Imagine you have just been in a terrible car accident. You pull your shaking body out of a wrecked car and check yourself for injuries. You look up and before you know it a man is upon you, bombarding you with questions, promises and papers to sign! He uses persuasion in an attempt to steer you towards using particular doctors or lawyers, and you say yes to it all because you’re scared and confused. These people are called “runners.”
“Runners” are “ambulance chasers” in the true sense of the word. They are paid by certain doctor and law offices to listen to police radios and find accidents right after they occur, in an attempt to reach the victims at their most vulnerable point. And when that doesn’t work, they will even follow the ambulances to the hospital and solicit victims at their hospital bedside! The runners receive a reward from doctors and lawyers for every victim they steer toward their offices.
This practice had been outlawed in Virginia four years ago with the White Collar Insurance Fraud Amendment Act of 2006, but almost nothing has been done to enforce the amendment since then. In the District of Columbia, this problem of “runners” has also been noted when reputable firm’s injured clients are approached by these unscrupulous agents. This practice also hurts the good name for hard working trial lawyers who are not “ambulance chasers.” For this reason the DC Council is scheduling a hearing on the Metropolitan Police Department’s enforcement (or lack thereof) of the law that restricts runners and limits the availability of police reports for them to abuse. If it were fully enforced, the consequences for those convicted could be up to a $50,000 fine and 15 years in prison.
We at the Landau Law Shop support these penalties and adamantly oppose this deplorable practice. We despise the fact that there are law firms that cannot get clients without resorting to these low tactics, getting police accident and arrest reports and sending unsolicited letters, postcards and visitors. If you know of a client who has recently complained about being solicited within days of a DC or Virginia car crash, please give me a call, as it may be important for you to share your experience so that the right laws can be enacted to protect others from these practices. You can contact me via e-mail call me (703) 796- 9555 or visit my Landau Injury Law site.