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Personal injury lawyer blogs injury victims’ names in hope they call his office.

Seattle plaintiff’s lawyer Mike Meyers writes about accidents naming seriously injured people he does not represent ‘with the intent of reaching accident victims or the people who care about them.’

…I want them–or someone who cares about them–to call our office and get the help they deserve rather than being manipulated by a well trained adjuster to settle their claim short of full value. It’s as simple as that.

In Meyers post responding to my post criticizing similar behavior, he rationalizes such behavior by taking a low blow at me:

It’s easy to ride the wave created by the insurance lobby or reiterate the old party line used by attorneys who view the practice as a sanctified calling rather than a business and call the blogger an “ambulance chaser”.

I practiced as a plaintiff’s trial lawyer for 17 years representing injury victims and their family members. During that time I served as a sustaining member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and a board member of my state’s trial lawyers association, both leading associations of lawyers representing injured people. During that time I had the occasion to work with wonderful plaintiff’s trial lawyers from around the country and serve with them on various boards and committees.

The last few years of my practice, I established the leading online community in the country for injury victims and distressed employees. Four listservs, hundreds of message boards and online chats so that these folks could get information from leading caring lawyers from throughout the country. Prior to doing this on my own, I did it as a community leader at AOL, where I answered thousands of questions from injury victims.

I understand that Insurance companies can do some despicable things. I know that they’ll tell seriously injured folks they do not need a lawyer, we’ll take care of you – with the goal being to get a release without having to pay fair compensation. Presumably Meyer’s justification for naming injury victims on a blog.

But I would never have named innocent victims on the net in hope that they would call me. And I can’t think of any lawyers who I served with over my years of practice who would so. Such conduct is unseemly and is only going to backfire, giving insurance companies and their lobbyists more ammunition in their efforts to take away injury victims’ rights to fair redress.

My Dad always said ‘there’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything.’ Harmed with that knowledge I’m guided with a sense that when ready to do something that makes me squirm, I look for a better way. Naming seriously injured people in a blog in hope that someone will Google the person’s name and want to help them by telling them to call Mike Meyers is the wrong way to help get people fair compensation.

Just because insurance companies act despicably is not cause to act in way that would cause most of us to squirm.

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  • http://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/ Eric Turkewitz

    What a lousy excuse he gives. Under his theory, he could literally follow the ambulance to the hospital to protect the victim from the insurance adjuster.

  • http://kevin.lexblog.com Kevin

    Eric, guess that’s why one reader has called Meyers conduct as Ambulance Chasing 2.0.

  • Bozo D. Clown

    What a load of smug crap. So the guy writes about people in the hopes that they will come upon his website and then hire him as a lawyer; so what? How is someone harmed who is writtne about in this way?
    Presumably, he writes “Joe Blow was seriously injured in a car accident on Fourth and Main yesterday. At least one witness reports that the produce truck blew right through a stop sign and plowed right into him. Mr. Blow may well have a cause of action in negligence, not only against the driver of the truck, but against Acme Bananas on a respondeat superior theory.”
    How does this blog entry hurt Joe Blow? It’s not like someone called him up in his hospital bed to solicit legal business — he won’t even come across it unless he or someone who knows him is “googling” his name, to look for discussion of him (or, probably, discussion of the accident). This isn’t even a victimless crime — it certainly has no victim, but it also doesn’t rise to the level of misconduct contemplated by the Model Rules.
    I am a defense attorney who has nothing to do with personal injury, so I have no personal or professional axe to grind.

  • http://kevin.lexblog.com Kevin

    Bozo, your daughter is killed in a car accident, dying after 25 days in a coma. Collecting items written about her and perhaps written by her after she has died through Google you run into 20 lawyer blogs from 20 lawyers who have copied your deceased daughter’s accident report details into their blog for the sole purpose of improving their search engine rankings. The lawyers say they blogged the details of your daughter’s death in the desire to help her but that’s not ttrue as they just blog such accidents every so often to improve their search engine rankings. How do you feel?
    I would be repulsed at best. And it’s that type of repulsive conduct that gives lawyers a bad name.
    Practicing lawyers are at risk to lose their sense of what is socially acceptable conduct. I am afraid that when I practiced as a plaintiff’s trial lawyer I may have been tempted to do this sort of thing. But having been outside the practice for almost 10 years now, I can’t imagine doing so.

  • http://kevin.lexblog.com Kevin

    And so that lawyers do not get me wrong, blogs are an excellent way to market a personal injury law practice. I represented injury victims as a practicing lawyer for 17 years. LexBlog has some excellent lawyers doing a wonderful job with their personal injury law blogs. It’s an honor for us to be of service to them.
    A well done personal injury law blog is an excellent way to market your firm and further enhance your reputation as a trusted and reliable authority as a plaintiff’s trial lawyer and advocate for injured people. Shamelessly putting up names of injury victims on the Internet does nothing to enhance one’s reputation.

  • http://www.millerandzois.com Ron Miller

    Actually, going to the bloggers point, this is a business. And the general public seeing lawyers behave in an unbecoming way, it kills our credibility even further with juries. Read David Ball on juror preconceptions as it is.
    Our course, every business – including the business of law – should be conducted with a high degree of professionalism and respect for any situation. Stockbrokers should not call clients who they see are heirs in the obits either, for example, even though they may not be a ethical rule prohibiting it. But if the blogger wants to look at if from a purely business standpoint, fine. It is bad for business.

  • http://marketingfromtheheart.wordpress.com Tom St. Louis

    This kind of idea simply drags every personal injury lawyer down, or every lawyer for that matter. Honestly, by posting the ‘potential client’s’ name in his blog, did it really helped to convince the family or any ‘concerned’ individuals out there to hire their legal services? Whose bright idea was that anyway? I’m hoping that it came from one of Mike Meyer’s overzealous marketing consultant and Mike just happily pushed through at that idea. Well if not, Kevin and the other’s (including myself) reactions should pretty much send a clear message out there that this is definitely one of those things a self-respecting personal injury lawyer shouldn’t do.
    For the meanwhile it seems that these isn’t a SOP for lawyer blogs, but imagine if every kind of lawyer does this kind of ‘bait’. Instead of squirming, it’s enough to literally make me puke violently till I have nothing left.
    It’s a bad idea from the start and every lawyer should realize this for the public sake and their own.

  • http://marketingfromtheheart.wordpress.com Tom St. Louis

    This kind of idea simply drags every personal injury lawyer down, or every lawyer for that matter. Honestly, by posting the ‘potential client’s’ name in his blog, did it really helped to convince the family or any ‘concerned’ individuals out there to hire their legal services? Whose bright idea was that anyway? I’m hoping that it came from one of Mike Meyer’s overzealous marketing consultant and Mike just happily pushed through at that idea. Well if not, Kevin and the other’s (including myself) reactions should pretty much send a clear message out there that this is definitely one of those things a self-respecting personal injury lawyer shouldn’t do.
    For the meanwhile it seems that these isn’t a SOP for lawyer blogs, but imagine if every kind of lawyer does this kind of ‘bait’. Instead of squirming, it’s enough to literally make me puke violently till I have nothing left.
    It’s a bad idea from the start and every lawyer should realize this for the public sake and their own.
    ps: sorry for the repost, the first one was a mess.