Someone offered me money to see a lawyer and doctor after my accident. What’s up with that?
- 1 Is Taking Money to See a Personal Injury Lawyer or Doctor Legal?
- 2 Are There Any Other Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Money to See a Lawyer or a Doctor?
- 3 Who Is Paying Me?
- 4 Why Is Someone Offering to Pay Me When I Had an Accident?
- 5 How Much Will I Be Paid When I Have an Accident?
- 6 Why Are Personal Injury Lawyers and Doctors Paying for My Case?
- 7 Will I Get a Good Lawyer?
- 8 What If I Don’t like the Lawyer I Get?
- 9 What Happens If I Don’t Use the Runner’s Lawyer or Doctor?
Is Taking Money to See a Personal Injury Lawyer or Doctor Legal?
No. It’s illegal. You can be implicated in insurance fraud, ruin your case, and even be assaulted by the runner who paid you. (we’ll go into details on that below). You will be offered cash because they’re not foolish enough to leave a paper trail with a check.
Are There Any Other Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Money to See a Lawyer or a Doctor?
You don’t want to be forced into being treated by a doctor who is willing to pay to get you as a patient and you don’t want to be forced into being represented by a lawyer who is willing to pay to get you as a client. It’s far more important to get good medical treatment and a good personal injury lawyer.
If your doctor or lawyer is arrested, your case will become worthless.
If you take money from someone who asks you to change your lawyer and see the accident lawyer they recommend, your case will likely be delayed and could be ruined. Your current lawyer will likely not back down easily.
A personal injury law firm filed a lawsuit against two competitor injury law firms claiming they used runners at pain management medical clinics to convince accident clients to switch attorneys by offering Uber rides to the new lawyer’s office from a doctor’s office and cash money.
In a lawsuit against their law firm, lawyers Gonzalez and Levenson claimed that Steinger, Iscoe & Greene had a “no surgery, no case” policy; used nonlawyers to do work that is only allowed to be done by lawyers; and illegally paid money to runners to get cases. This is not the kind of law firm you want for your injury case.
Who Is Paying Me?
The people offering to pay you are dangerous scammers called “runners”. They are violating the law and can go to jail.
Everyone involved with runners is violating the law including the runner, personal injury lawyer, doctor, and the person taking the money which is you. Over the years, there have been quite a few lawyers and doctors who were arrested.
Why Is Someone Offering to Pay Me When I Had an Accident?
Runners will offer you money after an accident only if you use their personal injury lawyer and be treated by their doctor. Often, the runner will send you to a medical office where you will be given a retainer from a personal injury lawyer to sign.
Find out how you can ruin your case if you go to a medical office recommended by a runner or a medical office that calls you after you go to the emergency room.
How Much Will I Be Paid When I Have an Accident?
A runner will usually pay you $1,500 cash. The runner will then get $1,500 from the lawyer and $1,500 from the doctor. The runner will pocket $1,500 or even more if they pay you less. But you could find yourself having to pay the money out of your pocket later!
Why Are Personal Injury Lawyers and Doctors Paying for My Case?
Lawyers who pay for accident cases are willing to risk getting caught for doing so illegally because the legal fee of 1/3 of your settlement is a lot of money. If your case is settled for $450,000, your personal injury lawyer will earn $150,000. That kind of money sometimes makes people do things that are illegal.
Doctors who pay runners to steer patients to their office do so for the same reason. They can fraudulently bill no-fault insurance, another insurance company, or Medicare for tens of thousands of dollars. These doctors may even get paid from MRI facilities.
Will I Get a Good Lawyer?
It’s not possible to know if the accident lawyer will be a good lawyer because we don’t know which lawyer the runner works with. But we do know that it’s not a lawyer you choose.
We also can say that an accident attorney who is willing to do something illegal and risk his or her lawyer’s license and going to prison is likely to be desperate and probably not a good lawyer.
What If I Don’t like the Lawyer I Get?
