car Accident and Vehicle Litigation Experience

Phillips Lytle has been a leader in high-stakes motor vehicle accident litigation throughout New York State. Representative matters include:
  • Helped to shape New York law concerning the doctrine of permissive use, a requirement of liability under N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 388. See Stevens v. Calspan-Corp., 292 A.D.2d 809 (4th Dep’t 2002).
  • Helped to shape New York Law on the relation-back doctrine, as applicable to motor vehicle lessors. See Williams v. Majewski, 291 A.D.2d 816 (4th Dep’t 2002).
  • Defended dozens of cases on the basis of New York’s serious injury threshold. See e.g., DiPalma v. Coleman, 10 Misc. 3d 1059A (Sup. Ct. Niagara County 2005).
  • Obtained dismissals of dozens of cases based upon the Graves Amendment and its preemption of N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 388 liability.
  • Obtained dismissals for a major utility in numerous automobile, truck, bicycle and motorcycle accident cases. See e.g., Mendrykowski v. N.Y. Tel. Co., 2 A.D.3d 1410 (4th Dep’t 2003).
  • Defended owners and lessors of vehicles in significant injury cases through trial and/or on appeal. See e.g., Pryce v. Gilchrist, 51 A.D.3d 425 (1st Dep’t), appeal denied, 11 N.Y.3d 710 (2008).
  • Successfully defended a major utility in an action brought by a motorcyclist who claimed personal injuries arising out of improper street cuts and underground conduit work. In this case, the major utility was able to recoup nearly all of its defense costs from insurance carriers for the contractor.

Meet Our High-Stakes Motor Vehicle Accidents Team

William D. Christ Partner, Governing Committee
James J. Doody Senior Associate
Kevin J. English Of Counsel
Chad W. Flansburg Partner
Marc H. Goldberg Special Counsel
Ryan A. Lema Partner
Craig A. Leslie Partner, Governing Committee
Amanda L. Lowe Partner
Michael B. Powers Of Counsel
Jacob S. Sonner Partner
Meet the Team

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