Recent Interview Featuring Our Personal Injury Attorneys

Martin Colin, P.C. is pleased to share with you a recent interview discussing our personal injury law practice.  The interview was conducted by Voicu Mihnea Simandan and featured on his eponymous website Simandan.

The article can be found here: http://www.simandan.com/?p=9759

2013-9-16 Interview Wm Martin

  The full text of the interview appears below:

Interview with New York lawyer William Martin

William Martin is a 49 year old lawyer and the owner of Martin & Colin, a law firm located in White Plains, New York, which is located just outside New York City.  In this interview he highlights some of the services his company provides.

Voicu Mihnea Simandan:  Helping and giving assistance to other people is in you blood. How did it all start?

William Martin:  After attending a university, I received my legal training at Fordham University School of Law.  The school’s motto is:  “In the Service of Others.”  And I have always found that great personal satisfaction results when you apply your talent and ability to assist other people during a very stressful, challenging period in their lives.

Voicu Mihnea Simandan:  For people outside the US, Americans seem to sue each other quite often. Why is that?

William Martin:  Americans have a believe that their system of justice is an appropriate and adequate forum for resolving a great many disputes between members of a community.  When your neighbor spills garbage and it somehow flows onto your property and kills your animal or your plants or contaminates your drinking water; or when your neighbor drinks too much at the marriage of his daughter and on his way home drives his car and hits your parked motorbike, how do you get compensation from your neighbor from his mistake?  I would imagine that in most countries there is a legal system that determines whether and how much your neighbor must compensate your for his mistake. The American legal system is very imperfect and sometimes unjust, but it works better than any other system that I have studied.

Voicu Mihnea Simandan:  Among other services, Martin & Colin also handles auto accidents. What kind of legal help do you provide?

William Martin:  For at least the past 50 years, most tasks of our daily lives involve the use of an automobile.  That is how we get to work, how we get to the food market, how we get to the retail store, how we get to parties and other social events and sometimes how we get to school.  When so much of our daily life involves driving cars, it is inevitable that we will occasionally have car accidents.  The accidents could involve two cars such as in a head-on collision, a rear-end collision or a right-angle collision, also known as a T-bone collision.  Or, the accident could be a single-car accident, and these occur most often when you are a passenger in a car driven by some else who has a collision with a fixed object while driving that vehicle.  We assist people who have suffered bodily injuries as a result of car accidents.

Voicu Mihnea Simandan:  What about accidents due to negligence of another person or a firm?

William Martin:  Accident cases can be complicated by several issues, therefore they must be handled by experienced injury attorneys.  Some of the issues that can arise:  an insurance company may refuse to pay you fair and just compensation for your injuries because the insurance company is not satisfied that your injuries resulted from this particular accident; rather, the insurance company may claim that your injuries result from other aspects of your life – you eat too much and are overweight, you play too hard and have old sports injuries, you complain too much and are really exaggerating your injury.  A careful, experienced injury lawyer will be able to overcome these objections of the insurance company and convince them that your injuries are proximately related to the negligence and the accident.

Voicu Mihnea Simandan:  Do you cover personal injury cases?

William Martin:  We represent individuals who have suffered personal injuries or bodily injuries as a result of the carelessness, negligence or misconduct of another person.  Some examples of people who have recovered money to compensate them for their injuries include: a child who was ejected from his vehicle and sustained a fractured skull during a one-car roll-over accident.  The car’s driver swerved from one lane to the other, turned the wheel too suddenly, lost control of the vehicle and it veered off the highway and overturned on the shoulder of the highway.  Another example is a woman was walking across the street, in the crosswalk, when she was hit by a car turning the corner.  The pedestrian was knocked to the ground, causing her head to split open and injuring her shoulder requiring surgery.

Voicu Mihnea Simandan:  Can you tell us of any recent case in which you have helped the plaintiffs?

William Martin:  Sure.  Recently, we had two separate instances where young women, one in her late teens and the other in her mid-twenties, came to our office more than a year after they had been in car accidents.  During that year, they had been haunted by nagging knee injuries that never got better.  When the insurance company refused to pay for additional physical therapy, each of these young women contacted our office.  In each case, a surgery was eventually required to repair the injured knee.  Also in each case, the insurance company refused to pay for the surgery and refused to offer money to compensate the young woman for her pain and suffering.  We took on both of these cases, and in each case was able to obtain substantial compensation for the injured party.  However, obtaining money in each of these cases was much more difficult because the injured person waited almost one full year after the accident to hire an attorney.  If there is one lasting message I hope you take away from this article that message is too consult with an attorney sooner, rather than later.  It will be good investment of your time and effort because it will increase the likelihood that the lawyer can help you obtain money compensation.

Voicu Mihnea Simandan:  What can people do to avoid being involved in an accident in the first place?

