Protect Yourself from Barratry
Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of by unethical lawyers, their “investigators” or illegal service providers. Whether you were injured in a car accident, at work, or in a slip and fall accident—or even if you lost a loved one—you may be approached by an individual trying to persuade you to hire a law firm. This kind of solicitation is illegal in most cases and it is known as barratry. Barratry puts unfair pressure on you during your most stressful time. A lawyer can lose their bar license and face criminal charges for barratry—but some do it anyway.
Barratry typically involves a “runner” who approaches you about your case. These individuals can be deceptive and coercive. They have only one goal: to get you to sign up with a specific law firm so they can get a commission. Police officers, nurses, doctors, tow truck drivers, and body shop workers have all been known to act as runners. So have trusted individuals like funeral home directors and clergy. They may slip you a lawyer’s card, make you promises, or even give you gifts to get your case. Anyone who tries to get you to hire a specific lawyer is likely getting a kickback. Ultimately, you are the one who pays their fee. It comes out of the money you win in your case. This money belongs to you.
At John Foy & Associates, we believe that you should have a lawyer you can trust. We are one of the most experienced and respected personal injury law firms in Atlanta. If you have been the victim of an unethical lawyer, we can help you. We may be able to help you get a full refund of all fees you paid to your previous lawyer, and we can help you get the full financial settlement you’re entitled to. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get a free consultation today.
Are You a Victim of Barratry?
Many accident victims have already been scammed by illegal solicitation and they don’t even know it. You may be a victim of barratry if any of the following has happened to you:
- Did you receive a phone call from someone claiming that your family asked them to call you? Did they already know your family members’ names? Did your family later tell you that they never asked anyone to call?
- Did someone approach you at your loved one’s funeral? Did they claim to be an attorney or represent an attorney? Did they pressure you to sign a contract while you were still grieving?
- Did someone approach you while you were in the hospital? Did they claim to be an “investigator” or service provider, and ask questions about your injuries?
- Did a police officer at the accident scene convince you to call a lawyer? Did they pressure you to hire a particular attorney?
- Did a tow truck driver or car mechanic persuade you to call an attorney? Did they have a specific law office they recommended?
- Did your lawyer or someone acting on their behalf give you gifts to get you to sign?
Real lawyers do not offer gifts, signup incentives, or “bonus money” to get you to become a client. They don’t hire telemarketers to call accident victims uninvited. And they never approach you at sensitive times in the days following an accident.
Georgia’s Law on Illegal Solicitation
Lawyers in Georgia are required to wait 30 days from the time of an accident to call someone who is not a client of theirs. Soliciting a stranger before this time has elapsed is illegal solicitation. It is punished both by the State Bar of Georgia, which can take away an attorney’s license, and by Georgia state law.
The Georgia Bar rules on barratry state:
- A lawyer can’t solicit you within 30 days of your accident. And they can never use coercive or deceptive tactics, no matter how long it’s been—including approaching you at a funeral or other sensitive time. They cannot keep harassing you if you’ve already said no.
- All of their written communications to you must be marked “ADVERTISEMENT” if you’re not already a client.
- Lawyers cannot pay someone to act as a “runner” and drum up clients. If the person approaching you is getting a commission, bonus, kickback, gift or payment of any kind, the arrangement violates ethics rules.
- Lawyers cannot telemarket you or do in-person solicitation unless you have already sought their advice.
- A lawyer cannot even accept a client or a case if they have any reason to believe the above illegal activities were involved. They have to turn it down.
Lawyers who break these rules can be disbarred, losing the right to practice law altogether. This is the highest sanction the Bar Association can wield and it is considered a fair punishment for illegal solicitation.
State law also prohibits barratry. Since 2014, lawyers who practice barratry can face felony charges. They can face up to $100,000 in fines and spend time in prison. They may also have to refund you all of the fees you paid them.
You Can Get Your Money Back
Barratry is treated so seriously because it represents a conflict of interest. Your lawyer is supposed to be looking out for your interests at all times. Our entire court system depends on lawyers acting this way. When they don’t, it means they may not have served you well, and you are entitled to a full refund of any fees you paid.
You can fire your lawyer and seek your money back at any time:
- If you already won a settlement, you could keep it and get the full amount of your lawyer fees returned to you.
- If your case is still in progress, you can ask a legitimate law firm to take it over. Your old lawyer must turn over all documents. The new law firm can help you get the settlement you deserve and make sure you owe your previous lawyer nothing.
In some cases, you could also recover money for damages such as emotional pain & suffering from the previous lawyer.
If you may have been the victim of illegal solicitation, you deserve to get to know what a real lawyer is like. The offices of John Foy & Associates are here to welcome you as an equal and help you pursue your case as an informed, respected client. We can help you get your money back, and pursue the full financial recovery that you deserve. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get a free consultation today.
Our vision is to be the State of Georgia’s most trusted personal injury law firm, going above and beyond for the client at all times.
John Foy & Associates is a Personal Injury law firm dedicated to providing sound legal services to clients who have been injured due to others negligence. We will work diligently to service each client and negotiate the best recovery, helping to make our clients lives whole again, while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism. We will treat our clients with dignity, compassion and respect at all times. We do this by explaining our client’s rights, educating the client about how the process works and communicating with the client, keeping them informed each step of the way. We are The Strong Arm of the Law and will fight for our clients because everyone matters and we care.
At John Foy & Associates…
1. The client always comes first, helping people is our #1 priority
2. We will strive to do everything better than our competitors
3. We will communicate with compassion and respect to all of our constituents
4. Our employees are our most valuable asset and we will respect and value each other
5. We will hire and train the best people
6. Our attorneys will be specialists in each area of practice
7. We recognize that every case is different and will strive to create the best possible client experience and outcome
8. We will perform with the highest levels of professionalism
9. We will operate at the highest level knowing that our clients are putting their greatest trust in the firm to fight for what they deserve
10. We will promote quality growth within our areas of practice
11. We will be ambassadors to the firm and support its goals
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