Personal injury lawyers are constantly innovating new ways to generate lawsuits to make money for themselves. Regardless of the specific tactic, you can be sure that it involves luring consumers in to act as their harmed plaintiffs.
When it comes to lawsuits involving health care treatment or services, consumers should be especially wary of personal injury lawyers or legal services that offer to refer them to a doctor.
Why would a lawyer want to pick your doctor? Personal injury lawyer want to steer consumers to a specific doctor because that doctor is more inclined – maybe even financially incentivized – to give that patient a certain diagnosis or treatment the lawyer thinks would be most profitable for his or her lawsuits.
There are plenty of ads and websites that offer to find a doctor for you or promise to give you both a lawyer and a doctor – take Florida’s “Ask Gary” as an example. The site promises “easy access to skilled legal and medical professionals skilled in personal injury,” but what it really provides is a connection to a doctor willing to exaggerate or even falsify an illness or injury so a lawyer can make money off of you.
Often, personal injury lawyers and lawsuit recruiters will even contact consumers and urge them to join a lawsuit or ask if they have a specific health condition. Then, they’ll offer a doctor referral and tempt consumers by saying they may be eligible for a payout. These recruiters and personal injury lawyers are trolling for lawsuits and “ambulance chasing.” To them, you’re just a dollar sign.
Consumers should never trust a referral from a personal injury lawyer, as they have an incentive to see you diagnosed with a certain illness or injury, and the doctor may be in their pocket. We can look at Sheldon Silver as an example. Sheldon was the former New York State Assembly Speaker and, previously, a primary partner at New York City’s most prominent asbestos-litigation firm – Weitz & Luxenberg. In 2008, Sheldon was convicted of funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in state grants to a doctor who, in turn, referred patients to the law firm for asbestos lawsuits. This is just one example of a personal injury lawyer buying off a doctor to gain personal wealth; it happens more than we dare to guess.
Personal injury lawyers are acting in their best interest, not the best interest of patients. They are not medical experts and claims made when they are recruiting plaintiffs are not necessarily facts and do not apply to all patients. You wouldn’t trust your doctor to give you legal advice, so why would you trust your lawyer to give you medical advice?
These tactics may make money for personal injury lawyers, but they could be dangerous to consumers’ health. They serve to enrich personal injury lawyers and are designed to fit their interests as opposed the best interests of consumers.
When it comes to selecting your doctor, always make the decision based on who you think will provide the most accurate diagnosis and the best treatment; do not let the flimsy promise of a potential legal payout tempt you into taking a questionable referral. Never let a lawyer pick your doctor.
Sick of Lawsuits (SOL) is an online network of more than 200,000 people who are interested in restoring integrity to our justice system. SOL is a project of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) and provides a forum where you can get involved in the effort to stop lawsuit abuse.