Call a lawyer directly, don’t call a clinic or lawyer referral service when you or a loved one is hurt because of someone else’s negligence. Why allow someone else, especially a service making money from referring you to a lawyer, to choose your lawyer or decide from whom you receive medical treatment? Choosing a lawyer is a critical decision that potential claimants’ should not leave to someone else. The decision on what attorney to hire to represent you is too important a decision to delegate to others, especially phone operators handling calls who give you the number and put you in contact with the “next name up on the list, a “name” that has paid a fee to be on “the list” and to whom you will be referred without regard to that lawyer’s experience in the first place.
We are all familiar with those television and radio commercials, as well as with those billboards dotting our highways that announce a catchy phone number or domain name that claim to connect the victim to some service that will help him or her get up to $10,000.00 in compensation if they were involved in an accident. In reality, although the telephone numbers and/or domain names sometimes include terms seemingly related to the practice of law (i.e., words like “law”, “legal”, “attorney”, “lawyer”, etc.), these advertisers are very careful to include in their disclaimer (the part with some incredibly fast talking guy that no one understands) that they are not lawyers. Florida law gives you the right to get “up to $10,000.00 in benefits) because that is the minimum insurance coverage required for any driver to be allowed to operate a vehicle in this State. You don’t have access to those benefits because of something magical the referral service does. Most likely than not, the only magic that referral service will do will be make you waste a good portion of those $10,000.00 (if not all) in what may turn out to be inadequate medical treatment for your injuries…
The important thing is to make sure these benefits work to help you get proper medical care and treatment, as well as some lost wage payments. The quality of the care you receive can go a long way in improving the likelihood that you will get full and just compensation for your injuries.
Who Are These Companies?
So, who are these companies that spend so much money advertising? Often they are pain clinics or chiropractors’ offices. These clinics refer the “client” (meaning you) to a lawyer, but only after making sure that the $10,000.00 of your P.I.P. insurance policy will be spent with them or with some company “allied” to them (like companies that provide MRI services, other medical services or equipment, etc.). Of course, these referrals are not based on the quality of the services that these companies “provide” or on the experience that the lawyer has handling your particular kind of case, but on the “deals” that these other “providers” have formed with the pain clinic.
According to clickorlando.com, this is exactly what happened to Jazzmil Rodriguez. After being involved in a car accident last summer, she remembered the familiar commercial jingle prompting viewers and listeners to call a catchy toll free number and did just that…
Sure enough, she was referred to a law firm, but she was also sent to a pain clinic, where a paralegal (not an attorney) met with her. She was instructed by both the pain clinic and the law firm to attend daily treatment sessions at the clinic for ten days and three to four times a week after that.
You May End Up in Debt
This course of action potentially makes victims the biggest losers after a car crash. As a result, crash victims may end up getting sub-standard medical services by not being “referred” to or seeking out the best available specialists for their injuries. Similarly, they may be sent to a specialist once the $10,000.00 available in their P.I.P. insurance policy for medical services have been exhausted by the pain clinic and its allies. Should they need to see a specialist at that point, the specialist will treat them contingent on getting paid once they win their case. But, what if they don’t have a case against the other driver, don’t win their case or simply do not recover enough money to satisfy the additional medical bills? They end up in debt or not getting treated at all.
This was an additional consequence of calling the referral service for Ms. Rodriguez. The $10,000.00 of her P.I.P. insurance policy were exhausted by the pain clinic in just two months. Then, after she had wracked more than $15,000.00 in chiropractor treatment, the attorney to whom the pain clinic had referred her suddenly called to say that she had no case because the other driver had no bodily injury coverage that she could recover from. Result: the crash victim ended up owing $5,000.00 in medical bills.
You May Lose Your Car Accident Case
Something similar may happen with the lawyer. You do not get “referred” to the lawyers with the most experience in your particular kind of case. You get referred to the lawyer “allied” to the pain clinic. This means that you may very well lose the case or not recover as much compensation as you would have if represented by an experienced law firm.
The Florida Attorney General has launched an investigation into the referral service used by Ms. Rodriguez and its relationship with the pain clinics. Also, the Florida Bar has formed a committee to review the practices of these referral services.
Contact A Lawyer
We understand how difficult it can be to “think straight” after a car accident, especially if you have suffered significant injuries. However, don’t let these so called “services” fool you into wasting the money you need for your recovery or get less for a case that had it been handled by an experienced lawyer would have resulted in a higher recovery and additional funds for you.
A simple Google search with terms like “car accidents lawyer” plus a geographical area convenient to you (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Hialeah, etc.) will bring up a list of qualified lawyers with their contact information. We recommend you to learn as much as you can about the experience of all potential candidates from their websites. Talk to your initial selections: preferably in person, but if not possible, over the phone. Don’t think you should wait to retain them because of what others may think. Hire an attorney as soon as possible so that you and your family can get the compensation that the law allows. Insurance companies and big business will not give you such compensation unless they are forced to do so by your lawyer and they certainly have their own lawyers and investigators working very hard by collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses from the moment the accident was reported.
With more than 70 years of combined experience, the lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano are ready to help victims of car accidents, tractor trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents, accidents at amusement parks or any other kind of accidents recover the funds they need for their rehabilitation and daily survival. Please note that our practice has been extended with a new satellite office in Aventura to better serve clients that reside in Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Dania & Dania Beach, Miramar, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Aventura, Miami Beach, Surfside, Sunny Isles and Miami Gardens.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling these cases. Throughout the years, the Miami Dade County Car Accident Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano have represented many clients involved in car accident cases resulting in serious personal injuries and wrongful death. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.