The phrase “ambulance chaser” unfortunately describes a specific type of lawyer. The name stems from the unethical practices of attorneys who seek out clients who were victims of car wrecks or other types of personal injury claims. Some stories include incidents of lawyers showing up at funerals or even in hospitals to try and sign up clients. Some lawyers employ “case runners” who will reach out to people, even going so far as to send unsolicited Facebook messages or to show up at their homes. These actions are highly illegal and should be reported to the Texas State Bar, as well as to the local police.
After a serious car accident or 18 wheeler accident, a victim or a family member may seek out an attorney to help them through the personal injury claim process. However, the Texas Penal Code prevents attorneys from initiating unsolicited personal contact with injured parties and their families for the purposes of employment as their lawyers. If a lawyer does this, that attorney is committing a crime known as “barratry.”
The Flowers Law Firm upholds the strictest ethical standards. We believe that clients will seek us out for both our outstanding record and our top-notch client services. We do not engage in barratry and will actively help clients who believe they have been targeted by unscrupulous attorneys.
Examples of Barratry
Attorneys who engage in barratry pose a real threat to the profession, as well as to the client. If a lawyer is willing to violate Texas law just to sign up a client, imagine what other unethical tactics that lawyer will take in representing that person. Some examples of behavior that fall under the definition of barratry include:
- Filing a suit on behalf of a client without that client’s knowledge or permission
- Soliciting employment, either by phone or in person
- Accepting payment in exchange for soliciting employment (i.e. – paying “case runners”)
- Paying or offering to pay victims or family members to solicit employment
- Offering advance payment on a potential verdict or settlement to victims or family members to solicit employment
- Coercing, threatening, or exerting undue influence on a potential client to solicit employment
The Flowers Law Firm adheres to the highest ethical standards among personal injury attorneys in East Texas. We stand on our record and avoid the tactics used by unethical “ambulance chasers” that give our profession a bad reputation.
Barratry and Referrals
While many personal injury lawyers rely on referrals to bring in new clients, the Texas Penal Code has placed restrictions on how attorneys can obtain those referrals. Some attorneys offer “referral rewards” to other parties involved in an injury accident. These “rewards” can include cash, gifts, or anything else of value. For instance, an attorney may offer an emergency room nurse a cash reward for referring an injured patient to that attorney’s office. These “rewards” fall under a type of barratry and are strictly illegal.
These actions can be interpreted as the attorney bribing service staffers to bring in clients. This behavior is among the most unethical ways for attorneys to attract potential clients. Both the attorney and the recipient can face criminal charges for their actions.
Why You Need A Barratry Lawyer
If you have had an attorney, a “case runner”, or a service provider approach you to sign documents regarding your legal representation, you may have been a victim of barratry. Our Tyler barratry lawyers have been helping clients seek the compensation they deserve for several years, earning an AV® Preeminent™ Rating from Martindale-Hubbell® for our dedication to excellence. We can help walk you through the process of suing a dishonest legal practitioner and provide you with the invaluable legal guidance you need.
Call An Barratry Injury Attorney Today
If you have been a barratry victim, you may consider filing a Texas barratry lawsuit. The barratry attorney at The Flowers Law Firm, P.C. stands ready to help. You can receive a free, no-obligation consultation from our barratry lawyer by calling us at (903) 965-2000, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.