It’s Illegal For A Lawyer Or Case Runners To Call You If You Haven’t Contacted Them
For as long as we’ve been representing car accident victims, there have always been lawyers who have used case runners to sign up clients. Often times, many victims haven’t even been released from the hospital when their phone starts blowing up with random calls. We’ve heard stories of strangers waiting in the emergency room with a lawyer contract ready to go and even strangers showing up at victim’s homes.
With these sorts of horrifying stories happening all the time, one may ask: is any of this legal?
The answer is no. It is 100% ILLEGAL for a runner or a lawyer to approach you or call you about your accident if you never contacted them first.
What Does Texas Law Say About Case Runners?
Texas law is very clear about case running, also known as barratry. Texas Penal Code § 38.12 states the following:
- (a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to obtain an economic benefit the person:
- (2) solicits employment, either in person or by telephone, for himself or for another;
- (4) pays or gives or offers to pay or give a person money or anything of value to solicit employment;
- (6) accepts or agrees to accept money or anything of value to solicit employment.
- (d) A person commits an offense if the person:
- (1) is an attorney, chiropractor, physician, surgeon, or private investigator licensed to practice in this state or any person licensed, certified, or registered by a health care regulatory agency of this state; and
- (2) with the intent to obtain professional employment for the person or for another, provides or knowingly permits to be provided to an individual who has not sought the person’s employment, legal representation, advice, or care a written communication or a solicitation, including a solicitation in person or by telephone, that:
- (A) concerns an action for personal injury or wrongful death or otherwise relates to an accident or disaster involving the person to whom the communication or solicitation is provided or a relative of that person and that was provided before the 31st day after the date on which the accident or disaster occurred;
- (B) concerns a specific matter and relates to legal representation and the person knows or reasonably should know that the person to whom the communication or solicitation is directed is represented by a lawyer in the matter;
- (C) concerns a lawsuit of any kind, including an action for divorce, in which the person to whom the communication or solicitation is provided is a defendant or a relative of that person, unless the lawsuit in which the person is named as a defendant has been on file for more than 31 days before the date on which the communication or solicitation was provided;
- (E) involves coercion, duress, fraud, overreaching, harassment, intimidation, or undue influence; or
- (F) contains a false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, or unfair statement or claim.
- (f) An offense under Subsection (a) or (b) is a felony of the third degree.
Texas law, under the Government Code, also allows victims of case runners to file lawsuits against lawyers and runners who try to illegally run their cases. Texas Government Code § 82.0651 states the following:
- IF YOU SIGNED A CONTRACT:
- (1) all fees and expenses paid to that person under the contract;
- (2) the balance of any fees and expenses paid to any other person under the contract, after deducting fees and expenses awarded based on a quantum meruit theory as provided by Section 82.065(c);
- (3) actual damages caused by the prohibited conduct;
- (4) a penalty in the amount of $10,000; and
- (5) reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees.
- IF YOU DIDN’T SIGN A CONTRACT:
- (1) a penalty in the amount of $10,000;
- (2) actual damages caused by the prohibited conduct; and
- (3) reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees.
So to summarize:
- Case running is illegal, period.
- Lawyers and runners cannot contact you unless you contact them first.
- Case running is a FELONY.
- You can sue lawyers and case runners for case running for a minimum of $10,000.
What Should I Do If Case Runners Call Or Approach Me?
Call 911 immediately or call the Texas Rangers at (956) 565-7651 to have them arrested on the spot. Case runners are CRIMINALS that should not have the benefit of the doubt. If you suspect that you’re being approached by a case runner or a lawyer that you’ve never contacted, you need to call the police as soon as possible.
You should also consider speaking to an injury lawyer who can not only help you get compensated for your injuries but also compensated for being approached by a case runner.
Case Runners Tricks To Watch For
Case running is a far too common practice all over Texas but especially in the Rio Grande Valley. Unfortunately, many car accident victims are never aware that these types of activities are illegal and are often tricked, scared, or threatened into contracts with attorneys they don’t know by people they’ve never met.
A good way to combat these criminals is to be aware of the type of tactics they use to try to get victims to inadvertently sign their contract.
Case Runners Trick 1: Claiming They Work For An Insurance Company
Often times you’ll get a strange call or someone will approach you claiming they work for either your insurance company or the adverse driver’s insurance company. They either may be calling from what seems like a legitimate phone number or even be wearing an insurance company shirt. They’ll say that in order for your claim to begin, you must sign off on some documents.
How To Stop This Runner: Ask them for their name and position at the insurance company, Google the insurance company they claim to work for, call their direct line, and ask if they sent anyone by that name. If they’re a runner, they’ll try to stop you from doing any of this. If they do, you’ll know that you’re dealing with a case runner and you should call the police.
Case Runners Trick 2: Calls For Appointments For Follow Up Treatment and Therapy That You Never Set Up Yourself
You may receive a call from a receptionist, confirming an appointment for therapy and follow up treatment that was “set up by the insurance.” This is a HUGE red flag because insurance companies NEVER set up therapy or follow up treatment.
How To Stop This Runner: Inquire on how they received your information. If they say it was through the insurance, threaten to call the insurance company yourself. This will stop them dead in their tracks and hang up the phone.
Case Runners Trick 3: Lawyer Cards Given To You By Towing Companies, Paramedics, Nurses, Or Police Officers
Some lawyers will stop at nothing to get car accident cases, even go as far as paying off towing companies, paramedics, nurses, or even police officers. Don’t be surprised if you’ve been slipped a pamphlet or a card from any of these people involved in your car accident injury.
How To Stop This Runner: If you were given a lawyer’s card or pamphlet by anyone, call the police immediately so that an investigation into barratry may commence. You can also report the lawyer to the State Bar of Texas by calling (877) 953-5535 and speaking with an investigator.
Contact The Car Accident Lawyers At Moore Law Firm Today
If you’ve been injured in a serious car accident, don’t fall for illegal runner scams and partner with the injury lawyers at Moore Law Firm today!