Beck & Beck is committed to fighting for the rights of car accident victims who've been hurt due to the negligence of others. We represent clients who've been hurt by drunk, drowsy, distracted, inexperienced, or careless drivers—including victims of commercial truck accidents and rideshare accidents.
Our clients are often dealing with complex medical issues and the financial stress that comes with being off work for an extended period of time. They're in a vulnerable position, which is why we believe it's so important to make sure accident victims know how to spot the signs of an attorney direct mail scam from the Nonprofit Injury Victim Advocates.
The Importance of the Waiting Period
Missouri rules of professional conduct require that attorneys wait a few weeks after an auto accident to send mailings to injured drivers or vehicle occupants. The reason for this is simple. After an accident, healing from your injuries should be your top priority. Ethical attorneys won't pressure you.
As an example, one of our injury clients recently came to us with a direct mail solicitation from Nonprofit Injury Victim Advocates. She received this letter 12 days after her collision, and it made a reference to a prior solicitation attempt, but she didn't keep that letter. We told her it was important to be extremely cautious when dealing with anyone who doesn't respect the attorney ethical rules every lawyer must follow. Your health always comes first—and you deserve an attorney who understands this simple fact.
Advertisements Must Follow Specific Requirements
In addition to the waiting period, direct mail solicitations from personal injury attorneys must meet the following requirements:
- The word "ADVERTISEMENT" should be marked plainly on the face of the envelope and at the top of the first page.
- It should contain the disclosure, "The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements."
- There should be a notice that reads, "Disregard this solicitation if you have already engaged a lawyer in connection with the legal matter referred to in this solicitation."
- It should disclose how the lawyer obtained the information that prompted the solicitation.
- Any trade name that is used should not imply a connection with a government agency or public or charitable legal services organization.
The purpose of these requirements is to ensure that accident victims do not make decisions based on false or misleading marketing materials. The solicitation our client received from Nonprofit Injury Victim Advocates met none of these requirements and was fraudulent. Most notably, the organization is not a registered nonprofit, and the owner is not a licensed attorney. He forfeited his law license after stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a client. The Nonprofit Injury Victim Advocates are operating an unauthorized referral service.
The Nonprofit Injury Victim Advocates mail these letters which claim to offer legal help 'at no charge'. What actually happens when you call is Mr. Nonprofit connects you to a lawyer in your area that will handle your case. Mr. Nonprofit then calls the lawyer and explains he'd like the standard 33% referral fee once the case is resolved. I'd bet 95% of the time, the lawyer that handles the case pays Mr. Nonprofit the 33% fee, simply because he doesn't realize it is illegal and thinks Mr. Nonprofit is an attorney allowed to collect a referral fee.
Mr. Nonprofit requested $1.1 Million for his referral fee from a lawyer we know on a very significant auto accident case. Luckily, the lawyer did some research on Mr. Nonprofit and exposed the scam he's been running nationally for at least 5 years.
How to Find an Attorney You Can Trust
To learn how we can help with your case, please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 314.200.1229 for a free consultation.