On to point No. 2 of my “5-Point Plan to Protect Auto Accident Victims from Ambulance Chasing Lawyers.”
Let’s start by addressing the crux of HB 4770. This proposed bill would be highly effective because it strikes at the lifeblood of aggressive, overreaching, “ambulance chasing” attorneys — those who send mail solicitation packages to crash victims after looking up their personal information and accident police reports. It does so by imposing a 30-day restriction on access to “motor vehicle accident reports” (UD-10s) prepared and filed by law enforcement, which contain auto accident victims’ personal information, such as their names, addresses, phone numbers and possibly, even injury details.
During the 30-day restriction period under HB 4770, neither lawyers nor the non-lawyers working on their behalf can access and use “the report for any commercial solicitation of an individual, vehicle owner, or property owner listed in the report.”
However, as great as HB 4770 is, it could go further to protect auto accident victims’ privacy in their personal information. That’s where my plan comes in.
For instance, rather than restricting access to “motor vehicle accident reports” for only 30 days, the restriction should be made permanent.
I know that I’ve previously called for a 90-day restriction, which would certainly be a vast improvement over the existing proposal for a 30-day restriction. But, from a privacy protection standpoint, I believe a permanent restriction on access makes the best sense.
Tomorrow I will discuss the need for banning law enforcement from disclosing auto accident victims’ personal information.