Stephen V. Wehner, 45, an authority in professional liability law and partner in the Washington law firm of Wehner & York, was pronounced dead Jan. 21 at a hospital in Weston, W.Va., as a result of injuries he received in a traffic accident.

The Associated Press reported that the vehicle Mr. Wehner was driving on Interstate 79 near Weston ran off the road and rolled over an embankment before striking a hillside. The AP quoted a state police spokesman as saying Mr. Wehner was not wearing a seat belt.

Mr. Wehner was a former special prosecutor and Maryland Republican Party general counsel. He also served on the white-collar crime committee of the American Bar Association. His areas of practice included litigation, legal malpractice and personal injury law.

Over the years, he had defended such public figures as former West Virginia governor Arch Moore (R) and Deborah Gore Dean, a former Reagan administration official.

Mr. Wehner, who lived in Chesapeake Beach, was a native of Morgantown, W.Va. He was a 1976 graduate of West Virginia University and a 1979 graduate of its law school.

He served as an assistant U.S. attorney of the eastern district of Pennsylvania from 1979 to 1986, spending the last two of those years as fraud section chief. He came to Washington in 1986 and was a partner in the firm of Santarelli, Smith, Kraut & Carroccio before founding his own firm.

In addition to its Washington offices, Wehner & York also maintains offices in Bridgeport, W.Va. A large part of Mr. Wehner's practice involved counseling law firms and lawyers across West Virginia.

His marriage to Kay Millicent Brown ended in divorce.

Survivors include two children, Matthew and Amanda Wehner of Huntingtown.