By: Allan M. Siegel
The District of Columbia Council is considering passing a law that would
provide free legal counsel to low-income tenants in certain housing cases,
such as evictions. The bill was authored by council member Kenyan R. McDuffie
(D-Ward 5). The bill is significant because, in landlord-tenant disputes,
tenants are rarely represented by lawyers, whereas landlords usually are.
Notably, this bill is part of McDuffie’s ultimate goal to ensure
that everyone has a right to a free lawyer in all civil lawsuits. (Currently,
under the U.S. Constitution, a person is only legally entitled to a free
lawyer in criminal cases.)
Interestingly, in most
personal injury cases – especially
motor vehicle collision cases – people basically already have access to free lawyers. Defendants
in personal injury lawsuits usually have insurance policies, and so insurance
companies provide them with lawyers. On the other side, personal injury
attorneys like us who represent lawyers work on contingency fees. This
means that if we win, we take a fraction of the recovery, but our clients
never have to pay money out of their own pockets.
Lack of money should never prevent you from obtaining a good lawyer to
fight for justice if you have been wrongfully injured by someone else.
Whatever your financial status, you can always
contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel,
P.C., for a free consultation.