Some of the most important ethical principles in the legal profession are to always be honest and to always act in the best interests of your client. Lawyers are required to put the needs of their clients before their own and are barred from doing anything self-serving that can hurt their clients. Companies like 411-PAIN, however, are not run by lawyers and, therefore, often engage in self-serving behavior often at the expense of car accident victims seeking help.
In the past few years, the Attorney General in Florida investigated 411-PAIN and found the company had made numerous misleading statements and misrepresentations to try to get accident victims to pick up the phone. The company then did not fulfill its promises or provide the assistance needed by injured accident victims. The following are only some of the many misrepresentations made by 411-PAIN.
Their Purpose is to Find You an Attorney
Here’s a bit of information you may not have been aware of – 411-PAIN is actually owned by a chiropractor who has a network of clinics. While they will eventually refer you to a lawyer, 411-PAIN’s primary goal is to recruit patients in need of medical care to receive chiropractic services. In fact, in many instances, the attorney to whom you are referred will actually meet with you at a clinic rather than a law office. By employing this business model, 411-PAIN turns your misfortune and suffering into two distinct profit streams – one from you or your insurer for your medical expenses, and another from the lawyers who are paying to get client referrals.
They Can Get You a Certain Dollar Amount
Previously, 411-PAIN has claimed they can get clients hundreds of thousands of dollars after an accident. The Attorney General banned the company for making that unrealistic promise, so now the commercials for 411-PAIN regularly promise to help get accident victims $10,000 for their injuries.
This is not an arbitrary number but is instead chosen because Florida law1 requires people to have at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. What they do not tell you is that you will likely not receive anywhere near $10,000, even if you max out your coverage. This is because the chiropractic clinics and attorneys to which you are referred take their often large cuts and bill your insurance company directly, draining your policy. By the time all of the chiropractic and legal fees are paid, there is often little to nothing left for you.
Referrals are Based on Legal Experience and Skill
411-PAIN wants you to believe that they have carefully selected attorneys for referrals based on their reputation, experience, and ability to handle auto accident cases. However, this is not the case. As a legal consumer, it is important to understand how services like 411-Pain work because they are not forthcoming or transparent about how they select lawyers for referrals.
Unlike the Florida Bar’s lawyer referral service, 411-pain is a for-profit company that operates by collecting fees from lawyers in return for case referrals. As a result, the service is more interested in recruiting more attorneys than it is in ensuring that injured victims are matched with the best attorney for their particular case. In addition, because 411-pain is not engaged in the practice of law, it is not regulated by the Florida Bar, which means that it is not subject to the same ethical rules that lawyers must follow in regard to their various duties to their clients.
Many attorneys who pay fees to be members of 411-PAIN do not necessarily focus on car accident cases but instead are trying to get any clients for any type of case. You cannot trust that the attorney who meets with you will be the best one for the task at hand.
Call Our Trusted St. Petersburg Auto Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you have been injured in an accident, you should take the time to choose a lawyer carefully and find one that you are certain is qualified to handle your case and represent your best interests. Failure to do so could result in going completely uncompensated for your losses and losing your right to recover compensation. To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled personal injury attorneys, call the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA office today at 727-222-6922.
DOLMAN LAW GROUP – ST. PETERSBURG OFFICE
St. Petersburg, FL 33712