After you suffer an injury and want to seek compensation, you may come across attorney referral services. At first glance, these services may appear to simply refer someone to a lawyer who can help them. In reality, however, attorney referrals services are often not regulated by the Florida Bar Association and some of them can be problematic at best or criminal at worst.
Unregistered Attorney Referral Services May Use Dishonest and Illegal Tactics
Some attorney referral services comply with all requirements set forth by the Florida Bar Association. These services can be legitimate, and assist you in finding a lawyer who will represent you when you have been hurt.
Unfortunately, many private attorney referral services are largely unregulated and they do not register with the Florida Bar Association. The services may be owned by doctors, by chiropractors, by physical therapists, or by others who stand to profit significantly from the pain that accident victims experience.
Lawyers are not supposed to be taking referrals from services that do not follow all Florida Bar Association Rules (including the rules on solicitation and advertising). If you use an unregistered and dishonest referral service and your lawyer accepts the case from that service, this should send up red flags about the ethics of the law firm you are working with.
The problem of unregulated and unregistered referral services is a big enough issue that the Florida Bar Association created a Special Committee on Lawyer Referral Services. Testimony from members of the Department of Financial Services indicated that some of these referral services may be colluding on criminal insurance fraud.
How Can Unethical Attorney Referrals Harm You?
Some attorney referral services can do significant harm to crash victims who need a lawyer they can trust and who need medical professionals who will provide legitimate help with injuries.
Dishonest referral services may pressure you (and encourage your lawyer to pressure you) to go to specific clinics that may overbill you for services you do not need. Claims may be made on your personal injury protection (PIP) policy. This PIP policy should provide you with payment of legitimate medical bills, but can also provide you with other compensation including money for lost wages. When these dishonest clinics bill for unnecessary services, you may quickly reach your $10,000 policy limit for PIP coverage, leaving you with less money in your pocket and with potentially significant medical issues still untreated.
How Can You Find a Lawyer?
If you want to use an attorney referral service, make sure that you are not being forced to see a particular lawyer, given paperwork to sign you do not understand, or being pressured to see a doctor who wants to give you lots of treatment you are not sure is helping. The referral service should provide you with details on qualified lawyers in your area, and should provide you with a way to get in contact with the attorney of your choice.
You can also research lawyers directly to find a firm that will fork for you. Steinger, Iscoe & Greene is a trusted Florida injury law firm with more than 30 lawyers and 120 legal professionals fighting for victims. We are here and ready to help with your case and we follow all Florida rules for lawyers that require putting the best interests of the client first. We are caring, committed injury lawyers who only represent injured victims and who fight for your right to full compensation for medical care and other losses.