Attorney solicitation is a constant problem in the personal injury law world. Unfortunately, the law functions as a business and oftentimes, the ruthless and ethically compromised have no qualms about crossing lines and breaking laws when it comes to making money. You might see these guys on TV, the radio, the side of buses, or on giant billboards that litter the cities and highways. These lawyers want you to hire them and they are willing to hound you when you are most vulnerable so that they can get extra clients without having to earn their actual trust.
What Kind of Things Will Soliciting Attorneys Do?
If you are reading this you might already know how these lawyers are trying to get to you. What do we see most commonly? There are phone calls, fliers, even so called “investigators” meeting people at their homes or in the hospital all trying to get you to sign on the dotted line. You might even get paperwork from doctors willing to treat you, but unbeknownst to the recipients, this is a thinly veiled disguise to get you into a certain doctor/lawyer pipeline. They don’t care that you have just gotten injured, if your mourning the loss of a loved one, or if you are hurt and on medications. They simply want another case and will go to illegal and unethical lengths to get them.
What Does The Law Say About Solicitation?
What is the law when it comes to solicitation of accident victims and clients in general? Under Rule 7.3 a lawyer should not make in person contact, direct telephone contact, or contact by letter or mail, when the lawyer has no family or prior professional relationship with the client. However, there is a big gaping loophole. According to this rule “solicitation” does not include truthful and nondeceptive letters to potential clients known to face certain legal problems. This exception was borne out of a United States Supreme Court case known as Shapero v Kentucky Bar Ass’n, 486 US 466 (1988). This leaves a lot or room for lawyers to work in. As long as there was an argument that the direct mailing was truthful, lawyers continued sending out wraths of letters and fliers and to those that were recently injured, sometimes even the same day. Luckily the law has recently changed so as to make it more difficult to have lawyers solicit victims. Under MCL 750.410, which passed in 2014, lawyers cannot solicit an injured person or their family members during the first 30 days after the accident. This Is certainly a move in the right direction. However, what really needs to happen is for the law and the ethics rules to be enforced. Everyday these rules and laws are broken and vulnerable people are either browbeaten or cajoled into signing agreements they never wanted to take part in.
Another Reason To Be Worried?
However, there is an even better reason to avoid these “ambulance chasing” or “soliciting attorneys” other than they are breaking the rules and trying to more or less coerce you into signing a contract. This reason is your health. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen routine injuries turn into life long problems. Some of these attorneys will refer you to doctors that will give you injections, and surgeries when they are not required. They pump up your medical treatment to enrich themselves and the doctor friends to the detriment of your health. Someone with a minor bulging disk could end up with a spinal laminectomy or even a spinal fusion. Or persons who only need physical therapy end of going on strong pain medications and end up with worse pain and even addiction. Your lawyer should not be directing your medical treatment, and this is the exact reason why.
So you need to be on the look out for attorneys that are contacting you before you contact them. You may think that it doesn’t matter who your attorney is or if you saw them on TV or on a billboard, then they must be good and looking out for your best interest. This is simply not the case.
We Can Help!
Here at the Clark law Office our clients find us, not the other way around. If you had a bad experience with an attorney that contacted you and are looking to find the right lawyer for you, give one of out Michigan auto accident attorneys a call so that we can help.