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Texas Law Cracks Down on Illegal Client Solicitation and Barratry

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 Houston Chronicle 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.

Contact us today and you can schedule a free case evaluation with our team.