13 Apr Why Ambulance Chasing Is Illegal in Florida
Not all lawyers are created equal. In fact, some lawyers break the rules. Many attorneys and firms practice ambulance chasing, an illegal act that violates the rules of conduct set by the Florida Bar. Ambulance chasing, or unlawful solicitation, is when a personal injury attorney or representative contacts accident victims to represent them for strictly personal gain. This technique earns its name from lawyers literally chasing down ambulances to solicit victims before or during medical treatment.
Why is ambulance chasing illegal in Florida?
Inherently, ambulance chasing preys on the weak and vulnerable. Victims of an automotive accident, including car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents, most likely experienced physical and emotional trauma. A victim’s world may be turned upside down, and he or she may not be equipped to make sensible decisions right away. Ambulance chasers will try to target victims in person, by phone, or in writing while they are still physically or emotionally recovering from accidents. At their core, ambulance chasers are not interested in helping accident victims, they are only interested in profiting from personal injury claims.
What does the Florida Bar specifically state regarding ambulance chasing?
Florida statute §817.234(8)(b) prohibits solicitation except by general advertising within 60 days of such incidents. Violation of this statute is a third-degree felony. The Florida Bar states, “Bar rules prohibit the solicitation – face to face, by phone including via a cold call, or through a third party – of a client who is not a family member or with whom the lawyer does not have a prior professional relationship. Attorneys may not send direct mail solicitations to prospective clients within 30 days of an accident, and then that mailing must meet several conditions including stating where the attorney got the recipient’s name, be marked as an advertisement, and start by advising the recipient to ignore the letter if he or she has already retained another lawyer.”
What should you do if you have been illegally solicited by an ambulance chaser?
Ambulance chasers can solicit victims in a variety of ways; however, each solicitation method remains illegal according to the Florida Bar. What should you do if you have been illegally solicited by an ambulance chaser? First, do not sign anything. The ambulance chaser will try to commit you to some type of agreement while you are in a vulnerable state. Therefore, avoid signing documentation provided by an unfamiliar party. Second, you can report ambulance chasers if you have been approached illegally. Contact the Florida Bar to report the incident by visiting their website.
Finally, if you or someone you know is unlawfully solicited by another, call a trusted lawyer like Cindy Goldstein. At The Law Firm of Cindy Goldstein, we can help you terminate a relationship with a criminal attorney and move on with your case properly. We are proud to represent you with integrity, and we will do everything in our power to get you the guidance and compensation you deserve. Contact Cindy Goldstein for a FREE legal consultation today.