In a recent article in the San Antonio Express-News, the concept of “ambulance chasing” was addressed. Unfortunately, the article headline implicates attorneys – all attorneys – when the facts are that a small number of unethical lawyers, together with unethical chiropractors, team up to run car wreck cases for their own financial benefit rather than to help the victim of the collision.
If you have been victimized by a chiropractor or lawyer following a car wreck, you should seek advice from a competent and ethical law firm. Effective September 1, 2009, it is now illegal for chiropractic offices to solicit injured victims. In the past, these offices would purchase police accident reports records on a daily basis, and have telephone solicitors contact injured victims. Most auto accident victims receive 20-30 phone calls from solicitors within days following the wreck. They promise medical care, legal help, and in many cases mislead injured drivers or passengers by claiming to be “from the insurance company,” or “calling on behalf of a victim’s assistance center.” Once they have the person in a chiropractor’s office, and medical bills are growing, the victim is told the only way they will be able to afford the medical bills is by hiring an attorney – and the chiropractic office just happens to have an attorney willing to take the case.
If you are involved in an automobile accident, and are solicited, report the name and phone number of the solicitor immediately. If you or a family member is injured, you should seek advice from a reputable law firm – a firm with Board Certified lawyers and a long-term presence and reputation in the area. And you should not be afraid to interview several law firms until you feel comfortable with your decision.
Likewise, while pursuing legal help, you should not talk with insurance claims adjusters about anything other than the location of your vehicle and repairs that may be needed. Insurance adjusters are trained to inquire about injuries and potential medical issues in a manner intended to minimize your injuries and damages. If you are being recorded, and give an answer without realizing the implications, insurance companies will use those statements against you. A trained and ethical insurance adjuster will understand that you are under no legal obligation to speak with them and that you have the right to seek legal advice. Therefore, if they do not respect your decision to put off speaking with them until you have talked with a lawyer, and insist on recording you against your wishes, report them to their supervisor and to the Texas Department of Insurance.
If you have been the victim of another driver’s carelessness, you have more to worry about than who will be calling you next, pressuring you to speak about the incident. If you are confused, find an attorney that you have confidence in and let them handle the legal issues while you take care of yourself.