411 Pain, Ask Gary & Other Lawyer Referral Services: Do They Have The Best Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys?
Many people who’ve just had a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, naturally want to find the BEST Orlando personal injury attorney. They might see some of the billboards or other advertisements for 411 Pain, “800-Ask-Gary,” or other lawyer referral services. Then they might wonder: do these lawyer referral services somehow have the BEST Orlando personal injury attorneys in their network?
As an Orlando car accident attorney, I cannot imagine how potential clients must feel with all of the billboards, and television ads, from all attorneys, and now these lawyer referral services. The choices would seem to confuse even the most sophisticated consumers. My car accident clients range from very sophisticated with legal and business matters, to simple people just wanting good service, aggressive representation, and fair results. Still, based on their questions, my impression is that they really don’t know what factors they should consider when hiring an attorney.
411 Pain Commercial
I have recently begun seeing more 411 Pain billboards and other advertisements around Orlando. And I just now watched one of the 411 Pain commercials for the first time ever:
I hope no potential injury clients would be persuaded by a memorable jingle, to believe that they are getting the best Orlando car accident attorney.
411 Pain & Ask Gary In The News & Courts
In any event, because they seem to be advertising more in Orlando, I thought consumers might want to know that there has been a lot of news about 411 Pain, 800-Ask-Gary, and other Florida lawyer referral services. These reports have spanned several years. As a result, the Florida Bar has been investigating, and there has also been some legal action. You can read more about these developments in the links below:
- Florida’s Attorney General sued 411-Pain for deceptive advertising. The case settled, with 411 Pain agreeing to change their ads. You can read the settlement documents here. But some of the highlights include that the company cannot guarantee any dollar amount for recovery, can’t promise more than 10K for PIP benefits, can’t imply that the police require you to call 411 Pain, and can’t imply that their network Orlando personal injury attorneys are specialists. You can read more about that case outcome in these articles: Tampa Bay News and Orlando Sentinel.
- Back in December of 2010, the Miami New Times posted this article, summarizing a different class action lawsuit previously filed against 411 Pain, and giving a little more background about the company. Notably, that article reported that Robert Lewin, the owner of 411 Pain, said that lawyers do not pay any fee to be a part of the 411-Pain Network. Instead, the Miami times reported that Lewin said that the doctors and lawyers have “a reciprocal relationship,” meaning that in some cases, lawyers refer patients to doctors and vice versa.
- The Miami New Times also reported that this list of doctors and clinics were part of the 411 Pain network (I have no way of verifying whether that that list was accurate then, or now. Additionally, being part of the network does not mean that any lawyer has done anything wrong.)
- Orlando Weekly also wrote this article, describing the efforts of the Florida Bar, and a lawsuit filed by State Farm insurance company, against the lawyer referral service, Ask Gary.
- Next in 2011, the Florida Bar posted an article on their website called “Investigators find fraud associated with some lawyer referral services.” That article described a special committee public hearing, during which fraud investigators raised numerous concerns about all lawyer referral services. The committee took no specific action at the end of that meeting. Rather, they just discussed a range of potential options.
- The latest development was reported by the Florida Bar in April of 2014. Basically a committee that advises the Florida Supreme Court has crafted a group of proposed rules, to further control lawyer referral services. The Florida Supreme Court has not yet adopted any new rules. However, the new rules would prohibit lawyers (1) from accepting referrals when they are required or have incentives to refer the clients to companies also owned by the referring company; (2) from referring clients to any other entities owned by the referral company (such as a medical clinic owned by the lawyer referral service), unless various ethical rules are satisfied, and the client gives written, informed consent. There would also be reporting and some other requirements, which you can read here.
So, bottom line, the Florida Bar and Florida Supreme Court are still wrestling with how they should manage law referral services, including 411 Pain & 800-Gary. In other words, this issue is still unsettled in our state.
No Lawyer Referral Service Can Claim To Have The Best Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys
In the meantime, the important thing for any consumer to understand is that, if you call 411 Pain, or 800-Ask-Gary, you will be calling a lawyer referral service. The attorneys in their network have no special skills, or expertise. These non-lawyer referral services are simply businesses, sending callers to lawyers in their network. Here is a news report about their services:
By the way, at the end of that 411 Pain video, the newscasters gave VERY bad advice. One said you should call your insurance company first, after an accident. Another even said that the insurance company would refer you to a lawyer. While your own insurance company may require you to report any accident, calling them first is very bad idea. They want to pay you as little as possible. So they have LOTS of tricks to get you to say something that will later hurt your case. Even without a recorded statement, insurance adjusters may use what you say against you during settlement discussions. You should never deal with an insurance company without an attorney. Instead, your first call after 911 should be the attorney of your choice. Consultations are free, so why wouldn’t you?
My Best Advice: Call An Actual Personal Injury Attorney
Personally, I don’t understand why injured accident victim would call a lawyer referral service, rather than an actual law firm or lawyer. I also think injured accident victims should avoid hiring settlement mill personal injury law firms. If you were injured during an accident, I strongly believe that the best thing you can do is to call an Orlando personal injury lawyer who will hear the facts of your case, then give you tailored advice based on whatever happened to you.
If you call or text me, then I will do my very best to help you get the most money possible.