“HIT BY A SEMI?” That’s the headline on a billboard beneath a dramatic picture of a massive red tractor-trailer slamming into a small green car. 

Below the headline are the words “DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS!” and a phone number consisting of an area code, a prefix, and the word HURT (followed by the corresponding four numbers in smaller type).

To the left of all that is the logo of San Antonio law firm Villarreal & Begum.

It’s a billboard that – by capturing the attention of drivers, and distracting them from the rush of traffic around them – could very well cause the sort of accident it illustrates.

One can only imagine the negative effect it has on truckers in transit.

The billboard is but one element of a multimedia campaign designed to drum up business for Villarreal & Begum by trashing teamsters.

A full-page ad in the June issue of the men’s magazine Maxim features a Stephen King-like head-on view of another massive red truck emerging from the darkness. In big letters above the cab are the words “serial killer.”

“3,561 people died on America’s highways last year,” says the text below the truck. “Another 2.36 million were injured. You need a law firm you can Trust. You need Experience. You need Strength. You need Villarreal & Begum.…”

Major truck stop chains have pulled the magazine from their shelves and Maxim has issued an abject apology.

The ad doesn’t explain why anyone would trust a law firm that is so classless as to engage in such sleazy advertising or so clueless as to defame every member of a vital occupation with an excellent safety record.

All it really communicates is that the attorneys who authorized the ad are semi-conscious, and that anyone who would want to be represented by them would have to be semi-conscious, too.

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