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Channel 7 News: Lawyer Ambulance Chasing is a major problem in Metro Detroit

August 25, 2016 by Steven M. Gursten

Story shines needed light on ‘one of the oldest and most unethical practices’ that Metro Detroit accident attorneys sadly ‘still engage in’


“Ambulance chasing” lawyers are calling people within days and sometimes even hours of a car accident all over Metro Detroit. They use harassing, pressuring, and misleading tactics. These lawyers are taking advantage of hundreds of car accident victims, and they work in cahoots with crooked medical providers and clinics to bill auto No Fault insurance for medical care, increasing the costs of car insurance for everyone. These lawyers are breaking the law, and they are a menace in Michigan and an ugly blight on the entire legal profession.

I’ve been speaking out against this for years on the pages of this auto law blog, but during this time the practice has only continued to grow.

Even a criminal law that imposes fines and jail time for personal injury attorneys’ unlawful solicitation of auto accident victims has had no effect on these scourges.

The Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission has for years ignored the issue. I’ve personally brought it to the attention of Alan Gershel, the head of the Commission. Not surprising, most lawyers, especially in my world of personal injury law, now look upon the Attorney Grievance Commission as seriously broken. Rules that are not enforced become suggestions, and the inaction by the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission has only led more struggling injury lawyers to jump on the illegal practice of ambulance chasing and illegal car accident victim solicitation. This inaction has hurt the good lawyers and law firms who play by the rules at the expense of those Metro Detroit lawyers who break the law.

But, now, at least one important news organization has picked up the issue. In fact, they ran a story on it last night.

In his story, “Ambulance chasing attorneys exposed for illegally soliciting clients,” WXYZ 7 Action News’s Simon Shaykhet brought much-needed attention to how:

Ambulance chasing, which is “considered one of the oldest and most unethical practices some attorneys still engage in,” is “a growing problem catching accident victims off guard within days or sometimes just hours after a car crash.”

This was good, important journalism on a topic that the public needs to be better educated about and lawmakers need to take more seriously. I would have preferred to have the story call out the lawyers who were guilty of ambulance chasing by name, but it still is shining a light on this practice that has operated in the dark for too long.

There are still very significant aspects of the problem that warrant additional investigation.

At a minimum I believe the public deserves to know:

  • The names of the lawyers and law firms who have engaged in “ambulance chasing” by making unlawful direct solicitations of Michigan car accident victims.
  • How to identify an unlawful solicitation phone call or contact.
  • What to do if a car accident victim believes he or she has been unlawfully solicited in violation of Michigan’s “ambulance chasing laws.”

I will discuss those aspects in more detail in tomorrow’s blog. I will also explain what “ambulance chasing” is and why Michigan passed laws to try to stop it.

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