The Texas State criminal justice system is cracking down on barratry, or
what is more commonly known as “ambulance chasing” since it
involves the illegal solicitation of prospective clients, usually shortly
after an accident has caused them harm. Several attorneys in the state
are facing prosecution and more have already been penalized for barratry.
Imagine getting into a
car accident and seeing a lawyer next to your car before you even get to see an emergency
responder. Beyond that initial fright, harassment may continue for weeks
or months as you recover and figure out how you want to bring up your
accident in a lawsuit. All of this despite the fact that the law clearly
states that attorneys must wait 30 days before contacting an accident
victim directly or via telephone.
In recent news, Texas State Attorney Ron Reynolds has been sentenced to
prison for felony barratry, and he is likely the first in the state’s
recorded history to receive time for the crime. Part of his scheme allegedly
involved paying a felon to search police department accident records in
an effort to locate potential clients and solicit them for business. There
are other stories of soliciting attorneys showing up at funerals to see
if the death was caused by an accident, and others still who literally
chased ambulances back to hospitals and emergency rooms.
[You can read a full article published by the
here if you would like more information about Attorney Reynolds’s case.]
To protect citizens and accident victims alike from such intrusive, upsetting
behavior, Texas State legislators have added to the barratry laws an option
to sue such solicitors for actual damages plus another $10,000 in punitive
damages. The money might not be much for attorneys accused of the crime,
who often opt to represent themselves, so the real punishment can come
in the form of a license suspension or revocation. For just about any
lawyer, having the right to practice law removed is equivalent to taking
food right off their table.
It is certainly a strange day when you need to fight back against an attorney
who has done you wrong. After all, aren’t they supposed to be there to fight
for you? Bizarreness aside, if you have been harassed or solicited by a lawyer
in Texas, you cannot allow it to continue and should consider filing a
lawsuit against them for barratry. At Dean Law Firm, our
Texas barratry attorney is not afraid to go head-to-head with other lawyers if it means pursuing
justice on behalf of our clients.
today and you can schedule a free case evaluation
with our team.