I was saddened yesterday to talk to the widow of a man who was killed Monday in a trucking accident. She only called me though because since the accident she has been flooded with calls from law firms and their investigators who are trying to get her to sign up with their firm to pursue a lawsuit. This is ambulance chasing plain and simple.
Attorneys in Illinois are barred from soliciting cases. Unless you contact them or they have a prior relationship with you, the only contact an attorney can make is to mail something to them and it must say “lawyer advertisement” on the envelope.
So if my neighbor is in a car accident or I hear he gets arrested for a DUI, I can go offer my services, but if it’s someone I’ve never met and I do that, I can and should lose my law license.
For the most part, the State does a good job of disciplining attorneys, but when it comes to these leeches, they do a terrible job. And most of them aren’t sly about how they do it; some will go as far as to ring your doorbell or show up at your hospital bed.
I did refer her to an attorney who is nationally known for representing plaintiffs in trucking accident lawsuits. His firm would never seek out a client the way these others do. Fortunately there are many law firms like his.
If an attorney contacts you out of the blue, they are basically telling you that they have no morals. That is a sign as to how they would handle your case if you hired them. They’d be looking out for themselves and when things go bad you shouldn’t be surprised.
I personally don’t know how any attorney could risk his/her law license over any one case. But I guess if the State doesn’t clamp down on them they don’t worry about being punished.
If you get an unsolicited call, report the lawyer to the ARDC at (312) 565-2600. I’m sure it’s the last thing you want to do when you are mourning the loss of a loved one. But this is the only way to stop people who’d prey on vulnerable people instead of letting them go forward when they are ready.
Written by Michael Helfand