This can be a big problem. Legally, you can change your personal injury lawyer anytime you want to. But if you don’t like the personal injury lawyer used by the runner who paid you money and you change to a new personal injury attorney, you may get a visit from the runner who wants his money back. We had a client who was assaulted when she was unable to pay the money back.
You can also have a problem if the lawyer recommended by the runner decides that he or she doesn’t want to represent you any longer because problems with your case make it not worth taking to trial and the lawyer can’t settle the case. The lawyer may drop your case but the runner will want the money back.
What Happens If I Don’t Use the Runner’s Lawyer or Doctor?
If you take the money and don’t use the runner’s lawyer or doctor, you can have some big problems as seen by these real examples.
Example 1 — Case was delayed and our client was assaulted
We represented a client who took money from two different runners just before we received a settlement offer on the case. Before we could settle the case, we received substitution letters from two different personal injury lawyers, both trying to take the case at the same time.
We ended up fighting with the other two lawyers and the case was delayed. Finally, the other two lawyers gave up and we settled the case. Approximately one year later, our client called to say that she was assaulted by a runner who demanded that she pay the money back.
Not only was our client’s case delayed preventing her from receiving the money she badly needed but she was also physically assaulted and was in fear of her life.
Example 2 — Woman was probably threatened or assaulted
We received a call from a woman who said she was on a New York City bus that had an accident but we were not interested in representing her.
Before calling us, she spoke with another lawyer who also did not want to represent her. We believe she was sent to that lawyer by a runner because a week after we spoke with her, she called Rob Plevy. The transcript of that call is below and you can listen to the recording.
We believe she called by mistake thinking we were the first lawyer she spoke with. She likely just picked the phone number in her cell phone thinking it was the phone number of the other lawyer.
She was probably threatened by a runner who paid her money. The runner obviously wanted his money back because the personal injury lawyer he was working with did not want the case.
The call was recorded and you can listen to it here:
This is a transcript of the call:
Rob Plevy: Attorney Rob Plevy, can I help you?
Caller: Yes, is this an attorney?
Rob Plevy: Yes.
Caller: Is this microphone on? I’m trying to record for quality assurance, is your microphone on sir?
Rob Plevy: I think it might be.
Caller: Oh, no problem. That’s beautiful.
Caller: I’m just calling because we owe you some money.
Rob Plevy: Who’s this?
Caller: I wanted to pay you back. How’s that sound?
Rob Plevy: I don’t know who this is.
Caller: You said you don’t want the money back?
Rob Plevy: I don’t know who this is.
Caller: When you find out, give me a F’kin call back.
Example 3 — Client could have ruined her $1 million-dollar case, twice!
We represented a woman who had neck surgery when she fell in a warehouse store when she was knocked over by a forklift. The warehouse store which went out of business had a $1 million insurance policy.
During her case but before she had surgery, she had a car accident in which she damaged a dental implant and injured her breast. While she was still sitting in her car in the intersection at the accident scene two runners, working for two different accident lawyers, came up to her offering her money. She told them that she had a lawyer and wasn’t interested.
If she had taken the money, she would have been sent straight to their medical clinic where she would have been treated for neck and back pain which would have ruined her warehouse case.
She was taken to the hospital by ambulance where her name and phone number were sold to a medical clinic. Again, this could have ruined her case! Read about why you should hang up if you get a call from a medical clinic and how it can ruin your case.
Fortunately, she never did get medical treatment for her neck and we settled her warehouse case for the entire $1 million insurance policy.
Runners are dangerous criminals! Signing with them will not only hurt your personal injury case but if the runner’s accident lawyer ever decides to stop representing you, the runner will want the money back and you could be assaulted!
Don’t take money from anyone when you have an accident. If you need money, we can get you a settlement cash advance loan which you don’t have to pay back until the end of your case and you don’t have to pay anything if we don’t get money for you. We can even get you a cash advance loan on your case which is paid to you monthly on a debit card.
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Watch Founding Partner Phil Franckel, Esq. talk about New York Serious Injury Attorneys.com, difficult cases, and the 1-800-HURT-911® Dream Team™
Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.
Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.