There’s an old stereotype about lawyers who find cases by chasing ambulances.
People who pursue these shady practices do exist. Today’s ambulance chasers are known as case runners, cappers, or steerers. You should avoid any lawyer or legal assistant who comes to you uninvited after you’ve been in an accident and suggests you file an insurance claim or a lawsuit.
Case runners are assigned by unethical law firms to drum up business by listening to police scanners, checking police reports, and working with their contacts such as hospital staff, police, and tow truck drivers to find accident victims. They pressure injured people to cooperate as they piece together insurance claims or lawsuits, often regardless of the merits of the cases.
When a case runner or capper persuades an accident victim to pursue a groundless case, they waste the accident victim’s time and money they are charged for filing fees. Sometimes ambulance chasers stumble onto valid cases. But they’ll typically make a mess of it by taking shortcuts and making ill-advised demands of insurers. This wastes time that could have gone into developing a proper claim before the statute of limitations runs out.
If an ambulance chaser does come up with a settlement offer, it is likely far less than what you deserve.
Ambulance Chasing Is Illegal in Nevada
Case running and ambulance chasing are illegal in Nevada and many other states.
In Nevada, Sec. 5 NRS 686A.291 makes it insurance fraud to knowingly and willfully with the intent to defraud or for monetary gain provide or cause to be provided false, incomplete, or misleading information as part of an insurance claim; or to solicit, assist or abet someone else to do it; or to accept proceeds from such acts.
The law makes it illegal and insurance fraud to:
Employ a runner, capper, or steerer to procure clients, patients, or other persons to perform or obtain services or benefits under a policy of insurance issued pursuant to this (statute) for the purpose of engaging in any activity prohibited by this (statute).
Anyone who knowingly works with a case runner, capper, or steerer – such as a source who steers them toward an accident victim – commits fraud.
How To Spot Ambulance Chasers?
Case runners and cappers have many ways of taking advantage of people who have been injured. The main thing to look out for is someone who you don’t know offering to set you up with an attorney or ensuring an outcome that seems too good to be true.
Here are some signs you are being targeted by a case runner:
- You receive a phone call offering legal help shortly after an accident.
- A stranger visits you in your hospital room uninvited to discuss legal action.
- Someone who is not a doctor approaches you with questions about your injuries.
- A witness to the accident offers advice as to what lawyer or doctor you should use.
- A witness to a car accident offers to call a tow truck for you. This allows them to gather additional information about you and the accident.
- Someone guarantees you a large or quick settlement if you accept their legal services.
- Someone offers you a cash advance based on a future insurance payout.
- Someone who you didn’t contact approaches you about signing agreements or making commitments to use their employer’s services.
Ethical lawyers will not attempt to contact you first. Phone calls, texts, emails, or visitors that offer you legal help immediately after an accident are the definition of ambulance chasing.
How To Avoid Ambulance Chasers?
If you have been injured in an accident, focus on your medical care first. Get yourself to a point where you are thinking clearly before making decisions about a legal claim.
Consider contacting a reputable law firm, such as Sam & Ash Injury Law, for free legal advice. Speaking with an attorney does not obligate you to hire them. And a good attorney can help you avoid making costly mistakes and get a little breathing room while you weigh your options.
Read the websites of any lawyers you are interested in hiring. See how well they explain what they can do for you.
Meet with a few lawyers before agreeing to engage an attorney or law firm to handle your case. An initial consultation should be free, informative, and involve no pressure to make a commitment. Ask about their experience with cases like yours, their caseload, and whether they have the resources for a large case if yours is complex.
Pay attention to their language when discussing potential outcomes. A trustworthy lawyer will not lead you on about recovering a certain amount of money for you.
Injury cases can take more than a year to conclude. You’ll be working closely with an attorney who will come to know personal things about you as you recover from your injuries. You want an attorney who you can get to know on a first-name basis and who will return your calls. At Sam & Ash Injury Law, we believe that is What’s Right.
Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney in Nevada
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident in Nevada, we, as ambulance chase lawyers at Sam & Ash Injury Law in Las Vegas, would be proud to help you seek compensation for your losses. We are down-to-earth people who will listen to you and make sure you get the care you need as we pursue a claim for you. We are experienced and tough-minded attorneys ready to do what is necessary to recover the compensation you deserve to receive.
Meet with Sam & Ash and get to know us in a free, no-obligation initial consultation. See what our clients say about us. We believe that when someone has done you wrong, you deserve What’s Right.