Law.com reports that the first lawyer to be sentenced under a recent New Jersey law will be sent to jail in March for soliciting personal injury clients. Good riddance.
In Texas, it’s a felony for a lawyer, or anyone acting on behalf of a lawyer, to contact an accident victim to try to get that victim to hire the lawyer. Unfortunately, this law is very rarely enforced. If you are unfortunate enough to be injured in a car wreck or some other type of accident, beware anyone who contacts you — whether they say they are a lawyer, a medical clinic, or a body shop. It’s illegal for the lawyer to do it, and frequently the others are simply trying to get you to sign a contract with “their” lawyer.
As I tell my clients, I would be very uncomfortable relying on a lawyer who would commit a felony in order to get me to hire him. If he’s willing to commit a felony to get the case, what other laws might he be willing to break in order to cheat the client? Here are excerpts from the story:
When Irwin Seligsohn surrenders to law enforcement authorities on March 1, he will be the first New Jersey lawyer to be jailed for using runners to drum up personal injury cases.
Seligsohn, 71, was sentenced on Feb. 1 to three years for violating a 9-year-old statute criminalizing the practice, along with other crimes.
His now-defunct West Orange firm, Seligsohn, Goldberger & Shinrod, a professional corporation, pleaded guilty the same day to tax fraud and to second-degree conspiracy for paying runners to bring in clients and submitting insurance claims for fake or fictitious accidents.
It was the first time a lawyer had been charged under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-22.1, signed in 1999, which makes it a third-degree crime for a lawyer or health care provider to use a runner.