The unfortunate bus accident that took place on November 21, 2016, which resulted in the death of six young students and several more injured riders from Woodmore Elementary demonstrates what is awful about allowing lawyer advertising in the legal field.
Although Tennessee has a very weak anti-solicitation law which allegedly requires that no injured person be contacted within thirty (30) days from the date of the accident, this did not deter solicitation by out-of-town law firms and their “runners” from making contact with the decedents and injured children’s families and making wild and unrealistic claims as to the amount of money they could obtain if hired in the case.
An Inner City preacher invited the families of the decedents and the injured to a meeting at his church and openly solicited cases for an attorney from Atlanta, Georgia, who also happens to be a television judge. Going further he attempted to discourage the families from hiring local lawyers.
In-town advertising lawyers used a more subtle approach in an effort to solicit cases. Some of them suddenly increased their advertisements claiming they were experts in tractor-trailer and school bus cases. Obviously the purpose of such advertisements was to solicit any cases without violating the thirty (30) day no contact solicitation ban.
Although all of the injured or deceased parties probably have now employed counsel or settled their cases, the greedy solicitors of a few unscrupulous and greedy lawyers has further damaged the collective reputation of the 1,200 licensed attorneys in the Chattanooga area.
When the next tragedy of this magnitude occurs in the future, persons needing legal representation should contact more than one law firm before hiring a lawyer or law firm. Many non-advertising attorneys are equally or more qualified to advise injured persons or family members of their legal rights. The vast majority of the 1,200 lawyers in the Chattanooga area are as equally or capable to handle personal injury and/or other types of cases as the social media advertisers.
We encourage you to buy local products and hire local, reputable attorneys!