What to Know About Lawyers Who Cold Call Victims After Accidents
Personal injury lawyers play a critical role in helping individuals who have been injured in accidents seek compensation for their losses. While many personal injury lawyers are ethical and dedicated to their clients, there is a dark side to this industry that involves the unethical approach of some attorneys who aggressively call crash victims in the aftermath of a crash.
Our founder, Matt Hardin, knows about this shady move all too well. In 2019, Matt served as president of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association, and he was part of a team of lawyers who advocated for a bill that makes it a crime to obtain personal information, including name, address, and phone number, to solicit car accident victims.
Sadly, despite the bill being passed and signed into law, some personal injury attorneys in the mid-state area are still illegally calling accident victims, hoping to sign their cases. RPC 7.3(d) states:
“a lawyer shall not solicit professional employment from any person if:
(1) the target of the solicitation has made known to the lawyer a desire not to be solicited by the lawyer; or (2) the solicitation involves coercion, duress, fraud, harassment, intimidation, overreaching, or undue influence”
In this blog post, we will explore the unethical practices of some personal injury lawyers who engage in cold calling and offer guidance on what injured victims should do instead when they are contacted by one.
The Unethical Approach of Cold Calling
Cold calling, the practice of unsolicited phone calls to individuals involved in car crashes, is one of the most controversial and unethical tactics some personal injury lawyers use. This practice has raised numerous concerns, including invasion of privacy, harassment, and manipulation of vulnerable victims.
Invasion of Privacy—One of the most glaring ethical issues with personal injury lawyers who engage in cold calling is the invasion of privacy. When someone has been through a traumatic experience like a car wreck, they should have the space and time to process their emotions and make decisions about their legal representation at their own pace. Cold calls disrupt this process by forcing victims into conversations they may not be prepared for, potentially leading to hasty decisions made under pressure.
Harassment—Cold calling can quickly escalate into harassment. Victims who receive numerous unsolicited calls from lawyers may feel overwhelmed and stressed by the constant intrusion. This harassment can exacerbate the emotional distress already experienced by the victims due to the collision.
Manipulation—Unethical personal injury lawyers may use manipulative tactics during cold calls. They might promise quick settlements or guarantee substantial compensation, regardless of the specifics of the victim’s case. Such manipulative tactics exploit the vulnerability of crash victims, often leading them to make choices based on misinformation.
What Are the Risks of Working with an Unethical Attorney?
Working with an unethical attorney after a car accident can have serious and far-reaching consequences for your legal case, finances, and overall well-being. Here are some of the significant risks and potential negative outcomes associated with unethical legal representation:
A Damaged Legal Case
Inadequate Representation: Unethical attorneys may not invest time, effort, and resources into your case. They may provide subpar legal representation, reducing your chances of success.
Missed Deadlines: An unethical attorney may fail to meet crucial deadlines for filing claims, submitting evidence, or complying with court procedures, jeopardizing your case.
Hidden Costs: Unethical attorneys may not fully disclose their fees or may engage in excessive billing practices, leaving you with unexpected and unaffordable legal expenses. Reduced Compensation: An attorney who lacks ethical integrity may settle your case quickly and for a lower amount than you deserve, as they may be more interested in collecting their fees rather than securing the best outcome for you.
Damage to Your Reputation
Negative Publicity: If your attorney engages in unethical or fraudulent practices, it can harm your reputation, making it harder to reach a fair settlement with insurance companies or present a strong case in court. Potential Legal Consequences: In some cases, the unethical actions of your attorney may lead to legal trouble for you. For example, they might forge documents or engage in deceptive practices that could implicate you in wrongdoing.
Unnecessary Additional Emotional Distress
Added Stress: Working with an unethical attorney can create additional stress during a challenging time. The uncertainty, mistrust, and frustration associated with unethical behavior can exacerbate the emotional toll of the car wreck itself. Ineffective Communication: An unethical attorney may not keep you informed about the progress of your case, leading to confusion and anxiety about your situation.
Ethical and Legal Complications
Ethical Dilemmas: When you know your attorney behaves unethically, you may face moral dilemmas. This can include whether to report the unethical behavior or how to proceed in a way that aligns with your own ethical values. Legal Complaints: An unethical attorney may expose you to legal complaints, disciplinary actions, or malpractice claims, further complicating your situation.
Wasted Time and Opportunities
Lost Time: In cases where unethical attorneys mishandle your case or unnecessarily prolong the legal process, you may waste valuable time better spent on recovery, rehabilitation, or pursuing other opportunities. Missed Compensation: An unethical attorney may overlook opportunities to maximize your compensation, such as failing to identify liable parties or undervaluing the damages you’ve suffered.
What You Should Do When You Receive a Cold Call from a Law Firm
When injured victims find themselves contacted by a personal injury lawyer via cold call or other unsolicited means, they must know how to protect their rights and make informed decisions.
Politely Decline the Call
If you receive an unsolicited call from a personal injury lawyer, remember you are not obligated to engage in the conversation. Politely decline the call, explaining that you need some time to consider your options or that you don’t want to discuss the collision with them now.
Research and Choose Wisely
Take your time to research and choose a personal injury lawyer who is right for your case. Look for lawyers with a solid reputation, a history of success, and a commitment to ethical practices. You can seek recommendations from friends or family, check online reviews, or consult with your local bar association.
Consult Other Law Firms
Don’t rush to make a decision. Consult several personal injury attorneys to discuss your case and evaluate your options. A good attorney should provide a free initial consultation and offer insight into the strength of your case, potential outcomes, and the legal process involved. This approach allows you to make a more informed choice and ensures that your attorney fits your specific situation best.
During your consultations with potential attorneys, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Clarify any doubts you have about their legal fees, their experience with similar cases, and their approach to handling your claim. Understanding their strategies and communication styles will help you make an educated decision.
Assess Their Ethical Stance
While speaking with attorneys, assess their ethical stance and commitment to your well-being. Ethical attorneys prioritize your best interests and will not make unrealistic promises or push you into making a hasty decision. A responsible attorney will inform you about the legal process, potential challenges, and the realistic outcomes you can expect.
Obtain a Second Opinion
If you’re uncertain about the advice or representation you receive, consider obtaining a second opinion from another attorney. This additional perspective can help you confirm your decisions and ensure that you are on the right path for your legal needs.
Choose the Law Firm That’s Right for You—Not the Law Firm that Found You!
The unethical approach of lawyers who call crash victims is a concerning issue that has had the unfortunate effect of harming the legal profession’s reputation, especially personal injury attorneys. Injured victims deserve ethical, empathetic, and knowledgeable legal representation that protects their rights and helps them receive fair compensation.
By understanding the unethical practices of some personal injury lawyers and taking the right steps when contacted, injured victims can ensure they make informed choices that serve their best interests. It is essential to remember that the decision of whom to hire as your attorney should be made on your terms and in your own time, free from unsolicited pressure or manipulation.
At Matt Hardin Law, we strongly believe in the importance of ethics in our industry, and that includes never cold-calling car crash victims and instead only working with people who seek out our firm and our legal representation. If you or someone you love was injured in a crash, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation and to learn how our Nashville car accident lawyers can assist you during this difficult time.