William Martin:  Shakespeare said, among other things: ‘too err is human’.  So, no matter how careful we are, being human means that mistakes are inevitable and accidents are going to happen.  However, although we cannot prevent all accidents, there is one action we can take today that will help us should we find ourselves in a car accident in the future.  In most states, your own personal automobile insurance permits you to purchase additional or ‘supplemental’ insurance to cover yourself and your immediate family, should someone uninsured, or underinsured, cause you to sustain bodily injuries as a result of their carelessness or negligence while operating an automobile.  This additional insurance coverage will cost you a few extra dollars each year.  However, this small sum can provide substantial financial protection for you and your family.  I urge everyone to discuss increasing this uninsured / underinsured auto insurance with their insurance company for the protection of yourself and your own family.

Voicu Mihnea Simandan:  Do you also work together with insurance companies?

William Martin:  No.  I spend most of my time fighting with insurance companies.

Voicu Mihnea Simandan:  For a law firm, how important is it to build a close relationship with a client?

William Martin:  Too many law firms are operated like factories.  But remember, the law-firm-as-a-factory model enriches the law firm owner, it does NOT benefit you.  I urge you not to surrender your lawsuit or legal claim to one of these ‘factory’ firms.  We are not a factory.  We are a team.  Whereas they have a top down command structure, we work together, in collaboration with each other.  Your case will benefit from our brainstorming, mindshare approach.  We believe that their approach maximizes law firm profit; whereas our approach maximizes the financial gain for the injured client.  Please consider our firm when searching for talented lawyers.

Voicu Mihnea Simandan:  What about your fees?

William Martin:  We are very fair when charging clients for our efforts.  For personal injury and negligence cases, we perform all work on contingency.  Meaning, I do not charge you directly for my efforts.  Rather, I receive an agreed-upon percentage of any money recovered on your behalf.

Appeals Courts Frequently Cite Our Cases – Aug 2012

Not one, but TWO of our past victories were just cited by an Appeals Court – August 2012

Our accident and personal injury cases, which make up a large part of our practice, are usually resolved by reaching a settlement with a corporation or insurance company. The settlement normally includes the payment of a sum of money to the injured party, as well as an agreement that both sides will cease and desist from any further litigation. (For an example of the rare car accident case that gets appealed by our office, please click on the link here:

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=12589218313710296173&q=esther+thomas&hl=en&as_sdt=2,33)

However, unlike the accident and negligence cases, the other cases handled by our law firm often get appealed, and sometimes result in the clarification or expansion of existing law. When this happens, our court cases are often cited by other attorneys in their legal briefs to court. Those other attorneys and law firms bring our cases to the attention of the judges in their cases in the hope that citing our cases will help them win their cases.

Of course, lawyers who utilize this process do not cite just the cases won by this law firm only. They also cite cases won by other law firms. In fact, it is one of the most common methods all lawyers throughout the country use to strengthen their cases.

However, what is unusual is just how often our cases are cited by appeals courts. We are, after all, only a small law firm. But it seems we are a small law firm making a very big impact. Here’s a few examples.

Discrimination / Sexual Harassment: Hayut v. State University of New York has been cited by courts throughout the country thousands of times. You can confirm this assertion by going to Google Scholar, typing these three words in quotation marks as follows: ”Hayut and Univ.” You will note that the case is cited over 300 times. If you type the same words into a legal research database, which is a much larger library of court decisions, you will note that our Hayut case has been cited by courts and judges over a thousand times.

False Arrest / Civil Rights: Torres v. Village of Sleepy Hollow has been cited by courts throughout New York State many times. Again, check Google Scholar and type in these four words in quotation marks as follows: ”Torres and Sleepy Hollow”. The case has been cited several times and, if you type the same words into a legal research database, which has a more extensive collection of court cases, you will note that our Torres case has been cited by other judges on numerous occasions.

And now we have even bigger news. Just last month, in July 2012, even though there were thousands and thousands of cases to choose from, we had the good fortune of having TWO of our cases cited by an appellate court in ONE decision. That’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Just last month, the Appellate Division, Second Department, issued a decision in this matrimonial and family law case:

Matter of Giannoulakis v. Kounalis, 2012 NY Slip Op 5637 – NY: Appellate Div., 2nd Dept., 2012

The issue in the Giannoulakis case involves child custody and visitation. And our law firm has no involvement whatsoever with the Giannoulakis case. But if you read the decision, you will note that the Appellate Division cites not one previous Martin & Colin victory, but two. The case of Cervera v. Bressler is cited by the appeals court. Bressler was one of our clients. In that case, we successfully obtained a change of custody of the child to her mother. The case of Thompson v. Yu-Thompson is also cited by the very same appeals court. Yu-Thompson was one of our clients. In that case, we successfully obtained an order requiring that both the father and the child undergo therapy as part of the father’s visitation process, at the father’s expense.

Thus, we bring the Giannoulakis case to your attention because it was decided just last month, i.e., August 2012, and in that decision the appeals court cites not one, but two, separate Martin & Colin, P.C. wins.

A total of five cases are cited. Two are ours. That’s a large accomplishment for a small law office.