As predicted when I started the “Truth In Lawyer Advertising” blog on June 14, 2017, I have come under attack by one of the biggest media advertising spenders in our legal community for personal injury cases.
Let’s state the facts:
Prior to it becoming known that traffic accident reports were being obtained at police stations for the purpose of soliciting cases for both medical treatment and referrals to a small group of lawyers, one of the lawyers in my office had 3-4 cases referred to us by a medical provider with whom he had a personal friendship. No fee splitting or referral fee was ever involved or discussed.
It became known that the illegal practice of obtaining automobile accident reports was happening in several areas of the state including Hamilton County. Involved on a minor scale was the healthcare provider that had referred the 3-4 cases to our office. A lawyer in our office was advised by legal counsel for the healthcare provider that they did not feel that they were doing anything improper or outside the law. When my lawyer conveyed this fact to me I expressed reluctance to accept the medical providers lawyer opinion and we contacted the Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR) and discussed the facts and circumstances of our involvement with one of the senior staff attorneys. After said conversation we took the following action: We sent a letter and questionnaire to the potential clients asking 1.) If they had been directly contacted by a medical provider; and 2.) If the medical provider had made a specific referral to our office. Upon receiving an affirmative answer to both questions, we informed the potential clients that we could no longer represent them. We did accept one case and are representing that individual based on their representation that there was no direct solicitation by the medical provider and no specific referral to our firm.
We received on November 1, 2017, a copy of an email implying that we are one of the Chattanooga law firms that has a member associated with the medical provider and that we are posting a “silly blog.” (By Jerry H. Summers)
If making the public aware of exaggerated and deceptive claims that affect the rights of individuals to receive full compensation for legitimate injuries that are reduced due to the expenditure of excessive advertising costs and “puffing of legal ability” then I plead guilty to informing our citizens about false representations that are made by local and out-of-state law firms that affect the administration of Justice.
For over 50 years the citizens of Hamilton County and surrounding areas have entrusted me and my law firm with their interests in all types of legal matters without the need for our firm to illegally solicit anyone or their cases.
The blog I have created is designed to inform the public of the 99.5% of qualified lawyers who advertise their legal talents through hard work, good results, and good reputations in our community and not through expensive, deceptive, and exaggerated advertising and greed.
The “silly blog” will continue.
I encourage you to buy local products and hire local, reputable attorneys!