While putting together LegallyInjured, I have worried about being lumped in as an ambulance chaser.
There’s a legal term for ambulance chasing and it’s called barratry. In its truest form, ambulance chasing, or barratry, occurs when a law firm or its representative seeks out a victim during a time of duress and vulnerability for the purposes of retaining the client exclusively for the financial gain of the law firm. We’ve heard horror stories of “runners” lurking around hospitals or listening to police frequencies and showing up at crash sites with good “advice” and retention agreements in hand.
Let me be clear – ambulance chasing is a rotten practice, and I don’t approve of it.
Some Personal Injury Law Firms may use ambulance chasing tactics to build caseload, but most don’t.
Most injury law firms are ethical and follow state bar association rules prohibiting ambulance chasing.
However, playing by the rules puts injury law firms in a real pinch. On one hand, they are prohibited from ambulance chasing and on the other hand, they are in an extremely competitive, undifferentiated field. Here’s what nearly all big city injury lawyers claim:
- Superb case outcomes – usually $50 million and up. Even $1 billion in total victories is not out of the question.
- Multiple office locations, or they will travel to you.
- Free Case Evaluations
- No win, No pay contingency fee arrangements
If all lawyers cover these minimums, how do they differentiate themselves?
The massive billboards? Not ambulance chasing.
TV commercials? Not ambulance chasing.
The Facebook, Google, and other online ads you’ve seen? Not ambulance chasing.
Showing up at the hospital without an invitation to make sure you’re doing ok, and asking you to “sign here?” – yep – that’s illegal.
But what if a law firm creates a Facebook page in honor of your loved one’s accidental death, attracts you to it, and engages you in conversation about hiring them? I have no idea if this is illegal or not, but it feels wrong to me. Facebook has become a very public space, and I believe any law firm that pursues this sort of tactic would quickly find themselves trolled mercilessly. I wouldn’t advise it.
If creating opportunistic Facebook pages pushes the decency envelope a too far, then what if a law firm writes a story and opinion piece about a tragic accident and publishes it on their own website? This is perfectly permissible because they are not GOING OUT to you, they are waiting for you to COME to them on a site they own and control. Their website, in this case, is an extension of their law office. The firm can use the incident and content to establish their expertise about a particular nuance of the case, and highlight what they see in it as a path to resolution and justice. If a similar case arises in the future, the law firm can point to the content they produced about the previous case as a way to differentiate their service from other law firms. I have often advised this approach, in fact.
So, what about directories? In particular, this one – LegallyInjured? Is it ambulance chasing or gross? NO!
Directories like LegallyInjured are not ambulance chasing
The purpose of LegallyInjured is to create a level playing field for injury law firms to compete and create differentiation. We do this in several key ways:
- We’ve standardized injury law categories so you can select the problem(s) you have, and quickly see which local law firm may help.
- We display live maps to help you see just how close a firm is to you.
- We only list firms that are primarily or exclusively focused on injury law.
- We publish reviews from well known, 3rd party sources like Google, Facebook, and Avvo instead of trying to capture reviews of our own.
- We analyze law firm blogs for entries about key topics – injury, medical, liability, and accidents. And we recognize those firms who stand out with our “Committed to Content” badges.
- We use live chat to answer questions as they come up, and encourage our sponsors to engage with you if you want.
- We list law firms because you call a law firm, not a lawyer.
- We don’t pretend that we are the only law firm directory on the internet.
The overall effect of our approach is to help you create a reasonable and manageable list of viable law firms. Most directories pride themselves on delivering hundreds of results, but I believe hundreds (or even tens) of results is not helpful. You need ways to find law firms based on matching the experience they have to the experience you need.
In the end, it’s easy to pick on injury law firms for overdoing it and being just a little too happy to take on an injury case. We pick on injury lawyers because we can see them and relate to them unlike a distant insurance company. Be careful being too mean: they are real people in our communities. Heck, my neighbor is an injury lawyer with a son in the Coast Guard and a dog named Beau who runs around my yard yowling his head off. We are friends.
Yes, injury lawyers take a cut of the settlement and profit off of injury. Yes, they can make a mess of marketing.
But don’t forget – injury lawyers are ALL THAT STANDS between injured people and financial ruin.
I hope you find this directory helpful in your search for a good firm to represent your case, and I hope you are able to heal from whatever has harmed you. If you want to engage – use the chat box to connect.