Attention Attorneys: Barratry & Your Clients
Most lawyers are hardworking and honest. The method of ethically and legally representing accident victims has traditionally been done through quality representation and legitimate public relations. Today, lawyers who have worked their entire lives to build solid reputations find themselves in a toxic environment where the traditional methods of acquiring clients has been endangered through the act of barratry, also commonly known as ambulance chasing. Honest, hardworking lawyers who have spent years building their practices are now in a position to lose potential clients, clients that they would have obtained legally and ethically, to attorneys engaged in illegal solicitation. Unfortunately, illegal lawyers have created a competitive market where honest lawyers have to compete against chiropractors, mechanics, funeral homes, and private investigators to acquire legitimate business.
The Face of Barratry
Barratry could have various forms ranging from telemarketers who deceive victims by claiming to represent insurance companies and charitable organizations, to hospital and law enforcement employees assisting attorneys to illegally obtain cases, to case runners who lure victims with money, gifts, and empty promises. It is not uncommon for an illegal solicitor to strike when a victim is drugged and in the hospital or when a family member is grieving over the loss of a loved one and prone to making rash decisions without understanding the consequences. Illegal solicitors hustle potential clients to sign contracts for legal representation. After signing the clients, they sell the cases to attorneys who hastily settle the cases, oftentimes for much less that the client may deserve.
Fortunately, if you did represent an individual and had the case illegally acquired after you contracted with the client, you may have remedies. Those remedies may include enforcing your contract, tortuous interference with a contract, and various other causes of action that may be asserted against the lawyer who acquired the case, or who worked in concert to illegally acquire the case from you. If you happen to obtain a client who was illegally solicited, that client may also have numerous remedies.
New Barratry Law
Recently, health care providers, such as chiropractors, have become the focus of Texas statutes making solicitation illegal. By obtaining police reports, health care providers are improperly contacting victims to come into their office and be treated. When victims come for their treatment, the providers advocate the services of particular attorneys.
Texas Penal Code Section 38.12 “…A person commits an offense if the person: is an attorney, chiropractor, physician, surgeon, or private investigator…with the intent to obtain professional employment for the person or for another, provides or knowingly permits to be provided to an individual who has not sought the person’s employment, legal representation, advice, or care a written communication or a solicitation, including a solicitation in person or by telephone…”
Don't be Victimized
If you obtained a client legally and ethically only to have that client illegally solicited by someone else or if you know of individuals who are committing barratry, contact Thomas J. Henry and let’s take action.
TRUCKING ACCIDENT RESULT
$1.3 MillionExpenses: $29,522.16 | Attorneys Fees: $564,062.50 | Net to Client: $731,415.40