Florida trial lawyer, Guy S. DiMartino, DC, JD talks about a recent lawsuit filed against law firms for ambulance chasing (soliciting) personal injury clients.
The legal business throughout Florida is very competitive and because money is involved some folks have a tendency to skirt the rules. In order to get a competitive advantage, a small number of lawyers ambulance chase. Ambulance chasers solicit people who have been injured in accidents in hospitals, doctors' offices, or by phone. I can't tell you how many of my clients over the years have been solicited by law firms. This has happened in the emergency room, hospital, in doctors' offices and people actually coming and knocking on their doors at home.
Florida Does Not Allow Solicitation of Personal Injury Clients
Florida's Rules of Professional Responsibility, which apply to all lawyers, does not allow direct in person solicitation of clients. Specifically, the Rule states:
(a) Solicitation. Except as provided in subdivision (b) of this rule, a lawyer shall not solicit professional employment from a prospective client with whom the lawyer has no family or prior professional relationship, in person or otherwise, when a significant motive for the lawyer's doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain. A lawyer shall not permit employees or agents of the lawyer to solicit on the lawyer's behalf. A lawyer shall not enter into an agreement for, charge, or collect a fee for professional employment obtained in violation of this rule. The term “solicit” includes contact in person, by telephone, telegraph, or facsimile, or by other communication directed to a specific recipient and includes (i) any written form of communication directed to a specific recipient and not meeting the requirements of subdivision (b) of this rule, and (ii) any electronic mail communication directed to a specific recipient and not meeting the requirements of subdivision (c) of rule 4-7.6.
After 30 days a Law Office or Lawyer Can Send Written Communication
…the written communication concerns an action for personal injury or wrongful death or otherwise relates to an accident or disaster involving the person to whom the communication is addressed or a relative of that person, unless the accident or disaster occurred more than 30 days prior to the mailing of the communication
Four Local Law Firms Sue Three Other Law Firms Because of Alleged Solicitation
A recent report posted on the Florida Bar website notes that four law firms are suing three other law firms for solicitation of personal injury clients in Broward County. According to the report, the lawsuit appears to be an effort to stop law firms that are ambulance chasing (running cases).
Kudos to the law firms that are taking matters into their own hands and going after the firms in their area that are ambulance chasing. As a reminder, if you have been injured in any type of accident and have somebody call you up, meet you in the hospital, or show up at your door and try to have you hire a law firm, you should run away and ask yourself – why this happened?
If you have any questions about a Florida personal injury claim, give me a call at (352) 267-9168 or fill out the Internet consultation form on the right hand side of the screen.