Frequently Asked Questions
Our Washington DC Attorneys Provide Answers
At Zukerberg & Halperin, PLLC, we believe that all of our clients should be armed with helpful knowledge.
Going into a legal case can be confusing, so having a careful understanding
of the process that you're facing can make all the difference.
Our Washington DC lawyers have answered some of the most commonly asked
questions at our firm below.
Why Should I Choose Zukerberg & Halperin, PLLC?
With a record of success at trial and in settlement negotiations, we focus
on serious personal injury cases. Our Washington DC personal injury attorneys
have over 50 years of combined experience handling catastrophic injury and
wrongful death cases, as well as staff who have worked for defense firms and insurance
companies in the past. Further, because we are selective about the cases
we accept, our clients have direct access to the attorney representing them.
In addition to our offices in Glen Allen, Virginia and Washington, D.C.,
we would be happy to meet with you at satellite offices throughout Maryland
and Virginia. We happily make home visits, will visit hospitals and nursing
homes, and even prisons and jails throughout the region.
We understand that you are not merely bringing us "a case." You
are trusting us with an important part of your life at a time when you
need help the most. We take that responsibility seriously, and we care
about you as a person. Our commitment to you is reflected through our
compassionate, tenacious representation.
Additionally, we are trial lawyers. Many lawyers, though intelligent and
knowledgeable, do not litigate or try cases, or if they do, they have
limited experience in the courtroom. Not so with our attorneys, who have
decades of courtroom experience. If your case must proceed to litigation
and trial, you can rest assured you have a strong team on your side. Our
attorneys are licensed to practice in Virginia, the District of Columbia,
and Maryland. We will also come to you if your injuries prevent your ability
more about our locations!
How Do I Know If I Have a Personal Injury Case?
This answer depends on a variety of factors, but in summary, the injury-causing
accident must be the result of the negligence of another person or company.
According to the Virginia Contributory Negligence law, in most circumstances
if you are at all responsible for the accident or injury, you cannot recover
damages. However, you should not necessarily trust the opinion or advice
of an insurance company or claims adjuster as to whether or not you are
at fault or contributed to the accident.
Call a Washington DC attorney at (202) 759-7666 whose focuses is in
personal injury or wrongful death law to make this determination.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Though very common, this is a difficult question to answer at the beginning
of a case. Each case is different, involving multiple factors. In short,
these types of cases are designed to compensate you for damages you have
suffered. The amount of compensation depends on factors such as: severity
of the injuries and whether they were permanent or disfiguring; the amount
of time (and/or pay) lost from work; the amount of your past and future
medical bills; whether or not surgery was required; and/or available insurance
coverage. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine
the specifics of your situation and estimate the potential of your case.
Will I Have To File a Lawsuit & Sue Someone?
Again, because each case is different, it is generally not possible to
decide at the beginning of the case whether or not a lawsuit will be necessary
in your particular situation. It will depend on many factors, such as
whether the defendant admits liability, and whether or not they question
your injuries. Also, though you may have to file lawsuit, you may settle
before trial, for example by attending non-binding mediation with defendant(s).
Though complicated, you will be led through the process by an experienced,
communicatory attorney and staff.
How Long Will My Case Take?
The length of each case varies depending on the nature of the injuries,
type and facts of case, type of defendant, the particular court where
the lawsuit is filed, and who the insurance carrier is. In short, it could
be months or over a year, depending on the circumstances. Medical malpractice
and product liability cases often take longer due to the amount of investigation
involved and the need for expert witnesses.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If an insurance company is not treating you fairly, you should consult
an attorney specializing in personal injury law. Statistics have shown
that those who retain an attorney make a substantially larger recovery
from insurance companies than those who do not. If you have questions
about the specifics of your case, we encourage you to contact us for a
no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation by one of our attorneys. If we
are unable to assist you with your case, we can likely refer you to an
attorney who can.
What Is the Process Like?
Each case and client are different, so we address each one in a unique
process tailored to achieve maximum results, but there is an overall process
you can expect.
First, you will consult with an experienced attorney. If you choose to
work with us and your case fits our expertise, the attorney will send
you a letter confirming we represent you. We will then request your medical
records and bills, lost wage information, police reports, investigative
or incident reports, photographs, etc. We will speak to witnesses and
continue to collect medical records and bills until you have completed
treatment and have been discharged from care by your doctors and other
We will then speak with you to obtain information not contained in the
records, such as details on how your injuries impacted your daily and
family life. Once we have all information necessary, we will evaluate
your case for settlement, and recommend to you a settlement value for
your case. We will then compile all of the available information and documents
and submit a thorough and detailed demand letter (with your records, bills,
lost wage information and any other relevant documents or photographs)
to the defendant's insurance company for evaluation (and mail a copy
to you). We generally tell clients to expect to wait at least 30-45 days
before we receive an offer on their case from the insurance company. It
does not take that long for them to evaluate each case, but they place
them in line for review based on the order in which they are received.
It is possible that we may receive an offer in less than 30 days, but
if a specific adjuster has a backlog, it could be 60 days or more.
