In the State of Florida, lawyer who exchange money to non-lawyers for referrals to accident victims are subject to a number of bar sanctions including the threat of being disbarred. It is against Florida Bar rules for an attorney or law firm to pay a nurse or doctor to refer an accident victim; it’s also illegal to pay body shops and tow truck drivers. Unfortunately, in Florida it’s still very legal to pay services like 411 Pain and 1-800-Ask Gary for inclusion on a list of attorneys these referral services utilize. The lawyer referral services then use a variety of advertising and marketing techniques, many that a lawyer is barred from using, to induce automobile accident victims to sign up with member attorneys and treat at their clinics. https://www.dolmanlaw.com/blog/truth-411-pain-lawyer-referral-services/
A savvy consumer will understand that when selecting an attorney, it’s very important to meet your prospective counsel and become comfortable with him or her before signing a contract. Further, However, today I was extremely happy to learn that Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi, is not the only state politician determined to stop the misleading advertising used by these companies. 411-PAIN is under attack in Minnesota as well for its use of allegedly misleading and sometimes completely false information in their advertising. I’ve already written at length about the State of Florida’s aversion to these services, but it turns out that other states have taken offense to 411-PAIN’s deceptive advertising. In Minnesota last week, lawmakers amended the No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act to prohibit deceptive, misleading advertising in the context of automobile accidents. https://www.courthousenews.com/2013/01/02/53557.htm
This action was taken in direct response to 411-PAIN advertising in Minnesota. 411-PAIN responded by attempting to obtain an injunction against the new law, claiming that it violated free speech. Fortunately the federal judge wasn’t buying what 411-PAIN was selling and he refused the motion.
Minnesota’s issues with advertising tactics employed by 411-Pain stems from similar issues the lawyer referral service had with the Attorney General’s office in the State of Florida. Minnesota’s legislature takes issue with their belief that 411-PAIN misleads the targeted audience by failing to explain their business interests in the Chiropractors and clinics that their representatives direct callers to. They also take issue with 411-Pain utilizing actors dressed as police officers to peddle their referral service.
Improper marketing aside, what you as a consumer should be worried about is your inability to make an informed decision regarding your medical treatment and legal options in the face of misleading and potentially deceptive advertising. Even more alarming is the apparent conflict of interest lawyers within the referral service may have.
The following article addresses an issue we have seen here in Florida by which it is difficult to determine whether the attorney belonging to the referral service has allegiances to 411-Pain or to his/her very client.
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In fact, the article explores this quandary and raises the disturbing issue that attorney members of lawyer referrals services have shown up unsolicited at the physicians office to meet with prospective clients.
You should be aware that many accident victims have their personal injury protection benefits exhausted by the 411-PAIN doctors; these clients often end up with exorbitant medical bills that leave them with no avenue to recover for their loss. https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/crash-course-411-pain-network-will-line-their-pockets-with-your-insurance-money-6379278
Make sure to meet with your lawyer and decide whether he or she is the right choice for you. If you’ve been involved in an automobile collision, call the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today for a free consultation.