Craig Rosenbaum | December 29, 2022 | Personal Injury
When you get injured in an accident, you’re already dealing with a lot. You’re in pain, dealing with doctors, trying to figure out how you’ll pay for everything, and potentially facing weeks or months of recovery time. So what do you do when someone shows up at your bedside promising thousands of dollars in compensation pay and a lawyer ready to start on your case right away?
Ambulance chasers have an ugly reputation and for good reason. Read on to learn more about this predatory class of lawyers and how to spot and avoid them.
Identifying Ambulance Chasers
Ambulance chasers are an untrustworthy subset of personal injury lawyers more focused on scamming victims out of money than getting justice in their cases. These lawyers seek out accident victims and convince them to file lawsuits against those who allegedly caused their accidents.
While this may sound like a good thing, it often winds up costing the victim even more money.
These lawyers are called ambulance chasers because they seem to follow ambulances around. When an ambulance arrives at the scene of a car accident or another incident, these individuals aren’t far behind. They take advantage of victims while they’re at their most vulnerable, sometimes even visiting them in their hospital beds.
How Does an Ambulance Chaser Lawyer Find Victims?
So how do ambulance chasers find out about these accidents so quickly after they happen?
Some get police scanners and listen in for accident reports nearby. They literally follow the same directions the ambulance does and may actually tail the ambulance to the hospital in some cases.
Other more cunning ambulance chasers will use insiders to get to victims.
They pay off EMTs, police department employees, hospital staff, and tow truck drivers to call them when there’s an accident. These people may even recommend the lawyer to the victim, setting the stage for them to show up with contracts in hand.
Why Is Ambulance Chasing Bad?
On the surface, ambulance chasing might not seem like such a bad thing. It is important to act quickly after an accident so you can begin gathering evidence and building a strong case. And often, victims do need to file lawsuits in order to get the compensation they deserve.
The problem is that not every personal injury case requires a lawsuit, and some aren’t likely to succeed in court.
A quality personal injury lawyer can advise accident victims about the best way to get the money they’re owed and avoid spending a fortune in legal fees. An ambulance chaser is just interested in making money off someone who’s hurt, scared, and desperate.
Is Ambulance Chasing Illegal?
Given how exploitative ambulance chasing is, you might wonder why it’s allowed in the first place. And in many places, it isn’t – ambulance chasing is illegal in many states. But it can sometimes be hard to separate the ambulance chasers from the legitimate personal injury lawyers.
Most states handle this problem by limiting the methods lawyers can use to advertise to clients. A lawyer can advertise their services, but in most places, they are not allowed to reach out to clients directly.
The American Bar Association also has ethical standards that prevent its members from soliciting clients.
Tricks to Watch Out For
There are a few tricks you can watch out for that may clue you in that you’re dealing with an ambulance chaser.
Some runners for these lawyers will pretend to be witnesses to your accident or will offer to call a tow truck in order to get close to you and get your personal information. From there, they can call you and send letters trying to push you into hiring them.
Ambulance chasers often promise large financial recoveries without knowing the full details of your case. They’ll call and visit you in the hospital in the days immediately following your accident and may even offer money or other help during this time. And they’ll likely try to talk you into signing a contract with a high-priced lawyer as soon as possible.
Who Should You Hire Instead?
Ambulance chasers take advantage of victims at the most vulnerable points in their lives. While a lawsuit may be necessary after a personal injury, you need to make sure you’re working with a reputable lawyer. Avoid people who visit you in the hospital with promises of large compensation packages and contracts in hand.
At Rosenbaum and Rosenbaum, our lawyers keep your best interests at heart. We offer free initial consultations, and we work on contingency, meaning that you won’t pay a dime until and unless we win your case. Schedule an appointment with one of our New York personal injury lawyers to start getting the representation you need.