When is a letter from a law firm important, and when is it junk?
People who have been involved in motor vehicle collisions, whether they are injured or not, unfortunately receive ever-growing piles of junk mail. In the days following the collision, a high percentage of this, unfortunately, is junk mail from lawyers and medical providers soliciting the person’s business. (Our firm has never solicited a single injury case.)
The law firms that engage in this solicitation are required to comply with several rules imposed by the Ohio Supreme Court. The materials must boldly and clearly state they are “Advertising material” or “Advertisement only.” They must also fully explain how they came to know you were in an accident (generally, this is by combing the police departments and ordering up all crash reports that came in that day). They are prohibited from soliciting by phone or in person, and violations can occur if repeated attempts at soliciting a client rise to the level of harassment, duress, or coercion. If you have received such solicitations and believe they don’t follow these rules, or wish to learn more about this practice, you should contact your local bar association.
So while much of the stuff cramming your mailbox is junk, there are still some important items to save. Much of the mail coming from auto and health insurance companies, as well as medical providers, comes from other companies with odd-sounding names. (Healthcare Recoveries, ACS Recoveries, Xerox Recoveries, Meridian Resources, etc.) Many of these actually sound like collection companies, but they are not.
Some of this mail actually comes from law firms and relates to an important development in your case. A letter from a law firm could pertain to a medical bill that has somehow slipped through the cracks and is on its way to a collection lawsuit.
We recently assisted a smart young professional who grew so tired of all the mail he received that he began to ignore it. One of the letters he ignored was actually from a law firm about to file suit against him on a medical bill that had slipped through the cracks. This particular client had auto insurance, was hit by someone who had auto insurance, and he also had health insurance, but the medical bill remained unpaid. (See “Who Pays the Medical Bills,” also in this issue of the newsletter.)
We wish there was something that could be done to reign in the attorney and chiropractor solicitations that increasingly clog the mailboxes of those recently involved in collisions. Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that this type of communication, as long as it is within certain parameters, is protected free speech. Be that as it may, pay attention to all of your mail and share it with your attorney so that you can avoid unnecessary pit falls.