The Rizzuto Law Firm was founded by Phil Rizzuto in January 2005 after Phil Rizzuto took over the practice of Stanley R. Waxman, P., where he began his career as a trial attorney. Since then, Rizzuto and the firm have become leaders in the Long Island area for litigating personal injury cases for their clients who were neglected or injured through someone else’s negligence.
In 2022, Rizzuto was named the Top Personal Injury Lawyer in The Long Island Choice Award, and the firm was voted The Best Personal Injury Law Firm on Long Island.
On the state level, Super Lawyers has selected Phil Rizzuto to the New York Metro Super Lawyers list, an honor reserved for those lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice. Only 5% of attorneys in New York Metro receive this distinction. Rizzuto has been named to that list the last four years in a row.
And as a native to the area, the work he’s able to do to protect and defend Long Islanders is what matters most—but that all started with a case even closer to home.
At the age of 10, Rizzuto’s mother was in a horrific car accident that changed her life forever. She was stopped at a traffic light and rear-ended by a big box truck, having to spend weeks in the hospital in a neck brace and in traction.
“She was unable to do any household work. She could not cook, clean, do laundry or take me to Little League,” Rizzuto said. “The truck was uninsured or had very minimal insurance, so at a very young age, I learned to help with the household chores and learned what no-fault was.
“Despite the fact my mother was laid up in the hospital and unable to perform activities of daily living for the longest time, the truck’s defense was that she was not really hurt because she did not break any bones,” he continued. “From that moment, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer to help people.”
Rizzuto has spent his whole life living and working on Long Island. His family lived in Brentwood until 1981 before moving to Merrick, where Rizzuto attended Brookside Junior High School and graduated from Sanford H. Calhoun High School.
When it came time to choose a college, Rizzuto wanted to stay close to home, so he attended St. John’s University’s College of Business Administration in Queens. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science, Rizzuto went on to St. John’s University School of Law.
Rizzuto began his career as a lawyer in Mineola, and since then has had offices in Garden City, Woodbury, Carle Place and Uniondale, as well.
“Shortly after I started my personal injury law firm, I met some attorneys who were involved in helping individuals who were neglected and abused in nursing homes.They invited me to join their crusade and offered to help me help the elderly,” Rizzuto shared.
After learning about these instances, Rizzuto wanted to help those affected by funeral home and nursing home neglect to help some of the most vulnerable populations. With his background in defending personal injury cases, Rizzuto has a very unique insight in representing individuals injured through another’s neglect and vice versa.
In 2009, Rizzuto was even asked by those other attorneys to be President of the New York State Plaintiff’s Nursing Home Litigation.
“Over the years I have witnessed individuals being neglected and abused mainly because the nursing home owners consistently put profits over people,” he explained. “These owners look to save money on staff to keep as much of the profits for themselves. Understaffing is the number one cause of neglect in these facilities and it is infuriating.”
Since then, Rizzuto has also been featured on numerous news shows and featured in articles throughout the world in connection with helping individuals who have brought claims for funeral home neglect based upon the family's ability to properly bury their loved ones.
“During Covid, I witnessed families losing loved ones and not being able to give them a proper burial,” Rizzuto continued. “One funeral home in Brooklyn literally put bodies in an unrefrigerated U-Haul truck and let the bodies decompose. At this time I decided to help as many of these people as possible. Mishandling of bodies is not uncommon on Long Island and in the New York City area.”
Now, The Rizzuto Law Firm focuses mainly on all personal injury, funeral home neglect and nursing home neglect cases.
“Often the people we help need it the most. I am grateful that I have the ability to be the voice for those who do not have one,” Rizzuto said. “Bullies appear in many shapes and sizes. It is not just the big kid in the school yard. Bullies can be insurance companies, nursing homes, schools, hospitals or any one. These bullies often look to take advantage of the most vulnerable. Children and the elderly are generally thought to be the most vulnerable in our society but so are those who are injured and someone who recently lost a loved one.”
Rizzuto values community service, when he lived in Setauket where he was an active part of the community as a board member and coach with the Little League of the Three Villages, Three Village Baseball & Softball, a coach for CYO Basketball and Stony Brook Soccer, and an Assistant ScoutMaster for Boy Scout Troop 427.
Rizzuto is also a board member of Beloved’s A. Nania Foundation and is actively involved with the Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (VEDS) movement. His family also supports local organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center, Tunnel To Towers, Smoking Shields and many others that support the elderly, children and our service men and women.
Professionally, Rizzuto serves as president of the St. John’s Suffolk County Alumni Association, was the past president of the Columbian Lawyers’ Association of Nassau County.
Rizzuto is actively a member of the Columbian Lawyers’ Association of Suffolk County, the Nassau County Bar Association, the American Association for Justice and New York State Trial Lawyers Association.