Why You Should Avoid Ambulance Chaser Lawyers in California
In a car accident or a personal injury event, you want a reliable attorney by your side—someone who genuinely cares about your well-being and aims to represent your best interests. However, in California, you should be wary of a particular type of attorney: the ambulance chaser lawyer.
What Is an Ambulance Chaser?
The term “ambulance chaser” is derogative and refers to a lawyer who seeks out accident victims. Sometimes, they follow ambulances to scenes to offer their legal services, often unsolicited. Their primary motive is to capitalize on vulnerable individuals, promising significant settlements, often with questionable methods.
Legal Standpoint on Ambulance Chasers in California
California has taken strict legal measures against ambulance chasing practices. The state codified laws against such unethical approaches slightly over a decade ago. In 2011, the Business and Professions Code Section 6152 solidified the stance against these predatory behaviors. This legislation outlaws anyone acting as a “runner” or “capper” for attorneys or soliciting business on behalf of attorneys. The repercussions for those caught are severe, with potential fines of up to $15,000 or a year-long sentence in county jail.
This crackdown extends to the legitimacy of contracts between lawyers and their clients. Under the California Business and Professions Code Section 6154, any professional services contract that an attorney or law firm secured through a runner or capper becomes instantly void. What does this mean for clients? A voided contract implies that any fees you might have paid are refundable, offering a layer of protection for victims of such schemes.
Why Avoid Ambulance Chasers?
Aside from being illegal, here are some reasons you should steer clear of ambulance chaser lawyers in California:
- Unethical practices. Ambulance chasing lawyers tend to operate on the fringe of ethical conduct. In California, it’s deemed unprofessional for lawyers to approach potential clients without being asked as it raises questions about their professional integrity and how they’ll handle your case.
- High pressure, low results. Ambulance chaser lawyers often employ high-pressure tactics to get you to sign quickly. A hasty decision in choosing a lawyer can lead to prolonged court battles, smaller settlements, or even losing a winnable case.
- Lack of genuine care. Personal injury cases require understanding, empathy, and a genuine interest in the client’s recovery. Ambulance chasing lawyers, with their aggressive tactics and drive for quick settlements, may not offer the personal attention and care your situation deserves.
- Poor representation. The primary goal for an ambulance chaser lawyer is often a fast settlement, not necessarily the best outcome for their client. This hurried approach can mean they’re less thorough in gathering evidence, negotiating with the opposing party, or preparing for trial.
The critical thing with ambulance chasers is they want to sign you fast, resolve your case quickly, get their fees, and move to the next client case.
Red Flags to Watch out For
To ensure you avoid the snare of an ambulance chasing lawyer, keep an eye out for these red flags:
- Unsolicited approaches. It is a significant warning sign if a lawyer or their representative approaches you without being asked, especially soon after an accident.
- Promises of quick settlements. Beware of lawyers who promise a fast settlement without understanding the intricacies of your case. Realistic, honest lawyers will tell you that outcomes are unpredictable.
- High-pressure sales tactics. Do you feel pressured to sign a retainer agreement quickly? Trust your instincts and take a step back.
- Lack of clear communication. A trustworthy lawyer will be transparent about their fees, processes, and potential outcomes. If you find a lawyer is evasive or not straightforward, reconsider.
- Bad reviews or disciplinary actions. Do your research. If an attorney has numerous negative reviews or a history of disciplinary actions, it’s a solid indicator to look elsewhere.
While many outstanding attorneys in California genuinely want to help their clients, ambulance chaser lawyers do not. You can make an informed decision by familiarizing yourself with the warning signs.
Contact Starpoint Law
Did you or a loved one suffer injuries in a California personal injury accident? If so, contact Starpoint Law to learn how we can help you. We have years of experience and always prioritize a client-centric approach. Attorney Aidin Ghavimi has also represented insurance companies, so he understands how companies try to take advantage of accident victims. Contact Starpoint Law today if you’re looking for a skilled California personal injury lawyer.