Once the defendant's insurance company makes their initial offer, your
attorney will call you to discuss it and how to move forward. He will
negotiate back and forth to reach a settlement that is fair (compensating
you fully). If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the attorney will
prepare, file and serve a lawsuit on the defendant(s).
The litigation process begins with the filing of a "Complaint,"
which is the filing of a lawsuit in court. After the filing of the suit,
both sides exchanging discovery requests, which are questions for you
to answer regarding the accident, your health and your history, as well
as requests for copies of documents. With your help, we will put together
the answers and send them to defense counsel. Depositions of all parties,
your doctors and any witnesses may also be scheduled before trial. A deposition
is like an interview, where the attorneys ask the witness questions under
oath and a court reporter is present to make a record of everything that
is said. Depositions are used by both sides to gather information about
what happened, who was hurt, how badly they were hurt, etc.
Regardless of the course of your particular case, the attorneys and staff
of Zukerberg & Halpering, PLLC PLLC will be with you through this difficult
time. Let us focus on resolving your case while you focus on healing.
How Long Do I Have To Make a Claim?
The amount of time you have to make a claim from the date of the accident/injury
depends on where the accident happened and the type of claim you are making.
In Virginia, the Statute of Limitations runs 2 years from the date of
the injury. In the District in Columbia, it's usually 3 years from
the date of injury. For a death case in D.C., it is 2 years. In Maryland,
it's 3 years for nearly all injury claims.
However, there are exceptions, and you should consult with an attorney
who specializes in personal injury or wrongful death cases in order to
determine how long you have to file a claim.
What Kind of Experience Do You Have?
Throughout decades of legal practice, each of our attorneys have recovered
large verdicts and settlements for clients at trial and outside of the
courtroom. We have also litigated on behalf of individuals dealing with
product liability claims against defective product manufacturers.
We have litigated cases resulting in precedent-setting appellate decisions in:
- Wrongful death
- Police misconduct
- High speed pursuit
- Premises liability
- Products liability
- Civil rights
How Is Zukerberg & Halperin, PLLC Different?
Unlike larger firms that handle a large volume and a variety of cases,
we focus on serious personal injury and wrongful death cases. Rather than
take on hundreds or thousands of cases as some firms do, we carefully
select our cases, offering our clients personal time, attention, and dedication.
You will never be just a "number" or "case" to us,
and you will have direct communication with your attorney.
In some larger firms, clients often communicate only with the attorney's
staff (paralegals, secretaries, etc.), sometimes receiving no information
directly from their attorney. In contrast, Mr. Halperin provides open
communication and compassionate representation, treating you as a person,
not just a case.
In What State Do You Practice?
Each of our attorneys is licensed to practice in Virginia, the District
of Columbia, and Maryland.
Our main offices are in the Glen Allen, Virginia and the District of Columbia,
but we have satellite office locations in the following locations:
- Silver Spring
- Downtown Washington, D.C.
We will also come to you if your injuries prevent your ability to travel.
Will I Have Access To My Attorney or Just Their Staff?
Unlike some larger firms, if you are a client of Zukerberg & Halperin
PLLC, your attorney will be directly available to you. Though experienced,
compassionate staff will also be available to assist you, your attorney
will keep you informed and engage personally in necessary communications with you.
Do I Have To Pay For a Consultation?
No. Your initial consultation with a licensed attorney-not a paralegal
or intake specialist-will not cost you anything and carries with it no
What Does an "AV® Rating" Mean?
Unlike many of the other distinctions for lawyers, you cannot pay a fee
to receive an "AV Rating." So what exactly does it mean and
how does one earn this honor?
Mr. Halperin has earned an "AV Rating" of "Preeminent"
(5 out of 5) in The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™.
This is a significant accomplishment and a "testament to the fact
that [his] peers rank [him] at the highest level of professional excellence".
Focusing not only on legal expertise but also level of ethical standards,
these ratings are an "objective indicator of a lawyer's high
ethical standards and professional ability, generated from evaluations
of lawyers by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United
States. Reviewers are asked to assess their colleagues' general ethical
standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice."
Mr. Halperin's rating of "Preeminent" conveys his "adherence
to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence
and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities."
Mr. Halperin's high Legal Ability rating (5 out of 5) reflects his
"performance in five key areas: legal knowledge, analytical capabilities,
judgment, communication ability and legal experience.
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Inc. All rights reserved.
What Types of Cases Do You Handle?
We concentrate on serious personal injury and wrongful death cases in Virginia,
Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Though our cases vary widely in detail, we represent clients seriously
injured due to the negligence of another person or company. We also represent
the families of people who have died as a result of the negligence of another.
Our practice areas within the fields of personal injury, wrongful death,
and civil rights law are extensive, including, but not limited to:
How Do You Get Paid?
We accept cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we are paid a percentage
of the amount we recover for you, plus reimbursement of necessary expenses
and costs. Of course, the initial consultation with your attorney is complimentary.
Who Pays the Case Expenses?
While our Washington DC lawyers are investigating, processing and possibly
litigating your case, Zukerberg & Halpering, PLLC PLLC will advance all of
the necessary case expenses. When your case settles or we reach a trial
verdict in your favor, those necessary expenses will be deducted from
your recovery. You will not have to pay case expenses up front.
Tell us about your particular situation during a free case evaluation!