The legal profession often has negative connotations associated with it, especially in the field of personal injury law. When an individual thinks of a personal injury lawyer, they often conjure images of a man with a briefcase who pounds the hallways of a hospital attempting to secure business from injured patients or a man chasing an ambulance. In reality, these stereotypical images could not be further from the truth. Lawyers, in every field of the legal profession, are held to a high standard of professional ethics and conduct and the court systems go to great lengths to ensure that those standards carry on. In fact, no other profession has stricter ethical standards than the legal profession.
A recent article from The Journal Gazette cites that on October 14th, 2010, the Indiana Supreme Court amended the professional attorney conduct rules to prevent personal injury lawyers from contacting the victims or families of victims immediately after they have been involved in an accident. With seventy years experience as personal injury attorneys, we highly value the victim’s desire for privacy and recuperation time in order to make informed decisions after an incident. At Rosen Louik & Perry we have never actively “chased” a case and we never would. Hiring a lawyer is an important decision and we respect the privacy and decision-making process of potential clients. As a result, we wait to be contacted by friends or family members and are always ready to provide immediate help once contacted.
Under the new Indiana rules, solicitation of business by an attorney or law firm cannot occur until a minimum of 30 days has passed after the date of the accident. Essentially, an attorney is forbidden to contact an accident victim in person, through hand written letters, or electronic solicitation. This amendment has been put into place to protect those who are injured or who are grieving the loss of a loved one. The ISBA Special Committee on Lawyer Advertising Rules Committee does admit that, in the past, abuse of victims, during this highly sensitized period, has occurred. Attorneys or law firms who do not adhere to these rules may be charged with professional misconduct. The Indiana State Supreme Court has the final jurisdiction over attorney discipline.
In addition to protect fragile victims of an accident, the Indiana State Supreme Court also hopes that these new rules of conduct will enable the state’s citizens to obtain the required information to make informed choices concerning their legal rights. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, it is expected that other states will quickly follow suit in adopting similar legislation. In addition to the aforementioned changes, other modifications have been enacted to more closely follow the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The rules have been devised to modify attorney communication in general, but with particular regards to the manners in which attorneys advertise. Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Shepherd explained the ruling in further detail stating, “Indiana is fortunate the overwhelming majority of attorneys act in a reasonable and honorable manner. These rule changes are designed to ensure that practice continues.”
In some instances, it will be necessary for the victim of an accident, or the family of the victim, to retain legal counsel. By their own admission, most insurance companies attempt to settle injury claims as quickly as possible. Protracted litigation often costs insurance companies money that they are not willing to spend. Most times, the settlement offer of an insurance company will not be adequate enough to cover all of the medical expenses or property damage costs that the victim of an accident incurs, let alone provide adequate compensation for pain and suffering. Whenever there is any question, the person injured or their family should immediately contact an attorney. In firms like Rosen Louik & Perry, there is NEVER a fee for consultation. Under certain conditions, the victim of an accident should always retain legal counsel, such as:
- A dispute over who was at fault in the accident.
- If the victim was seriously injured in the accident. Serious injuries are not always immediately evident in an accident.
- If an individual is involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
Seeking recommendations from friends and family members can provide an ideal starting point in the search for a personal injury lawyer. Rosen Louik & Perry has settled hundreds of personal injury cases and maintains a supreme satisfaction rate and reputation.
The practice of personal injury law requires intricate analysis, ongoing strategic decisions, negotiating skills and many other variables that can directly affect the outcome of a victim’s claim or case. Therefore, it is imperative that an accident victim choose a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney who has experience on their side. The victim of an accident has only one opportunity to pursue a claim, and it should not be unnecessarily wasted. Although an automobile accident can be both an emotionally and physically devastating time for an individual or the family of a deceased victim, the victim(s) will be able to obtain solace from the fact that provisions have been enacted to protect their rights. Whether in Indiana or another state, the personal injury attorney that the victim selects will be required to adhere to the professional standards as set forth by The American Bar Association and state law.