Attorneys, especially personal injury lawyers, often suffer from a bad reputation among the general public. One of the most ubiquitous stereotypes about the profession is that of the “ambulance chaser.” The term brings to mind an image of a sleazy attorney in a bad suit hoping to make a fee by following an ambulance to the hospital and harassing the family of an injured person while their loved one lays in a hospital bed.
The vast majority of attorneys work hard to combat these negative and outdated stereotypes of the legal profession. Unfortunately, there are still a few lawyers and legal professionals practicing today who continue to give attorneys a bad name. At Gerson & Schwartz, P.A., our Miami car accident lawyers work hard to give clients the best legal representation possible, without the high-pressure sales tactics that lead to unfair characteristics of the legal profession.
Ambulance Chasing Is Illegal
Most attorneys and legal professionals would never attempt to solicit a grieving family or injured individual. In fact, this type of behavior is illegal, as well as grounds for disciplinary action from the Florida Bar. However, there are some people, often known as case runners, who target accident victims on behalf of less-than-scrupulous personal injury lawyers.
Case runners are known for seeking out the victims of car accidents, but may target other types of injured people as well. Wherever there is a natural disaster, large accident, or mass casualty incident, there will be case runners looking to profit off the tragedy.
Case runners attempt to get an accident victim’s personal information so that they may sell it to an attorney for a fee. These people might receive information on accident victims by listening to police scanners, scouring the news, or may even have “informants” feeding them information about accident victims from inside a hospital.
Regardless of how they get a person’s contact information, case running or ambulance chasing is illegal. In 2011, Florida passed a law which forbids attorneys—or anyone working on an attorney’s behalf—from procuring legal business through solicitation. Anyone who engages in this practice can be punished with up to a year in jail.
Ambulance chasing is illegal because the law recognizes that injured or grieving people are uniquely vulnerable. After an accident, a person’s entire world may be turned upside-down. Most individuals are not physically, emotionally, or intellectually capable of making a rational decision soon after a life-changing injury or death. Ambulance chasers or case runners who prey on victims during this delicate time are only seeking to make a profit from taking advantage of another person’s misery—they are not looking to provide legitimate legal help.
Take Your Time When Choosing An Attorney
After a serious injury or death, you and your family have more important things to worry about than high-pressure sales tactics from an unscrupulous attorney. Your life may have been changed forever, and you may not be able to make important decisions about your rights and obligations. When seeking out an attorney, always trust your gut instinct. Don’t feel pressured to sign any documents you don’t want to, and feel free to speak with several attorneys before making a decision. Many attorneys, like the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A., offer free consultations so that you can make sure you are comfortable with your attorney before pursuing a case.
If previously gave in to a case runner or ambulance chaser and don’t feel comfortable with your attorney, you always have the right to change your representation. Our attorneys can contact your previous lawyer and transfer your case information, saving you time and effort.
No matter who you choose to represent you in a personal injury case, it is important to feel comfortable and confident. To find out if Gerson & Schwartz, P.A., is right for you, contact our Miami personal injury law offices today and schedule a free consultation by calling 305-371-6000.