Imagine you get into a bad car accident.
The accident is so bad that an ambulance is called and you’re rushed to the hospital.
You’re worried the whole time about contacting your family and friends to let them know where you are, what happened, and that your injuries aren’t fatal.
You get to the hospital and they contact your family for you. You go through the initial checks and get stabilized. After an hour, your family begins to show up to check in on you.
Your family comes in and you see the worried looks on their faces.
Before you get through your story, someone else walks in–someone you don’t know. They show a similar look of concern on their face, but something isn’t genuine in their expression.
They express their concern for your accident, pushing your family aside to get to you and hand you a business card.
They let you know that you are, in fact, the victim in this situation and that you need someone to represent you to make the at-fault party pay for what they’ve done.
This is an ambulance chaser.
What is an Ambulance Chaser?
While the scenario above is extreme, there are law firms that are known to chase people down after their accident to try to be the first lawyer to contact them about the incident.
These lawyers are known as ambulance chasers.
The term comes from the idea of a lawyer seeing an ambulance zip by and rushing down the road after them to hand the victim a business card.
It is an unethical practice that has created a negative impression of attorneys.
While an ambulance chaser may not hunt you down at the scene of an accident or in the hospital, they still may contact you within a few days in an attempt to be top-of-mind when you think about hiring a law firm.
How Does An “Ambulance Chaser” Get an Injured Person’s Information?
A lot of information is available to the public via the Freedom of Information Act.
While ambulance chasers may not be able to get all of the details about your accident, looking at police reports combined with news stories about an incident can help them get enough information to find out how to contact you.
There is also the possibility of an ambulance chaser having a police scanner and listening in when and where accidents occur.
The Accountability Enforcer: An Ambulance Chase in Disguise
Some of these ambulance chasers work under the guise that they are contacting you to make sure the at-fault party pays for what they did.
They consider themselves accountability enforcers, making sure people pay for their negligence and what they did to disrupt your life.
While it is true that the tortfeasors (people at fault) should be held accountable for their negligent actions, and that as the victim you have a right to seek compensation, that doesn’t give any attorney the right to contact you and solicit work directly.
When is the Right Time to Talk With an Attorney?
You need time after your accident to recuperate and reflect.
While hospital bills seem to come quickly after an accident, it’s important to get your bearings and make the choice to contact a lawyer by yourself.
When attorneys hunt you down and tell you that you need to make a decision now, or that you need them, specifically, to help you hold the tortfeasor accountable, red flags should be going up.
You should never be contacted by an attorney first after your accident. That means that they were scouting for business and may not have your best interests in mind.
You should always be the one reaching out to a lawyer after you do your research. Only reach out when you feel the time is right.
Keep in mind that most injury cases have a statute of limitations of two years, meaning that in most situations, you can no longer file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve more than two years after the date that your injury occurred.
Take your time to do research and find the attorney that is right for you, but don’t wait until it’s too late.
Contact VanDerGinst Law
At VanDerGinst Law we make sure that we are available to hear your story when you are ready.
That’s why we have availability 24/7 via chat, email, or phone call.
That’s also why we offer a free consultation, so you don’t have to worry about finances when speaking to us to see if you have a case.
In fact, you won’t owe us a dime out of pocket for your injury case, and we only get paid if you get a settlement or verdict.
To help you reach out on your own time, we’ve provided a contact card down below. You can either print this card or if you are on a mobile device, scan the code or download our information straight to your contacts list so we will be there when you need us.
Remember, if you’ve been injured, we’d be honored to help.
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The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.