According to recent press reports The Florida Bar has taken action against a number of lawyers who have obtained clients from the 1-800-ASK-GARY referral service. Ask Gary advertisements targeted auto accident victims inviting them to call the service where they were referred to various service providers including chiropractic and legal services. Much of the medical and chiropractic care is subsidized by the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance that is mandatory under Florida’s current automobile insurance scheme. PIP is set to sunset in October. Major insurance companies, including Allstate and State Farm, favor abandoning the PIP system due to many abuses and promise large premium reductions to consumers in return. Medical providers, including chiropractors and hospitals, and some lawyers that profit from the PIP insurance system want PIP to stay.
The Bar used its disciplinary authority in connection with the conduct of approximately 34 lawyers. The forms of action taken by the Bar against the lawyers varied ranging from fines to diversion. The Bar’s investigation involved some of Florida’s largest advertising law firms. The problem was that the advertisements obtained clients for lawyers through advertising methods Florida Lawyers are prohibited from using under Florida Bar ethical rules . These methods included personal testimonials from accident victims which are forbidden in advertisements by lawyers in Florida. Now that the Bar has taken action, it appears that Florida Attorneys will no longer accept clients from this service.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.