Photo of attorney Elliot H. Wernick


  • Senior Member


With more than 30 years of legal experience, Elliot H. Wernick is a highly respected senior member of The Cavanagh Law Firm, who has spent the last 25 years counseling and representing the insurance industry and its policy holders in complex litigation matters.  

 Peer rated by Martindale Hubbell as an AV Preeminent lawyer, Mr. Wernick has extensive experience in skillfully and successfully handling complex personal injury and tort matters, such as the defense and litigation of complex automobile and trucking accidents resulting in catastrophic injury or death. A considerable part of Mr. Wernick’s personal injury practice is devoted to defending injury and wrongful death claims and lawsuits in both state and federal court, including those made against motor carrier transport companies and their drivers.

 Mr. Wernick’s practice also includes insurance coverage analysis and litigation. He has handled complex insurance coverage claims in both first and third party contexts and his litigation practice related to insurance policies includes all types, with an emphasis on life, health, and auto. Mr. Wernick’s insurance coverage practice includes interpretation and analysis of general liability, personal and commercial auto claims and he devotes a significant amount of his insurance practice defending bad faith and punitive damage claims against insurance carriers in both state and federal court.

 Mr. Wernick volunteers in different capacities, including serving two terms as a Board Member of the Arizona Association of Defense Counsel (co-chairing the Pro Bono Disciplinary Committee), and devotes additional time in support of Ryan House, one of three places in the United States providing world-class care and programs for medically complex children (and their families) as they navigate life-limiting or end-of-life journeys. 

 Mr. Wernick has co-authored the chapters on Negligence and Punitive Damages in the Arizona Tort Law Handbook (published by the Arizona State Bar in 2012) and has been recognized as a Top Rated Civil Litigation Attorney by Southwest Super Lawyers since 2015.


  • Arizona State University, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Phoenix, Arizona
    • J.D. - 1993
    • Honors: cum laude
    • Honors: American Jurisprudence Award – Trust and Estates
    • Honors: Truman Young Prosecutorial Fellowship
    • Honors: Willard H. Pedrick Scholar
    • Honors: Legal Research and Writing
  • University of California, San Diego, California
    • B.A. - 1990
    • Honors: Provost’s List (Revelle College)
    • Major: Political Science

Bar Admissions

  • Arizona, 1993
  • U.S. District Court District of Arizona, 1993
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1995
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1997


  • AV Preeminent Rating – Martindale-Hubbell
  • Top Rated Civil Litigation Attorney – Southwest Super Lawyers, 2015 – present
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 30th Edition – Litigation – Insurance; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; Transportation Law – 2024
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 29th Edition – Transportation Law, 2023
  • Top Lawyers – Civil Law Litigation – PHOENIX Magazine, 2022
  • America’s Most Honored Lawyers – Top 1%, American Registry, 2020 – present
  • Top Attorneys & Rising Stars in the Southwest – PHOENIX Magazine, 2021

Professional Associations

  • State Bar of Arizona
  • Maricopa County Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Arizona Association of Defense Counsel
  • • Arizona Association of Defense Counsel (Board Member and Co-Chair of Pro Bono Disciplinary Committee, 2005-2011)
  • Co-Chair of Pro Bono Disciplinary Committee, Arizona Association of Defense Counsel, 2005 – 2011
  • International Association of Defense Counsel Trial Academy, Participant, 2002

Representative Cases

  • Trucking/Cranes/Transportation, Represent trucking companies and their drivers in defense of catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death claims, ranging from pedestrian to multi-vehicle accidents. Represent crane companies and their operators in defense of catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death claims, ranging from construction site accidents to on-the-road collisions involving heavy equipment.
  • Personal Injury/Dram Shop/Open Range, Represent and defend individual and corporate insureds in a variety of third-party contexts (premises liability, automobile/motorcycle collisions, construction accidents, open range cases, dram shop liability, etc.) involving claims of personal injury and wrongful death.
  • Bad Faith, Represent and defend first-party bad faith matters including life, health, disability, property and casualty, auto, commercial general liability and specialty lines. Prosecute interpleader actions in both state and federal court. Institute declaratory judgment action to determine the insurer’s obligations under the policy language. Represents carriers in rescission actions based on material misrepresentations on the policy application.
  • Insurance Coverage, Provide coverage opinions relating to transportation, auto, commercial general liability, property and casualty, and specialty lines. Institute or defend declaratory judgment/coverage actions relating to various coverage issues.

Published Opinions

  • Brookover v. Roberts Enterprises, Inc., 215 Ariz. 52, 156 P.3d 1157 (App. 2007)
  • State v. Serna, 176 Ariz. 267, 860 P.2d 1320 (App. 1993)