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What Do I Need to Know Before I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

By: Allan M. Siegel

Check Reviews Before You Hire

We all turn to Google for nearly everything we buy and every restaurant we visit. Likewise it is helpful to research a prospective firm on Google. Check out their Google+ reviews, see what actual clients have to say, and be sure to note how many satisfied clients they have. You can also learn more about the firm's background from websites like, AVVO and You will likely feel more comfortable calling a law firm to discuss your case when you already know that they have an excellent client satisfaction record.

Washington, DC Accident Attorney

The Initial Consultation Is Free

Personal injury lawyers offer a free evaluation of your case. This means you can learn a lawyer's professional legal opinion before you even visit their office or commit to hiring them. The lawyer will ask about the facts of your case, your injuries, and any other damages you suffered. It is important to be very open and honest during this consultation, so that the lawyer can accurately determine whether they can handle your case.

Research The Firm's Experience

Many law firms handle car accident cases, but if your case involves complicated elements you need to ensure that the law firm you choose can properly handle your case. For example, CSCS has extensive experience helping people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Two of our firm's partners founded The Brain Injury Association of Washington, D.C., and are the current President and Vice President of that organization. Therefore, we are well equipped to handle the cases of clients who have experienced any sort of mild or traumatic brain injury. CSCS also has extensive experience helping clients who have been involved in tractor-trailer accidents, which are unique. Tractor-trailer cases require different knowledge and experience than an ordinary car accident case. So be sure to research the firm's website, and talk to the lawyer, to make sure that they have had experience and success with the kind of case that you are dealing with.

Understanding The Contingency Fee

Most people looking for a personal injury attorney are unfamiliar with contingency fees. The contingency fee is a unique fee structure in the American civil justice system, and it allows injured and wronged individuals to have their day in court without paying exorbitant hourly rates for a lawyer. With a contingency fee, a lawyer will typically cover all costs required to litigate your case, and costs and attorney’s fees are deducted from the final recovery made at its conclusion. Ultimately, you do not have to pay money up front or during your case, and an attorney’s fee is only paid if a successful recovery is made. However, it should be noted that regardless of the case’s outcome, you may be responsible for litigation expenses and court costs. Our firm can discuss this arrangement in greater detail when you contact us.

You May Be Required To Pay Back Your Insurance Companies

Depending on the laws of your state or the type of insurance you have, your insurance company may want to reimbursed for the bills they paid on your behalf. Your lawyer will work with these insurance companies to make sure that you pay only what is absolutely required.

The Value Of Your Case Cannot Be Predicted

If a lawyer immediately tells you that you have a million dollar case, you should automatically become suspicious. The fact is that a lawyer can never guarantee the value of your case. All of the evidence needs to be gathered before a value assessment can even be approximated. If you were in a car accident this means that the lawyer may need to collect the police report, witness statements, medical records, and wait until you have finished all medical treatment. The last element is very important because your back strain could resolve in three months, or you may learn that you have severe spinal issues and will eventually need surgery. Therefore, the value of your case will not become clear until you are discharged from treatment and all of the issues have been appropriately evaluated.

Your Case Will Take Time To Resolve

It is very difficult to tell how long a case will take to resolve. Some cases can be concluded in a few short months. On the other hand, cases that initially appeared very simple can suddenly become complicated as issues arise. You may learn that the other driver was inappropriately driving a work vehicle for personal use, or that witnesses contradict your version of the events. Your lawyers will diligently combat these issues as they arise, but more work will be required to settle your case or take it to trial if necessary. When you hire an experienced and successful law firm, you can rest assured that they will competently handle complex issues and fight to get you the best compensation for your injuries and damages. Please check out our website to learn more about our success in helping injured victims for over 40 years.

If you have any questions, or wish to take advantage of our free initial consultation, please do not hesitate to call one of the Washington DC personal injury lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. We are also licensed in Maryland and Virginia, and have offices in Maryland and Virginia to accommodate our clients.