What Is Ambulance Chasing?
Ambulance chasing is a term used to describe the unethical practice of lawyers pursuing clients who have recently been involved in accidents or other traumatic events. Typically, these lawyers will reach out to victims or their families shortly after the event, regardless of whether or not the client needs legal representation.
The definition of ambulance chaser is essentially a lawyer who seeks out accident victims to get them to sue for damages.
This practice has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, particularly in personal injury and medical negligence cases.
In some cases, lawyers may even approach victims at the hospital. They’ll even talk to hospital staff or wait outside the emergency room to convince the victim and their family that they need legal representation.
This article will discuss identifying and avoiding ambulance chasers and provide tips for victims and their families on protecting themselves from unscrupulous lawyers.
Why Is Ambulance Chasing Illegal?
Ambulance chasing refers to the unethical and illegal practice of lawyers or their representatives forcing client solicitations immediately after an accident or injury. This violates the law because it involves exploiting vulnerable people during a critical situation.
The intention is to gain business and profit rather than provide genuine legal assistance to those in need.
Additionally, ambulance chasing has been deemed illegal in many states across the United States—it’s unlawful in California and 20 other states.
However, all other states deem it legal despite it being used as a derogatory term and widely viewed as unethical behavior, as it creates a conflict of interest and undermines the integrity of the legal profession.
Identifying Ambulance Chasers
Ambulance chasers are often easily identifiable due to their aggressive and unsolicited approach to clients, starkly contrasting legitimate lawyers’ professional and ethical behavior.
Some typical warning signs of ambulance chasers include:
- Cold-calling or approaching victims in hospitals or at accident scenes
- Promising unrealistic or exaggerated outcomes in legal cases
According to the American Bar Association, these unethical practices are prohibited and can result in severe penalties and disciplinary action.
How Do Ambulance Chasers Find Victims?
Ambulance chasers typically find victims through various means, such as advertising, referrals, and even visiting hospitals.
One standard method is to monitor police and emergency scanner channels for reports of accidents or incidents that may lead to injuries. They also follow ambulances to the scene of an accident to solicit business from the injured parties or their families.
Potential Schemes To Be Aware Of
Some ambulance chasers may resort to even more unscrupulous tactics to secure business. Victims and their families need to be aware of potential schemes that could lead to exploitation. Here are some of them:
Pretending to Look Like a Witness
Pretending to look like a witness is a typical scheme ambulance chasers use to lure unsuspecting victims into their traps. The strategy involves posing as a witness to an accident involving the victim, then approaching them with an offer of legal representation.
The ambulance chaser will then convince the victim to file an unnecessary lawsuit, promising a hefty payout for their services.
To avoid falling prey to this scheme, verify the identity and credentials of anyone claiming to be a witness, especially if they approach you unsolicited.
You should also be wary of anyone who tries to pressure you into filing a lawsuit or signing a contract without consulting an independent legal professional.
Promising Large Financial Recoveries
Ambulance chasers often target individuals who have suffered life-changing injuries, hoping to profit quickly from their misfortunes.
This scheme preys on the vulnerability and desperation of the injured party or their family members. It’s essential to be cautious and look for red flags, such as guarantees or promises of specific financial outcomes.
Calling a Tow Truck
A tow truck driver arrives at an accident scene and offers to tow the damaged vehicle to a specific repair shop, which is often owned or affiliated with the ambulance chaser.
The repair shop then charges exorbitant fees for repairs, and the ambulance chaser takes a cut of the profits.
To avoid falling victim to this scheme, always call your own tow truck company and choose a reputable repair shop.
Additionally, if you are injured in an accident, speak with a personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
Ambulance chasers send letters to people involved in car accidents or other incidents, offering their legal services. These letters might contain language suggesting that the victim could receive a large payout if they hire the sender as their attorney.
If You’ve Been Injured in an Accident, You May Be Entitled to Compensation
Identifying and avoiding ambulance chasers is crucial to protecting yourself from unethical and potentially harmful attorneys. Educating yourself on the signs of an ambulance chaser, such as unsolicited communication and promises of quick and easy settlements, is essential.
If you have been injured in an accident, seek an experienced and reputable personal injury lawyer, such as those at Frantz Law Group. Our law firm has a proven track record of success in personal injury cases. We will help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Don’t let ambulance chasers take advantage of you during a vulnerable time.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and legal advice. Take the first step toward justice and get personal injury law on your side with our attorneys.